Alienware 17: Performance

June 11, 2013 by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (164,811)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 9
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.71
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Performance and Benchmarks

Performance is the hallmark of gaming notebooks like the Alienware 17. This notebook has bleeding edge components including a brand new fourt-generation Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia’s new flagship graphics card, the GTX 780M with 4GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory.

The Alienware 17 is available with up to three storage drives; our review unit has a 256GB SSD and a secondary 750GB hard drive for storage. Up to 32GB of RAM is available; our review unit has 16GB. The benchmarks as we’ll see highlight the Alienware 17 is up to any computing task, especially playing the latest games at maximum settings. This is a great platform for playing the latest 3D games and intensive work like Adobe Photoshop and video editing.

Our review model of the Alienware 17 has the following specifications:

  • 17.3-inch display, (1920×1080 resolution, TN panel, anti-glare surface)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-4800MQ quad-core processor (6MB cache, up to 3.4GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics card w/ 4GB GDDR5
  • 16GB DDR3-1600 RAM (4x 4GB; 32GB max. supported – 4x 8GB)
  • 256GB Lite-On SSD
  • 750GB 7200RPM (WD7500BPKT) secondary hard drive
  • 8X DVD slot-load DVD burner
  • Broadcom 4352 802.11n/ac wireless LAN
  • Integrated Bluetooth 4.0
  • Integrated HD webcam
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Dimensions: 11.7″ x 16.3″ x 1.9″
  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • Starting Price: $1,499
  • Price as Configured: $2,899

The specifications are high-end as expected; our review unit includes a number of upgrades. The 1920×1080 display is a welcome upgrade over the base 1600×900 display; the GTX 780M graphics card a $200 option over the base GTX 770M. Although 8GB of RAM is standard this unit has 16GB as previously mentioned. Various storage drive options are available including RAID configurations. Regardless of the configuration you choose, we’d recommend getting at least a three-year warranty on a notebook priced at more than $2,000.

wPrime processor comparisons (lower score means better performance):

PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark and measures overall systems performance (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphic card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):

Crystal DiskMark storage drive performance test (C-drive on left, E-drive on right):

Heat and Noise

The M17x has historically had a good cooling system; and the new Alienware 17 continues the tradition. The cooling system exhausts air out the back of the notebook; it’s split into two parts, with the CPU heat going out the left and the graphics card out the right. Keeping the two most heat-producing components in the notebook separated is a good idea.

The chassis remained cool during extended periods of benchmarking and gaming. The noise level is practically non-existent at idle; under load it’s noticeable but sounds mostly like a rush of air, without any annoying whine. There are large air intakes on the bottom of the chassis; be sure to keep the Alienware 17 on a solid surface while gaming.

Battery Life

The Alienware 17 lasted a pretty average two hours, nine minutes on the standard Powermark “Balanced” benchmark test using the Nvidia graphics. However, the notebook scored an excellent five hours, 21 minutes on our new Powermark “Productivity” benchmark, and two hours, 48 minutes in our Powermark “Entertainment” test. These are excellent times for a notebook as large and powerful as this one.

PowerMark “Balanced” battery life test results (higher scores mean better life):



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