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Review: Alienware X17 R2 (nawx17r205)

No one is faster

The Alienware x17 R2 is ultra low profiled - but the speed is super high. So is the price.

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Alienware X17 R2 (nawx17r205)
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Published 2022-03-28 - 9:00 am
Our opinion
The fastest portable gaming PC we've seen. It's not just slim, it's insanely slim. The screen is lightning fast.
It costs an obscene amount of money! The screen is only in Full HD resolution.
Specifications
  • Processor: 2.7 GHz (Max Turbo 4.7 GHz) Intel Core i7-12700H (14 cores, 20 threads)
  • Display: 17.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080), 360 Hz, 1 ms w. Nvidia G-Sync
  • Memory: 32 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti w. 16 GB GDDR6
  • Operating system: Windows 11 Home, 64 bit
  • Dimensions and weight: 39.9 x 2.1 x 30 cm / 2.9 kg
  • Connections: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, HDMI 2.1, 2 x USB 3.2 Type A, 2 x USB-C (one with Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort and Power Delivery),Mini DisplayPort 1.4, Ethernet, 3 x USB 3.1, 3.5 mm audioWeb: dell.com
Benchmarks

Price 3 899 Product page

It’s as low as a Lamborghini with a lowered chassis! Alienware x17 R2 looks impossibly flat. In fact, the computer is just over two centimetres thick, but the 40-centimetre-wide chassis, with a large 17-inch screen recessed under the hinges, makes the machine seem even lower.

Alienware x17r2 profile lf2
The Alienware x17 R2 is so ultra-slim that it seems impossible. (Photo: Dell)

The sports car associations don’t just apply to the design. Because we’re dealing with a computer that can race the fastest – and be the first out of the box every time.

Despite the low, low profile, the enclosure is perfectly rigid and torsionally stable. You can lift the PC into a corner and it won’t budge in the slightest. Although it’s hard to lift such a big and heavy computer that way.

The case is milky white with a silky finish that should be particularly resistant to stains. But the keyboard and interior are matte black – and unfortunately quite susceptible to greasy fingerprints. Even from winter-dry hands.

Alienware x17r2 rf back
The cabinet is milky white. (Photo: Dell)

The keyboard is large and all keys are the correct size. And there’s so much extra space all around that it seems almost vulgar. There could easily have been a numeric keypad next to it. But now the space goes to the built-in speakers and fan vents.

The screen made for gaming

The screen is – as you’d expect from a computer in such an extreme price range – clear and sharp. But only that. It has neither Pantone certification nor super-high brightness.

The Alienware x17 R2 is made for professionals – but not professional graphic artists. The priority is speed, and the screen is lightning fast: 360 Hz refresh rate and 1 millisecond response time! Speed is obviously crucial for gaming, but it’s still surprising that Alienware has chosen to stick with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) for such a large screen in 2022. In fact, the x17 model isn’t available in a higher resolution variant at all. You’ll also look in vain for a touch screen.

Dazzling taillights

For a gaming computer, the Alienware x17 is extraordinarily discreet and subdued. Only on the back have the designers been allowed to have a have a party with funfair lighting. A ring of RGB lights encircles the back in a way that would suit an 70’s Chevrolet. It’s clever – but not very practical, as all the ports are on the back, which is pitch black, and they’re virtually impossible to see because of the coloured backlight. The lights can be turned off, of course, but this makes plugging in the computer more difficult.

Once you spot the ports (with the help of a flashlight), the selection is complete: a double set of both USB-C and USB-A, HDMI 2.1 and Mini DisplayPort. And an extra DisplayPort is integrated into one USB-C port, bringing the maximum number of extra displays to three!

Top-class hardware

What makes the Alienware x17 R2 special – and what brings the price up – is the absolutely top-end internals. The processor is a 12th generation Intel Core i7-12700H. Admittedly, it’s only the second best in Intel’s catalogue (the i9, which we saw in Asus’ ROG Flow Z13, is faster), but it’s still a beast with 14 cores and a turbo boost speed of 4.7GHz when numbers really need crunching.

The same goes for the graphics processor, which is the brand new Ti version of the Nvidia RTX 3080. It’s the most powerful mobile GPU you can buy right now. And with 16 gigabytes of memory of its own, the GPU has as much RAM as the entire typical ultrabook computer anno 2022 is equipped with.

The version of the Alienware x17 R2 we tested came with 32 gigabytes of RAM and 1 terabyte of SSD storage. But it can be bought with up to 64 gigabytes of RAM and 4 terabytes of SSD. So this isn’t even the top model!

In that light, the audio side seems a bit stingy when Alienware emphasizes that there’s a total of 8 watts of power distributed across four speakers – with 2 watts for each. That’s almost as meaningful as saying that the computer measures 72 cm in total, if you add up width, height and depth …

Alienware x17r2 lf
The Alienware x17 R2 is the fastest laptop we’ve reviewed to date. (Photo: Dell)

Benchmarks

With such hefty hardware, it’s set for a record-breaking party. And it doesn’t fail to deliver. In most areas, the Alienware x17 R2 beats everything else so far – or at least comes close to the record.

Starting with sheer processing power, the machine achieves a Geekbench score of 13,104 in multi-core and 1,693 in single-core. That score is only bettered by the Asus ROG Flow Z13, which is reasonable considering it has the slightly more powerful Intel Core i9-12900H processor on board.

The Geekbench Compute test, which also includes the GPU, on the other hand, comes in at an insane 141,919! That’s a good four times more than the current MacBook Pro 16 M1 and Pro 14 M1. Time is merciless, though, so the lead will probably narrow with the next processor generation just launched.

The Cinebench R23 combined processor and graphics test speaks the same language: 17,739 in multi-core and 1,772 in single-core. That’s a comfortable record.

The 3DMark Time Spy graphics test ends with a result of 13,281, which is absolutely wild. But the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics processor is also a brand new top-of-the-range mobile model. So there’s no direct comparison. But the Razer Blade 14, which won the award for best gaming computer in 2021, achieved a score of 10,069 at the time.

The battery test is – not unexpectedly – far from record. But a two-hour score is actually quite good for a super-slim gaming laptop.

Alienware x17r2 top
If you’re a professional gamer – or very rich – the Alienware x17 R2 could be the tool you need. (Photo: Dell)

Conclusion

Overall, the Alienware x17 R2 is the most powerful laptop we’ve ever tested at L&B Tech Reviews. By its very nature, it’s a record that’s certain to be broken in the future. But I don’t expect that to happen in 2022. However, the x17 R2 is also close to the price record, being one of the most expensive laptops we’ve tested to date. So you can afford to set expectations sky-high.

If you’re a professional gamer needing to travel with your e-sports (or just very wealthy), it could be the tool you need. The huge computing power could potentially be interesting for graphic designers and other creative professionals, but they will miss a more high-resolution and accurate screen. But such a screen can of course be bought as an accessory. After all, there’s room for as many as three external monitors.

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FrodBonzi

There is a 4K screen option for this laptop… there’s also an option for DDR5 ram…

Tracy S

I have the X17 R2 i9-12900HK with the 3080ti
FHD 360mz 1920×1080 and its a fantastic laptop. And Yes
There is a UHD option, it just became available, for me I can
always plug into my 34 inch external monitor for higher resolutions if
want. Great laptop. Also you can hunt for discount coupons like I did
and walk away with it around 3300

chris

too bad you can’t get one

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Flying saucer with warp speed

The Alienware x17 R2 is ultra low profiled - but the speed is super high. So is the price.

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