The Alienware M15 R7 Is an Absolute Spaceship With Noise To Match

The Alienware M15 R7 is an absolute spaceship with noise to match

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Gaming laptops have long been a joke to me. I haven’t been able to think of them for a long time but “that’s such an expensive paperweight” so I was absolutely thrilled to be working with the new Alienware M15 R7.

Alienware, like the “gaming laptop” subcategory of computing itself, has always been a little confusing to me, too. Flashy computers with well-understood design aesthetics (one of the better aesthetics in the gaming peripheral worldif you ask me), stopped by their heat trap computersthis is not an unpopular opinion

But maybe the design won’t be complete until Alienware develops a laptop. After all, the two previously linked reviews are focused on PC builds and not laptops, so to a certain extent we should approach this differently.

The Alienware M15 R7, an absolute behemoth of a battle station, with RGB and performance galore. This is what I think.

Alienware M15 R7

WHAT IS IT?

The latest ultra-powerful gaming laptop from Alienware, the gaming division of Dell.

PRICE

$2,474 (RTX 3060), $3,399 (RTX 3070 Ti), $4,504 (RTX 3080 Ti)

LIKE IT

Great gameplay, brilliant RGB and aesthetics, great performance.

NO LIKE

Loud fan noise, high price tag.

rocket fuel

First of all, thanks to Alienware for sending me this laptop so I can review it. Normally I wouldn’t thank a brand in a review, but the heartache I felt when performance significantly surpassed my home-built gaming PC should not go unnoticed. So, you know, thanks for that.

The device I reviewed, but not the only Alienware M15 R7 available (you can adjust the specs when you order the device) has an RTX 3080Ti GPU, a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU (14 cores, 20 threads on 2 .30 Ghz), 32GB RAM and a 1TB NVMe hard drive. There is also a 2K display (2560 x 1440) with a refresh rate of 240 Hz.

Plus, Alienware’s masterful approach to aesthetics is not lacking in any way. The keyboard and interior of the laptop are not cluttered, with vents well spaced in hexagonal shapes. There is RGB in and around the laptop, not distastefully done either. Let’s talk about the keyboard for a moment: it flips. The keys make a satisfying click when you press buttons, and the tactile feedback is very satisfying.

Alienware m15 r7
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

If you didn’t understand a shred of that, all you need to know is that this is an extremely powerful computer. It spins around most computers out there.

Let’s talk about testing.

beam me up

When I test laptops at Gizmodo Australia, I use the benchmarking tool in Forza Horizon 5as it demonstrates a PC’s ability to take on a fast moving game with a massive open world with beautiful graphics and lots of objects in the area to render.

This is how the Alienware M15 R7 handled the test. Flying colors.

Alienware m15 r7
Forza Horizon 5 benchmark. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

To put this in perspective, the Microsoft Surface Studio we reviewed earlier this year (which featured an RTX 3060 and an Intel i7 11370-H CPU) scored only 55 FPS, recommending that the game be run on “High” to achieve that frame rate.

To be fair, the Surface Studio wasn’t primarily a gaming PC, but if we’re just talking about performance, the M15 R7 eats the Surface Studio for breakfast. It makes sense in every way, but gosh…that’s a lot of juice.

In gameplay, the benchmark holds up. To play overwatch (average FPS on the highest settings: 160) and Call of Duty: Vanguard (average FPS on the highest settings: 145), I didn’t experience any problems.

On CPU and RAM, the laptop fared well in our Chrome tab test. I was able to open 49 simultaneous tabs of random YouTube videos and play them in sync with just a few stutters along the way (on tab 28, 34 and each tab after 38 took over five seconds to load tabs. Tab 34 also featured a black screen that refreshed after five seconds). On tab 50, Chrome encountered an error and the video could not be loaded.

In addition, the CPU of the laptop in Cinebench was an overachiever, scoring 1,752 points on the single-core test (first place) and 16,117 points on the multi-core test (fourth place).

The laptop also scored reasonably well in our battery test. Stream the whole of Avengers: Endgame in terms of battery power, the laptop dropped to 77 percent in the first hour, 51 percent in the second, and 22 percent at the end. The Surface Studio outperforms the M15 R7 in this test, but the Alienware machine packs in much more powerful technology.

Just something to keep in mind about battery power: most games won’t perform well without the machine plugged in. I could hardly Forza Horizon 5 to crack 12 FPS without direct power.

Alienware m15 r7
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Houston we have a problem

However, what I’m not too keen on is the sound this thing makes.

If the Microsoft Surface Studio were a jet engine (which I compared it to in that review), then the Alienware M15 R7 is a spaceship.

In daily use I have never noticed that the sound was bad. If you use the laptop all day, the fans were barely noticeable unless there was no noise around you.

Turn the machine to a graphic intensive game like Forza Horizon 5however, and you will hear the roar of a Saturn V rocket… In laptop form.

It’s not an attractive screech either. Sometimes a gaming computer will make a monotonous fan noise which is fine and livable, but the noise of the Alienware M15 R7 firing on all processors makes me think the fan bearings are turning red.

Alienware m15 r7
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

I am concerned about the longevity of this laptop. If you ran the fans continuously at 100 percent, something would probably break after some time. If you didn’t use them, the computer would probably overheat and suffer thermal damage, and to be fair, the fans were doing a pretty good job of regulating the heat (I rarely saw the heat go above 80 degrees).

It’s a shame that the speakers in the laptop, which are pretty decent, are drowned out by the fans.

You may have to get used to headphones.

Lights in the sky

On an Alienware computer, you control the RGB, overclock, and some of the gaming-oriented performance stats through the “Alienware Command Center,” a flashy app that goes pretty deep into how you can adjust the device’s exterior lighting.

Too bad it’s a bit difficult to master. I’ve used many of these apps, including the Logitech G Hub (the ones I’m most familiar with, as I’m a Logitech peripheral user), the Corsair iCUE system, and the Gigabyte RGBFusion app, and while the level of customization is quite deep into the Alienware Command Center, it just takes a bit to get your head around. For example, it is difficult to know at first glance whether some settings have been made, saved or can even be changed.

That said, you should get used to it after a tutorial and a few tries. If you’re a potential Alienware user, I definitely recommend tinkering with this app quite a bit.

Alienware m15 r7
Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

What can you change, I hear you ask? Well, the alien head on the back, the alien head on/off button in the laptop, the back lighting array and the lighting of the each individual key

Yes. Each key is an individual lighting zone. This means you can set each key to a separate color without having to split the colors into lumpy zones.

Incredible, great, well done Dell. On a related note, I like how the plug plugs into the back of the unit, freeing up the sides and not cluttering your gaming space. Next to the charging port you will find a USB-C port, USB-A port and an HDMI port. The right side has two USB-A ports and the left side has an AUX port and an Ethernet port.

i want to believe

I’m less tired of gaming laptops now. For a company like Alienware to focus on how performance and form factor come together in a laptop seems to work well and so I’m happy to say that the Alienware M15 R7 is a fine machine.

I’m just not sure who would like this. The average gamer, who would have his machine in the same place for months, and probably not move it? Yes, it has the added convenience of being able to move around more easily, although this is not the same as being able to play portable, because the machine needs AC power to run high specification games (like all gaming laptops). In addition, equal components on a home-built gaming PC would cost much less.

This is for someone after a sample computer. One that tasks are unlikely to fail due to lack of resources. One optimized for graphics-intensive applications, such as gaming and 3D design. One that can be carried between home and office, lab, testing facility or secret government facility in the Nevada desert.

Therefore, I can say that while I would love to use the Alienware M15 R7 as my personal laptop, it is super overkill with a matching price tag.

Where can you buy the Alienware M15 R7?

Please note that prices vary depending on the components included.

Dell Australia (from $2,474)JB Hi-Fi $3,999

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