The Alienware 15 returns in a fourth version, with all the new Intel processors on board, including the prestigious Core i9 on this model. It is he who plays the conductor in this configuration, proposed at less than 2700 euros, which passes to a finger of solid cardboard.
Is it still useful to present the Dell Alienware 15? One of the historical references of the Texan manufacturer, this 15.6-inch laptop is a machine to (well) play, generate polygons and 3D texture in current titles and those of tomorrow. Offered in several customizable configurations, this monster comes back today in a version doped with the latest high-end Intel processor, the six-core Core i9-8950HK. On the rest of the technical sheet, we just note the adoption of a GeForce GTX 1070 model whose frequencies have been slightly boosted and the presence of a screen whose refresh rate has increased from 120 to 60 Hz.
But, somewhere, that there have not been big changes is almost happy. This will allow us to compare the performance of this version, called R4, to that of the old version – the R3 – we received in May 2017. It was equipped with a seventh generation Core i7 and a platform exactly the same as the one we have now under our fingers. The opportunity to check if, between the addition of two physical cores on the CPU and the OC version of the embedded GeForce GTX 1070, the scores of our tests have moved a lot.
Lastly, our test version (based on the machine n00aw15r409 on the manufacturer’s website) is offered at a price of 2690 euros (excluding delivery costs), ie 200 euros more than the R3 of last year, and the prices start from 1400 euros.
As the Alienware 15 R4 model tested here is exactly the same as the R3 model, we invite you to check out our previous tests (R3 classic and R3 with GTX 1080 Max-Q) to get to know the machine case, its connectivity and our appreciations concerning the ergonomics, the comfort of use proposed by the keyboard and the touchpad backlit, as well as the panel of available connectors.
We will specify just two points. In the first place, the case is still as strong and always inspires confidence. It’s appreciated. Secondly, it is high time that Dell switches to a thin screen on this iconic machine, to give it a facelift and it adopts the current standards. Especially that the manufacturer can play skillfully planer. As proof the ultraportable edges of the ultraportable sound screen, the XPS 13.
Quality Of The Screen Down!
This Dell Alienware R4 is equipped with the default screen in the configurator of the site of the brand, namely a full HD model, matte, refreshed at 60 Hz and compatible with the Nvidia G-Sync. A technology that, as we recall, synchronizes the refresh rate of the slab on the frame rate of the GPU (in the limit of 60 fps here). This reduces, on the one hand, slowdown effects that can occur in games when a 3D scene is particularly heavy to calculate for the graphics processor; and on the other hand, to limit any tearing caused by abrupt camera movements, for example.
Here, Dell is using an IPS panel while on the screen of the R3 that we had in the test last year, it is a screen TN 120 Hz turbines that was at work. A screen that made us a very strong impression. That of this Alienware R4 is unfortunately not as good. The brightness was measured at 327 cd / m2 against 396 cd / m2 on the R3. Absolutely, it’s good enough but we expected a little better. IPS requires, the contrast ratio barely exceeds the 800: 1 (818: 1 according to our probe) which is not a big surprise because this display technology is not famous for proposing exceptional values in the matter.
But we have already seen better: last year, the R3 screen displayed a contrast of 1230: 1, an incredible value for a TN panel. Let’s be clear, the display quality of this Alienware is not bad, far from it. Playing, watching movies, surfing, all this is done in good conditions. But considering the price, we expected better and the bill of the display is necessarily felt.
Intel Core i9 And Vitamins In The GPU!
To scare the competition, Dell plays the card of extreme power by offering the latest core Intel Core i9-8950HK six hearts in some of these gaming machines. A chip that – in the case of the Alienware 15 R4 – is overclocked at the factory and can go up to 5 GHz in Turbo mode (against 4.8 GHz in normal time). Dell adds 16GB of DDR4 memory at 2666MHz, and for storage, you can count on a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive.
The fault of GeForce RTX for laptop, Dell falls back on a model GeForce GTX 1070 whose frequencies were also boosted (by Nvidia) and who is always very comfortable when it comes to displaying the games on a screen Full HD, with significant levels of detail.
We compared the scores obtained on our software and test games and found some nice performance gains. Especially in gaming titles, and this is the most important (nobody runs PC Mark loop, we agree). For example, in The Division, in Full HD, with detail profiles set to High and Ultra, and some small in-house adjustments, the R3 configuration generated between 72.1 (Ultra) and 89.5 (High) frames per second ( IPS) of average, where the R4 now offers respectively 80 and 100 is average.
In Rise of The Tomb Raider, on the other hand, Lara Croft seems to have a hard time taking advantage of the extra power (the fault of a less optimistic Nvidia pilot?) And her adventures are displayed in 90.4 fps (DX12) and 104.4 (DX11) is, with almost all the details thoroughly, while the R3 managed to charge between 113 and 97 fps under the same conditions. Anyway, the game remains playable and beautiful, you’ll understand.
Older games like The Last Remnant or Dirt 3, they appreciate the slightly higher frequencies of the Core i9 in Turbo mode and the graphics card. We noted an increase of between 30 and 40 images on average. However since they were already running at over 200 fps for the first and 150 fps for the second, the difference is not obvious.
Consumption, Noise, And Heating In (Slight) Rise
Good point, we did not detect any throttling effects on the Intel Core i9. According to our probes, the frequency of the Intel processor is maintained between 3.2 and 4.4 GHz when we mobilize all the hearts and resources of the GPU for long minutes. The onboard cooling system in the Alienware 15 R4 is therefore very efficient and, best of all, it does not generate too much noise … for a gamer laptop. However, we noticed a very slight increase in noise pollution, of the order of 0.8 dB, between R3 and R4 (43.3 dB). On the other hand, mercury – it – already accuses more the blow of the change of components.
Under the machine, our heat gun shows us maximums up to 55.6 ° C while the R3 managed to stay around 47 ° C at the peak of the activity. Playing with the PC on your lap is therefore strongly discouraged.
A look at the power meter tells us that this version R4 consumes a little less at rest (22.9 against 33.5 watts) than the R3, which is mainly explained by the screen difference in our opinion. At full load, this laptop 15.6 inches engulfs up to 196 watts while the previous model, it was content to glutton 184 watts. No doubt, the big power adapter of almost 1 kilo is a necessary evil and provides the energy needs of the machine.
Autonomy Always So Surprising
Endurance is not a determining factor on this type of laptop, doomed not to travel too much and therefore not to be used in the train or on the plane. However, it is sometimes valuable to use it to surf or watch a video for a few hours, comfortably installed on the sofa, without the massive charger.
In our three endurance tests, the Alienware 14 R4 manages to achieve very good times. In low definition video playback, full screen, you can rely on it for almost 4 hours (3:55). Want to watch a movie in Full HD? Reduce the brightness to 3/4 (200 cd / m2) and the battery will last 3 h 45. Finally, in versatile use, full screen, Wi-Fi active and solicited, the R4 manages to stay more than 4 hours 15 It’s 15 minutes shorter than the R3 for this test alone, but in the other tests, the R4 is keeping pace with its predecessor.