Going with a thinner design hasn't just given the new Alienware 17 a sleeker profile measuring 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35 inches or 430 x 291 x 34 mm (W x D x H), it's also helped cut the weight down to 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg). Comparatively, the 2014 model weighed in at 9.15 pounds (4.15 kg) and came in at 1.9-inches (48 mm) thick. However, no matter how thin this new 17-inch laptop is, slinging around a device of such considerable size will still require you to pick up a new bag from Alienware or a third-party company such as Slappa bags.
Gigabyte has outdone itself squeezing in an immensely powerful gaming laptop into a 0.9-inch (22 mm) frame with the Aorus X7 Pro. The X7 Pro still has a considerably large footprint that measures 12- by 6.85-inches (304 by 173 mm), but at 6.6 pounds (2.99 kg) it's much easier to carry around.
The MSI GS30 Shadow is in a whole other size category, being a 13-inch mobile computing rig, but if portability is what you seek than this 2.65-pound (1.2 kg) machine is your best bet. Just keep in mind that while it has a small 12.59 x 8.93 x 0.77 inch (319 x 226 x 19 mm) frame, this machine can't truly game on its own with just the on-board Intel Iris graphics.
Here is the Alienware 17 configuration given to TechRadar for review:
- CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 4600
- RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1,600MHz)
- Screen: 17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS anti-glare display
- Storage: 256 GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)
- Ports: 4 x USB 3.0 ports (1 x with PowerShare Technology), SD card reader mini DisplayPort, HDMI, Headphone jack, Microphone jack, Ethernet, Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port
- Connectivity: Killer 1525 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1
- Camera: 2MP Full HD webcam
- Weight: 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg)
- Size: 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35 inches (W x D x H) (430 x 291 x 34 mm)
And here is the Alienware Graphics Amplifier configuration given to TechRadar for review:
- GPU capacity: PCIe x16 Slot for desktop graphics card
- Graphics: PNY XLR8 GeForce GTX 980 with 4GB GDDR5
- Power supply: Alienware 460 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply
- Ports: 4 x USB 3.0, Alienware Graphics Amplifier to Notebook Port
- Weight: 7.71 pounds (3.5 Kgs.)
- Dimensions: 7.3 x 16.12 x 6.83 inches (W x D x H) (185 x 409 x 173 mm)
What you're looking at here is an Alienware 17 with a completely bumped up configuration that calls for a steep $3,049 (£2,581). This is no doubt a huge purchase, but keep in mind this price tag includes a faster processor, headier GPU, more storage and RAM, plus the cost of the Graphics Amplifier as well as a Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card.
Oddly enough, the Amplifier does not come as a discounted bundle in Australia. So users living in that region will end up having to for over the full AU$349 price for the Amplifier, plus another AU$699 for an Nvidia GTX 980 card, which brings up the final total to an insane AU$4,547. (Keep in mind this is an example; these GPU boxes can work with Nvidia's more affordable cards like the Nvidia GTX 960.)
Without the optional GPU box, the Alienware 17 with the configuration above rings up for a slightly saner $2,299 (£1,782.19, AU$3,499). For the amount of power you're getting alone, that's actually a sweet deal. The Alienware 17 also starts at $1,499 (£1,298, AU$2,499) for a base configuration consisting of the same processor, a lower-end 3GB Nvidia GTX 970M, 8GB of RAM and only a 1TB hard drive spinning at 5,400rpm.
For what it's worth, the MSI GS30 Shadow is a more affordable gaming laptop-desktop hybrid solution, ducking below the 2,000 clams mark with a $1,899 (£1,200, AU$2,699) price tag. But, keep in mind this price does not include a desktop GPU, though, so you'll have to source your own. Also, be prepared to add a few extra peripherals including a keyboard, gaming mouse and a monitor before you can even think about playing games on the GS30 Shadow.
Aorus X7 Pro is a much simpler, self-contained laptop that comes in one configuration for $2,599 or £2099 (about AU$3,320). The unit offers plenty of power for the price, including a higher-end processor (that the MSI GS30 also comes sporting), dual Nvidia GTX 970M cards working in SLI, plus a massive 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM.