Screen: a bright and convincing IPS panel
The Alienware X17 is offered in Full HD or Ultra HD version. As mentioned at the start of the article, our loan unit is equipped with the 4K screen. It is a 17-inch IPS panel manufactured by the Taiwanese AU Optronics, with a frequency of 120 Hz. To the naked eye, this LCD panel seems particularly successful, with good maximum brightness, good blacks homogeneous and vibrant colors. This is what emerges at first glance, but to find out more we of course drew our X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimetric probe coupled with the Calman Ultimate measurement software. The perfect combination to objectively estimate the capabilities of this large IPS panel.
We first note a classic luminance of 340.1 cd/m2. Which you will obtain most of the time by manually pushing the screen brightness to 100%. However, we were able to measure a peak in brightness of 411.1 cd/m2, the highest luminance achievable with this screen. This is a good result, superior to most screens offered by the competition. In other words, the Alienware X17 panel remains bright and very readable in all circumstances. A nice asset.
On the colorimetric side, this AU Optronics screen does a good job overall, even if we would like a tad more precise calibration. Our probe has indeed measured a DeltaE of 3.9. Ideally, this value should be equal to or less than 3 to make the difference between the intended colors and those ultimately displayed by the monitor imperceptible. We are a little above. The color temperature, on the other hand, is almost perfect, with a value of 6465 kelvins. As a reminder, the video standard is set at 6500 K, so the temperature of our screen is slightly too hot. Our tools also detected a very slight color drift on the greens, but nothing serious.
On the color coverage front this time we get 100% support for colors in the sRGB spectrum. The Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 gamuts are covered at 100% and 90.9%, respectively. Really satisfying results for a screen that will be used primarily in games.
In reality, only the contrast is ultimately disappointing if we are to believe our probe, which measured a ratio of only 1103:1. It’s weak. That said, to the naked eye, the 4K screen of the Alienware X17 does not give us the impression of a poorly contrasted panel at all. We can also predict that the vast majority of users will be delighted by the display experience offered to us here. Even if we remain a step behind what OLED technology would allow, gradually being adopted on the market. laptop, including by Alienware and Dell… But unfortunately not here. Finally, note that the fine display offered here by the Ultra HD definition (3840 by 2160 pixels) is very significant on this large diagonal of 17.3 inches. The pixel density is excellent, and we like that.
Performance: power that overflows everywhere
Using a four-fan dissipation system clearly seems to have uninhibited Alienware. In a chassis barely exceeding 2 cm thick, the American manufacturer does not restrict itself. If our loan unit is “limited” to a Core i7-11800H (Tiger Lake-H, engraved in 10 nm SuperFin), the chassis of the Alienware X17 is capable of accommodating an optional Core i9-10980HK: a beast . But it is especially on the GPU level that Alienware sees things big.
We are indeed benefiting here from an RTX 3080 in 165 W. Of all the RTX 3080 for laptops to have passed through our hands, that of the X17 has the highest TGP budget. To compare, a few months ago we were testing the ROG XG Mobile station (external GPU designed specifically for the ASUS ROG Flow X13) which took advantage of an RTX 3080 at 150 W – and already the level of performance was breathtaking. Let’s see what’s at stake with our Alienware X17 and its supercharged 3080. Is it up to play in native definition on the device’s 4K screen?
Grapich Card RTX 3080
Let’s start with the indestructible Cyberpunk 2077, whose greediness helps us to estimate the level of performance of a laptop. And in this case, the title of CD Projekt Red is powered without flinching by our X17. The i7-11800H / RTX 3080 duo works wonders. In Ultra HD, with all the settings in ultra, the FOV at the maximum, the ray tracing in ultra also and the DLSS in Auto, we manage to camp 35 to 45 frames per second without the shadow of a slowdown.
Few laptops can do the same when walking the streets of Night City. To take advantage of a higher framerate, however, you have to lower the sails on the settings side… and this is where our eyes turn to ray tracing, which is still just as resource-hungry. By disabling it, you can easily reach 50 FPS on average, but be careful: you will have to maintain the DLSS anyway. Without it, playing in 4K remains possible, but at the cost of a very reduced fluidity, in any case if you want to continue playing Cyberpunk with the rest of the parameters in ultra.
Ultra HD panel
On The Medium, the observation is generally the same. That said, the game strains the components of our X17 even more during its split-screen sequences – rather poorly optimized. In 4K these passages are all the more difficult to manage. With all the settings in ultra, including ray tracing, and the DLSS positioned in balanced level, the device does not work miracles: it maintains the course of 20 to 25 FPS in these extreme conditions.
When we return to the classic scenes, without split screen, the framerate goes back to a good thirty FPS, but with some slowdowns that we mainly attribute to the game (all the machines tested by us in recent months cough on the same passages).
In any case, combining 4K and ultra settings remains within reach of the Alienware X17 on the vast majority of games. Rest assured that it will propel you to more than 100 FPS on competitive titles. Perfect for exploiting the refresh rate offered by its Ultra HD panel. And for lovers of flawless fluidity, going back to 1080 or 1440p (with scaling to Ultra HD) is of course still possible, but at the cost of reduced display finesse.
Testing For frequencies
Let’s now look at the performance of the machine’s dissipation system. To get a clear enough idea, we ran our usual system stability test on AIDA 64, to see how the system reacts to heavy CPU load (all cores loaded at 100%) over an extended period of time. For this test, the dissipation system is switched to high performance mode which allows the activation at full speed of the four fans. We then see a frequency of about 4.30 GHz on the desktop. Once the stress test is underway, all Core i7-11800H cores are this time launched at 4.10 – 4.15 GHz. A value that they will never leave.
These frequencies, which remain high even during intensive and prolonged charging, are made possible by very good temperature management. During this test, the temperatures on the CPU hovered mostly between 75 and 85 degrees, with a few occasional peaks at 90 degrees. We didn’t have the displeasure of noticing the slightest thermal throttling problem on the Alienware X17, which knows how to keep its frequencies up and its chips cool.
A finding that extends to gaming, where we noted a maximum of 83 degrees on the CPU (after an hour of play on Cyberpunk 2077), and an average rather located around 70 degrees on the GPU, with a peak of 77 degrees according to our observations.
Cooling fan Noise
Note however that this is not done without a surge of decibels. The four fans of the Alienware X17 give voice when they turn at full speed. We feel that priority has really been given to cooling performance and not to silence. It’s not a big deal, the results are convincing enough to make us digest the noise of the fans. Fortunately, the ventilation is almost always turned off on the desktop.
In office and multimedia use, the new Alienware spearhead therefore remains very quiet. It must be said that in idle, the Core i7-11800H can go down to 0.85 GHz only. It clearly takes more to make the fans roar!
CPU & GPU Test alienware x17
It now remains for us to take stock of the performance of the Alienware X17 in benchmarks. Under CineBench R23, the Core i7-11800H of our loan unit was able to glean 1509 points in single-core against 13991 points in multi-core. For comparison, the Ryzen 7 5800H housed in the cabin of our Legion 5 Pro managed to obtain 1409 points in single-core and 12860 points in multi-core. While the Core i7-11800H of the ASUS TUF Gaming F17 (2021) rose to 1513 points in single-core but “only” 12584 in multi-core. We are therefore well placed, AMD’s ZEN 3 architecture is beaten by Tiger Lake-H on both counts.
On 3D Mark Time Spy Extreme, this time we obtained a general performance index of 6039 points, against 6230 points for graphics performance. For comparison, at 150 W “only” and despite its external case, the RTX 3080 of the ASUS XG Mobile station did much less well by collecting 5991 points in GPU score.
The SSD chosen by Alienware for its X17 has finally gone under CrystalDiskMark. It displays transfer speeds of 3433.33 MB / s in reading against 2578.52 MB / s in writing. It is very honourable. This allows us good performance for daily file transfers, but also for in-game loading, or rush transfers for video editing.
Autonomy: a few hours of endurance, but do not ask for more
As we often say, gaming laptops are rarely stars when it comes to battery life. However, in recent months, manufacturers have been making efforts, in particular through iGPU modes that simply allow the graphics card to be cut in favor of the graphics part integrated into the processor. A viable solution to allow more generous autonomy in daily use or light multimedia.
Despite the presence of an 87 Wh battery and the use of the mode dedicated to battery saving on the Command Center utility. Our Alienware X17 does not make a strong impression in the field of autonomy.
Video playing testing alienware x17
Playing video on Amazon Prime, with screen brightness pushed to 100%, headphones plugged in, keyboard backlight off, RGB effects turned off, and power settings set to favor battery life. We don’t ‘ve not managed to exceed 3 hours 30 with the X17. We are far behind the competition. As an example, the ASUS TUF Gaming A17 reaches 7:50 hours under similar usage conditions. The Dell G15 2021 Ryzen Edition managed to reach 7:30 hours in video playback before dropping out.
We wish Alienware had gone the extra mile. That said, the X17 is clearly a sedentary device that isn’t meant to be used on battery power very often. It also comes with a huge 330 W power supply whose dimensions reach almost 20 x 10 x 5 cm. Suffice to say that you will not very often want to take it on a spree. With it, the full recharge of the Alienware X17 is done for the rest in almost 2 hours 30 minutes.
Audio: don’t waste time, plug in headphones
No need to beat around the bush, the speakers of the X17 may be well placed they are simply bad. Powerful enough to be heard (4 W each) even when the ventilation is blowing hard, they suffer from a really poor rendering. The highs are shrill, the mids are disembodied and the lows are completely absent. The whole gives us an audio mixture that we will try as much as possible to spare ourselves… especially since the saturation is violent. At full volume, these two speakers sizzle wickedly. It’s a shame for a top-of-the-range device sold at a high price, but it’s unfortunately usual on laptops.
Nothing negative to report on the other hand in terms of headphone output. Positioned on the right edge of the chassis, near the hinge, the latter delivers a powerful and clean sound.
Price: you will pay dearly alienware x17
In terms of price, Alienware machine tests follow and resemble each other. We feel that the Dell subsidiary does not care a bit about offering a good equipment-price ratio with its various devices. With the possible exception of the recent m15 R5 Ryzen Edition . Overall we are therefore still overpriced, and the Alienware X17 is no exception to the rule.
The machine is placed in front of other better equipped devices for a little less. It remains to be seen whether you really need the 17.3 inches of the Alienware machine…
Most alienware x17
- The dissipation system that works from god’s fire
- Power, everywhere, all the time
- Successful design, excellent level of finishes
- Bright Ultra HD display
The lessers alienware x17
- Prohibitive rate placement
- Mediocre 720p webcam
- An OLED panel would not have been a luxury
- Feverish autonomy