As with pretty much every other current gaming laptop line, Alienware's mid-range, slim m15 and m17 are getting updates to Nvidia's mobile Ampere RTX 30-series mobile graphics. They may soon make a play for a spot on our best gaming laptops page. And while the chassis that we know (and mostly liked) in the previous generation R3 isn't getting a design overhaul, the larger m17 will now have new display options.
The 17-inch m17 will gain a 360 Hz panel option, as well as a 4K display for those who prefer more pixels to super-fast refresh. DDR4 memory speed is also getting a bump up, to 2933 MHz (from 2666) on both the m15 and m17.
Alienware hasn't yet announced which specific RTX 30-series GPUs these laptops will offer yet, but given previous models even of the smaller m15 could be outfitted with the RTX 2080 Max-Q, it's a fair bet that we'll see options for up to a mobile RTX 3080 in the refreshed m15 and m17. The real question, given how scarce stock of desktop 30-series cards have been, is how long these Ampere-packing portables (both from Alienware and its competitors) will stay in stock. But of course only time will tell on that front.
Other aspects of these laptops' internals are basically the same as the R3 models for now. Both can be equipped with either an Intel 10th Gen Core i9-10980HK or an i7-10870H, up to 4TB of PCIe SSD storage, 8-32GB of RAM, and Windows 10 Home or Pro.
We'll also have to wait and see how these refreshed laptops will handle heat from new Nvidia graphics as well as the high-fresh displays, because our chief complaint about the m15 R3 when we tested it was that it ran kind of hot. At the very least, the new graphics should be much better equipped to push pixels to the 360 Hz optional display.
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After a rough start with the Mattel Aquarius as a child, Matt built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last 15 years covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper, PCMag and Digital Trends.