Alienware 15 (GTX 1070) Gaming Laptop Review

Synthetic Benchmarks

The Alienware 15 has a fairly standard configuration for a 15" laptop. It features a 7th generation Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GPU, 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory, a 256GB M.2 SSD, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD for additional storage. Our configuration includes a 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) TN display with a 120Hz refresh rate. To top it off, it has G-Sync technology to smooth out the frame rate by syncing the display's refresh rate with that of the GTX 1070's FPS output.

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Our Alienware isn't the first Kaby Lake-based laptop with a GTX 1070 to land in our lab; that distinction belongs to the Asus Strix GL502VS-DS71, and thus it will be the Alienware's primary competition. That gaming laptop also features an i7-7700HQ, a GTX 1070, and 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory. Its storage is handled by a 128GB M.2 SSD for its Windows installation and a 1TB 5400RPM HDD for additional storage. It also has a 15.6" FHD display with G-Sync, but its display is of the IPS variety with a 60Hz refresh rate. The Asus and Alienware are pretty similar component-wise, so we expect them to differ primarily in battery, thermal, and display performance.

On the high-end, we're comparing the Alienware to the EVGA SC17, which consists of a previous-generation i7-6820HK, a GTX 1070, 32GB of DDR4-2667 memory, a 256GB M.2 SSD for its Windows installation, and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD for additional storage. It has a wider 17.3-inch UHD (3840x2160) IPS display, so display comparisons between it and the Alienware will be compelling, especially because both hover around the same price.

Finally, we're including a GTX 1060-based laptop: the Sager NP8156. Like the Alienware, the Sager has an i7-7700HQ, 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory, and a 256GB M.2 SSD, although it has no HDD for additional storage capacity. It will be a much more value-oriented system, but its results will illustrate how much of a performance gap the GTX 1070 introduces in gaming.

3DMark

3DMark benchmarks provide an approximation of a system's gaming prowess. The Alienware 15 produces similar results to the Asus GL502VS-DS71, narrowly beating it in all benchmarks. The performance differential is slim, however, so you can expect the two to perform similarly in a real-world gaming scenarios, which we'll explore on the next page. The Alienware laptop also performs similarly to the EVGA SC17.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench benchmarks are primarily CPU-focused, single core and multi-core tests. On the other hand, its OpenGL shading test measures GPU performance. All of the Kaby Lake-based laptops perform well, outperforming the EVGA SC17 and its i7-6820HK in multi-core performance. The Alienware 15 sits on the winner's throne with a slightly higher multi-core and OpenGL score than the competition, but the gap isn't substantial. The Sager NP8156 earns a slightly lower OpenGL score due to its GTX 1060.

CompuBench

On the other hand, CompuBench performance is heavily influenced by GPU strength, especially its Bitcoin Mining test. As such, there's no absolute winner between the GTX 1070 based laptops. Compared to the Alienware unit, the GTX 1060-based Sager performs 14% slower in Video Processing and 27% lower in Bitcoin Mining.

IOMeter

We perform an IOmeter test on each laptop’s primary drive to measure random and sequential speeds. The Alienware 15 has the largest SSD out of the bunch, sporting a 512GB Samsung PM961 NVMe SSD. Meanwhile, the Asus Strix features a 128GB SK Hynix SC300 SSD, the EVGA SC17 has a 256GB Toshiba XG3 SSD, and the Sager NP8156 wields a 256GB Sandisk X400 SSD.

The Alienware's PM961 boasts impressive speeds. The blazing fast random speeds will allow the Alienware to handle mundane application-based tasks handily. The PM961's sequential read speeds are top-notch, so you should be able to access larger files, such as media content, with ease, but the EVGA's XG3 is able to write such files a bit quicker.

PCMark 8

PCMark 8 has options that allow users to benchmark their systems using the Adobe Creative and Microsoft Office suites, given you have all of the necessary applications installed. These tests provide a much more realistic depiction of how well a system would perform during home, office, and creative workloads. The Alienware 15 produces an excellent Creative score, whereas its Office score looks lackluster in comparison. Although the Creative and Office scores appear to be significantly higher and lower than the competition, respectively, you're unlikely to perceive any difference between the four during real-world use.

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  • cknobman
    Alienware the pinnacle of overpriced 15 year old styled laptops.

    For such a huge laptop you get such a tiny screen with large bezels.
    Its thick, heavy, and expensive.

    The market has moved so far beyond this, Alienware really needs to get some new designers.
  • computerguy72
    I have the previous version of this laptop - one thing to mention is the plastic case is pretty brittle in places. Even with a thick neoprene case I have cracks and the speaker area in the front cracked off. Just worth mentioning. It is indeed quite heavy for the features as well.
  • MrRockliffe
    Strange - here in the UK, the alienware is the cheapest option for a GTX 1070 laptop by a long way (1600 GBP)!
  • Nicolas_40
    This laptop is garbage, there are more flaws than pro's of having it; such as: corners will crack, bulky and very heavy, huge outdated bezels, NO 4k screen, lights all over that give the impression of a 5 year old using this and last of the least the Achilles blow, the power cord placement and design, it simply is horrendous and given time will start falling of it's slot. Shwitware go to bed, you're drunk. Never again!
  • chill1221
    Would love to see a review of the Eluktronics gaming laptops done!
  • Randall_Lind
    Take that $2k+ and build a awesome desktop it will be better. I love my Dell N5110 but it is a pain in the butt to repair.
  • TMTOWTSAC
    Almost 2 inches of space on both sides of a cramped keyboard with no number pad?
  • g-unit1111
    At what point does a laptop get too big to become a laptop? That thing is so ridiculously huge that there's no way I would possibly consider it. Weight was one of the biggest factors for me in choosing my current laptop, which is why I went with MSI.
  • 10tacle
    I will never again buy a "gaming" laptop. The last one I bought was a Dell E1705 decked out with max specs (CPU, GPU, 17" 1920x1200, etc.) and ran $2,800. That was in 2006, and in today's dollars that's about $3,200. It lasted about two years as a desktop replacement gamer until the newer games started coming out in DX10 taking a big hit on it. By DX11, it was useless without seriously cranking down quality. Never again.

    After that, I switched to a PS3 and PS4 for my portable gaming needs and never looked back. Most of my portable needs are either work travel or family travel. Hotels have had 1080p HDTVs for years now. In 2006, most were still using tube 480p TVs.

    In any event, what is up with the horrid minimum frame rates in so many games? I've never seen dips that low before.
  • emike09
    OMG the bezels on that thing are huge! And the system so plasticity. Reminds me of a fisher price toy my nephew just got.
    Besides the decade old styling, this laptop is priced too high to be competitive with other systems that look better, have the same hardware, and a much lower price point. I'll pass on this one.
  • g-unit1111
    202972 said:
    I will never again buy a "gaming" laptop. The last one I bought was a Dell E1705 decked out with max specs (CPU, GPU, 17" 1920x1200, etc.) and ran $2,800. That was in 2006, and in today's dollars that's about $3,200. It lasted about two years as a desktop replacement gamer until the newer games started coming out in DX10 taking a big hit on it. By DX11, it was useless without seriously cranking down quality. Never again. After that, I switched to a PS3 and PS4 for my portable gaming needs and never looked back. Most of my portable needs are either work travel or family travel. Hotels have had 1080p HDTVs for years now. In 2006, most were still using tube 480p TVs. In any event, what is up with the horrid minimum frame rates in so many games? I've never seen dips that low before.


    Gaming laptops are generally hose jobs. I just bought a new laptop and I think this is the second most I've ever paid for a laptop as this one was $1500. I usually don't play games on my laptop apart from maybe a couple of rounds of Civilization or something non taxing. I have my desktop for games and anything that requires serious horsepower.
  • Sam Hain
    The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DS71 15.6" w/1080p 120Hz G-Sync IPS screen (better color/contrast), comes in at just over 4 lbs., better sound, better performance and can be configured (RAM, Storage, GPU, etc.) the same as this Alienware for the same or less price.

    1440p would be great to see on these "gaming" laptops and there are some out there, through boutique build sites. Somebody mentioned 4K... I guess if you were doing photo/video edits/work on a mobile workstation that would make sense, but not on a gaming laptop, not enough single GPU-horsepower to push the pixels.

    Those SLI laptops w/4K displays (and are only 60Hz mind you) are monstrosities and make this Alienware look and feel like a cell phone in comparison and M-GPU support is deep-six anyhoo for many existing and forthcoming DX12 titles.
  • rizzo183
    Whether you want your laptop to look better or not is a personal choice. I'd rather pay an extra $100 for a better looking machine.

    It's heavy because it's meant to be. I'm pretty sure Alienware isn't packing it with rocks. With the build quality you get, the weight should be negligible. Of course, if you want something lighter, Alienwares aren't for you. If you can't drive a truck, buy a sedan.

    The 120hz TN panel is just an OPTION. Nobody ever mentions that. You can always go for the FHD or UHD 4k IPS panel, if you don't mind the 60hz refresh rate.

    And for God's sake, the lights can be TURNED OFF.

    I hate the bezels as well.
  • g-unit1111
    1306537 said:
    The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DS71 15.6" w/1080p 120Hz G-Sync IPS screen (better color/contrast), comes in at just over 4 lbs., better sound, better performance and can be configured (RAM, Storage, GPU, etc.) the same as this Alienware for the same or less price. 1440p would be great to see on these "gaming" laptops and there are some out there, through boutique build sites. Somebody mentioned 4K... I guess if you were doing photo/video edits/work on a mobile workstation that would make sense, but not on a gaming laptop, not enough single GPU-horsepower to push the pixels. Those SLI laptops w/4K displays (and are only 60Hz mind you) are monstrosities and make this Alienware look and feel like a cell phone in comparison and M-GPU support is deep-six anyhoo for many existing and forthcoming DX12 titles.


    The thing that drives me away from Asus laptops is that they have those ugly bright red WASD keys. Yeah I get that these laptops are meant to be used for gaming, but at least make them look presentable so you can use them in other environments. I really wanted to get an Asus ROG laptop because I heard good things about them, but I couldn't get past the bright red WASD keys.
  • Kunra Zether
    I think it looks ver nice on the outside but just terrible and out dated on the inside. My favorite laptops this gem so far is gigabytes, I love there look and they really standout from the competition but really wouldn't it be best to just build a 1070 PC and buy a 1050ti laptop it would be around the same price or little less and you get the best of both worlds.
  • Sam Hain
    537231 said:
    1306537 said:
    The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DS71 15.6" w/1080p 120Hz G-Sync IPS screen (better color/contrast), comes in at just over 4 lbs., better sound, better performance and can be configured (RAM, Storage, GPU, etc.) the same as this Alienware for the same or less price. 1440p would be great to see on these "gaming" laptops and there are some out there, through boutique build sites. Somebody mentioned 4K... I guess if you were doing photo/video edits/work on a mobile workstation that would make sense, but not on a gaming laptop, not enough single GPU-horsepower to push the pixels. Those SLI laptops w/4K displays (and are only 60Hz mind you) are monstrosities and make this Alienware look and feel like a cell phone in comparison and M-GPU support is deep-six anyhoo for many existing and forthcoming DX12 titles.
    The thing that drives me away from Asus laptops is that they have those ugly bright red WASD keys. Yeah I get that these laptops are meant to be used for gaming, but at least make them look presentable so you can use them in other environments. I really wanted to get an Asus ROG laptop because I heard good things about them, but I couldn't get past the bright red WASD keys.


    I know which ones you are on about and yes, those are gawdy to say the least... This is the version I am referring to: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834234458&cm_re=asus_gaming_laptop-_-34-234-458-_-Product

    The WASD buttons are a little less prominent (lit only), than on the GL702 and other models where they are actually brightly colored red and not sure about backlighting as well; that would be unbearable!
  • g-unit1111
    1306537 said:
    I know which ones you are on about and yes, those are gawdy to say the least... This is the version I am referring to: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834234458&cm_re=asus_gaming_laptop-_-34-234-458-_-Product The WASD buttons are a little less prominent (lit only), than on the GL702 and other models where they are actually brightly colored red and not sure about backlighting as well; that would be unbearable!


    That one is definitely slightly less obnoxious than some of the ones Asus has. But they can't advertise that as being a full backlit keyboard when only the WASD keys are backlit. You can have a laptop aimed at the gaming market without it being completely obnoxious. That's why I went with the MSI. Although I am really interested to see what Asus' Ryzen laptop brings to the table.