Alienware’s M15 R5 is its first AMD-based gaming laptop in over a decade
Alienware has announced the latest revision to its flagship gaming laptop lineup, the 15-inch Alienware M15 R5. It’ll start shipping on April 20th in the US, costing $2,229.99 to start. The company is going big with its messaging that it’ll host AMD’s fast Ryzen 5000 H-series processors (up to the octa-core Ryzen 9 5900HX) and up to Nvidia’s RTX 3070 graphics chip. Dell says this is the first Alienware laptop since 2007 to feature an AMD processor.
In case you haven’t noticed, AMD’s processors have been on a tear in the past year, delivering great performance without compromising on efficiency when you aren’t gaming. This is just the latest company to join along the likes of Asus, Lenovo, and even Dell with its G5 15 SE, to name a few. AMD-touting laptops are already among some of the best gaming laptops you can buy. Yet Alienware is possibly the most well-known gaming brand to go AMD yet.
The base configuration of the M15 R5 has the octa-core Ryzen 7 5800H processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3060. You can upgrade to the Ryzen 9 5900HX octa-core processor and the RTX 3070. Both the RTX 3060 and 3070 have a total graphics power level of 115W with 10W of extra boost available for up to 125W of maximum graphics power. Interestingly, the 3060 has a higher base and boost clock (base: 1,387MHz, boost: 1,702MHz) than the 3070 option does (base: 1,110MHz, boost: 1,560MHz).
Either way, these are some of the highest clock speeds we’ve seen yet in a reasonably thin 2021 gaming laptop. Alienware is pushing the boost clocks nearly all the way to the ceiling, and it’s great that it’s transparent about these power specs, since Nvidia now requires that manufacturers share it.
Speaking of dimensions, the R5 is thicker and heavier than the previous R4 generation. The base configuration weighs 5.34 pounds (up to 5.93 pounds, depending on the components inside). The R4’s base configuration weighed 4.65 pounds, for comparison. The R5 is 19.25mm thick at its front (up to 22.85mm thick near the hinge), 272.5mm deep, and 356mm wide. Each configuration will ship with an 86Wh battery, like what shipped in the M15 R4 and R3.
Screen-wise, the R5 can be configured with a range of high-refresh-rate displays. The base FHD screen has a 3ms response time screen with a 165Hz refresh rate, and your options for upgrading are either a dimmer 300-nit 1080p panel with a faster 360Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and only 100 percent sRGB color coverage, or a brighter 400-nit QHD screen that has a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut, plus G-Sync, which should deliver the smoothest experience even if your framerate dips.
If you want to output to a separate display, the laptop’s HDMI 2.1 port means it can display up to 120 frames per second at 4K resolution if your monitor (or TV) supports it. This laptop also features an 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, and a headphone jack. There’s no Thunderbolt port, but that Intel technology might find its way into an Intel-based version later on.
Dell says this is the first Alienware laptop to feature fast 3,200MHz DDR4 RAM, and it’s also user-configurable with two SO-DIMM slots. This is a move in the right direction, as the M15 R3 and R4 both had their RAM soldered onto the board, making it impossible to upgrade after you bought it. There are two M.2 slots inside so you can upgrade storage post-purchase, too.
The company says the laptop’s paint has been engineered for “increased stain-resistance and premium surface feel.” This model can be configured to feature Cherry’s Ultra-Low Profile mechanical switches. Dell announced this keyboard collaboration for the M15 R4, and it’ll be available as a $150 add-on for this new model, too.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly gaming laptop with a new Ryzen 5000 H-series processor, check out Dell’s $899 G15 that was also just announced.