Alienware is eager to give Razer a shot when it comes to making a super-thin gaming laptop. Two of the configurations of Alienware’s new X15 flagship model are actually 15.9mm thick, almost the same as Razer’s newly redesigned 15.8mm-thick Blade 15 Advanced. That’s impressively thin, especially considering that Alienware doesn’t usually try to compete in this realm.
What’s also noteworthy is that, despite its thin build, the X15 looks like it’s going to be a capable machine. Alienware is also announcing a bigger and thicker 17-inch X17 laptop that’s even more powerful. We will discuss both in more detail below.
Let’s start with the X15, which costs $1,999 for the base model, which is available today. Inside that entry-level model is Intel’s 11th-generation Core i7-11800H processor (eight cores and a boost clock speed of up to 4.6GHz), 16GB of RAM clocked at 3,200MHz (but not user-upgradable due to size limitations), 256GB fast NVMe storage (user-upgradable, with two slots supporting M.2 2230 or 2280 SSDs), and Nvidia’s RTX 3060 graphics chip (90W maximum graphics power and a base clock of 1050MHz and boost clock of 1.402MHz). A 15.6-inch FHD display with a 165Hz refresh rate, a 3ms response time, and up to 300 nits of brightness with support for 100 percent sRGB color gamut comes standard.
Alienware doesn’t share pricing for spec boosts, but you can load up the X15 with up to an Intel Core i9-11900H processor, a 2TB NVMe M.2 SSD (with up to 4TB dual storage supported via RAID 0) and 32GB of RAM. memory. To top it off, you can fit an RTX 3080 graphics card (the 8 GB version, with a maximum graphics power of 110 W, a base clock of 930 MHz, and a boost clock of 1,365 MHz). The display is upgradable to a 400-nit QHD G-Sync panel with a 240Hz refresh rate, 2ms response time, and 99 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The X15 has a 87Wh battery and comes with a 240W “small form factor” adapter. At its lowest weight, the X15 comes in at five pounds, but it goes down to 5.2 pounds, depending on specs.
All ports of the X15, apart from a headphone jack and power input, are located on the back. There is a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, one Thunderbolt 4 port, a microSD card slot and an HDMI 2.1 port that allows the X15 to output a 4K signal up to 120Hz.
If you’re all about a 17.3-inch screen, the X17 starts at $2,099 and has similar entry-level specs. It has a thicker chassis than the X15 at 20.9mm, and it’s heavier, starting at 6.65 pounds. But that extra weight apparently makes for more graphics and processing power, if you’re willing to pay for it. For example, the RTX 3060 card has a higher 130W maximum graphics power. This pattern is also seen for more expensive GPU upgrades, especially the RTX 3080 (16GB) which can cruise at 165W maximum graphics power at a boost clock speed of 1,710MHz. In the processor department you can go up to an Intel Core i9-11900HK. In addition, you can specify it with up to 64 GB of XMP RAM clocked at 3,466 MHz.
As for the display, there’s an upgrade option to get a 300-nit FHD G-Sync panel with a 360Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, but you can go all the way to a 500-nit 4K panel. screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and a response time of 4 ms. Like the X15, the X17 has an 87Wh battery, but whether you get a 240W or 330W power supply will depend on the configuration you buy.
The X17 has all the same ports as the X15, along with an additional USB-A port, a Mini DisplayPort connection, and a 2.5G Ethernet port (the X15 includes a USB-C to Ethernet adapter).
In general, thinner laptops struggle with heat management. But Alienware’s Quad Fan claims to move a lot of air, and in X15 and X17 models that have the RTX 3070 or 3080 chips, it touts a new “Element 31 thermal interface material” that apparently boosts its thermal resistance. internals compared to previous Alienware laptops. We’ll have to see how this goes when we try out a rating unit. I’m curious how loud they can get to keep cool.
If you’re an Alienware enthusiast, be aware that the company’s main graphics amplifier port is missing. We have asked Alienware about this and it has provided this statement to: The edge:
Today’s latest flagship desktop graphics cards achieve graphics power beyond what the Alienware Graphics Amplifiers (as well as other external graphics amplifiers) can successfully port back over PCI (and Thunderbolt) connections. For Alienware customers already purchasing advanced graphics configurations, the performance gains from our Alienware Graphics Amplifier would be limited. While improvements would be noticeable, in many cases it would not be enough to justify purchasing an external amplifier and flagship graphics card. So instead we use that extra space to provide additional ports and thermal headroom, providing a better experience for all gamers who buy this product.
To round out this bootload of specs, the X15 and X17 each have a 720p Windows Hello webcam, and configurations with the RTX 3080 have an illuminated trackpad that can be customized within Alienware’s pre-installed software. These laptops come standard with Alienware’s X-Series keyboard with backlighting, n-key rollover, anti-ghosting and 1.5mm key spacing. In the X17, you have the option to upgrade to Alienware’s Cherry MX ultra low-profile mechanical switches, which have a longer key travel of 1.8mm.
Finally, both laptops are available in the “Lunar Light” livery, which is white on the outside and black on the inside.