Late last year, Alienware introduced its smallest gaming notebook yet - the Alienware 13. This new model succeeds the previous Alienware 14 and comes with updated processors and GPU. Now, Alienware is following up with all-new 15- and 17-inch models that are thinner and lighter than ever before.
The new 15-inch model comes in at around 34mm thick and weighs 3.2kg, whereas the 17-inch model is only very slightly bulkier at 34.4mm thick and tips the scale at just over 3.7kg. Weight reduction was achieved thanks to a new chassis design and also new materials, which includes extensive use of aluminium and "carbon fiber-filled materials".
The two models are highly customisable and will be powered by the latest Intel's processors, and NVIDIA and AMD graphics.
However, since the more powerful quad-core "Broadwell" processors will only arrive later this year, the new Alienware 15 and 17 are still powered by Haswell-based processors.
Both models will come with a choice of two processors. The Alienware 15 is powered by the dual-core Intel Core i5-4210H (2.9GHz, 3MB cache) and can be spec'ed with the optional and more powerful quad-core Core i7-4710HQ (2.5GHz, 6MB cache). The Alienware 17, on the other hand, comes with the Core i7-4710HQ (2.5GHz, 6MB cache) by default and can be spec'ed with the high-end quad-core Core i7-4980HQ (2.8GHz, 6MB cache).
8GB of RAM will come as standard, but users have option to equip their notebooks with up to 16GB of RAM.
Users can also choose what GPU they want. The Alienware 15 will come with NVIDIA's latest GeForce GTX 965M as standard, but it can be also equipped with either the GeForce GTX 970M or 980M. There is also an AMD option in the form of the Radeon HD R9 M295X.
The Alienware 17, however, will come with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 970M as standard and users can upgrade to the flagship GeForce GTX 980M. Strangely, there's no SLI option for either models.
The notebooks will also have lots of storage options. Again, by default the Alienware 15 will come with a 1TB 5400rpm HDD, but users can also choose to speed up their machines with an optional M.2 SSD or two - the Alienware 15 has two M.2 slots. Like its smaller sibling, the Alienware 17 will also come with a 1TB 5400rpm HDD as standard, but users can also opt for an additional M.2 SSD to speed things up. If you are feeling flush, the Alienware 17 can accommodate up to four M.2 drives.
Displays can also be customised. By default, both models will come with Full-HD displays - IPS for the Alienware 15, but TN for the Alienware 17.
The Alienware 15 can be spec'ed with a 4K IPS touchscreen display. The Alienware 17 can be spec'ed with be a touchscreen display, but display resolution will remain at Full-HD.
Connectivity options and ports are identical for both models. Both will feature Killer Network Gigabit Ethernet and Killer Wireless-AC 1525, three USB 3.0 ports plus an additional USB 3.0 port with PowerShare technology, Mini-DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4 port, 9-in-1 card reader, and audio out and line-in audio jacks.
To provide a clearer picture, here is a table showing the key specifications of both models with their standard specifications:
Finally, both models are also compatible with Alienware's Graphics Amplifier. The Graphics Amplifier is a large docking unit that the notebooks can connect to to boost graphics performance. The Graphics Amplifier is able to do so because inside it sits a proper desktop-class graphics card. In fact, the Graphics Amplifier offers up to 375W of power and therefore can support just about any full-length dual-slot card in the market today. The Graphics Amplifier also comes with a built-in powered 4-port USB 3.0 hub.
The Alienware 15 and Alienware 17 are both available now. Prices for the Alienware 15 start from $2499, prices for the Alienware 17 start from S$2699.
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