It’s been greater than a decade since Alienware final put an AMD CPU in any of its laptops, however all that’s altering with the m15 R5. Not solely does the m15 R5 help a variety of AMD’s newest Ryzen processors, it additionally sports activities a revamped design, a bunch of latest show choices, higher cooling, and even a mechanical keyboard when you care to pay further. And whereas there’s a small a part of me that needs Alienware had totally embraced AMD silicon for each its CPU and GPU, the m15 R5 delivers wonderful efficiency in a smooth, up to date bundle.
An Unapologetically Alienware Design
For the m15 R5, Alienware stored the identical primary design as its predecessors, however made just a few tweaks that end in a novel design language. For higher or worse, this received’t get mistaken for another laptop computer model in the marketplace.
With RGB lighting constructed into the emblem on the lid, its energy button, keyboard, and a strip that runs across the rear of the system, there’s definitely no scarcity of neon, although sadly, the lighting within the keyboard is restricted to some zones as a substitute of being full per-key RGB. And whereas Alienware depends on a membrane keyboard for its base config, you continue to get a pleasant bouncy really feel that works for each typing and gaming. Because of the m15 R5’s upward firing audio system (which sound fairly good), the m15’s touchpad does really feel a bit smaller and extra cramped than you may anticipate.
Alongside the edges, Alienware rearranged its connectivity, shifting every thing however Ethernet, audio, and two USB-A ports to the again. Alienware says this was finished to assist streamline the system, and general, I believe the corporate largely succeeded. That mentioned, I want Alienware hadn’t axed the built-in microSD card slot obtainable on earlier fashions, and I believe swapping the position of the rear USB-C port with the side-mounted Ethernet jack would make extra sense based mostly on how usually these ports are sometimes used.
On the within, Alienware has redesigned the m15 R5’s cooling with a big vapor chamber and extra highly effective followers, so regardless that the m15 R5 can get a bit steamy beneath full load (however truthfully, what gaming laptop computer doesn’t), in additional regular use, fan noise is much less distracting than on a lot of its rival.
Weighing in at round 5.5 kilos and measuring 14.02 x 10.73 x 0.9 inches at its thickest, the m15 R5 isn’t an particularly small or giant laptop computer for its measurement (it’s only a contact thicker than Asus’ ROG Strix G 15 Benefit). Because of its darker colour scheme, when you can bear disabling your RGB lights for a time, you may even name it stealthy.
Quick, Sooner, and Quickest Shows
Sporting a matte coating throughout its 15.6-inch non-touch show, the m15 R5’s display is clearly designed for gaming. Our $1,650 evaluation unit got here with the system’s base 165Hz 1920 x 1080 full HD display, which provides good brightness that tops out at 354 nits and a comparatively large although not overly saturated colour gamut.
To me, that base 165Hz display is a stable alternative for basic gaming as a result of it’s a very good match for the efficiency from our evaluation unit’s Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU. However for these trying to hit actually excessive body charges in additional aggressive video games like CS:GO, Alienware additionally provides a higher-res 2560 x 1440 show with a 240Hz refresh price and G-Sync help, or a fair quicker 360Hz show with G-Sync, which matches one of the best panels on different gaming notebooks relating to the quickest refresh charges you may get on a laptop computer.
A Good Time to Embrace AMD
Regardless that Alienware doesn’t embrace choices for an AMD-based GPU, together with help for an AMD CPU for the primary time in additional than a decade is a refreshing change—and a well-timed one at that. AMD’s newest batch of Ryzen 5000-series cell CPUs have actually began difficult Intel’s chip for gaming superiority, and we will see a variety of these advantages already, particularly relating to basic productiveness.
In Blender, the m15 R5 posted quicker CPU and GPU render instances than each the MSI GP66 Leopard and the Razer Blade 15 Superior, regardless of each having much more costly Intel/Nvidia setups. The m15 R5 took simply Three minutes and 27 seconds to finish the CPU render take a look at and 5:58 for the GPU take a look at, in comparison with 3:55 and 6:39 for the GP66, and 5:59 and eight:14 for the Razer Blade 15, respectively. And even if the GP66 boasts an as-configured price ticket $250 greater than the m15 R5, the Alienware nonetheless managed to eke out a barely quicker time in our video conversion take a look at, taking 7:17 to encode a 4K film to 1080p versus 7:19 for the GP66.
On the subject of gaming, the mix of a Ryzen 5800H CPU and Nvidia 3060 GPU held its personal, with the m15 R5 pumping out a mean of 95 fps in Far Cry 5 at full HD and extremely settings, in comparison with 120 and 109 fps for the GP66 and the Razer Blade 15. That’s fairly good contemplating each methods value much more than our m15 and each embrace RTX 3070 graphics playing cards. It’s the same story in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the place the m15 R5 posted a mean fps of 93 fps at 1080p and highest settings, versus 112 for the Blade 15 and 118 for the GP66.
The one small wrinkle is that when in comparison with Asus’ ROG Strix G15 Benefit, which options each an AMD CPU and GPU for the same worth, the G15 routinely edged out the m15 R5 in each take a look at, which actually does exhibit the perks of AMD’s new AMD Advantage platform. In Far Cry 5, the G15 Benefit posted a mean fps of 98 (versus 95 for the m15 R5), a mean fps of 109 in Shadow of the Tomb Raider (versus 93 for the m15), and a very robust common fps of 80 in Metro Exodus on Extremely (versus simply 50 fps for the m15).
Now technically, the m15 R5 was introduced virtually two months earlier than AMD even took the wraps off its new 6000-series cell GPUs, so it’s laborious to harp on Alienware an excessive amount of sticking with an Nvidia GPU. However nonetheless, this actually underlines the necessity for all the main gaming laptop computer makers to embrace elements from all the massive chip makers. Seeing AMD CPUs once more is definitely an encouraging begin, however I’m actually hoping Alienware will broaden that help to GPUs quickly too.
Respectable Battery Life for a Gaming Laptop computer
One nice shock with the m15 R5 is that it provides fairly respectable battery life, even for a gaming pocket book. On our video rundown take a look at, the m15 R5 lasted a decent 7 hours and 27 minutes, which is lower than what I bought from the G15 Benefit (8:22), however higher than each the Razer Blade 15 (7:10) and the GP66 (4:35).
A Powerful Selection
For those who’re simply methods with Nvidia GPUs, the Alienware m15 R5 provides a compelling worth, coming in at lots of lower than extra highly effective methods with RTX 3070 playing cards whereas providing 90% to 95% of the efficiency. Nonetheless, when you’re actually on the lookout for one of the best bang in your buck, the G15 Benefit reigns supreme, costing about the identical because the m15 R5 whereas pumping out even higher fps in video games and quicker instances in productiveness benchmarks.
The difficulty is that there aren’t a ton of different AMD Benefit laptops in the marketplace simply but, and going with the G15 Benefit means you’ll additionally must accommodate a few of its quirks, like the shortage of webcam and much more aggressive styling.
The M15 R5 stays a horny alternative, however the actual good cash suggests you may need to wait till later this summer season when much more AMD Benefit laptops turn out to be obtainable. The m15 R5’s beginning worth of $1,300 is tempting, however that base mannequin’s RTX 3050 Ti GPU in all probability isn’t what you need. For those who’re already offered on Alienware’s styling and aesthetics, it’s additionally price contemplating the new X15, which crams a variety of Alienware’s finest bits and up to date elements into a fair thinner design.
You may’t actually go flawed with the m15 R5, however with a lot competitors on this house, its help of solely AMD CPUs right now leads to a system that isn’t fairly as attractive because it might be. However with Intel and Nvidia having had such a lock on gaming laptop computer components over the previous couple of years, it’s good to see Alienware hearth up help for AMD once more, even when it’s solely AMD CPUs for now.