One of Alienware’s coolest CES 2022 announcements is the 17-inch M17 R5 Ryzen Edition. It looks a lot like the previous iteration, but inside of its chassis, it’s an AMD Advantage machine, kind of like this Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage. What that means in Alienware’s case is it’s a showcase for AMD’s new Ryzen 7 and 9 6000-series processors, the Radeon RX 6850M XT graphics chip, as well as a few features enabled by all of that AMD synergy.
This model supports AMD SmartShift Max, SmartAccess Memory, and SmartAccess Graphics is making its debut on this machine. The simple version of what SmartShift translates to is each of the laptop’s components can work together to deliver a fast experience or at least something greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s tough to extract from jargon how well a laptop should perform while running all of the latest, most demanding apps and games, but the specs seem very promising. At the highest end (prices haven’t been made public for this configuration, unfortunately), the M17 R5 Ryzen Edition can be configured with the octa-core Ryzen 9 6980HX and a Radeon RX 6850M XT graphics chip with 12GB of GDDR6 VRAM that can draw 175W of power with SmartShift Max.
That’s a lot of power for a GPU in a mobile machine, and I’m excited to see how that translates to stutter-free gameplay, especially on the 4K display option that has a 120Hz refresh rate (3ms response time) and support for FreeSync adaptive sync. This model can be configured with 1080p panels with either a 165Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time or a 360Hz refresh rate with a faster 1ms response time.
This model has two DDR5 SO-DIMM slots and can be configured with up to 64GB of dual-channel RAM clocked at 4,800MHz. There are single and dual storage configs available, topping out at 4TB of maximum storage for both.
If you prefer Nvidia graphics, Alienware is offering multiple options, starting with the RTX 3050 Ti and going up to the RTX 3080 Ti. Prices start at $1,599, but the top-of-the-line model almost certainly costs several hundred dollars more than that. And in terms of ports, every configuration above the base 3050 Ti model includes a 2.5Gbps ethernet port, a headphone jack, three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a power plug, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a USB-C 4 Gen 2 port.
Unlike the Alienware X-series laptops, this M17 model is aimed at gamers who want a desktop replacement-grade machine, complete with a big display. Alienware says that this machine, along with all of its new X-series and M-series laptops for 2022, features Dolby Vision HDR. However, this model won’t be one that you’ll likely want to lug around very much, as it weighs 6.82 pounds. Look out for this model to release sometime in the spring of 2022.