Not content with settling for meeting the industry’s best refresh rates in a laptop at an already high 360Hz, Alienware is going for broke with 480Hz screens (3ms, 300-nit, 100 percent sRGB color gamut) in the M17 R5 and X17 R2. While each model can be configured with up to 4K displays, this new 480Hz model is a 1080p screen edging closer to perfection in terms of delivering smoother animations. And, perhaps more important for Dell’s target audience for these machines, it’ll help to further nix stuttering gameplay. The 480Hz option is but another screen configuration for the already launched Alienware X17 R2 and M17 R5 (costing $300 to upgrade over the base 165Hz panel).
This news coincides with the launch of the AMD Advantage version of the M17 R5 that Alienware debuted at CES 2022 but is finally coming to market. What that means is it can be configured with AMD’s fastest Ryzen 7 and 9 processors and its fastest Radeon RX 6-series laptop GPUs. In addition, AMD is putting a lot of hype behind the perks that those components can supposedly offer, including the ability to shift power and memory around to other components as needed to give them a boost. If you’d prefer an Intel / Nvidia system, the M17 R5 can be configured to your liking, and the 480Hz panel supports either AMD FreeSync or G-Sync adaptive sync tech.
It’s possible that the 480Hz refresh rate may be a bigger deal on paper than in reality, at least for most people. Competitive gamers who want a display that leaves fewer frames on the table will see the biggest benefit. But keep in mind that in order to actually take advantage of its 480Hz refresh rate, you’ll need to ensure that the M17 R5 or X17 R2 you buy has a good enough GPU to push frame rates that high. And, to that end, there aren’t many games that will likely be able to take full advantage of this ludicrous speed. It’s possible that, realistically, the list could include old games and competitive shooters, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but likely not the latest games.
Still, I’ll never get mad at companies for raising the bar. After we saw this prototype 500Hz gaming monitor break cover in early 2022, I didn’t think that laptop manufacturers would be quick to bring a laptop that fast to market. But here we are. And I wouldn’t expect Alienware’s laptops to be the only models that these displays find themselves built into this year.