Intel’s seventh-generation Core processor, codenamed Kaby Lake, made its laptop debut four months ago, but we’ve had to wait until now to see its most powerful, quad-core variants. Today, Dell updates the spec for the Alienware 13, 15, and 17 with the best chips Intel has to offer.
Available from Thursday, January 5th, you’ll be able to purchase the 13-inch Alienware with either a Core i5-7300HQ or a Core i7-7700HQ. Both are quad-core chips with 6MB of onboard cache, with the lower-numbered one achieving a 3.5GHz Turbo Boost speed and the higher spec peaking at 3.8GHz. Memory options top out at 32GB of RAM, and the best graphics card you can cram into the Alienware 13 is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of its own RAM.
The Alienware 15 adds a third CPU option in the form of the Intel i7-7820HK, which is also quad-core, but has 8MB of cache and a max Turbo Boost clock of 4.4GHz. In a laptop. The 15 also differs in offering an AMD graphics option — the Radeon RX 470 with 8GB of GDDR5 — along with a higher Nvidia spec in the 8GB GeForce GTX 1070.
As you might expect, the beastliest of specs is reserved for the Alienware 17, which accommodates a full GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB of GDDR5X memory. It also offers the top two CPU options of the Alienware 15 and matches its smaller brethren in having a maximum of 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The two senior models have a couple of other advantages on the Alienware 13, offering 4K displays (3840 x 2160 compared to 2560 x 1440 on the 13) and a higher ceiling on storage (with 3TB versus 2TB). Still, the Alienware 13 has an OLED display option that its bigger siblings lack.
Other than the new Kaby Lake chips, Alienware’s laptops are broadly unchanged. Speaking to The Verge ahead of CES, Alienware chief Frank Azor downplayed expectations from the present upgrade. Yes, Kaby Lake has tangible advantages in terms of efficiency and improving Intel’s built-in graphics, but for gaming machines with discrete graphics such as those in Alienware’s range, the difference between Kaby Lake and Skylake won’t be all that noticeable. Still, it’s nice to have every "latest and greatest" box checked when buying an expensive new machine.
Pricing looks to have become a little more affordable, as the Alienware 13 now starts at a lower $999, and the Alienware 15 and 17 also slot down to $1,199 and $1,349, respectively. Though you’ll still need to spend substantially more to get the fully maxed-out version of each laptop, of course.