It’s upgrade season for Dell’s Alienware laptops, with the company’s entire lineup of portable gaming machines — the Area-51m, the m17, and the m15 — getting overhauled with updated specs, including Intel’s new 10th Gen chips and Nvidia’s latest GPUs.
For the top-of-the-line Area-51m (officially, the Alienware Area-51m R2, to distinguish itself from the first-generation Area-51m R1 model), that means Intel’s newly announced desktop-class 10th Gen CPUs.
Same designs, new specs
Specifically, Alienware is offering four processor options on the Area-51m R2. There’s the entry-level Core i7-10700 (eight cores, 2.9GHz base clock speed with up to a 4.8GHz boosted speed) and the unlocked Core i7-10700K, which boosts base clock speed to 3.8GHz and boosted speed up to 5.1GHz. For those who need even more power, there’s the 10-core Core i9-10900 (2.8GHz base speed and 5.2GHz boosted speed) along with the unlocked Core i9-10900K, Intel’s most powerful 10th Gen desktop chip with a 3.7GHz base speed and 5.3GHz maximum boosted speed.
Alienware is also offering new GPUs for the Area-51m R2, with a choice between Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Ti (with 6GB of memory), an RTX 2060 (with 6GB of memory), an RTX 2070 Super (with 8GB of memory), or an RTX 2080 Super (also with 8GB of memory). There’s also the newly added AMD option of the AMD Radeon RX 5700M (with 8GB of memory).
Like the original Area-51 R1, the new GPUs will once again be using Dell’s DGFF (Dell Graphics Form Factor) modules, which, in theory, allows them to be easily removed and upgraded like a desktop PC. Unfortunately, Dell has confirmed to The Verge that the new GPUs being debuted on the Area-51m R2 won’t be compatible with the original R1 model of the laptop. Dell is planning on selling the new R2 GPUs separately in upgrade kits this fall, but they’ll only be able to be used by R2 owners to upgrade their new laptops to a better GPU.
New CPUs! New GPUs! New RAM! New display options!
Alienware has also improved on other aspects of the Area-51m R2. There are even faster RAM options, with 2933MHz DDR4 configurations at up to 64GB (compared to 2400MHz on the old model) or up to 32GB of 3200MHz DDR4 XMP memory. There is also a breathtaking number of different storage options, from NVMe M.2 PCIe SSDs (up to 2TB), combined SSD and hard drive options, and a variety of RAID configurations.
There’s also two new display options for the 17.3-inch display: a new 300Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time FHD option, and a 4K UHD panel that offers 500 nits of brightness and 100 percent Adobe RGB color gamut. Those two options joining the previous two options: the base FHD 144Hz panel, and the FHD 144Hz that adds Nvidia’s G-Sync.
The upgraded Area-51m R2 will be available on June 9th, starting at $3,049.99 for the base model. That’s a considerable price increase on the entry-level Area-51m R1, which started at $1,950.
The upgrades for the m15 R3 and m17 R3 models are more straightforward. Both laptops are getting upgraded to Intel’s 10th Gen H-series laptop chips, with virtually identical configuration options across the board (except for the display size).
Both laptops will offer three choices of CPU: the quad-core i5-10300H, the six-core i7-10750H, and the 8-core i9-10980HK, with 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM. Storage options range from 256GB to 2TB of PCIe M.2 SSD storage, with options for up to 4TB in a RAID0 configuration or 4.5TB in a RAID0 Plus setup.
There are new GPU options as well: Nvidia’s GTX 1650 Ti, 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2070 Super, and RTX 2080 Super. Like the Area-51m R2, there’s also a single AMD option, the Radeon RX 5500M.
Display options are similar for the two laptops, with both offering 144Hz FHD, 144Hz FHD with G-Sync, and 300Hz FHD options in their respective 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch sizes. There’s also a 4K UHD option with Tobii eye-tracking for both laptops: the m15 with a 400-nit OLED panel, while the m17’s is a regular LCD (albeit with a brighter 500-nits of brightness).
The m15 R3 will start at $1,499.99 for the entry-level model, while the m17 R3 will start at $1,549.99. Both laptops will be available starting on May 21st.
Lastly, Dell is also upgrading its G-series lineup of cheaper gaming laptops, the Dell G3 and G5. Both are 15-inch laptops and offer the same two processor options: Intel’s quad-core i5-10300H and six-core i7-10750H.
The cheaper G3 offers GTX 1650, 1650 Ti, 1660 Ti, and RTX 2060 GPU options, with 60Hz or 144Hz display options; the pricier G5 swaps the base GTX 1650 GPU for a more powerful RTX 2070 with Max-Q, and adds a 300Hz display option. And while the G3 can only be configured with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, the G5 supports up to 32GB.
The Dell G3 starts at $779.99, while the G5 starts at $829.99. Both will also be available starting on May 21st.