Inside Look at the Alienware m17 R5
Before we dive in deeper, here’s a look at the specs for the system we’re reviewing:
AMD Ryzen™ 9 6900HX (8-Core)
AMD Radeon™ RX 6850M XT 12GB GDDR6
32GB Dual-Channel DDR5 4800MHz
2TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
17.3” 4K (3840 x 2160) 120Hz
Mediatek Wi-Fi 6
CherryMX Mechanical keyboard
We’re taking a look at the latest addition to the M series family, the Alienware m17 R5. The m17 R5 is the most powerful 17-inch AMD Advantage laptop to date and is perfect for gamers that prioritize performance.
Photo: The Alienware m17 R5
The m17 R5 has improved performance and cooling capabilities through new AMD Smart Technologies, alongside enhanced audio and multiple ways for users to customize their m17 R5 to fit their needs.
Curious to learn the specifics? Take a deep dive into the latest M series and discover endless performance!
Learn more about the physical components that go into making the m17 R5 a top performer.
The m17 R5 is designed to be a recognizable part of the Alienware family, embodying the Legend 2.0 design in our iconic Dark Side of the Moon coloration.
Along the perimeter and inside the laptop, all surfaces are part of what we call the Dark Core; the Dark Core removes distractions and helps you focus by keeping vents and cables out of the way. Like the previous generation, the m15 R7 will include a 240W power adapter but will also offer an optional small form factor power adapter that is 25% lighter and 46% smaller by volume.
The body connectivity options:
● 1 RJ-45 Ethernet port
● 1 Global Headset jack
Photo: Alienware m17 R5 lefthand side connection options
● 1 Super Speed USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports
● 1 Super Speed USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports w/ Powershare technology
Photo: Alienware m17 R5 righthand side connection options
● 1 Type- C USB3.2 Port with Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.4
● 1 SuperSpeed USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port
● 1 HDMI 2.1 Output
● Power DC- In
Photo: Alienware m17 R5 backside connection options
For gamers that want a boost to their storage, you can spec out the m17 R5 with up to 64GB of DDR5 memory. The m17 R5 uses standard SODIMM (Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Module) slots, meaning you can start with less and upgrade later if you want to. When it comes to storage, we’ve included two m.2 slots for SSDs, capable of handling up to 4TB of high-speed solid-state storage.
In regards to performance, we’ve worked to up the ante for our new generation. With this new generation of the m17, we raised the Maximum Graphics Power to 175W thanks to AMD SmartShift Max technology. Previously, the m17 R4 with a 3080 Ti maxed out at 165W, but we’ve increased that to 175W on the m17 R5 when equipped with an AMD Radeon RX 6850M
XT. The new m17 R5 graphics and processors support a TDP of 185W total, making the m17 R5 laptop the world’s most powerful 17-inch AMD Advantage laptop.
The m17 R5’s performance wouldn’t be possible without its newly optimized Cryo-Tech Cooling technology that prioritizes efficiency.
Photo: Alienware m17 R5 Cryo-Tech Cooling performance graphic.
Our new configuration sports our dual-fan design for optimal cooling and four copper-composite heat pipes for heat transfer; combined with the AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT, the m17 R5 delivers exceptional performance. The dual-fan design pulls cool air from the top and bottom vents, exhausting the heat through the left, right, and rear vents for optimal cooling while the copper-composite heat pipes move heat from critical components such as the GPU and CPU.
When equipped with the AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT:
- The Alienware Cryo-tech™ thermal module updates in the m17 R5 delivers an incredible vapor chamber with 3.5x the volume of its predecessor and a 6% increase in total airflow while only increasing the copper weight of the thermal module by 1.3%
- The Alienware m17 R5’s CPU fan has evolved to be smaller and more efficient. This can be seen with its 5% decrease in volume, while increasing fan blade count by 26%, increasing fan blade diameter by 2%, and now using fan blades that are 17% thinner.
- The Alienware m17 R5’s GPU fan has evolved to be smaller and more efficient. This can be seen with its 9% decrease in volume, while increasing fan blade count by 26%, increasing fan blade diameter by 2%, and now using fan blades that are 17% thinner.
Photo: Alienware m17 R5 CPU/GPU performance rates graphic. Based on internal Dell analysis, on Feb 2022, using configurations that include AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT graphics.
For gamers that want a little more control in managing their CPU temperatures, we’re continuing to offer the TCC (Thermal Control Circuit) Offset feature. (For those that want more information on how our TCC Offset feature functions and how to enable it, check out our video about the topic.)
Keeping in line with our other recent M series line, the m17 R5 has Alienware’s CherryMXultra low-profile mechanical keyboard with per-key AlienFXlighting. This keyboard, initially launched on the m15/m17 R3, was co-developed with Cherry and has a total key travel of 1.8mm, delivering a satisfying tactile feel and mechanical key switch design for a fantastic typing experience.
Photo: A detailed look at the CherryMXUltra low-profile mechanical keys.
Here are details on the internals that make the m17 R5 perfect for all kinds of gamers.
The m17 R5 comes packed with a full suite of performance-enhancing AMD Smart Technologies, namely the AMD SmartShift Max, AMD SmartAccess Graphics, and the AMD Smart Access Memory. Here’s how they work:
- AMD SmartShift Max intelligently shifts power between AMD’s APU and GPU depending on your workload. In CPU-heavy tasks, SmartShiftMax issues the Ryzen processor's extra power to boost speed, and when you’re gaming, this technology gives the AMD graphics card additional wattage for a massive performance boost.
- AMD SmartAccess Graphics leverages a built-in hardware MUX to automatically switch graphics between the AMD Ryzen APU and discrete Radeon GPU to increase performance. Available in 4K 120 Hz display, AMD SmartAccess Graphics is making its debut in the m17 R5.
- AMD Smart Access Memory allows users to get more performance across select titles through accelerated data transfer technology, exclusively between AMD Ryzen™processors and AMD Radeon™graphics.
The m17 R5 also comes equipped with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Dolby Vision enables color profiles defined by the publishers and studios that developed the game, meaning you can see the game as it was truly designed to be viewed. Dolby Atmos enhances audio quality, offering surround sound to help improve your in-game reaction time. Lastly, the m17 R5 includes ComfortViewPlus— our hardware-based low blue light technology won’t hurt your system’s performance or change your image quality, but it will help ease your eyestrain.
The m17 R5’s display has multiple options:
- In FHD you can choose from a 165 Hz, 360 Hz, or the brand new 480 Hz refresh rate options, all of which come with NVIDIA Advanced Optimus technology
- The 480Hz display is currently only available with NVIDIA GeForce graphics options.
- In 4K you get a 120Hz refresh rate which comes with AMD Smart Access Graphics technology
Note: All of these display options come with NVIDIA G Sync or AMD Freesync, and ComfortViewPlus.
Tell us what you think!
All in all, the m17 R5 is perfect for gamers that need a powerful 17-inch laptop and want to experience AMD Smart technologies.
Are you excited about the next addition to the M series family? Comment below or reach out on social media to let us know!