For much of its existence, AMD has been known as the alternative vendor for X86 and has largely been positioned as a cheaper, lower-performing alternative to Intel. But in a number of areas over the last several years, the two companies have traded places in terms of performance and capability, most notably on the laptop front. PC Magazine called out AMD’s latest 6000 series of processors for laptops as “The Ideal Chip for Ultraportable”.
However, even though AMD is now more than competitive with Intel, it still lagged Intel in the gaming segment and still lags in SKUs but, this month, it finally captured the Alienware SKU from Dell, the top PC gaming company. The resulting laptop is an impressive showcase of AMD’s new market leadership and Alienware’s segment dominance. I expect this system had something to do with Frank Azor who moved from Alienware to become one of AMD’s top executives recently.
Let’s talk about why the new Alienware m17 R5 with AMD Advantage is potentially a portable gaming game changer this week.
New hybrid-work laptop spec
Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic many, if not most, of us are still largely working from home. Even though we may need to return to the office at some point, it seems unlikely most of us will ever again work a full 5 days a week in the office. In addition, the transition from travel to using tools like Teams, WebEx, and Zoom is now entrenched, meaning much of our need to travel to meetings and events has been significantly reduced.
So a laptop form factor that is closer to a portable desktop computer in terms of screen size and performance than the ultraportable laptops that dominated the market before the pandemic would be most welcome. For those of us who work mostly from home and only occasionally go into the office, a 17-inch product with decent performance will likely be better than your typical 13-inch ultra-portable.
For gaming, a larger, more powerful laptop has been preferred for years but now similar specs also seem better for those of us working from home.
The Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage Laptop
On spec, this is an amazing product. It uses up to an AMD Ryzen 9 6900H and top-end AMD Radeon RX 6700M graphics with up to 64GB of memory, up to 4TB of fast NVMe M.2 storage, and a up to a display that supports both FreeSync, G-Sync, NVIDIA Optimus and a 360Hz refresh rate with 1ms of latency. Obviously, this laptop could give a high-end gaming desktop computer a run for the money.
At a little over seven pounds (3.3 kg), it isn’t light, but it is a lot lighter than the 10 lb+ products that used to dominate the mobile gaming segment. This isn’t a cheap date but, fully configured, you should still be around $3K which isn’t bad for a top-of-the-line, fully configured gaming laptop from Alienware.
Unlike earlier Alienware offerings, the design looks more like a business than a gaming laptop, which helps you get away with using it for work though, in person, this laptop has massive cooling ports that certainly showcase its performance roots. Tom’s Guide indicated this would be one of the most powerful laptops of the year.
While this laptop can be configured in several ways and has a more reasonable starting price of around $1,500, it is the AMD Advantage version that likely should be the highest performing given the unique synergies in that configuration between the major components.
Wrapping up: AMD breaks into top tier gaming
With the announcement of availability for the Alienware m17 R5 AMD Advantage laptop, Alienware has stepped up to using AMD’s leading technology to create a gaming laptop that should give those working, studying, and especially gaming at home the product they need with the components and screen size that best fits this new hybrid form of working. It’s more subtle than many other Alienware products, but it’s still distinctly Alienware. This product should help the market realize just how far AMD has come and better showcase it as a market leader than any other laptop product.
Dell/Alienware have clearly created an amazing product with AMD’s assistance, and it could well evolve into a much deeper relationship between the two companies and provide even more interesting gaming products for the future.