Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz review, including today's price to performance
Laptop product code: Alienware M17 R4 (2021)
Laptop announced date: 1st February 2021
Last reviewed: 10th August 2021
Our Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop review today is going to help us understand how well the hardware components in this machine can run today’s modern games. Taking a look at some of the most demanding popular titles we will see some expected frame rates for the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop and understand the type of price to performance on offer.
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Gaming Laptop Analysis
Is the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz good as a gaming laptop? Excellent
Processor - The processor we find in this laptop can meet modern AAA game requirements with ease, making it an excellent 2022 laptop gaming choice for CPU. The processor in this laptop has 8 cores, which makes it excellent for modern gamers, minimising the risk of throttling game processes due to a lack of available cores.
Graphics Card - An excellent graphics card for running AAA titles during the 2022 gaming year. With 8GB of VRAM available to the GPU, this graphics solution doesn’t have to worry about a shortage, when it comes to modern AAA gaming, making it an excellent choice..
System Memory - This system memory, 32GB, is excellent for meeting 2022 AAA game requirements.
Screen Size - Our review laptop has what we would consider, an excellent laptop panel size for 2022 games. It will help the gamer see in-game menus and be able to see some of the detail offered in game, without having to squint. Having at least a 17.3" panel seems to be the right way to go for gaming at the moment.
Refresh Rate - I personally wouldnt consider getting a gaming laptop with a screen panel that had a refresh rate of 60Hz. The refresh rate number is the number of times an image can be displayed to the screen by the laptop's own screen. So if I had paid more money for a good graphics card and CPU and RAM then even though the hardware might be able to get 150FPS on Ultra settings in the latest games, the laptop screen would only display 60FPS. The more FPS capable of being displayed to screen the smoother and sharper the response of the game you are playing. An ideal minimum refresh rate amount would be around 144Hz for a great gaming laptop, but you can certainly get some with even higher refresh rates than that. Ok so after that refresh rate recap we can see that this laptop can be found with the excellent gaming refresh rate of 144Hz. However, you can always look for others, but try to find something with more than 60Hz.
GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q graphics card gaming performance in the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop
Gamers looking at laptops will be needing to carefully consider the performance of the machine in relation to modern, often demanding, games. So getting the mobile graphics selected correctly is key to identifying the best price-to-performance laptop for you. We will take a look at the hardware and graphics card in this laptop in relation to how well it can deliver frame rates when running modern demanding or popular games like, Grand Theft Auto VI or Star Citizen. We will consider the laptop when it runs these games in ultra graphics settings while gaming at its native 1080p screen resolution. The GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q in this machine is currently capable of running 499 games at minimum system requirements of the 500 most demanding games available today. Where as it is capable of running 469 games of the top 500 most demanding recommended system requirements.
Grand Theft Auto VI FPS Low to Ultra 1080p Graphics Settings Results GraphPremium Feature
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Other Popular Games
Comparing Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz to today’s best price to performance laptop ranges
During your research for your next laptop, you have probably seen that the laptops reviewed are often the top permutation of the range and even then they were reviewed some time back against games that were released around the time of the review. Today we will be working to provide an up to date value assessment on this Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz hardware performance against today’s games and then consider how it compares to all other laptops and how it sits within its own Alienware M17 R4 (2021) range.
With a P2P rating currently of 6.7 out of 10 for the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz. This relative value will change as hardware costs and their performance change over time for laptops. With these hardware components the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop is placed at 6th position within the Alienware M17 R4 (2021) range, when put into the price to performance order. Those laptops closer to the number 1 position of this list are the better value propositions today.
Show Laptop Specifications
|Processor||Core i9-10980HK 8-Core 2.40GHz|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q|
|RAM||32GB DDR4 2933MHz|
17.3 " 1920x1080 (1080p)
Available refresh rates: 144Hz
Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz model range price to performance comparison table
|i7-10870H RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$1899.99||38%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3060 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2049.99||32%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 256GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2149.99||23%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2349.99||16%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2649.99||14%|
|i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2749.99||0%|
|i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$3049.99||1%|
|i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 4K 60Hz||$3649.99||21%|
It's good to see how this Alienware M17 R4 (2021) laptop compares to models outside of its own model range as well. If we look at the very best P2P laptop, the ASUS TUF A15 R7 4800H GTX 1660 Ti 16GB RAM 512GB M.2, our laptop has 153% worse performance difference when comparing its price to performance rating. That top laptop currently has a listed price of $999. Second on the Price to Performance laptop ranking at the moment is the MSI Bravo 15 R7 4800H RX 5500M 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 which we have a recorded price of $1049. If we compare our laptop to this one then our laptop returns with 121% worse performance/ price rating figure than it.
How does the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop compare to the best CPU performance focused laptops and today’s most popular games?
As a point of benchmark lets see how well our laptop looks when directly compared on processing performance against the top CPU focused laptop currently available. We will choose the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 R9 4900HS RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop for our CPU comparison tests as that laptop currently has the best CPU in it at the cheapest laptop price. Its CPU is the Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-Core 3.0GHz which we will compare to our review laptop’s Core i9-10980HK 8-Core 2.40GHz processor. Our performance comparison shows the top end laptop CPU to be 23% better in performance compared to our laptop’s processor.
Our laptop CPU beats 467 games recommended system requirements when looking at today’s top 500 most demanding games. This number changes to 500 games if we compare to the top 500 most demanding games for minimum system requirements.
How about we compare our laptop processor performance against Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022) recommended processor requirement? Our laptop gets 17% better performance. Next let's check the top game of the moment, Grand Theft Auto VI, which shows the review laptop’s cpu against that game’s system specs gets 17% better performance. We also see the 2% better performance from our laptop cpu when looking at the game Star Citizen for it’s processor requirements.
How does the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop compare to the best graphics card performance focused laptops and today’s most popular games?
Now lets see how well our review laptop holds up compared against graphical performance with the top performing GPU laptop available today. The GPU focused laptop we picked for our comparison is the MSI GT76 Titan i9-10900K RTX 2080 Super 64GB RAM 2.0TB M.2 4K. Its got one of the best graphics cards found in laptops at the moment, which is the GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB. It delivers 23% better performance when benched against our own review laptop’s GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q.
Currently 469 games of the top 500 most demanding games today (recommended graphics requirements) can run on the review laptop’s GeForce RTX 3070 Max-Q. Or 499 games of the top 500 most demanding for minimum GPU specs can run on it.
Recommended graphics requirements for modern games increase all the time, so we thought we would compare the performance of our laptop graphics card to some popular games of today. First off there is Star Citizen and our laptop GPU delivers 70% better performance compared to that game’s requirement. Next we have Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022) in which we see our laptop graphics has 7% better performance compared to the game's video card specs. And then there is 7% better performance when we put our laptop gpu against Grand Theft Auto VI recommended specs.
The Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz has a 1080p screen resolution, should I get a 4K resolution gaming laptop instead?
There is a lot of talk about getting 4K capable monitors and our review laptop has a 1080p native resolution, and a physical 17.3" panel. Lets explore if it would be better for you to grab a laptop with a 4K screen rather than the 1080p offered here? With 60Hz being the usual screen refresh rate on 4K laptop panels this would cap a game to run at no more than 60 frames per second, even if the 4K laptop hardware could deliver more. And then most AAA games require more powerful hardware than a laptop houses to play stable 4K Ultra graphics setting games, even at a passable but, some would consider, a bit low, 60FPS. Our review laptop, the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz has 144Hz monitor screen refresh rate of versions available.
We can always lower the game’s displayed screen resolution to something like 1080p or 1440p which is below the 4K laptop’s native pixel count. This will get a more stable game experience, increasing a game’s FPS that might be needed across a number of modern AAA games on a 4K laptop. However, getting away from the laptop’s more native 4K resolution, will take away in-game graphics definition. Not an ideal situation, playing blurry games on your new 4K laptop. But if the laptop does have the hardware to run today's AAA titles at 4K resolution, a normal sized portable PC comes with a 15 or 17 inch panel. This might not be physically big enough to make the most of the splendors of your game. It would of course look great still, but perhaps a dedicated monitor for your desk, one that isnt 60Hz restricted would accommodate that gaming scenario.
The primary 4K use would most likely be streaming movie and TV content at that resolution, assuming you have access to these services in 4K. At which point perhaps its enough of a selling point for you to consider a 4K laptop..
As you can probably gather from the information above, its probably not worth the extra cash for a 4K laptop if gaming is your Laptop purpose. 1080p is likely plenty and has enough alternative gaming options for when you want better resolution. It feels like you might not get what you were after if you picked up a shiny new 4K laptop, then was needing to lower game resolution, while getting blurry in-game experience and achieving a max 60FPS when you could push the hardware into better frame rates.
Today’s best 1440p desktop monitor for a laptop is - ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS
Incidentally our research shows the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS as our best priced 1440p monitor today. This monitor has a 75Hz refresh rate and a price tag at the moment of $311.99. To help provide some further information into this desktop monitor price trends we saw it cost a recorded low of $229.99, which we tracked on 9th Mar 2021.
Today’s best 4K desktop monitor for a laptop is - Asus Predator XB273K 27 inch 4K GSYNC IPS 1ms 144Hz
A nice performing 4K desktop monitor, should you want one to accompany this laptop, is the Asus Predator XB273K 27 inch 4K GSYNC IPS 1ms 144Hz. Today it is priced at $618 and has a 144Hz refresh rate. It's interesting that even though this is a well priced 4K monitor today, our price tracking shows it has gone up in price by $618 during recent weeks. Once we spot a monitor we like we start price tracking it. The lowest tracked price we have for this monitor was recorded on 13th Nov 2020, where it was seen at $549.99.
[Note - check that monitor display connectors are compatible between a monitor and a laptop before purchase]
The primary use we can think of is for streaming 4K movie and TV content, assuming you have access to these services. If this is your primary use for the laptop, rather than gaming then it certainly might be worth considering this.
Paying extra for 4K gaming in a laptop is not really a good investment of your cash at the moment. We would put our extra cash in to a 1080p with better graphics card or maybe a nice mouse or headset. Because with the 4K laptop you may be sad when having to drop your favourite modern games screen resolution to get an ok frame rate. Or perhaps lowering the graphics setting to increase 4K FPS up to a stable and playable amount, only to hit a 60FPS ceiling due to the 60Hz 4K panel limit.
Today's Best Priced Mouse and Headset for Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop
The gaming mouse with today’s best price to value that would go well with the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop is the Kayinuo M738 Gaming Mouse 3200DPI wired 6 Buttons. Its current price is $12.99. Price watching this mouse shows that it has had a price drop by $32.26 during the past couple of weeks, which gives us more reason to select it to go with today’s laptop. Another point of interest was that we saw this mouse priced at $11.99, which we tracked on 15th Aug 2020.
|Quality||Mouse||Price (USD)||Check Regional Pricing|
|**||IBats X8 gray 9 Btns||$12.99|
|**||PICTEK Gaming Mouse 7200DPI wired 7 Buttons||$13.99|
|***||Cooler Master MM710||$42.99|
|***||Razer DeathAdder Elite||$49.29|
Of the headset we monitor and price track, today’s top headset is the Corsair HS45-7.1 Surround, priced at $36.99. The lowest price recorded by us so far for the headset is $34.99 recorded at 28th Nov 2019.