Laptop announced date: 1st February 2021
Last reviewed: 2nd February 2021
If you are looking to buy a new gaming laptop and want to know how well the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz compares to other laptops on offer then you have come to the right place. Today we are going to explore the type of performance return we can expect from this mobile gaming solution by comparing it to today’s demanding games
Is the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz good as a gaming laptop? Excellent
Processor - A Core i9-10980HK 8-Core 2.40GHz CPU that is housed in this laptop is excellent for modern AAA gaming during 2021. This laptop CPU has 8 cores. This is excellent for modern AAA gaming as the games start to require more cores for simultaneous activities.
Graphics Card - An excellent graphics card for running AAA titles during the 2021 gaming year. Loaded up with a huge amount of VRAM, this GPU has 16GB, which makes it excellent for AAA gaming.
System Memory - Our review laptop here has an excellent quantity of RAM for 2021 AAA games. The 32GB of RAM will meet the game requirements of the foreseeable future as well.
Screen Size - We were looking for 17 inch panels as the gaming standard for top tier gaming laptops. You can certainly game on smaller laptops but we have found that often the extra physical space helps provide 2021 games with the chance to read and make out in game menus and details that smaller panels can struggle to display clearly. So this 17.3" panel is an excellent gaming laptop choice for screen size.
Refresh Rate - The higher the screen panel refresh rate, the better for gaming laptops. The refresh rate is the number of times a second the screen is capable of refreshing the game’s image. If a laptop can deliver 100 frames per second (FPS) in a game and your laptop has a 60Hz refresh rate, then you will only get a max of 60 frames per second. The higher the refresh rate and the game’s FPS the smoother the sharpness is as the screen view moves around in game. 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.
As gamers, one of the biggest choices we make for a new portable machine is to select a laptop with the right mobile graphics card. With this laptop we are specifically considering how the price-to-performance of the graphics card looks and if it has the capability to run modern popular games like today’s most popular titles, Grand Theft Auto VI and New World in ultra graphics settings on its native 1080p resolution. This laptop has the GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Mobile in it. Of the 500 most demanding games around today this graphics card is capable of running 500 games at minimum system requirements and 498 games at their recommended system requirements.
Have you been looking for the best gaming laptop for your buck? Well you have probably encountered what we have, which is that, only certain laptops are normally reviewed and even then the review is often using games that are now getting out of date. So we decided to factor in all permutations of the Alienware M17 R4 (2021) model range and compare them against the price adjustments those hardware variations incur when you change a GPU, for example. And so we have created this Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop price to performance review with a P2P rating to help standardise our comparisons.
Our price and performance review leads us to allocate all laptops a P2P rating out of 10, which is relative to all laptops for comparison purposes and gets adjusted over time as the prices for hardware adjust and new more capable hardware is created. This laptop is currently given a 6.7 for P2P out of 10. There look to be a number of Alienware M17 R4 (2021) versions of this laptop and currently this hardware configuration sits at 7th in the Price to Performance order. Obviously scoring towards the 1st position represents the better value laptop from a purely gaming performance and price tag perspective.
Show Laptop Specifications
|Processor||Core i9-10980HK 8-Core 2.40GHz|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Mobile|
|RAM||32GB DDR4 2933MHz|
17.3" 1920x1080 (1080p)
Available refresh rates: 144Hz
Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 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||39%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3060 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2049.99||33%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 256GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2149.99||24%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2349.99||17%|
|i7-10870H RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2649.99||15%|
|i9-10980HK RTX 3070 Max-Q 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$2749.99||1%|
|i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz||$3049.99||0%|
|i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 4K 60Hz||$3649.99||20%|
How about we compare our Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop to the laptop with the leading P2P rating out of all laptops and see how it compares. Today's best gaming laptop for Price to Performance is the ASUS TUF A15 R7 4800H GTX 1660 Ti 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 ($999.00) and our laptop is 155% worse if we directly compare the price to performance rating against that best hardware performance to value laptop. How about we also look at the 2nd ranked laptop for excellent Price/Performance ratings, which is the MSI Bravo 15 R7 4800H RX 5500M 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 and has a recorded cost of $1049.00. We see our Alienware M17 R4 (2021) laptop scores 123% worse against it for price to performance.
If you are wondering if this laptop is relatively well endowed in the CPU department then let's take a look at how it stacks up against the current best priced CPU focused laptop available today, to see its relative performance. This top tier processor focused laptop is currently the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 (2021) R9 5900HX RTX 3080 8GB Max-Q 64GB RAM 2.0TB M.2 1080p 165Hz. With a Ryzen 9 5900HX 8-Core 3.3GHz CPU in it that performs 32% better compared to our laptop’s Core i9-10980HK 8-Core 2.40GHz.
The Core i9-10980HK 8-Core 2.40GHz processor found in this machine can currently run 480 games of the top 500 most demanding games right now. This is basically how many recommended game system requirements our laptop cpu beats in performance today, but we will update this figure as new games come out. This is 500 games when looking at beating minimum system requirements.
When compared to the recommended processor requirements of the most popular games today, like Grand Theft Auto VI our laptop CPU is 17% better in performance. Compared to New World our laptop processor is 46% better.
One of the key hardware aspects in any laptop is certainly the graphics card. Our Alienware M17 R4 (2021) laptop’s GPU solution can be compared against a laptop that has one of the most powerful GPU’s around today, which will give us a relative benchmark. And will help us know how this laptop performs against the top end GPU laptop available today. Lets grab a graphics focused laptop for comparison then. We have chosen the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop for its graphical performance. This big hitting GPU laptop comes with a GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Mobile video card in it that performs 0% the same if we bench it against our laptop’s GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Mobile graphics hardware.
Today’s performance comparison for all games shows our laptop GPU can currently meet or beat 498 game’s recommended system requirements when we put the 500 most demanding games into a list. With a list of 500 Minimum system specs put ina similar most demanding order this changes to it being able to run 500 games.
How about we compare our laptop graphics performance against Resident Evil 8 recommended graphics requirement? Our laptop gets 47% better performance. Next let's check the top game of the moment, Grand Theft Auto VI, which shows the review laptop’s gpu against that game’s system specs gets 36% better performance. We also see the 116% better performance from our laptop gpu when looking at the game New World for it’s graphics requirements.
A common thing to explore is, what is the best gaming laptop screen resolution at the moment, as our review laptop is a 1080p. This laptop also has a 17.3" physical screen size (that's measured from a top corner to the bottom corner on the other side of the screen) and is 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall resolution. A 4K panel laptop is often restricted to 60Hz. This means that even if you did have the hardware inside your laptop to run a game at 4K, you wouldnt be able to get more than 60 FPS. Most laptop hardware, and desktop hardware for that matter, is not capable of 4K ultra graphics on modern games. This particular laptop refresh rate options are 144Hz.
As a somewhat last resort a gamer could lower a game’s displayed screen resolution away from the 4K laptop’s native pixel count. Dropping down to 1080p or maybe 1440p would deliver more frames per second in game and help provide a more stable FPS in modern AAA games. But taking this action, moving away from the native 4K resolution, immediately reduces game graphics definition and makes it look blurry. Not an ideal situation on a new gaming 4K laptop. If the new 4K laptop has the performance to play modern games at 4K resolution, then perhaps the laptop’s 15 or 17 inch screen isnt enough to fully enjoy the high pixel count? So if you have or can get a desktop monitor that delivers more than the 60Hz frame rate limiter, for that gaming experience then you can keep your laptop mobile and still enjoy high end gaming.
Maybe you are hoping to enjoy your 4K streamed movies and TV shows while on the move. And if you have access to this 4K content and it's your prime use for your new laptop then perhaps it's worth considering a 4K panel, rather than this 1080p.
We think don't spend your extra cash on getting a 4K laptop to game on, as it's likely to feel disappointing to buy a super shiny new 4K laptop, then have to lower the resolution while playing your games, delivering a blurry in-game experience, and only getting up to a maximum 60FPS due to the usual 60Hz 4K panel restriction.
The 1440p gaming monitor that has a great price today and should be a nice accompaniment to the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop is the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS. Its current price is $294.99 and it has a 75Hz refresh rate. The suggested 1440p monitor price tracker recorded on 9th Mar 2021, where it reached the low cost price of $229.99.
A well priced 4K gaming monitor with 144Hz refresh rate is the Asus Predator XB273K 27 inch 4K GSYNC IPS 1ms 144Hz. It has a price today of $617.99 and should be a nice accompaniment to the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop. During these past 2 weeks, this 4K monitor’s price has gone up by $578. Our 4k monitor price tracker recorded and marked its lowest price on 13th Nov 2020, it reached the lower price of $549.99.
[Note - check that monitor display connectors are compatible between a monitor and a laptop before purchase]
Possibly a suitable purpose for a 4K laptop would be if you were keen to watch 4K streaming services like Netflix. At which point perhaps it's enough of a selling point for you to consider a 4K laptop?
For now in the laptop space, it looks best to stick with 1080p panels. This way your laptop’s physical size remains practical and portable, 17inch laptops are plenty big enough. And at the moment you will still have to lower game resolutions down from 4K, on the bigger hitting AAA titles, that would then get playable, but sub par visuals and you would still hit the 60FPS cap if your hardware could go beyond 60FPS.
You could pick up a mouse to go with the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz. In our spotlight at the moment is the Kayinuo M738 Gaming Mouse 3200DPI wired 6 Buttons, which today is $12.99. This mouse has also dropped its price by $27 during the past two weeks, which is a solid reason for us to select it with this laptop. Further to our mouse information, this mouse had a lowest price recorded by us of $11.99 dated on 15th Aug 2020.
|Quality||Mouse||Price (USD)||Check Regional Pricing|
|**||PICTEK Gaming Mouse 7200DPI wired 7 Buttons||$13.99|
|**||Redragon M711 Cobra||$19.99|
|***||Cooler Master MM710||$43.99|
|***||Razer DeathAdder Elite||$49.99|
Of our regular price tracked gaming headset the best value headset today is the HyperX Cloud Stinger. With its a current price of $34.99 it should work well with this Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz laptop. Checking our records our lowest tracked price for this headset was on 12th Mar 2020 which had it priced at $25.98.