Laptop announced date: 1st February 2019
Last reviewed: 11th February 2020
Today's gaming laptop review, for the Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2, will be taking a good look at how well its price compares to the hardware we find inside it. We will also have a look at the type of gaming performance it gets when running today’s more demanding games and help you judge if this is a gaming laptop that is worth your cash.
Is the Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 good as a gaming laptop? Excellent
Processor - Modern AAA 2020 gaming with the Core i7-9700K 8-Core 3.6GHz processor is no problem. As it meets game requirements of today it will likely hold its own against future release titles as well, this is an excellent CPU for a gaming laptop. With 8 of CPU cores available, this processor doesn’t have to worry too much about gaming processes bottlenecking as few games will be able to use all of these cores completely
Graphics Card - This laptop graphics solution can chew through modern AAA titles and is an excellent laptop gaming choice of GPU. This GPU comes with 8GB, which is excellent and plenty powerful to meet the VRAM requirements of modern games.
System Memory - The 32GB is an excellent amount of system memory for modern gaming in 2020.
Screen Size - A laptop with a 17.3" screen size, like we find on this laptop, puts it into the excellent category for mobile laptops and top end 2020 gaming. Of course it always needs the hardware to backup this up.
Refresh Rate - If you want your gaming laptop to push past 60FPS, then make sure your laptop display panel has a higher refresh rate than 60Hz. Not all laptop manufacturers clearly state the screen refresh rate. If it is not clear, assume it is 60Hz. The laptop only turn out FPS (frames per second) as high as its screens refresh rate. 60hz refresh rate gets a max of 60FPS in all games, regardless of the hardware’s power in your laptop. So refresh rates are pretty important.This laptop has an excellent screen for gaming with its 144Hz refresh rate. But look for a panel that is over 60Hz for a gaming laptop and that should be ok too.
Getting a good price to performance gaming laptop is what we are all trying to do when looking for our next mobile machine. The key component in this is usually the graphics card. So we will of course be considering this hardware setup and how well it could run modern popular games like Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs Legion and Assassins Creed: Valhalla to help us know if this graphics card and laptop is a good price to performance point. We do this by considering the gaming frame rates achieved at its native 1080p resolution while the games would be running at Ultra video settings. The GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile card that's powering the Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 laptop, when compared to today’s top 500 most demanding games, can run 500 at min system specs and will run 492 games when comparing to their increased recommended system requirements.
When we factor in all variations of hardware and prices that the Alienware Area-51M laptop comes with, it gets very difficult to understand what value each permutation of this laptop will offer. To help us compare laptops based on their direct gaming value and capabilities, we defined a price to performance rating and allocated it to every laptop we review. Because as you have no doubt discovered during your research, it is very difficult to compare laptops for value against all other laptops. Even within their own model range. As soon as you adjust a single component and the laptop price shifts, what has that done to the gaming value of your laptop and is it still ok value for money? So we use a P2P rating to standardise the way we can look at all laptops. Of course laptops have tonnes of other values that are breathed into them when they are designed and they are not just about price to performance. But this is certainly a good way for us to help see the bigger picture, especially for a gaming laptop.
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 4.8 for P2P out of 10. As not all laptops and their prices are of course valued equally we can see that this version of the Alienware Area-51M laptop is in 24th position on the best Price to Performance value rating. Those closer to 1st place are simply better gaming laptop options regarding the gaming performance they deliver for their price.
Show Laptop Specifications
|Processor||Core i7-9700K 8-Core 3.6GHz|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile|
|RAM||32GB DDR4 2400MHz|
17.3" 1920x1080 (1080p)
Available refresh rates: 144Hz
Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 model range price to performance comparison table
|i7-9700K RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2649.99||22%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2060 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2749.99||18%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2060 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2849.99||18%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2070 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2,949.00||16%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2899.99||14%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2999.99||11%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2070 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2999.99||10%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2060 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3099.99||10%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2||$3,499.99||10%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2060 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3199.99||8%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2070 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3199.99||7%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2070 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3299.99||7%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2060 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3149.99||7%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2060 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3249.99||7%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$2,949.00||6%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2070 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3349.99||4%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2080 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3449.99||2%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3549.99||2%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2070 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3449.99||2%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2070 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3549.99||2%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2060 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3499.99||2%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2070 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3649.99||0%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3649.99||0%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3749.99||0%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2060 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3599.99||1%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2070 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3599.99||1%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2070 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3699.99||1%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2080 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3799.99||3%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2080 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3899.99||5%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3999.99||5%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2070 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$3949.99||6%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2||$4099.99||7%|
|i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$4149.99||7%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2070 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$4049.99||8%|
|i7-9700 RTX 2080 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$4049.99||8%|
|i9-9900 RTX 2080 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$4399.99||12%|
|i9-9900K RTX 2080 Mobile 64GB RAM 256GB M.2||$4499.99||14%|
Looking outside of the Alienware Area-51M laptop range we can compare our review laptop to today’s leading Price to Performance laptop, the ASUS TUF A15 R7 4800H GTX 1660 Ti 16GB RAM 512GB M.2, which has a recorded price of $986.99. Our laptop has 237% worse rating when comparing on just price to performance against that best bang-for-your-buck laptop. Moving to the 2nd position of the P2P ranking list sits the Acer Nitro 5 2020 R5 4600H GTX 1650 Mobile 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop, where it has a price of $858.54. Our Alienware Area-51M laptop currently has 212% worse Price to Performance rating against this 2nd best model.
Now the processing power is one of the primary areas that we will pay for in any PC and so let's see how our Alienware Area-51M laptop is when compared against CPU performance with a top CPU focused laptop thats available today. We have chosen our comparison CPU focused laptop today as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 R9 4900HS RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 1440p, which comes armed with the Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-Core 3.0GHz laptop CPU. This top tier CPU is currently delivering 16% better performance when benched against our own review laptop’s Core i7-9700K 8-Core 3.6GHz.
Today’s performance comparison for all games shows our laptop CPU can currently meet or beat 499 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 in a similar most demanding order this changes to it being able to run 500 games.
Let's take a look and see how well our Core i7-9700K 8-Core 3.6GHz compares against today’s most popular games. Against the recommended CPU specs for Cyberpunk 2077 our laptop is 39% better, and compared to Watch Dogs Legion it is 39% better , where as against Assassins Creed: Valhalla it delivers 39% better performance.
Shall we see if our review laptop holds out favourably against a top GPU performance focused laptop PC that is currently available. Our comparison GPU focused laptop today that we have selected is a MSI GT76 Titan i9-10900K RTX 2080 64GB RAM 2.0TB M.2 4K, which comes loaded with the GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB card. This top end GPU is currently delivering 16% better performance when stacked against our own review laptop’s GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile.
Currently 492 games of the top 500 most demanding games today (recommended graphics requirements) can run on the review laptop’s GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile. Or 500 games of the top 500 most demanding for minimum GPU specs can run on it.
When compared to the recommended graphics requirements of the most popular games today, like Cyberpunk 2077 our laptop GPU is 59% better in performance. Compared to Watch Dogs Legion our laptop graphics performance is 59% better.
With a 1080p native screen panel our Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 has a 17.3" physical screen size. This inch panel size is measured starting in one corner, say the top corner and then across the middle of the screen down to the bottom corner on the other side. And in our case it has a fixed number of pixels in that screen that are 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall, or 1080p resolution. 4K laptops would likely come with a 60 FPS cap on games, set by the laptop screen’s 60Hz refresh rate. So regardless of what the hardware is capable of in the 4K laptop they couldn't push their FPS beyond that screen refresh rate. Now AAA games today when played at Ultra graphics settings and a 4K resolution likely don't have hardware capable of 60 FPS anyway. With a bigger refresh rate helping your FPS this Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2 has 144Hz screen refresh rate variants 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. The laptop has got 4K capable hardware? Well when you are not on the move, plug the laptop into a 144Hz or better desktop monitor that’s 28inches and comes with a 1440p or 4K resolution to enjoy modern gaming without FPS or size limits.
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.
An example of a well priced 1440p desktop monitor would be the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS, which has 75Hz and is currently available for $294.99. Our cheapest tracked price for the desktop 1440p monitor was $272.99, which we recorded on 5th Aug 2020.
Here is a 4K monitor to compliment any laptop - Asus Predator XB273K 27 inch 4K GSYNC IPS 1ms 144Hz. We watch a handful and it is currently the best priced at $829.99. It has a 144Hz refresh rate as well. During these past 2 weeks, this 4K monitor’s price has gone up by $799. Once we spot a monitor we like we start price tracking it. The lowest tracked price we have for this monitor was recorded on 11th Aug 2020, where it was seen at $797.05.
[Note - check that monitor display connectors are compatible between a monitor and a laptop before purchase]
If you stream 4K content, films, services like Netflix then perhaps the quality of 4K resolution on a 17inch panel would be better than the 1080p alternative that the majority of laptops provide.
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.
We price track a number of good value gaming mice and the one that currently stands out is the Kayinuo M738 Gaming Mouse 3200DPI wired 6 Buttons, which is currently available for $11.99. We have seen this mouse lower its price during these past couple of weeks by $19, which is part of the reason we are considering it as a good option for this laptop. Looking over our tracked prices for this mouse, it was at its lowest price on 15th Aug 2020, which had it priced at $11.99.
|Quality||Mouse||Price (USD)||Check Regional Pricing|
|*||Kayinuo M738 Gaming Mouse 3200DPI wired 6 Buttons||$11.99|
|**||PICTEK Gaming Mouse 7200DPI wired 7 Buttons||$16.99|
|**||Redragon M711 Cobra||$19.99|
|***||Cooler Master MM710||$44.99|
|***||Logitech G502 SE Hero||$55.99|
You could pick up a headset to go with the Dell Alienware Area-51M i7-9700K RTX 2080 Mobile 32GB RAM 256GB M.2. In our spotlight at the moment is the HyperX Cloud Stinger, which today is $47.14. Checking our records our lowest tracked price for this headset was on 12th Mar 2020, which had it priced at $25.98.