Laptop announced date: 1st January 2020
Last reviewed: 20th July 2020
Welcome to our Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 performance to price review. We know its hard trying to find a way of knowing which new laptop makes the most sense. When speccing out a new laptop, as soon as you adjust a component the price jumps up and the performance gain from that component leaves you uncertain if that is worth it. We will be addressing exactly that here today. We will also be looking at how well this Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop can run today’s modern demanding games
Is the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 good as a gaming laptop? Good
Processor - An excellent CPU for running AAA game requirements, especially during the 2021 gaming year. It will be solid for some time to come as well. 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’s GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q comes with a good performing graphics card for AAA 2021 gaming. The 8GB that this graphics solution has is excellent for all modern gaming.
System Memory - The system memory (16GB) we find in this gaming laptop can meet modern AAA game requirements. This amount of RAM is an excellent 2021 gaming laptop choice, that will help meet game requirements now and into the future.
Screen Size - This laptop’s 17.3" screen can deliver a good viewable amount of real estate for modern games and in terms of screen size this is a step towards the laptop being an excellent gaming laptop choice. You can of course game on smaller screen laptops, but in game menus could become tricky to see on smaller screens.
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. 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 Grand Theft Auto VI, Battlefield 6 and Resident Evil 8 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 2070 Max-Q in this machine is currently capable of running 491 games at minimum system requirements of the 500 most demanding games available today. Where as it is capable of running 348 games of the top 500 most demanding recommended system requirements.
When we factor in all variations of hardware and prices that the Alienware M17 R2 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.
We currently give the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop a 6.8 out of 10 for its P2P score. Where the higher the better rating. As mentioned the figure will adjust as new hardware is released and performance expectations shift over time. Today the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop sits at 4th place compared to all the other permutations of the Alienware M17 R2 range. Laptops placed nearer to 1st place in the P2P list of the model range will be better value for your money when looking at gaming laptops in this range.
Show Laptop Specifications
|Processor||Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 2666MHz|
17.3" 1920x1080 (1080p)
Available refresh rates: 60Hz, 144Hz
Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 model range price to performance comparison table
|i7-9750H GTX 1660 Ti 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$1599.99||40%|
|i7-9750H RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$1699.99||34%|
|i7-9750H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2||$2069.99||12%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2||$2419.99||0%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2||$2569.99||6%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2||$3119.99||23%|
Looking outside of the Alienware M17 R2 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 $999.00. Our laptop has 152% worse rating when comparing on just price to performance against that best bang-for-your-buck laptop. Another one to consider is the 2nd placed Price to Performance laptop, the Acer Nitro 5 2020 R5 4600H GTX 1650 Mobile 16GB RAM 512GB M.2. This one has a price listed as $853.00 and our laptop gets 138% worse against its price to performance rating.
If you are looking for a strong CPU focused laptop then let's compare this Alienware M17 R2 laptop with the top CPU performance focused laptop available today and see how it compares. For processor focused performance we choose the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 G733 (2021) R9 5900HX RTX 3080 8GB Max-Q 64GB RAM 2.0TB M.2 1080p 165Hz laptop for today’s comparison. This top end CPU laptop comes with a Ryzen 9 5900HX 8-Core 3.3GHz processor in it that performs 33% better if we put it against our review laptop’s Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz processor.
Today there are 480 games recommended system requirements that are worse than our CPU’s performance capability, this is when we look at the top 500 most demanding games right now. This figure becomes 500 games, when we look at the 500 demanding games for minimum processor system requirements.
Today’s games are getting more demanding so let's see how our gaming laptop performs against their recommended cpu system requirements. First off we have the Battlefield 6 which currently our Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz is 24% better next let's see how well it runs against Resident Evil 8. We can see it is 6% better. Ok finally lets see it against Grand Theft Auto VI. Here our laptop is 16% better.
Shall we see if our review laptop holds out favourably against a top GPU performance focused laptop PC that is currently available. We have the Dell Alienware M17 R4 (2021) i9-10980HK RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB RAM 512GB M.2 1080p 144Hz as one of today’s best graphics crunching laptop. It comes with a GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Mobile video card in it, which currently has 59% better performance compared to our laptop’s GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q.
Currently 348 games of the top 500 most demanding games today (recommended graphics requirements) can run on the review laptop’s GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q. Or 491 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 Grand Theft Auto VI our laptop GPU is 17% worse in performance. Compared to Battlefield 6 our laptop graphics performance is 8% worse.
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? The refresh rate of a 4K laptop panel is often 60Hz. This figure sets a 60 frames per second cap that locks a game to no matter the capability of the hardware in the 4K laptop. However, today’s AAA games, when running at Ultra graphics settings and 4K resolution, usually require hardware that we don't see in laptops or desktops to even reach that 60FPS cap. With higher the better refresh rates for your laptop monitor, this particular Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop is available in 60Hz, 144Hz variety.
Drop the 4K screen resolution on your AAA games to 1080p to increase the games frame rate to something more playable, and in doing so will make a game look blurry as it wouldn't be displayed in the 4K laptop’s native resolution. And so is there a point in getting a 4K screen laptop at the moment? If the following is the case, where the 1080p gaming laptop could run games you love at a higher 4K resolution then you could always hook up the PC laptop to a desktop monitor. One that was much bigger than the laptop screen size, like a 31inch with 144Hz refresh rate to enjoy 1440p or 4K resolution when gaming at home. Then still have your laptop for mobile gaming as well.
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.
At the moment our advice would be, stick to the 1080p laptop panels for now. Your laptop remains portable and 4K laptop’s just aren't quite there yet. The 4K needs to be a no brainer but at the moment you will still have to lower resolution in game to get playable but sub par visuals that still can't raise above 60FPS.
If you are looking for a desktop monitor with a reasonable refresh rate to accompany the well priced Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop, then the 1440p ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS is our favourite today. It has a 75Hz refresh rate and is currently priced at $307.73. The suggested 1440p monitor price tracker recorded on 9th Mar 2021, where it reached the low cost price of $229.99.
Today's best priced 4K gaming monitor comes with a 144Hz refresh rate. It is the Asus Predator XB273K 27 inch 4K GSYNC IPS 1ms 144Hz and is currently priced at $629.99. We have noticed that this 4K monitor has raised its price by $580 recently. And while it is a good 4K monitor even at this current price, it could probably be found for a bit cheaper. Interestingly we spotted this 4k monitor at its lowest recorded price on 13th Nov 2020, where it was priced up as $549.99.
[Note - check that monitor display connectors are compatible between a monitor and a laptop before purchase]
4K streaming could be a viable reason to consider 4K over 1080p laptop panels.
As you can probably gather from the information above, it's 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.
A great priced gaming mouse today, that could accompany the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 is the, Kayinuo M738 Gaming Mouse 3200DPI wired 6 Buttons that is currently priced at $12.99. We have seen this mouse lower its price during these past couple of weeks by $37, which is part of the reason we are considering it as a good option for this laptop. Another point of reference for this mouse, is that our lowest recorded price for this mouse was on 15th Aug 2020 where it was costing $11.99.
|Quality||Mouse||Price (USD)||Check Regional Pricing|
|**||PICTEK Gaming Mouse 7200DPI wired 7 Buttons||$15.99|
|**||Redragon M711 Cobra||$19.99|
|***||Cooler Master MM710||$49.22|
|***||Razer DeathAdder Elite||$59.99|
The gaming headset with today’s best price to value that would go well with the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 laptop is the Corsair HS45-7.1 Surround. Its current price is $39.99. For reference, the lowest price recorded by us so far for the headset is $34.99 on 28th Nov 2019.