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 1.0TB 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 1.0TB M.2 laptop can run today’s modern demanding games
Is the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 good as a gaming laptop? Excellent
Processor - This laptop has an excellent processor in it for meeting modern AAA CPU requirements during 2020 gaming. 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 - This laptop has an excellent choice of graphics card for modern AAA games during 2020. Modern AAA gaming can lean on GPU VRAM and this graphics solution comes with 8GB. This makes it excellent for gaming.
System Memory - A laptop with 16GB of system memory, like this laptop, makes it an excellent amount of RAM for the AAA gaming needs of 2020 and into the future.
Screen Size - Our review laptop has what we would consider, an excellent laptop panel size for 2020 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. And so considering that, this laptop is available with up to 144Hz as its refresh rate. This high refresh rate would be an excellent choice in a gamers laptop, but anything over 60Hz would be suitable.
A key choice in any gaming laptop is making sure we identify the right graphics card in the laptop and know what it is capable of in today's gaming landscape. With this laptop we are taking a closer look at how its total laptop value compares to its capability when it comes to running modern demanding games. Also lets take a look at it when running modern popular games like, Cyberpunk 2077 or Assassins Creed: Valhalla in ultra graphics settings on its native screen resolution of 1080p. A first point of reference is seeing how many the mobile gpu, a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q found in this laptop, can run of today's 500 most demanding games. In particular it would seem that it can currently run 384 at recommended graphics requirements and then 493 games at their min specs.
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.
With a P2P rating of 6.3 today the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2. Our value to performance rating score will auto adjust as new hardware capability improves and prices drop. Here we look at how our version of this Alienware M17 R2 laptop compares against the other laptops in the range. This laptop is currently 5th in this range for hardware value. Laptops closer to the 1st position of the model range represent the better gaming performance bang for your buck.
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 1.0TB M.2 model range price to performance comparison table
|i7-9750H GTX 1660 Ti 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$1599.99||49%|
|i7-9750H RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$1699.99||43%|
|i7-9750H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2||$2069.99||19%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2||$2419.99||6%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2||$2569.99||0%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2||$3119.99||16%|
Looking outside of this range lets us compare the Price to Performance rating of the very best laptops we have listed. Today's top laptop model for P2P is the ASUS TUF A15 R7 4800H GTX 1660 Ti 16GB RAM 512GB M.2 and the price we have for it is $986.99. Our Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop’s price to performance is 171% worse when comparing it with the top laptop, purely on a performance for money basis, and as we know lots of things go into our decision when choosing the right laptop for us. 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 M17 R2 laptop currently has 152% worse Price to Performance rating against this 2nd best model.
Now we will see if our laptop compares favourably against the top CPU performance focused mobile PC that is currently available. So the laptop we have chosen for its CPU performance is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 R9 4900HS RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 1440p, which comes with a Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-Core 3.0GHz processor. That processor performs 24% better compared to our review laptop’s Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz.
Today there are 494 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.
Recommended processor requirements for modern games increase all the time, so we thought we would compare the performance of our laptop CPU to some popular games of today. First off there is Watch Dogs Legion and our laptop CPU delivers 34% better performance compared to that game’s requirement. Next we have Assassins Creed: Valhalla in which we see our laptop processor has 34% better performance compared to the game's CPU specs. And then there is 34% better performance when we put our laptop cpu against Cyberpunk 2077 recommended specs.
Shall we see if our review laptop holds out favourably against a top GPU performance focused laptop PC that is currently available. Lets look at the MSI GT76 Titan i9-10900K RTX 2080 64GB RAM 2.0TB M.2 4K laptop due to its graphics processing power. The GPU it houses is ideal for comparison benchmarking, because it currently has one of the best laptop graphics solutions, at the cheapest laptop price. Its GPU is the GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB which we compare to the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card in our review laptop. Our performance comparison shows the top end laptop GPU to be 53% better in performance compared to our laptop’s graphics processing power.
Currently 384 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 493 games of the top 500 most demanding for minimum GPU specs can run on it.
How about we compare our laptop graphics performance against Assassins Creed: Valhalla recommended graphics requirement? Our laptop gets 20% better performance. Next let's check the top game of the moment, Cyberpunk 2077, which shows the review laptop’s gpu against that game’s system specs gets 20% better performance. We also see the 20% better performance from our laptop gpu when looking at the game Watch Dogs Legion 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 review laptop has 60Hz, 144Hz refresh rate versions available.
To get back some of those missing FPS on a AAA game we lower the game’s displayed screen resolution and get some stability in the game’s performance. This is usually a last resort for gamers though and not the sort of action taken by someone who has just shelled out for a new 4K laptop. Lowering down from a native 4K resolution, perhaps to 1080p or 1440p ups the game’s FPS but veering from the native 4K resolution leaves a game looking blurry. Definition of graphics drops and surely this puts forward the need to question someone’s choice for a 4K gaming laptop. 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.
4K streaming could be a viable reason to consider 4K over 1080p laptop panels.
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.
Today’s best priced 1440p gaming monitor, to work nicely with our Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2, would be the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS, which is priced at $294.99 and has a refresh rate of 75Hz. Our cheapest tracked price for the desktop 1440p monitor was $272.99, which we recorded on 5th Aug 2020.
Today’s most competitive 4K gaming monitor by price is Asus Predator XB273K 27 inch 4K GSYNC IPS 1ms 144Hz and could work well with the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop. It is priced at $829.99. We have noticed that this 4K monitor has raised its price by $799 recently. And while it is a good 4K monitor even at this current price, it could probably be found for a bit cheaper. Reviewing tracked prices for our suggested 4k monitor, its lowest price was recorded on 11th Aug 2020, where we spotted it for $797.05.
[Note - check that monitor display connectors are compatible between a monitor and a laptop before purchase]
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 still feel it's not the time to spend extra cash for the 4K gaming laptop due to the limitations laid out above. It would surely feel somewhat disappointing to boot up your new 4K laptop, only to then realise you have to drop down the resolution on modern titles to get them to run smoothly. And then see that anything you play is somewhat less sharp than you have seen on your older PC and capped at a maximum of 60FPS due to the usual 60Hz 4K screen tech.
Incidentally our price track research shows us that a good gaming mouse is the Kayinuo M738 Gaming Mouse 3200DPI wired 6 Buttons. Its price tag today is $11.99 and is topping our price tracking charts as a best value mouse. Over the past couple of weeks this mouse has dropped its price by $19, giving us extra confidence in matching it with today’s laptop as a good purchase. To give some extra insight into this mouse, we had it price tracked on 15th Aug 2020, where it was at its lowest price of $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|
Of our regular price tracked gaming headset the best value headset today is the HyperX Cloud Stinger. With its a current price of $47.14 it should work well with this Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop. Checking our records our lowest tracked price for this headset was on 12th Mar 2020 which had it priced at $25.98.