Laptop announced date: 1st January 2020
Last reviewed: 20th July 2020
Today's gaming laptop review, for the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB 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 M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 good as a gaming laptop? Excellent
Processor - The Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz is an excellent gaming CPU for 2020. 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 - With the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card this is an excellent gaming GPU for 2020 AAA gaming Dont underestimate the importance of your GPU VRAM in modern gaming. Fortunately this GPU has 8GB, making it an excellent gamers choice of GPU.
System Memory - This system memory, 16GB, is excellent for meeting 2020 AAA game requirements.
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 - Refresh rates can be hard to see, when the laptop reseller doesn't make it clear. Assume 60Hz if this is the case. Ideally for a gaming laptop you want 120Hz. This means the games you run can get up to 120 frames per second, assuming the hardware inside them is powerful enough to deliver that FPS. The refresh rate caps a games deliverable FPS even if the hardware can deliver more FPS than the Hz. This laptop can be picked up with a refresh rate of 144Hz option. It is an excellent gamers choice for screen refresh rates.
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, Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion in ultra graphics settings on its native 1080p resolution. The GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q in this machine is currently capable of running 497 games at minimum system requirements of the 500 most demanding games available today. Where as it is capable of running 451 games of the top 500 most demanding recommended system requirements.
Stepping into it, we can standardise our assessment of this Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop review by giving every laptop a relative price to performance rating. This rating, for all laptops, will adjust over time and keep the data in this review relevant to today's expectations and inline with ever increasing game demands of modern AAA laptop gaming.
This laptop gets a 5.2 for P2P. This laptop’s configuration, when compared to its own Alienware M17 R2 lineup, is currently placed at 6th once we order it by the price to performance figure. Obviously scoring towards the 1st position is preferable.
Show Laptop Specifications
|Processor||Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 2666MHz|
17.3" 1920x1080 (1080p)
Available refresh rates: 60Hz, 144Hz
Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 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||72%|
|i7-9750H RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 256GB M.2||$1699.99||65%|
|i7-9750H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2||$2069.99||37%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 512GB M.2||$2419.99||23%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2070 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2||$2569.99||16%|
|i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2||$3119.99||0%|
How about we compare our Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 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 ($986.99) and our laptop is 214% worse if we directly compare the price to performance rating against that best hardware performance to value 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 M17 R2 laptop currently has 191% worse Price to Performance rating against this 2nd best model.
CPU performance is always going to be something we are interested in, when looking to buy a new laptop. So if we compare this Alienware M17 R2 laptop to a CPU focused laptop, we will pick today’s top CPU performing laptop at the cheapest price point, then we can use this as a good measuring point for our laptop in question. The CPU performance laptop we picked today is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 R9 4900HS RTX 2060 Mobile 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 1440p. Its processor is the Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-Core 3.0GHz which delivers 24% better performance when stacked against our own review laptop’s Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz.
A quick review of the number of games our laptop processor can run at recommended requirements is 494, taken from the top 500 most demanding games today. For min cpu specs this figure for number of games it can run is 500.
Games these days have a range of processor requirements so let's look at a few popular games of today, and check our laptop CPU against the games recommended requirement. First off, Cyberpunk 2077 and our laptop processor gets 34% better performance rating. Next we have Watch Dogs Legion where our CPU gets 34% better performance and finally another popular title at the moment is Assassins Creed: Valhalla, which has a performance difference of : 34% better, when put against our laptop’s Core i9-9880H 8-Core 2.3GHz.
One of the most important focuses of a gaming PC is the graphics card and our review laptop is certainly no different. As such we will want to know how well our Alienware M17 R2 laptop performs in the graphical visuals area compared to what is available on the current laptop market. A great way to consider this is by putting it into a comparison against a well priced laptop that has the most powerful laptop GPU around at the moment, and then we can review its performance against that top graphics card laptop. We choose the MSI GT76 Titan i9-10900K RTX 2080 64GB RAM 2.0TB M.2 4K laptop as one of the best GPU laptop performers today to compare graphics ability with our laptop. This puts a GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB video card from that laptop, one of the best laptop graphics cards available at the moment, against our review laptop’s GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. This comparison shows that laptop to be 36% better comparably in performance as our review laptop.
Interestingly we can see 451 games recommended system requirements are lower in performance than our laptop’s GPU performance capability. This is when we look at the top 500 most demanding games around today. For minimum system requirements in this same area the number is 497 games are worse than our GPU performance, again looking at the top 500 most demanding minimum system requirements.
But the real test is seeing how well the laptop GPU performs against today's popular games. Our GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q compared against recommended graphics requirements for Cyberpunk 2077 delivers 35% better performance while against Watch Dogs Legion it’s 35% better and finally compared to Assassins Creed: Valhalla it has a performance difference : 35% better.
The Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 has a physical 17.3" screen size and a fixed number of pixels in that screen of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall, or 1080p resolution. So is it ok to go for a 1080p laptop like this one or should I be considering a 4K screen resolution laptop instead of this? 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 a bigger refresh rate helping your FPS this Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 has 60Hz, 144Hz screen refresh rate variants available.
It would be more likely that we would have to lower the AAA game resolution to 1080p or maybe 1440p and by doing so get back some of the FPS to a playable level. But by doing this the game moves away from its native 4K resolution and starts to look unclear. A 1080p laptop can still have some powerful gaming hardware in it and if it is good enough to run AAA games at larger resolutions like 4K or 1440p then attach it to a desktop monitor while you are at home and stationary. If the desktop monitor is pretty good then it wont have a 60Hz refresh rate limiting its FPS count in game. And is likely to be a whole lot more enjoyable playing on a 24 inch or larger monitor than the more standard 15 or 17inch screen normally found on gaming laptops.
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.
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 wanted a desktop monitor to go with the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop then this ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27 inch 1440p 75Hz 5ms IPS would go well and has 75Hz and today’s price of $294.99. To help you get a bit more insight into the pricing trends of this 1440p monitor, we have price tracked this monitor and saw its lowest price recorded at $272.99, which was taken 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 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 laptop. It is priced at $829.99. This 4K monitor, during these past couple of weeks, has increased its price by $799. It’s still a solid purchase to accompany this laptop but it means you may find it for even cheaper at the moment, if you look around. The cheapest we have tracked this 4k monitor was for the price of $797.05, on 11th Aug 2020.
[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.
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.
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. This mouse has also dropped its price by $19 during the past two weeks, which is a solid reason for us to select it with this laptop. Our mice price tracker had this mouse marked at its lowest price on 15th Aug 2020, where it cost $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|
A good value gaming headset available at the moment, one that should go well with the Dell Alienware M17 R2 i9-9880H RTX 2080 Max-Q 16GB RAM 1.0TB M.2 is, HyperX Cloud Stinger with a price of $47.14. For reference, our lowest tracked price for this headset was on 12th Mar 2020 and it was priced at $25.98.