Alienware 15 R2 Review (Skylake, late-2015)

++ Main reason to consider:

Good package. Very good GTX 965M performance along with very good features, including very good thermals, very good keyboard, build quality and noise handling, Thunderbolt 3 USB-C which will be great for future eGPU and you won’t see in some other higer performance laptops.

-- Main reason to avoid:

For around the same price, you can get a GTX 970M equipped laptop which will be much faster, or GTX 960M for considerably less (check alternatives section) Price is on the problematic side currently, but look for new/refurbished deals and for $1100 or less this could be an excellent gaming machine I’d recommend.

Availability

Wait for coupons / outlet deals. Aim to $800-$1000 for the 965M version. Currently, the GTX 970M is available refurbished for around $1000-$1100 which is a very good deal:

Alienware 15 R2 basic version

Alienware 15 R2 GTX 970M version

 

Pro : + Very good gaming performance for 1080p gaming
+ Very good build quality with good hinges robustness
+ IPS display with good viewing angles and high enough contrast and brightness (but colors aren't great and brightness could be higher)
+ Thunderbolt 3 USB-C is future proof feature that may be useful for eGPU solutions
+ Very good thermals. No throttling at all or close to that
+ Very good colorful backlit keyboard, quiet and very comfortable to use
+ Storage options: 1xSata 3.0 + 1xM.2 PCIe v.3 x4 + 1xM.2 Sata
+ HDMI 2.0 and mDP
+ Slick looks
+ TPM 2.0 chip
+ "Killer" 802.11ac wifi card
+
Con : - Performance / Price ratio is not as good as some GTX 960M or 970M gaming laptops (Clevo P65X and Dell Inspiron 7559, for example)
- Soldered GPU and CPU. No replacement (but, really, eGPU will be nicer)
- Hard maintenance, opening the laptop fully is not easy.
- Screen quality in terms of color coverage is strangely mediocre, unlike the previous generation Alienware 15's display. I think it is an RMA issue
- Some 'hiss' when connecting headphones (unlike in previous generation AW15)
- Looks may be too showoff for some, with the alien head and all
- High weight of above 3.0kg
- No GSync
More Reviews :

    Introduction

    Alienware 15 R2 looks

    So, the new Dell Alienware 15 R2 is here. My version comes with the Nvidia GTX 965M GPU and the Skylake I5-6300HQ. The update from the previous generation is mostly the Skylake CPU and the thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. The new Skylake I5 is an excellent update since it is a 4Cores/4Threads CPU vs the 2C/4T in the Haswell version and it makes laptops much more ready for the future gaming. The thunderbolt 3 port, however, is even more interesting in my opinion, as it will allow for a serious standardize external GPU (or eGPU) – this feature is not unique and will be available in other laptops too.

    For $1200, it’s hard for the Alienware 15 R2 to stand above the competition, as for a little more you can get a Clevo laptop with a GTX 970M and an IPS too, so why did I get the Alienware 15 R2 for $1200 with a GTX 965M? Well, indeed, the GTX 970M version is much more cost effective in terms of gaming power / performance, but I wanted to test the cheaper version which I guesstimate will get cheaper in the near future, including many refurbished options. The previous generation Alienware 15 could be found for like $800 with one year warranty from Dell – this should be interesting for most. Moreover, the thunderbolt 3 is not available in the lower end Clevos, nor in the MSI GT72/s. Asus new G752 series does include it, though. So, my logic is, if you’d be able to get this laptop for like $800 and you’ll have the future proof Thunderbolt 3 gaming capabilities (given the manufacturers won’t implement some blocks), that could be an excellent gaming machine for a long long time.

    Other than that, it’s pretty similar to the first Alienware 15 (R1), with the same case, it seems, and same weight and dimensions.

    ComponentDescription
    ModelDell Alienware 15 R2
    PriceAs tested, $1200
    CPUIntel Skylake I5-6300HQ, 4C/4T, 2.3-3.2GHZ
    GPUNvidia GTX 965M 2GB GDDR5
    Motherboard / ChipsetAlienware Alienware 15 R2 / Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
    RAMHynix 2x4GB DDR4@2133MHZ
    StorageHDD : 1TB 7200RPM HGST HTS721010A9E630
    M.2 : 1xPCIe + 1xSata
    LCD PanelIn review: 1920x1080 IPS 156HL SDC4C48

    Weight / Dimensions3.207kg (~7.07 Lbs.)
    385.8 x 270.2 x 23.9-34 mm
    15.19" x 10.64" x 0.94-1.339"
    (w x d x h)
    KeyboardColorful backlit
    Connection PortsRight side: card reader, Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, RJ-45
    Left: power-in , 2XUSB 3.0, Lexington key, microphone/headphone, headphone/linein analog
    Rear: Alienware Amplifier port, HDMI 2.0
    Camera1080P
    WiFi / EthernetWiFi: Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 / Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 802.11ac
    Ethernet: Qualcomm/Atheros e2400 PCI-E
    Speakers / AudioKlipsch 2.0 speakers
    Battery92Wh
    Bios / EC version (test unit)1.1.5 /
    Extra features
    more details

    Build quality, Case, design and looks

    The case is the same, maybe minus very minor changes I can’t identify, so I’ll copy paste my last impressions from the first Alienware 15, which were very good:

    Mostly excellent, at least from the outside. The case itself is very firm at all points including the outer screen lid which protects the display panel itself. Hinges are firm too and generally I felt very good with this machine. I don’t about the inner parts, but that’s true to other laptops too. Hard drive or fan trembles are minimal and noise from Hard drive operation is also low. So, overall, the feel it very good.

    The points of concern is the usual gaps between the buttons where dust can get in. The more acute problem is that getting into the inner parts and the motherboard is a problem. More pictures and description below.

    Looks

    Again, same as the first AW15, as far as I can see and remember (which maybe is not enough). Please read

    Maintenance and inner parts

    As described before, the AW15 feeling is very good. I didn’t find cricking parts on the case and there is only very low noise of hard drive and fan operations, which means the inner parts are placed well and cared for.

    There is a maintenance panel on the bottom of the laptop. Removing it will reveal two memory banks (which is the total of them), the Wifi card and 1xSata 3. + 2xM.2 slots. However, it’s hard to really get to the motherboard. Disassembling the AW15 is quite a job, beyond the maintenance panel.

    Alienware 15 R2 motherboard

    The CPU and GPU are not replaceable and you cannot change the GPU or CPU later on, in a non-Clevo fasion. Broadwell update is not an option for AW15 owners. Both the CPU and GPU have a connected cooling system, shown here (from myfixguide.com):

     

    Keyboard and touchpad

    Seems to me like they are the same or very similar to the AW15 R1 keyboard and trackpad. Please read. In general, a very good and comfortable keyboard. One of the strongest parts of the AW15.

    Sound & Speakers

    Please read the previous AW15 speakers conclusion. One difference is that, one of the jacks is more noisy (like a ‘hiss’), seems to me. Use the other and define it via the Recon3D software. Though, generally, the previous AW15 I’ve tested had a better heahphone jack, in terms of background noise.

    General subjective performance experience

    The AW15 in its basic form comes with a 1TB 7200RPM HDD. That the same HGST HTS721010A9E630 we’ve seen in many many laptops that have a 7200RPM HDD.

    My experience was suboptimal with some sluggishness with the Windows 10 UI, but since I had it with several laptops now with Windows 10, I think it is related to Windows 10, including some bugs and stuff like that

    Otherwise, I’m pretty ok with the AW15. Here are GPU-Z and CPU-Z screenshots

     

    Gaming Performance

    Test Methods & Drivers

    OS : Windows 10, fully updated

    Drivers: Nvidia Geforce 358.50

    Synthetic 3D benchmarks

    3DMark performance – link to source:

    Alienware 15 R2 GTX 965M I5-6300HQ 3DMark p1 Alienware 15 R2 GTX 965M I5-6300HQ 3DMark p2

     

    Octane V2 benchmarks :

    Alienware 15 R2 GTX 965M I5-6300HQ Octane V.2

     

     

    Summarized gaming performance

    Alienware 15 R2 GTX 965M, I5-6300HQ 1080p benchmarks

    Nothing new really in terms of gaming performance – more or less the same GTX 965M performance levels we’ve seen in other benchmarks.

    And let’s compare the new Alienware 15 R2 with the Skylake I5-6300HQ (4C/4T) to the first generation with Haswell I5-4210H (2C/4T). Remember that except the sheer DX11/OpenGL gaming performance, there are other advantages to the Skylake CPU – better IPC, higher energy efficiency and a better iGPU with full 4K H.265 hardware decoding capabilities.

    AW15 R1 Haswell I5 vs AW15 R2 Skylake I5 1080p performance

    Anandtech showed that you’ll gain around 5-6% in IPC (Instructions per clock) compared to Haswell (link) and it shows, but in some games the gains are even higher than that, and it’s probably thanks to the real four cores compared to the Hyperthreading cores. These numbers are the same as in GTX 965M benchmarks with an Haswell I7 (link), So the IPC part is probably not that of a factor in this case.

    It is, however, interesting to see that the gains are not huge even though the 4 Skylake cores are much faster. This is, again, the same issue of DX11/OpenGL and also, the issue of being GPU-bottlenecked and not CPU-bottlenecked in large. The DX12 Ashes of Singularity benchmarks analysis over the web showed that AMD GPUs based on GCN architecture will actually gain a lot more from DX12/Vulkan, since they were actually underutilized in a serious way – the more advanced parallelism / Asynchronous computing capabilities of the GCN architecture were not really utilized (read more). So, when coupled with a GCN based card, you should see considerable gains – not that I know of such laptops, but, then again – eGPU.

    Crysis 3

    Same performance as in other GTX 965M benchmarks, including the first AW15 with an I5-4210H. However, the game felt smoother to me. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, though. I’d go with “high” preset and SMAAx2

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Crysis 3 GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Skyrim

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Skyrim GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Thief

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Thief GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Bioshock Infinite

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Bioshock Infinite GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Civilization : Beyond Earth

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Civilization Beyond Earth GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Total War : Attila

    The new iteration of Total War : Rome II, Attila is a much more demanding game and FPSs are much lower.

    Total War Attila GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Metro : Last Light

    Metro : Last Light is a very demanding game with AO and tessellation taking a lot of the GPU juice. It might be a matter of optimization too.

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Metro Last Light GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Battlefield 4 Campaign

    BF4 campaign benchmark

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Battlefield 4 Campaign GTX 965M 1080p BenchmarkAlienware 15 R2 Review : Battlefield 4 CPU and GPU clocks ultra 1080p

    Alien : Isolation

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Alien Isolation GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    World of Warships

    The new title from the series of “World of [some gun]” herladed by the popular World of Tanks.

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : World of Warships GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    World of Tanks

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : World of Tanks GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Elite : Dangerous

    The benchmark consisted on a traveling inside and out the Cleve Hub space port which is a taxing graphical environment compared to this game.

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Elite Dangerous GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Cities : Skylines

    This is a new “sim” game only new and much more fancy (link to steam) with vastly positive reviews from people (10/10 on Steam, for example). I run the Los Santos premade city (download here) and run with the camera from the airport to the hills with almost maximal zoom.

    Finally, the FPSs are not limited. Gameplay was very smooth. This is version 1.1.0b.

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Cities Skylines GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Shadow Of Mordor

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Shadow of Mordor GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Dragon Age : Inquisition

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Dragon Age Inquisition GTX 965M 1080p Benchmark

    Dota2

    The new Dota2. The characteristics of CPU and GPU usage are strange. Both are underutilized, so something is bottlenecking. But moreover, it doesn’t seem right that the CPU is so stressed in this game, especially since in many points in the game there isn’t a lot of action/effects. I suspect that the new Dota 2 engine is already being readies to Vulkan API and we are seeing here, actually, the different way things are working with Vulkan. We’ll see how my bet pan out.

    Alienware 15 R2 Review : Dota 2 GTX 965M 1080p BenchmarkAlienware 15 R2 Review : Dota 2 (New Engine) GPU and GPU usage 1080p

    Star Citizen

    Star Citizen acts strangely. The difference in FPS between “Medium” and “Very High” is not really that significant. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but it shouldn’t be like that.

    Dota 2 Reborn

    The new version of Dota 2, still in beta stage. Dota 2 Reborn is built on the new Source 2 3D Engine which also compatible with the Vulkan API (OpenGL DX12 alternative).

    Performance is very good.

    Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

    Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown from th rear ventilation holes.

    Four tests:

    1. Idle, power saver mode

    2. Gaming : Crysis 3 gameplay. “very high” settings with SMAAx2 For Crysis 3, “High performance” power mode.

    3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.

    4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1366×768 test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.

    Alienware 15 R2 temperatures

    The Alienware 15 can easily handle the I5-6300HQ + GTX 965M hardware even when maximal load takes place. It does it with rather low noise levels. Crysis 3 is also not a problem and remember that this is a 4C/4T chip, unlike 2C/4T I5-4210H in the previous version. You can safely go with a GTX 970M too. I wouldn’t do it, though, because as I said I’d look ahead for a TB3 eGPU.

    Alienware 15 R2 CPU and GPU Stress Prime95 Furmark GPU+135mhz Alienware 15 R2 CPU Stress Prime95

    Heat

    Same as the AW15. The Alienware 15 bottom gets a little warm, but nothing you could consider as a threat to your legs. The keyboard and palm rests temperatures remain quite low with little difference between gaming and idle states.

    Throttling

    The I5-6300HQ is a 45W TDP part and it barely scratches this, even when running Prime95 and Furmark. While running Battlefield, the readings were around 20-23W tops.

    Battlefield 4 CPU and GPU clocks ultra 1080p

     

    Except from some glitches in clock rate here and there, the clocks of the I5-4210H inside the AW15 are kept at 3.3-3.4GHZ which is very high.

    And a table:

    CPU throttle GPU throttle Idle
    No No Prime95
    No No Prime95 + furmark
    No No Battlefield 4 Campaign, Ultra@1080p

    Noise

    Under light load / watching movies you won’t hear a thing and the cooling system does a good job being quiet and efficient.

    Under high load or gaming, the Alienware 15 cooling system keeps it rather quiet too and far from the maximal fans speed. Generally, I’m very satisfied with the cooling and noise performance. Same as the AW15 R1, though I’m not sure it’s the same one.

    Screen & Screen quality

    The Alienware 15 R2 basic version comes with a 15.6″ 1080p IPS display, currently the model is unknown exactly according to HWInfo, marked as SAMSUNG SDC4C48 156HL [DELL P/N: 4NDDJ]. The display is quite bright and I’ve never used more than 50% brightness indoors – however, it seems that the readings are not that good, with rather low maximal brightness.

    Unfortunately, unlike the display in the first version of the AW15, this one has quite low color palette, topping ~61% sRGB, which is really low. At least, those are the Spyder4Elite reading.

    Viewing angles are rather good (stated 85 degrees), with colors and brightness at minimal distort:

    The medicore color readings are too strange and I’ll take it as an issue or some kind of problem with the display or my measurements. No sense that an IPS with good specifications will have such readings and I guess it could be replaced with warranty. Viewing angles and contrast are good.

    Other people have reported the same about the colors. However, re reading the luminence with xRite i1Display showed higher results then I previously thought : around 0.19 black and ~195cd/m^2 for white, both at maximal brightness settings, which results around 1:1000 contrast ratio with very good blacks.

    Alienware 15 R2 calibration file

    ContrastBrightnessBlack levels
    640 146 0.23
    sRGBadobeRGBNTSC
    61 46 44

    Battery Performance

    With a huge 92Wh battery, the AW15 can hold its breath for quite some time. Idling or doing really low load operations like reading some document with 30-40% display brightness will require only 9-12W (depends whether you turn off Wifi and backlit keyboard) and the AW15 energy supply will linger for around 8-9.5 hours.

    Running with a balanced power mode, browsing websites with chrome, running LibreOffice documents and all, you can squeeze a nice 6-7 hours of use (around 14W/h)

     

    Alienware 15 R2 Battery Performance

     

    GPU Overlocking

    I’ve used MSI AfterBurner to overclock the GPU. These are the settings:

    • GTX 965M core +135MHZ which is around 14% overclock.
    • GTX 965M GDDR5 + 300MHZ, going from 5GHZ to 5.6GHZ effective,  around 12% advantage.

    I had no stability issues.

    Alienware 15 R2 GTX 965M overclock 1080p performance

    Alienware 15 R2 CPU and GPU Stress Prime95 Furmark GPU+135mhz

    Temperatures are very good for the GPU, even when overclocked.

    Issues

    • I’ll regard the screen quality as an issue as the measurements are far away from the specifications for such a display and I see no reason that an IPS display will have such bad colors.
    • Hiss from the headphones jack, when connecting headphones

    Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

    • This is a current list which I won’t update probably, so it’s better to search again and look for discounts, even on the forums here.

      GTX 970M equipped laptops – just to get a notion of the prices. For around $1400-$1600 which is around 16-25% higher price, you can get 33% higher gaming performance. Not that it is needed to have fun, but I’m just saying.

      • Alienware 15 R2 GTX 970M version: $1650-$1700 with 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD + 16GB RAM (B&H, Amazon, Dell) or the basic version with 8GB RAM and no 256GB SSD from Dell. I guess there will be better deals
      • Clevo P65X variants with GTX 970M – for around $1300-$1500 from Amazon, XoticPC, Eurocom, Pro-Star and others
      • Dell Alienware 17 R3 17.3″ – around $1400-$1500 : with Skylake I7, GTX 970M (Amazon, B&H, Dell)

      However, the Clevos and even the MSI GT72S basic models have no Thunderbolt3 USB-C which I really prefer to have, for future eGPU (maybe)

      GTX 960M/965M alternatives:

      Generally, I tend to prefer a more modular machine currently – a TB3 or some other option (Oculink maybe in the future), would be nicer, in my opinion, then another 33% in gaming performance, if the price is right.

    Conclusion

    Well, the Alienware 15 R2 is an update for a very good gaming laptop, the first Alienware 15. It has a very good gaming performance, but also very good peripherals and extra features – very good and comfortable keyboard, good touchpad, good enough speakers, very good build quality, HDMI 2.0 + mDP, TPM 2.0, enough storage options including an 1xM.2 PCIe, Thunderbolt USB-C connection port and an IPS display (which is strangely mediocre in my specific laptop, but I don’t think it is a rule). The big battery and ok consumption levels in low loads result in a good battery performance of up to 8-9 hours for simple reading/office and 5-6 hours for normal use, browsing and running office application, with ease, even more. Add to that very good thermals and noise handling that and you get a very fun to use gaming laptop overall.

    The Thunderbolt3 USB-C might prove itself as a future proof for eGPUs, but it depends on Intel and stuff like that. Intel has showed off some external GPU devices, but we’ll have to see if and when an actual product will be available and for what price. I think there will be products available for it, personally. Even the MSI GT72S basic version and the lower end Clevo laptops (with 970M) have no TB3.

    The IPS display is strangely mediocre with below average color coverage (61% sRGB!), but good viewing angles and good brightness/contrast. I’ll check again with some other device and let you know. If the readings are correct, I think this is an RMA level issue and the display should be replaced because this series of panel have a much better specifications according to the manufacturer (Samsung), and a variance can’t explain it.

    However, the biggest issue for most will be the pricing. $1200 for a GTX 965M, when for $200-$300 more you can get a GTX 970M and an I7, even from the same series, makes this model with a 965M not the most cost effective. I would suggest waiting for new/refurbished deals. The previous model could be bought for like $800 with an I5 and 965M from Dell. Personally, I’d wait to see how it goes with the TB3 eGPU field and then decide.

    About the Skylake I5-6300HQ and Nvidia GTX 965M. The Skylake I5-6300HQ is unlike the previous generation’s I5-420YX because it is a 4C/4T and not 2C/4T CPU. It means it has a lot more compute power and it is more ready for future applications/games. I wouldn’t feel any need to get the I7 upgrade which means also more heat. The Skylake I5 will be also future proof when coupled with a powerful eGPU. The GTX 965M has a known gaming performance which is very adequate for 1080p gaming at high graphics settings for most games, including stuff like Crysis 3 and Battlefield 4. You can add to that the GPU overclocking headroom this laptop has for both core and GDDR5. We saw some nice gains in some games which closes the gap between it and the 970M a little.

    So, bottom line, this is a very good machine in my opinion, even more than the previous model (except for the IPS quality glitch), but I’d suggest waiting to see how things go in the eGPU field and I’d wait for deals/coupons. For like $1100 I’d say it is a very robust deal and for less it could be considered an excellent deal, in my opinion.

    * I’ll just add that the Alienware Amplifier can be purchased for around $120-$130 from eBay, and this will allow you to connect a desktop GPU like the a second hand 290X to this laptop. It is now a more reasonable solution than it was before because the I5-6300HQ is a 4C/4T CPU which is much more adequate for high performance GPUs. I would prefer it to be open-source and standard solution, plus connected to a $500 laptop, not $1200, but that’s a good option for the future as well.

    Bye!!

    .

    • DR Manuel

      Hi there! Really impressive rewiew!
      The thing is that i´m thinking on buying this laptop (1299€ with a coupon). The hardware seems enough for me, but there is the option of getting the 970m/6700h version for +150€, which is really good value. However, I don´t think I need so much power, my only concern is whether the 965m would be obsolete too soon. would be the 970m a better option to get a more long-lasting hardware?
      Thnks in advance!

      • Well, at this point I’d wait – the new stuff should start popping up soon. Also, the AW15 R2 is a good option to consider since it has the Amplifier option and a TB3, but we still don’t know whether Dell will enable eGPUs solutions with it

    • Piash Ghosh

      Hello Junky,
      I like your reviews a lot and therefore decided to have your opinion before I go ahead and purchase my first gaming laptop.

      I was considering this base model of the AW 15 R2 with 965M which retails here in India for about INR 110,000 (USD 1,650). However, I very recently got an offer from a Dell rep that he can give me an AW 15 R1 with Haswell i7 and 980M for about INR 120,000 (USD 1,800). NOT REFURBISHED.

      Now even though the GPU is overkill for me, I’m thinking of getting the latter as I’m getting a quad core i7, 16 GB RAM, a better IPS display and a 4GB 980M for just USD 150 more. Also, with a 980M, I don’t think I’d need the TB3 port of the AW 15 R2.

      However, my only worry is the heating. Do you think the 980M being very power hungry would heat up a lot during long gaming sessions ? I don’t plan to use it on my lap while gaming, but do you think the keyboard and touchpad area would get too hot (a little warm is fine) ? Would I need to look for some external cooling solutions like cooling pads or USB fans ?

      Other online reviews say that even though it’s a 15″ laptop, it handles the 980M quite well. What do you think ?

      • Hi!

        Maybe you could get an AW15 R1 with 965M for lower price and then add the Alienware amplifier? what do you think about that?
        The I7 + 980M could indeed be a lot of heat. I don’t think the keyboard will get “too” hot, but it will get hotter. I had no real problem with 965M + I5, though

        • Piash Ghosh

          Thanks for replying. 🙂
          Dell India hasn’t released the AW 15 R1 with the 965M in India. Only the 970M and 980M were released. Of which, the 970M isn’t available anymore. Also, they didn’t release the Graphics Amplifier here yet !! 🙁

          • 1. you can buy the amplifier from someone on eBay, used or refurbished
            2. I think you’ll have warranty if you’ll get an Alienware from the US, say. No?

            • Piash Ghosh

              1. I searched for one at eBay.in. No results shown. I can still get one from the internstional site, but don’t you think the shipping and customs will charge a lot ?
              2. Yes, I’ll just have to transfer the warranty. But none of my relatives from there are coming any time soon, and I need a laptop urgently for college. :/

              • 1. are you still there?
                2. Maybe you’d want to go with the Dell 7559 refurbished for $650?

    • Nipun Kumar

      hello junky, wanted to know whether the dota 2 issue is still there after the updates ?

      • don’t have the laptop no more, but as far as my understanding goes, many people have problems with the new Dota2, even with very high performance systems..
        Probably will get fixed sometime

        • Nipun Kumar

          I have an option between this model and a clevo p750 dm which has a gtx 970 m(6gb variant) in it. What do you recommend from your experience?

          • For the same price?

            • Nipun Kumar

              yes…the clevo comes with a desktop grade i5 nd a 970m

              • you are not talking about the US, right?

                • Nipun Kumar

                  this thing is available to me in india..what say is aw 15 worth it ? can it be upgraded?

                  • The AW15 can’t be upgraded, except with an eGPU (TB3 of Alienware Amplifier)
                    Are you sure you want such expensive laptops? I know gaming laptops in India are not cheap

                    • Nipun Kumar

                      i got no choice….options are very limited here…so i thought it’d be best to invest in an aw coz of decent performance and some good life for d machine…also d better customer service of dell..which one of the two would you recommend?

                      • well, I think the P750 has better thermals..
                        We are talking about the latest versions? AW15 R2 and P750ZM with Skylake?

                      • Nipun Kumar

                        the aw is d same as in dis review and d clevo has an i5 skylake 8gigs ddr4 ram and an nvidia gtx 970m…d barebone is labelled as clevo p 750dm

                      • What, with GTX 965M? no, go with the Clevo then..

    • SanJoE

      Any update on the alienware display issue ? Everything checks out but the display and I would like to know if RMA was possible on getting that type of screen.

      • You talk about the quality?

        • SanJoE

          Yeah as I saw few people getting LG displays or better Samsung displays after talking with the support team, hence I wanted to know if that is a possibility.

          • Well, I didn’t follow this issue – where did you see? any link?

            All I saw for the 1920×1080 non-touch is the Samsung I got

            • SanJoE
              • seems like the Samsung one is the same one we know which isn’t that great, no?
                The LG, which is used in many other laptops suddenly in some variation, is nice indeed (but maybe not great)

                Anyway, if you like the machine but don’t like the display, you can change it

                Do you already have the R2? did you see there is a discount? the version with a GTX 970M for $1200

                • SanJoE

                  No I didn’t buy it yet, I was having second thoughts on 1080p model, while the 4K model has a great IGZO display with >90srgb and adobe srgb I think.

                  Well I think I will buy the 1080p model and change the display if needed.

                  PS. The 1200$ model is just core i7 with gtx 965 , there are no 970 offers below 1450

                  • because it is over now 🙁
                    Yes, I think replacing the screen yourself is better

          • I read the thread and it seems I don’t understand – asked there what’s going on
            Also, seems like I need to be more proactive and try and talk to the tech support teams with each laptop I get

    • ozaq

      Hi, I made a comment here yesterday, did someone delete it?

      • Hi Ozaq! Ofcourse I didn’t delete your comment!

        About the SSD – would you prefer an M.2 PCIe or M.2 Sata? Does it matter to you?

        • ozaq

          Yay! thanks bro!. Feels good to be heard.
          AHahaa, I don’t know. I’ll buy whatever you recommend 😉 .. your recommendations have worked great for me so far.

          I just want a flash hard drive for my boot drive. (hopefully not TOO expensive).
          The objective is booting off of it. I’ve read up on this, apparently some issues with m.2 size drives. Some of them wont allow you to boot (boot drivers on the alienware or something).

          So, just any flash drive which I can fit in which I can later boot windows from and use for cacheing my games. I hear PCIE would be faster. And would be better long term too – for raid and stuff.

          So recommend away. I’ll take anything. (keep in mind, I’m going to run back here for help when the I transfer boot drives 😛 )

    • Shiba

      Is there any confirmation from dell regarding the poor screen quality? The poor screen quality makes me refrain from getting one 🙁

      • Well, mine was poor and you can check notebookreview thread too – some say the same, but maybe it is the exception and also, not sure the panel will remain the same..

    • OmgMan

      Hey man nice review, i’m actually considering buying this laptop when i can get one at a cheaper price than $1200 (maybe $1100 hopefully even $1000), I really want the tb3 port for futureproofing but do you think the skylake i5 will become much of a bottleneck?(Even tho i read your review i am still curious). Also compared to an i7 4C/8T do you think the i5 feels much different performance wise?
      Also some constructive feedback: While I do share the same views as you about most of the points about this laptop (TB3, pricing and availability etc) I think you mentioned TB3 and egpus a bit too much throughout the review, almost as if you were forcing your ideals on the reader. Just something to consider 🙂

      • Hi again!

        1. You won’t feel any difference between a Skylake I5 and an I7 Skylake/Broadwell/Haswell. Even the DX12 Ashes of Singularity sees no difference above 4 cores, maybe even 3.
        2. The AW specifically has its amplifier, so you can use it instead of the TB3. If you can get the AW15 R1 for considerably lower price, that’s a good option
        3. Yes, maybe I’ve mentioned it too much, I indeed was thinking about eGPUs at the time of writing (-: However, it is annoying that companies make you buy stuff that is not really good for you. It’s worse in the health department and drugs and stuff like that, but still. You do see what I mean?
        It is not related to the AW in specific, but how can you review a laptop without mentioning it? I mentioned it also because I did like the AW15 as a gaming laptop

        • OmgMan

          I was also considering getting an r1 laptop for the egpu amplifier but that thunderbolt 3 port is calling me 😂

          • I think they have roughly the same bandwidth, but I’m not sure

            • OmgMan

              The performance difference between the amplifier and a tb3 egpu shouldn’t be much(as I plan to buy a used r9 290x); but the future proofing the tb3 port can provide is more appealing to me than the amplifier provided by alienware. Just imagine hotplugging one cable while your laptop is on and obtaining a full desktop setup while at home!

              • I meant, maybe the R1 amplifier has lower bandwidth. I guess the new one is the same. Just wait few months and get it refurbished for like $800-$900

                • OmgMan

                  That I plan to do! Just the wait is killing me 🙁 but I do know refurbished/cancelled orders alienware laptops pop up on sale around January/February , hell maybe I can even get a 17 r3 for $1100 (fingers crossed)

                  • probably you could, but I’d go with the cheapest option

    • Yughred

      I just want to get a refund given such a shitty screen. Maybe I will switch to the 17″ version or maybe not, depends on the attitude of Dell customer service.

    • Zarfol

      The skylake i5, 4c/4t is a nice upgrade for those wanting the amplifier. The amplifier can be had for ~$175 (the alienware one), and a Radeon 290x can be had for $270. You would still get good performance on the go as well, and the I5 will be good for another 5 years at the rate processors are improving. Too bad the Alienware 15 weighs a ton and depends on how much travel vs. how much you are sitting at a desk at home.

      • Does the Amplifier include a PSU?
        And yes, the Amplifier isn’t that of a bad option, but I don’t like that it is proprietary. I would wait to see what TB3 solutions pop up
        I guess you can even get it for less from eBay:
        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Alienware-Graphics-Amplifier-2KXY4-9R7XN-Alienware-13-15-17R2-Laptop-/281813365203?hash=item419d62b1d3:g:Ty0AAOSw9r1WCwzz

        The PSU and GPU will remains the same even if you switch to another eGPU solution, so it’s not that bad really

        • Zarfol

          Yep, Amplifier comes with a 430watt PSU, so you could put in almost any graphics card (maybe barring the 295×2). Apparently the PCIE 4x “bottleneck” is non-existent, as tested by numerous sources. You also get 4 USB ports which is nice I guess.

          • Yes, the PCIe V.3 x4 is barely a bottleneck even for very high end GPUs, but it also depends whether you are using an external display (connected directly to the GPU) or not
            Anyway, it is not bad, but also not great, with TB3/Oculink/others
            And I won’t be surprised to see TB3Oculink adapter either

            Definitely a solution. I do want, however, to see powerful iGPUs too, in a $400 laptop

      • Added your insight to the conclusion, thanks!