Alienware X15 and X17 unveiled — no gaming laptops have ever been this thin and powerful

Alienware unveiled today an entirely new line of gaming laptops known as X-Series, consisting of the Alienware X15 and Alienware X17. What’s so special about these laptops? They are the thinnest gaming laptops that Alienware has ever released, while simultaneously being among the most powerful, featuring the newest Intel 11th Gen H-Series CPUs paired with Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards.

Alienware completely reinvented its thermal engineering to yield this level of performance in such a small form factor. And raw power isn’t all you get with X-Series; both the X15 and X17 are based on the gorgeous Alienware Legend design, offer up to a 360Hz refresh rate displays with G-Sync, every port you can imagine, and exclusively on the X17, you get ultra-low-profile CherryMX switches.

Alienware’s X-Series looks like an absolute marvel of engineering and a new standard for thin gaming laptops. They seem poised to join our best gaming laptops rankings later this month, but check back in for a full review to see if they earn a spot.

Alienware X15 and X17 price and release date

The Alienware X15 and X17 are both available in limited configurations starting today at Dell and Best Buy (online and in-store at select locations), but full configurations will be available starting on June 15.

The Alienware X15 will start at $1,999 and the Alienware X17 starts at $2,099.

Alienware X15 and X17 design

Both the Alienware X15 and Alienware X17 feature Alienware’s new Legend industrial design, with the same look  we saw on the Alienware m15 R5.

The laptops feature a striking white finish with a stylized “15” or “17” on the back of the lid depending on the model along with the familiar Alienware logo in light blue. The back of the laptop features a prominent AlienFX lighting array comprised of 100 micro-LEDs on the X17 and 90 lights on the X15 in an oval that run the width of the laptops with custom lighting controls via Alienware Command Center.

Interior RGB lighting on the keyboard and the touchpad can be handled independently from the rear lighting to dazzle rival gamers while preserving your eyesight with a more subtle glow. That same principle is the reason behind the new “dark core” finish on the interior of the laptop which prevents any reflections or distractions on the interior of your laptop.

Ports are plentiful on both laptops with most found on the back to keep them out of your way. On the X15, you have a power port on the left and a headset jack on the right, while the back includes a USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 1 port, a USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 2 port, a Thunderbolt 4 port, a microSD slot and an HDMI 2.1 port. The X17 adds a second USB 3.2 Type-a Gen 1 port, a mini display port 1.4 and an RJ-45 Killer Ethernet port.

The Alienware X15 is 14.16 x 10.92 x 0.626 inches with FHD 360Hz or QHD panels. The FHD 165Hz panel bumps its thickness up to 0.642 inches. Weight similarly varies slightly at 5 pounds for the smaller configurations and 5.2 pounds for the larger.

The Alienware X17 is 15.72 x 11.79 x 0.823 inches for the FHD 360Hz panel. The FHD 165Hz and UHD panel increases that to 0.843 inches thick. The weight mirrors that with the larger model at 7.05 pounds and the smaller model at 6.65 pounds.

Of course, the real design magic of the Alienware X-Series is what’s going on inside with a new Alienware Cryo-Tech cooling tech based on a patented thermal interface created by Alienware using an Encapsulated Gallium-Silicone liquid metal compound. The above photo is a peek inside; the result of this is a 25% improvement over current thermal options with Alienware’s new fan design boosting this even further.

Alienware X15 and X17 keyboard

The standard keyboard found on both the Alienware X15 and X17 features per-key AlienFX lighting with 1.5mm of key travel and anti-ghosting tech. The Alienware X17 alone gets N-key rollover as well along with a second keyboard option in the CherryMX ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard with per-key AlienFX lighting, 1.8mm key travel and N-key rollover and anti-ghosting tech.

Alienware X15 and X17 display

Each laptop has a trio of display options available.

The Alienware X15 features a 15.6-inch display with FHD (1920 x 1080-pixel) resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate with 3ms response time or a 360Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response time. If you want to go higher resolution, a QHD (2560 x 1440-pixel) panel is available with a 240Hz refresh rate and 2ms response time.

The Alienware X17 gets a very similar set of options with either an FHD (1920 x 1080-pixel) panel at 165Hz refresh rate with 3ms response time or a 360Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response time. A higher-resolution panel slows you down a bit on the X17 with the UHD (2560 x 1440-pixel) option offering a 120Hz refresh rate with a 4ms response time.

The FHD panels get up to 300 nits of brightness and cover 100% of the sRGB color gamut on both laptops. The QHD display on the X15 peaks at 400 nits and covers 99% of the wider DCI-P3 color gamut while the UHD display on the X17 peaks at 500 nits of brightness and covers 100% of the color gamut.

Alienware X15 and X17 performance

Usually, to make a laptop thin, you have to sacrifice on performance, but that is exactly the problem Alienware looked to solve with the X-Series, and it’s hard to argue with the results.

Despite its impressively thin frame, the Alienware X15 and X17 are packed with absolute top-of-the-line components that should deliver second-to-none performance.  The base CPU configuration for each laptop is the Intel Core i7 11800H, which is an 8-core CPU that can get up to 4.6Ghz with Turbo Boost. The Alienware X15 gets the Intel Core i9-11900H CPU as its top option, which also has 8
cores with up to 4.9GHz with Turbo Boost. The Alienware X17 gets the Intel Core i9 11900HK, 8-core with up to 5.0GHz with Turbo Boost.

Both laptops can be configured with either  Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 graphics. On the Alienware X15, the GPUs have a TGP of 70W, 90W and 90W, respectively. The Alienware X17 steps this up to 115W, 125W and 150W, respectively.

Those can be paired with either 16GB or 32GB of 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM on either laptop or on the X17 you can upgrade to 32GB or 64GB DDR4 XMP 3466MHz RAM.

Storage options are identical on both laptops with single storage configurations ranging from 256GB up to 2TB of NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD and dual-drive non-RAID options at 512GB, 2TB, or 4TB of matched PCIe M.2 SSDs or a 512GB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD boot drive and 1TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD storage drive.

We have to wait to see it in action, but Alienware is also boasting about the performance enhancements possible due to that new thermal engineering. The quad-fan design paired with the new thermal materials, strategically placed venting, voltage regulation and Smart Fan controls are all working together to ensure the highest level of performance no matter how long you play.

Alienware X15 and X17 battery life

Alienware hasn’t offered battery life claims for either laptop yet, but both the Alienware X15 and X17 will feature an 87Wh battery.

On the subject of charging, both laptops have an optional Alienware 240W small form factor adapter or a traditional 330W charger.

Alienware X15 and X17 outlook

Of course, we need to see these laptops in action before we render judgment, but Alienware has certainly put together a compelling case for them as the most powerful thin gaming laptops available today.

The base pricing of $1,999 and $2,099 seems reasonable given the hardware, but with the level of customization possible, it will be interesting to see how high the price can go when fully specced out.

If Alienware has truly delivered what it claims with the thermal performance on these laptops, then the combination of the brand new Intel 11th Gen H-Series processors and up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics cards should easily make these the thin gaming laptops to beat and land them among the best gaming laptops of this year.

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