Dell Alienware Area 51M Laptop, 17.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz G-Sync Tobii Eye, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9700K, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB SSHD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, Windows 10 Home
I have never had a laptop for games. This is my first. I have always been a PC player and console. As I have a son and several animals, I have all my games in my human cave (doing tail stereotypes here, hahaha). It is a small and medium room with my LG C8 OLED TV, Samsung Q90R sound bar, PS4 Pro, a gaming PC, an Ultrawide monitor, etc. After a while it may sound a little tight (and hot!). I always wanted a laptop, but I never responded. I saw this alienware as an opportunity to free myself from the game room. If I want to play something, just put it on the kitchen table or in the bedroom and I’m still with the family instead of being isolated.
I have had two Alienware desktop computers in the past. My first (around 2005) was an Aurora-style desktop PC (I don’t remember the exact name of the model) and the other was a small form factor PC from Area 51 that I got around 2014. Problems of both. Area-51 died from nowhere after a few years, so now I have my current desk, which was made especially by another company, and I had no problems with it and I love it. After my Area-51, I swore that I would never have an Alienware product again.
So here I am with this new Alienware M17 R2 system … full of regret. I will begin this review by saying: I will never have an Alienware PC in my life. Even if it were free. This review will be different from most of the others, since I not only check the PC but also Alienware and my experience with them in the short time I have this system. I mean, when you buy Alienware, you end up buying a “premium” brand, a patented configuration and its (abysmal) support that accompanies it.
Let’s talk about the laptop itself. Hardware will be the only positive thing this review has to offer. It has a 9th generation Intel i7 processor, a solid state drive with 512 GB M.2, 16 GB of RAM and an RTX 2070 graphics card with 8 GB of RAM. I would like to add that RAM is soldered to the motherboard and is NOT updatable. The screen is also super nice: 17 “with a refresh rate of 144 Hz and excellent viewing angles. It also has a built-in webcam and Tobii Eye Tracking. The keyboard is certainly one of the best I’ve felt on a laptop and I love all the RGB spectrum it has. On the back, the frame has lighting, as well as the alien head. Inside, the power switch also has the shape of an alien head (nice touch!) and changes the colors while using it, it shows the battery level Setting it up when I turned it on for the first time was very easy and I was able to use the voice-controlled settings at approximately 90%. As soon as I got to Windows, I started Windows updates It immediately handles all patented Alienware updates, such as special drivers, the Command Center and other software and … especially the BIOS s is executed utó and was updated without any problem.
Now … I’ve installed everything else I use, like Steam, Blizzard Launcher, Epic Games Store, etc. After that (there are no games installed at this time) I still have about 400 GB of storage space. In math, depending on what you’re playing, it’s about 4-6 games. Fornite requires 60 GB, Destiny 2 81 GB, WoW 70 GB. These three games only occupy half of the remaining space. Before doing anything else, I like to go to my best local purchase and buy a $ 215 Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB M.2 SSD after watching on YouTube, etc. others have used it and it was the most recommended M.2 SSD And this is where all the problems began …
I opened the back of the laptop (which was a problem after unscrewing it), and there was the empty M.2 slot next to the 512GB primary drive that came with the system. Easy enough Insert it, carefully fix the back panel and screws, and turn it over to turn it on. In summary, after removing and reinserting the disk about 3-4 times and performing more software updates for the system (BIOS is one of them), I finally got Disk Manager to recognize it. If it was formatted as a single volume unit, the space will be used completely and will be called “game.” But wait! Now I receive messages in the Windows Notification Center asking what I want to do with the “removable disk”. It is not removable! It is an internal M.2 hard drive. Now AutoPlay notifies me constantly and asks me this. It is annoying and … why does it do it? Even if you right-click on the “This PC” drive, you will see an automatic playback option that should not happen.
So, my terrible experience begins between October 2, 2019 and October 3, 2019 with Alienware, which gives me 2 days (and persistent) headaches, really. I call Alienware and after some questions, p. B. What kind of disk I use and where I got it, they refused to help me because the system was not preconfigured with this disk and I bought it from a third party (not them), they don’t admit it to help with that. Then I call Samsung. I am advised to go to the BIOS and change the RAID SATA support (for which RAID profiles are not specified, since initially it was only a single SSD) to AHCI. I do that and start over: blue screen with the inscription “Inaccessible boot device” (or something in this regard). So I have to change it back to RAID so that it starts correctly in Windows. Samsung recommends reinstalling Windows and assigning drives to AHCI at this point to see if this solves the problem. The problem with this is that I am losing all Alienware proprietary software, C: disk partitioning, etc., what I don’t want to do … Then I call Microsoft. They say there is a problem with the way Alienware assigned the ports / drives and I have to call them to reassign my drives. I told the Microsoft agent that this will not happen: the refusal to help me. Then he said, well, it’s his proprietary configuration that is causing it, isn’t it? Yes …
Since then, I called Alienware twice and got the same answer, even an email from them a few days later with the same answer. The only thing that sets me apart is that “Samsung units are not compatible with Alienware systems,” which surprised me completely. They said they didn’t know why their customers always get Samsung and would have problems if literally any other brand worked. In any case, they refuse to do anything for me. So … I’m like … let me call Alienware Sales and just order ** YOUR ** 1TB SSD and I will simply return this Samsung for a refund; This way, they MUST help me if I have problems. After telling the sales representative what I wanted, he put me on hold for 10 minutes. I choked and told him I was crazy! Start arguing with me about “Well, our record will work.” NO … ALL units should work, you’re just forcing me to buy your unit for double the retail value, I assumed. After hanging up, he called me 10 minutes later and told me he could sell me a Samsung Evo for good price. I told him that this is the same unit I have problems with and they refuse to help me, and I told him that it is incompatible. Then he says: “Well, if they told you, they would take their word” … then continue … “You know this is a PC GAMING, right? Samsung is for professionals, not for games, so it won’t work.” I immediately called Bull and then asked him why he called me to sell me an incompatible record and that he was only contradicting himself. He cut the call.
So here I sit and write this review. Angry for everything. I ordered an ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB drive from Amazon that will be here today (yes, Sunday) because the only units my local Best Buy has are the Samsung Evo “Professional … no gaming” are (* roll your eyes *)). My gaming desktop has Samsung Evo SSD! Aaaaargggghhhh. I hope ADATA works very well. If not, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I am caught between a rock and a hard place. Honestly, I’m done with all this drama and I haven’t even tried this system to the limit as I would have liked. I wanted to try many games, but very little space. I’m just … about that.
This rating is divided into two points. I give it a general / final rating of 2 stars:
4 stars for PC. The performance is great. With V-Sync, I have reached my maximum refresh rate of 144 FPS in the previous games I tried. Around 170 + FPS without V-Sync. Temperatures are stable and work quite well. Fans may get a little noisy from time to time when starting, but that’s to be expected. The build quality is quite high, but the back wall is difficult to remove. In addition, the Lunar Light color was supplied with some signs of wear or stains, so this special color / surface gets dirty very easily and has all the dust / dirt specifications.
1 star for the Alienware brand and unfortunately the associated support (I would give a zero here if I could). It is miserable at best, so I will NEVER have another Alienware, even if they gave it to me. I mean, be honest, you’re buying the brand and (* cough *) support. Invest your money in another brand that wants customer satisfaction and does not paste everything behind a “payment wall” of expensive proprietary hardware without any freedom as a consumer.