Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition hands-on: One of the most powerful laptops of 2022

A gaming laptop built for hardcore gamers

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Early Verdict

The Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition is a monstrous gaming laptop tailor-made for hardcore gamers. Its power and performance could make it one of 2022's most impressive laptops.


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    Large 17.3-inch display

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    Multiple configurations featuring AMD CPUs and GPUs

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    Sturdy and stylish design


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    Higher-end configurations will likely be very expensive

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The Alienware M Series of gaming laptops prioritize power and wattage to let gamers experience their favorite games with high frame rates and maxed-out graphics settings. This ethos is exemplified by the Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition (from $1,599). Billed as the world’s most powerful 17-inch AMD Advantage laptop, this is a gaming rig built specifically for the hardcore player.

In collaboration with AMD, the Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition has an architecture that combines AMD Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics options – along with AMD Smart Technologies such as AMD SmartShift MAX, SmartAccess Memory and SmartAccess Graphics. The latter is a first for any laptop.

The large 17-inch display lets you experience games in exquisite detail while the slick design makes you feel like you’re playing on a rig from another planet. This laptop is so impressive it may find a spot in our best gaming laptop list.

Here are our initial impressions of the Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition gaming laptop.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Specs 

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
Pricefrom $1,599
Display17.3 inches FHD (165Hz, 3ms); 17.3 inches FHD (320Hz, 1ms); 17.3 inches (4K, 3ms
CPUAMD Ryzen 7 6800H, AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX, AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB), Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB), Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series Laptops Graphics, AMD Radeon RX 6700M (10GB), AMD Radeon RX 6850 XT (12GB)
RAM8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB (single storage configurations), 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB (dual storage configurations)
Ports1 Ethernet port, 1 global headset jack, 3 Type-A USB ports, 1 Power/DC-in port, 2 Type-C USB, 1 HDMI output port
Size11.76 x 15.64 x 1.05 inches
Weight7.3 pounds

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Release date and price 

The Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition will release in Spring 2022 with a starting price of $1,599. The base model features a 17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 165Hz 3ms display, an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, 8GB of DDR5 RAM and 256GB of SSD storage.

If you want more power, you can upgrade to the configuration featuring a 17-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) 120Hz 3s display, an AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT GPU, 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage. There is no listed price for this specific configuration but, given the specs, don’t expect it to be cheap.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Design 

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition design

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Alienware m17 R5 embodies the brand’s name by appearing like something designed by extraterrestrial engineers. It's one of the most impressive-looking laptops you’re bound to find.

At 11.76 x 15.64 x 1.05 inches, its large profile is made to catch one’s attention. The “Dark Side of the Moon” color chassis is based on Alienware’s Legend 2.0 industrial design language and is constructed with copper alloy thermal components. The Alienware and m17 logos emblazoned on the laptop also give it a slick appearance.

This is one laptop you'll want to use at home, that is unless you don't mind carrying an extra 7.3 pounds around in your backpack. The m17 R5 is a hefty beast.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Keyboard and touchpad 

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition keyboard

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

All configurations have 1.8mm key travel spanning a 1-zone AlienFX backlit keyboard. There are also configurations with a per-key AlienFX backlit keyboard and a CherryMX ultra low-profile mechanical laptop keyboard with per-key AlienFX lighting. I didn’t test out the configuration with the mechanical laptop keyboard but the standard keys provide a satisfying amount of resistance when pressed. The keys feel good enough for gaming and for everyday typing.

I didn’t have much time to test out the trackpad but it was responsive enough when browsing through apps on the display.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Display 

The base m17 R5 has a large and vibrant 17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 165Hz 3ms display. As stated above, you can opt to get a rig featuring a 17.3-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) 120Hz 3s display. Full HD panels feature up to 300-nits of brightness and 100% of the sRGB color gamut. UHD panels have up to 500-nits of brightness and 100% of the Adobe color gamut. All display configurations come with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certification and provide an HDR visual experience.

Every model features ComfortView Plus, which is a hardware-based low blue light technology that doesn’t degrade picture quality. This feature will lessen eye strain during long gaming sessions.

I’m a fan of gaming laptops with big screens and the m17 R5 satisfies that preference. Though I didn’t see games running when checking out the laptop, I was still impressed by the display’s crispness and its color representation. The low response time and Nvidia G-Sync feature will no doubt make gaming look and feel great.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Ports 

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition ports

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The left side of the laptop has a global headset jack and an RJ-45 Realtek Ethernet port. Note that the 2.5Gbps Ethernet port option is not available for configurations with the RTX 3050 Ti GPU. The 1Gbps Ethernet port is only available with 3050 Ti graphics card models. Two Type-A USB 3.2 gen 1 ports (one with PowerShare) rest on the right side.

The back of the unit is where you’ll find the power/DC-in port, an HDMI 2.1 port, two Type-C ports and a Type-A USB port.

I’m surprised to see more Type-A USB ports than USB-C ports since the latter is effectively the standard nowadays. But given the number of external devices with Type-A USB connectivity, this isn’t a detriment.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Performance 

The m7 R5 only packs AMD processors but you’ll have three options to choose from. The starting model features an AMD Ryzen 7 6800H (8-core/16 thread, 20MB cache, up to 4.7 GHz max boost) CPU. Other options include an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX (8-core/16 thread, 20MB cache, up to 4.9 GHz max boost) CPU and an AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX (8-core/16 thread, 20MB cache, up to 5.0 GHz max boost) processor.

In terms of memory, the base model features 8GB of DDR5 RAM. Additional configurations feature 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB of RAM. You’ll also find two DDR5 SO-DIMM memory slots.

This laptop introduces AMD’s SmartAccess Graphic technology. According to Dell, this feature enables top performance and preserves battery life for high-performing gameplay. There is a considerable amount of power under the hood of even the base model so we’re eager to run the laptop through our benchmark tests to see what it is truly capable of.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition side

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Battery life and charging 

The base m17 R5 model has a 64 Whr lithium-ion battery. Other configurations can have up to a 97 Whr lithium-ion battery.

There are five distinct power states to choose from, according to one’s needs. This includes Full Speed (max power), Performance mode (graphics priority), Balanced Mode (balanced CPU/GPU), battery save mode, and Quiet mode (acoustics priority).

Dell says the m7 R5 has a long battery life but we’ll see how long the laptop truly lasts when we can test it for ourselves.

Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition: Outlook 

As a gamer, I’m excited to get my hands on the Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition. The amount of power tucked under the hood is extremely impressive and should deliver the kind of AAA gaming experiences I seek. The 17.3-inch screen is another aspect that excites me since I want to see every juicy detail produced by the powerful AMD graphics cards.

The only drawback I can foresee with this laptop is the price of higher-end models. $1,599 for the base model alone may be too much for the average gamer. I can only imagine how much beefier rigs will cost. With that said, those who can afford the more expensive models should get their money’s worth.

The Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition is clearly a gaming laptop made by gamers, for gamers. It may indeed land in our best gaming laptops of 2022.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.