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Alienware’s sleek new Pascal-powered notebooks are ready for virtual reality (Updated)

By Koh Wanzi - on 18 Oct 2016, 10:08pm

Alienware’s sleek new Pascal-powered notebooks are ready for virtual reality

Alienware 15

Updated on 18 October 2016: The Alienware 15 and 17 will be available to buy in stores by the end of October. The Alienware 15 starts at S$2,399, while the Alienware 17 is going for S$3,999.

Originally published on 6 September 2016:

Alienware has announced a refresh of its Alienware 13, 15, and 17 gaming laptops, the company’s first ever line of VR-ready notebooks. As expected, the revamped models are powered by NVIDIA’s 10-series Pascal graphics cards, which as you’ll recall, are full-fledged desktop cards that feature minor tweaks to run in notebooks.

While the new laptops look rather similar to their predecessors, they actually sport a more refined and slimmer design. For instance, the hinge has been redesigned such that it is set further inward on the laptop's body. This causes the lid to appear to disappear into its base when opened, although it does also mean that the rear end of the laptop sticks out behind the hinge.

But because Alienware has moved the heat exchanger to the rear, the notebooks are now around 20 per cent slimmer than before. Both the Alienware 13 and 15 are now 22mm thick, down from 34mm and 28mm on the previous year’s models respectively. Naturally, the larger Alienware 17 is thickest at 30mm.

Note how the lid is set further inward on the notebook's body. (Image Source: Alienware)

Having said that, Alienware told TechRadar that it could have made the notebooks even thinner, but it decided not to. The company doesn’t believe that gaming notebooks benefit that much from thinner designs, especially when they come at the cost of features and performance. Furthermore, the thicker chassis has allowed Alienware to use higher quality materials like aluminum, magnesium alloy, and carbon fiber, in addition to copper heatsinks and steel-reinforced keyboards.

The Alienware 15 and 17 also feature new TactX keyboards that offer N-key rollover and up to 2.2mm of key travel.

Furthermore, the additional room means that Alienware was able to put up to 99Wh batteries onto certain models, giving it a claim to better battery life over competing products.

The specifications of the Alienware 15 are as follow:

  • Up to an overclockable Intel Core i7-6820HK processor (2.7GHz, 8MB cache)
  • Up to 32GB of 2,667MHz DDR4 memory
  • 180GB SSD and 1TB HDD
  • 68Wh battery with optional upgrade to a 99Wh pack
  • Up to 120Hz G-Sync FHD IPS display or 4K IGZO display

Dell hasn't released the local specifications of the Alienware 17 yet, except to say that it will also support the overclockable Intel Core i7-6820HK processor. 

You'll also be able to equip the Alienware 17 with a GeForce GTX 1080 (available only in December), whereas you’ll have to settle with a GeForce GTX 1070 on the Alienware 15

The Alienware 17 with Tobii eye-tracking technology lets you power up the notebook just by looking at the Alienware logo. (Image Source: Alienware)

Alienware hasn’t released many details on the 13-inch model either, but we do know that all three models will feature Windows Hello cameras for face recognition.

The Alienware 17 will also feature optional Tobii eye-tracking technology, which actually disables the keyboard backlight when you’re not looking at the screen. It even tracks your eyes in game, allowing you to replay a particular moment and check where you were looking in order to learn from any mistakes. This is not the first laptop to feature Tobii technology, but it is one of the more comprehensive implementations of it.

As a superfluous finishing touch, Alienware will even let you boot up the laptop by simply flicking your imperious gaze to the Alienware logo on it.

The new Alienware 15 and 17 will be available to buy at the end of October (the Alienware 15 with the Intel Core i7-6820HK processor is available only in late November). The 15-inch model costs S$2,399, while the 17-inch one is going for a sweet S$3,999. We're still waiting on more detailed specifications for the Alienware 13.

Source: Alienware