Alienware 17 R4 2017 Gaming Laptop Review: Powerful And Refined

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Alienware 17 R4 2017: Battery Life, Acoustics and Overclocking

Battery testing is performed using Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test we developed here at HotHardware. We conduct the tests with Windows 10 quiet hours enabled and the displays' brightness calibrated as close to 115 lux on our meters as possible. This was around the 25-percent brightness setting on the Alienware 17. 

Brightness calibration is vital to ensure a fair comparison with other notebooks in our group, since it greatly affects battery life. However, every notebook has different brightness ranges so it’s critical to rely on a light meter instead of the Windows brightness setting percentage.

Battery Life Testing
Heavy-Duty Workload And Light-Duty Battery Life Performance Tests

Battery Eater Pro is an extreme case scenario battery test. It places a heavy load on the system for the sole purpose of draining the battery as fast as possible, which is representative of intensive tasks like gaming and video editing.

Alienware17R4 BEP
Alienware17R4 Video Loop

The desktop-like performance of the Alienware 17 comes at the cost of battery life, which is expected of a gaming notebook. You can expect around an hour and a half of battery life, which is on par with other gaming notebooks like the ASUS ROG G752, Strix GL502VT and Alienware 13 R3, but those don’t pack the graphics power of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. You can double the battery life to 3 hours by going easy on it – just enough to finish a Transformers movie and post about it on social media. 

Acoustics
Noise performance

The Alienware 17 is audible at idle. It’s a low hum that’s as loud as the hum from a couple of hard drives, but not too distracting. Start up a game or place any load on the CPU and the fans speed up to dispel heat from the notebook. It gets louder, but it’s not an annoying whine. The noise is easily drowned out with a headset or cranking up the built-in speakers. It doesn’t bother me personally, considering the hardware Alienware packed into the chassis, but it is noisy.

Overclocking
Available factory presets

The Intel Core i7-7820HK is unlocked from the factory for easy overclocking. Stock turbo frequency is 3.9 GHz, but the Alienware 17 ships with a max turbo frequency of up to 4.2 GHz for a single core and 4.0 GHz with all four cores. There’s two other presets available in the UEFI settings that increases clocks up to 4.3 GHz and 4.4 GHz, respectively. 

Alienware17R4 OCUEFI

You can manually adjust the multipliers or disable overclocking, if you wish. The Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU) works with the Alienware 17 and enables more fine-tuning options than the UEFI allows, too. There’s a UEFI setting to keep the fans always running at full-speed, in case you’re trying to eek every ounce of performance out of the Core i7-7820HK at the cost of your aural sanity. 

The Alienware 17 R4 ships with the most conservative overclocking setting enabled, but we wanted to test the other presets to see what kind of gains are available. We fired up Cinebench with all the available settings enabled to gather data.
Alienware17R4 Overclocking

Compared to the base frequency of the Core i7-7820HK, the OC Level 1 setting boosts CPU performance by 14-percent. That number increases to 18-percent with the most aggressive OC Level 3 setting. The performance delta between Alienware’s OC Level 1 and 3 settings is 3.7-percent, which isn’t a large gain. However, we didn’t encounter any stability or increase in noise by setting the UEFI to OC Level 3, so it doesn’t hurt to leave it there. 

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