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Dell Alienware m18 (2023) Laptop Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8.2
Review updated May 17, 2024 at 04:12 pm
Dell Alienware m18 (2023) Picture
6.1
School
9.2
Gaming
6.5
Multimedia
9.5
Workstation
7.8
Business
This laptop was replaced by the Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024)

The Dell Alienware m18 (2023) is an 18-inch gaming laptop. It's available with various CPUs and GPUs, up to an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX and an AMD Radeon RX 7900M or an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU. You can get up to 64GB of memory and 8.5TB of storage. Display options include a 480Hz FHD+ and a 165Hz QHD+ IPS display; both support variable refresh rate to reduce screen tearing. There are two keyboard options, one with scissor switches and the other with ultra-low-profile (clicky) CherryMX mechanical switches. It has RGB backlighting, Wi-Fi 6E, a 1080p webcam, and a 97Wh battery.

This laptop is also available with Intel 13th Gen CPUs. Most of our results (build, display, keyboard, touchpad, speakers, webcam) apply to the Intel version except for the performance benchmarks, thermals, and battery life. The Intel models have Thunderbolt 4 support and are only available with NVIDIA GPUs.

See our unit's specifications and the available configuration options in the Differences Between Variants section.

Our Verdict

6.1 School

The Dell m18 is mediocre for school use. It provides a good user experience with its large, bright display, tactile keyboard, and responsive touchpad. It also has plenty of processing power to handle nearly anything, making it suitable for students in fields like programming and 3D graphics. Unfortunately, it's a big, bulky, and heavy laptop that's hard to carry around, and its battery only lasts around three hours of light use, so you'll have to bring the charger, too. Additionally, the fans get pretty loud under load, which isn't ideal for quiet classrooms and libraries.

Pros
  • Sturdy build.
  • Large screen for multitasking.
  • Comfortable keyboard and large touchpad.
  • CPU and GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • Wide port selection.
Cons
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Short battery life.
  • Loud fans under load.
  • No Thunderbolt 4.
9.2 Gaming

The Dell m18 is an outstanding gaming laptop. Its high-performance AMD Ryzen CPUs and NVIDIA RTX 40-series/AMD Radeon 7000-series GPUs can push high, consistent frame rates in demanding games at 1080p or 1440p, resulting in a smooth and responsive gaming experience. You can choose between a 480Hz FHD+ or a 165Hz QHD+ display; both have a fast response time to deliver a clear image and variable refresh rate support to reduce screen tearing. There are plenty of ports, including an Ethernet port to ensure a reliable internet connection when gaming online. RAM and storage are user-upgradeable, so you can add more later. There's no thermal throttling on the CPU or GPU, so you won't experience any performance loss when gaming for an extended period. However, the fans get pretty loud.

Pros
  • CPU and GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • Wide port selection.
  • High-refresh display options with fast response time and VRR.
  • User-replaceable memory and storage.
Cons
  • Loud fans under load.
6.5 Multimedia

The Dell m18 is okay for media consumption. You can get this laptop with an FHD+ or QHD+ display; both look colorful and get bright enough for use in most indoor settings. The speakers get pretty loud with minimal compression artifacts, and they sound clear but a tad boxy and hollow. They have a decent amount of bass, though, more than most Windows laptops. Portability and battery life are the main downsides; it's bulky and heavy, and its battery lasts less than three hours of video playback.

Pros
  • Large immersive screen.
  • Displays have full DCI P3 coverage.
  • Loud speakers sound full and clear.
Cons
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Short battery life.
  • Blacks look gray in dim settings.
9.5 Workstation

The Dell m18 is outstanding for use as a workstation. It's available with high-performance CPUs and GPUs that can easily handle demanding tasks like video editing and 3D graphics. You get a large display for multitasking, and both the FHD+ and QHD+ panels have full DCI P3 coverage, making them suitable for color-critical work. The SSD is fast, and like the RAM, it's user-replaceable. Its wide port selection includes an HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, and plenty of USB ports, so you likely won't need a dock; however, the USB-C ports lack support for Thunderbolt 4 and USB4. Unfortunately, the fans get pretty loud under load.

Pros
  • Large screen for multitasking.
  • Comfortable keyboard and large touchpad.
  • CPU and GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • Wide port selection.
  • User-replaceable memory and storage.
  • Displays have full DCI P3 coverage.
Cons
  • Loud fans under load.
  • No Thunderbolt 4.
7.8 Business

The Dell m18 is good for business use. It feels well-built, and it provides a good user experience with its large display, tactile keyboard, responsive touchpad, and great 1080p webcam. Its AMD Ryzen CPU and discrete GPU can easily handle productivity tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and spreadsheets. You can even edit videos for your business. It has a wide port selection for peripherals and external displays, as well as a facial recognition IR camera for quick logins. The downside is that it's hard to carry around because it's bulky and heavy. Also, its battery only lasts around three hours of light use.

Pros
  • Sturdy build.
  • Large screen for multitasking.
  • Comfortable keyboard and large touchpad.
  • Wide port selection.
  • Good 1080p webcam.
Cons
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Short battery life.
  • No Thunderbolt 4.
  • 6.1 School
  • 9.2 Gaming
  • 6.5 Multimedia
  • 9.5 Workstation
  • 7.8 Business
  1. Updated May 17, 2024: We've updated the review to reflect new hardware configurations and for clarity.
  2. Updated Dec 07, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.2.
  3. Updated Nov 24, 2023: Added mention of the Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023) as a more portable alternative in the Portability section.
  4. Updated Nov 03, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.1.
  5. Updated Oct 03, 2023: Review published.
  6. Updated Sep 25, 2023: Early access published.
  7. Updated Sep 13, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  8. Updated Sep 05, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  9. Updated Aug 16, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Dell Alienware m18 R1 AMD with a FHD+ 480Hz IPS display, an AMD Ryzen 7845HX CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The display, CPU, GPU, memory, and storage are configurable; the available options are in the table below. This laptop is also available with Intel 13th Gen CPUs. Most of our results (build, display, keyboard, touchpad, speakers, webcam) apply to the Intel version except for the performance benchmarks, thermals, and battery life. The Intel models have Thunderbolt 4 support and are only available with NVIDIA GPUs.

Screen
  • 18" IPS 2560 x 1600 165Hz (G-SYNC, 300 cd/m², 100% DCI P3)
  • 18" IPS 1920 x 1200 480Hz (G-SYNC, 300 cd/m², 100% DCI P3)
CPU
  • AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX (8 cores/16 threads, up to 5.10GHz, 32MB cache)
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX (12 cores/24 threads, up to 5.20GHz, 64MB cache)
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX (16 cores/32 threads, up to 5.40GHz, 64 cache)
GPU
  • AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT 8GB GDDR6
  • AMD Radeon RX 7900M 16GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU 12GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU 16GB GDDR6
Memory
  • 16GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • 32GB DDR5 4800MHz
  • 64GB DDR5 4800MHz
Storage
  • 512GB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD
  • 2TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 (1x 2TB or 2x 1TB in RAID 0)
  • 4TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 (1x 4TB or 2x 2TB in RAID 0)
  • 8TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD (2x 4TB RAID 0)
  • 8.5TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 (2x 4TB RAID 0 + 512GB)
Keyboard
  • Alienware M Series (scissor switch) keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting
  • Alienware CherryMX ultra low-profile mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting
Color
  • Dark Metallic Moon

See our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Laptops

The Dell m18 is an outstanding gaming laptop. It stands out for its sturdy build, fast display, tactile keyboard, and excellent performance. However, it's among the bulkiest laptops on the market, and its battery life is disappointing, to say the least. It also gets very loud under load.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best gaming laptops, the best budget and cheap gaming laptops, and the best workstations.

Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024)

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) is a newer version of the Dell Alienware m18 (2023). The newer model only has a few changes that make it slightly better, including faster Intel 14th Gen CPUs and Wi-Fi 7 support. However, it gets hotter and louder than its predecessor under load.

Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023)

The Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023) and the Dell Alienware m18 (2023) are similar overall. The m18 has more USB ports to connect peripherals, and its display gets brighter to combat glare. It also has a bigger and more responsive touchpad. On the other hand, the m16 is a more compact device, making it easier to carry around.

Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024)

The Dell Alienware m18 (2023) is better than the Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024) for gaming. It has a larger display to deliver a more immersive gaming experience and more display and GPU options, like a 480Hz FHD+ panel and faster RTX 4080/4090 GPUs. Also, its larger chassis allows for better cooling, resulting in lower temperatures and less thermal throttling. The m18 is a bigger device, so it isn't as well suited for on-the-go use. Its battery life is shorter, too, lasting only three hours of light use.

Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023)

The Dell Alienware m18 (2023) is better than the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 Gen 8 16 (2023) for gaming and other demanding productivity workloads, as it's available with faster NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 and 4090 Laptop GPUs. It also has a sturdier build, a better keyboard, and a wider port selection. However, the Lenovo is lighter and more compact, making it easier to carry around.

Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020)

The Dell Alienware m18 (2023) and the Dell Alienware m15 R3 (2020) provide a relatively similar user experience overall. The m18 is better for gaming and demanding productivity workloads because it's available with faster CPUs and GPUs. However, the m15 is better for on-the-go use because it's lighter and more compact.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)

The Dell Alienware m18 (2023) is better for gaming than the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). The Dell is available with faster CPUs and GPUs, so it can push higher frame rates with less compromise in the graphical settings. It's also available with higher refresh displays for better responsiveness. However, the ASUS is much more compact, and its battery lasts significantly longer, making it a better option for school, work, and general media consumption.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Form Factor
Traditional (Clamshell)

The Dell Alienware m18 is only available in this Dark Metallic Moon color. You can see the bottom of the laptop here.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The Dell m18's build quality is outstanding. Its metal and plastic construction feels very sturdy and hefty. There's some flex on the lid with the laptop closed; however, the display and keyboard deck are solid and exhibit almost no flex. The feet feel solid and stick firmly to the bottom. The finish doesn't scratch easily but picks up some fingerprints.

9.2
Design
Hinge
Range
145°
Stability
Good
One Finger Lift
Yes

The hinge is outstanding. It feels smooth when opening and closing the lid, and it's stable, so there's very little wobbling when touching the screen or typing heavily. The hinge has a fair amount of resistance, but you can still open the lid with one hand, as the laptop's base is heavy enough to keep it in place.

2.4
Design
Portability
Size
18"
Thickness
1.1" (2.9 cm)
Width
16.2" (41.1 cm)
Depth
12.6" (32.0 cm)
Volume
232.8 in³ (3,814.8 cm³)
Weight
8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)
Charger Size
51.3 in³ (840.0 cm³)
Charger Weight
3.7 lbs (1.7 kg)

If you want a more compact gaming laptop, check out the Dell m18's smaller sibling, the Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023).

9.1
Design
Serviceability
Ease Of Access
9.0
RAM Slots
2
Storage Slots
3
Replaceable Battery
Yes
Replaceable Wireless Adapter
Yes

The Dell m18's serviceability is outstanding. Accessing the internals is straightforward; you only need to remove eight Philips screws and undo a few clips holding the bottom panel. The two front corner screws are captive; the rest come out fully. All the replaceable parts are easily accessible once you remove the panel. There are up to three SSD slots, which vary depending on the model: NVIDIA Geforce RTX 4060 and 4070 models come with two M.2 2280; RTX 4080, 4090, and AMD RX 7600M XT GPUs come with one addition one additional M.2 2230. Finally, the RX 7900M comes with one M.2 2280 and two M.2 2230 slots.

You can see the service manual here.

Design
In The Box

  • Dell m18 laptop
  • 330W power adapter and cord
  • Documentation
  • Alienware stickers

Display
Display
Screen Specs
Resolution
1920 x 1200
Aspect Ratio
16:10
Pixel Density
126 PPI
Panel Type
IPS
Touch Screen
No
Screen-To-Body Ratio
84%

The Dell m18 is available with the following displays:

  • IPS 2560 x 1600 165Hz
  • IPS 1920 x 1200 480Hz

The choice of the display depends on your usage. The sharper QHD+ (2560 x 1600) is a better option if you play a lot of games in which you have the time to appreciate the graphics, like atmospheric games and RPGs. Its increased sharpness (167 PPI) also makes it better for productivity tasks and media consumption. The FHD+ (1920 x 1200) panel's sharpness is acceptable. Its pixel density may seem low if you're used to higher-resolution screens like the Retina displays on Apple MacBooks; however, it's still better than a 27-inch 1440p desktop monitor. The FHD+ display is better suited for fast-moving games like FPS and racing games due to its higher refresh rate.

9.8
Display
Refresh Rate
Refresh Rate
480 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
G-SYNC

You can get the Dell m18 with a 165Hz or 480Hz display. The latter has a fast response time, resulting in a clear image with minimal ghosting in fast-moving scenes. The 165Hz display will likely perform similarly. Both displays support G-SYNC and FreeSync. To use VRR, you must set the display mode to 'NVIDIA GPU only' in the NVIDIA Control Panel application.

7.1
Display
Contrast
Native Contrast
1,194 : 1

The FHD+ display's contrast ratio is decent and within the typical range of most IPS panels. However, it's still relatively low compared to other display technologies like VA and OLED. This contrast level makes blacks look gray in dim settings. The QHD+ display likely has the same contrast ratio.

7.5
Display
Brightness
Maximum Brightness
343 cd/m²
Minimum Brightness
2 cd/m²

The FHD+ display gets bright enough for use in most indoor environments but not outdoors in broad daylight. It's very dim at the lowest brightness setting, which is great for dark room viewing, as it causes less eye strain. The QHD+ display has the same advertised brightness and likely performs similarly.

7.1
Display
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
5.71%
Indirect Reflections
4.09%
Calculated Direct Reflections
1.62%

The display's reflection handling is decent. Reflections are only a problem when viewing dark-color content. Although its matte coating does a good job of diffusing and reducing the intensity of bright light sources, it causes a halo effect around the reflections, making other areas of the screen harder to see.

6.7
Display
Black Uniformity
Uniformity (Std. Dev.)
1.526%
6.5
Display
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
24°
Color Washout From Right
24°
Color Shift From Left
31°
Color Shift From Right
37°
Brightness Loss From Left
28°
Brightness Loss From Right
28°
Black Level Raise From Left
60°
Black Level Raise From Right
60°
Gamma Shift From Left
28°
Gamma Shift From Right
27°

The display's horizontal viewing angle is okay. The image dims and washes out relatively quickly as you move to the side, so you need to be more or less directly in front of the screen to get the best accuracy.

6.7
Display
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
26°
Color Washout From Above
27°
Color Shift From Below
34°
Color Shift From Above
37°
Brightness Loss From Below
28°
Brightness Loss From Above
29°
Black Level Raise From Below
45°
Black Level Raise From Above
45°
Gamma Shift From Below
32°
Gamma Shift From Above
34°

The display's vertical viewing angle is okay. Like the horizontal viewing angle, the image dims and washes when viewing from above and below, so you need to look at the screen more or less straight on to see an accurate image. This can be challenging in tight places where you don't have much room to tilt the screen, like on a bus or airplane.

7.0
Display
Out-Of-The-Box Color Accuracy
Avg. White Balance dE
2.88
Avg. Gamma
2.33
Avg. Color dE
3.87
Avg. Color Temperature
6,590 K

The FHD+ display's out-of-the-box accuracy is decent. The white balance is good; the inaccuracies are minor and hard to spot. The colors aren't as accurate, though that's mainly because the color profile is in DCI P3, resulting in oversaturated greens, yellows, reds, and cyan. The color temperature is very close to the standard 6500K target. The gamma does somewhat follow the curve, but everything looks too dark.

9.6
Display
Color Gamut
sRGB xy
142.98%
sRGB uv
139.44%
Adobe RGB xy
91.08%
Adobe RGB uv
96.14%
DCI P3 xy
99.26%
DCI P3 uv
99.65%
Rec. 2020 xy
75.56%
Rec. 2020 uv
80.59%

The FHD+ display's color gamut is outstanding. It has full sRGB and DCI P3 coverage, as well as near-full Adobe RGB coverage, making it suitable for SDR and HDR content creation and print photography. The QHD+ display has the same advertised color gamut.

10
Display
Flicker
Flicker-Free
Yes
Flicker Frequency
No Flicker
Flicker Active Below
0%
Interface
8.8
Interface
Keyboard
Typing Quality
8.5
Numpad
Yes
Backlighting
Per-Key RGB
Operating Force
70 gf
Actuation Force
32 gf
Pre-Travel
1.27 mm
Total Travel
1.79 mm

You can configure the Dell m18 with a scissor switch-based or a mechanical keyboard with ultra low-profile CherryMX switches. Our unit has a scissor-switch keyboard. It feels spacious and is easy to get used to. The plastic used for the keycaps feels okay in quality; it isn't particularly premium nor overly cheap. Key stability is good but a little inconsistent, as some keys wobble more than others. The scissor switches have a good amount of travel and provide satisfying tactile and audio feedback. They require a fair amount of force to actuate, which might cause fatigue if you aren't used to it. Due to the laptop's size and the keyboard's position, you may need to stretch your arms out further to type, which can also be tiring over time. You can customize the RGB backlighting via the Alienware Command Center app. The backlighting isn't very bright, and consistency is again an issue, as some keys look dimmer than the rest.

The mechanical keyboard uses clicky switches, which will provide more distinct tactile and audio feedback. It has the same RGB backlighting.

8.2
Interface
Touchpad
Tracking Quality
8.0
Size
16.7 in² (108.0 cm²)
Material
Glass
Dedicated Buttons
No

The Dell m18 has a great touchpad. The surface feels smooth, and tracking works well, even around the edges. There's no issue with palm rejection or accidental triggers. It's reasonably large but could be bigger, considering the amount of space available on the deck. Unfortunately, the buttons don't feel particularly tactile, and you can only click in the bottom half of the touchpad.

8.7
Interface
Speakers
Max Volume
78 dB SPL
Standard Error @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
4.2 dB
Slope @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
1.0
Bass Extension (Low-Frequency Ext.)
236 Hz
Treble Extension (High-Frequency Ext.)
16 kHz
Dynamic Range Compression @ Max Vol.
0.8 dB

The Dell m18's speakers get very loud with minimal compression at max volume. They sound clear and natural, albeit slightly boxy and hollow. They have a decent amount of bass, not as much as something like an Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021), but more than most Windows laptops.

7.8
Interface
Webcam & Microphone
Video Quality
8.0
Resolution
1080p
Position
Top Center
Privacy Cover
No
Face Unlock
Yes

The webcam's video quality is great. The image looks relatively sharp and well-exposed; however, some colors look slightly unnatural, and there's a bit of noise here and there, causing a loss of finer details. Voices sound pretty clear but a tad over-processed.

Connectivity
9.5
Connectivity
Ports
USB-A Ports
3
USB-C Ports
3
Thunderbolt
No
USB-C Charging
Yes
USB-C Display Out
Yes
HDMI
2.1
DisplayPort
Mini DisplayPort 1.4
3.5mm Jack
Combo mic/headphone
Card Reader
SD UHS 2
Ethernet
Yes
Proprietary Port
Alienware Power Adapter Port
Security Lock
No

The Dell m18 has an outstanding port selection. All three USB-A ports support USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speed of up to 5Gbps. The USB-A closest to the Ethernet port supports PowerShare. This feature lets you set how much of the battery's charge a connected device can draw when charging. For example, if you set it to 25%, charging will stop when you've used 25% of the laptop battery's total charge. You can also turn off charging completely. The USB-C on the right supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speed, while the two USB-Cs on the back support USB 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps data transfer speed) and DisplayPort. Models with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 or 4070 GPU only have one USB-C on the back (two total). The Ethernet port supports up to 2.5Gbps data transfer speed.

Connectivity
Wireless Communication
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bluetooth
5.2

The Dell Alienware m18 R1's wireless adapter is a Qualcomm WCN685x. You can also configure the laptop with a MediaTek MT7922 wireless adapter. Wi-Fi 6E has faster speeds, lower latency, and less signal interference than previous Wi-Fi standards. However, you need a router that supports Wi-Fi 6E to benefit from these features.

Configuration
Configuration
CPU
Brand
AMD
Model
Ryzen 9 7845HX
Core Count
12
Thread Count
24

The Dell m18 is available with the following CPUs:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX (8 cores/16 threads, up to 5.10GHz, 32MB cache)
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX (12 cores/24 threads, up to 5.20GHz, 64MB cache)
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX (16 cores/32 threads, up to 5.40GHz, 64 cache)

All three are high-performance CPUs designed for mobile workstations and gaming laptops. These AMD Zen 4-based chips can handle general productivity tasks like text processing and web browsing, as well as more demanding workloads like video editing, programming, and gaming. The CPU choice depends on the GPU, as there are limitations to the CPU/GPU pairing. The base Ryzen 7 7745HX is only available with an RTX 4060, while the top-end Ryzen 9 7945HX is only available with an RTX 4090 or RX 7900M. The middle option, the Ryzen 9 7845HX, is the most flexible, as you can pair it with the Radeon 7600M XT, RTX 4070, or RTX 4080. Since most games are GPU-limited, it's best to choose based on the GPU. If you're specifically looking for CPU processing power, you can simply choose based on the specs. More cores, faster clock speeds, and a larger cache will generally give you better performance.

Configuration
GPU
Brand
NVIDIA
Model
GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Dedicated/Integrated
Dedicated
VRAM Size
12 GB

The Dell m18 is available with the following GPUs:

  • AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT 8GB GDDR6
  • AMD Radeon RX 7900M 16GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU 12GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU 16GB GDDR6

The AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 are roughly similar in performance. They're better suited for 1080p gaming but can run most games at 1440p if you don't mind playing with low graphical settings. Choosing between the RX 7600M XT and the RTX 4060 will depend on the games you play, as some games will run better on the 7600M XT, while others will run better on the RTX 4060. The RX 7900M, RTX 4070, 4080, and 4090 can all handle 1440p gaming; the 7900M, 4080 and 4090 will simply give you more headroom to play with higher graphical settings or frame rates. The RTX 4080 runs at a TGP (Total Graphics Power) of 175W with Dynamic Boost, which is at the top end of its power spectrum.

Both the AMD and the NVIDIA GPUs support ray tracing and have their respective upscaling feature (FSR and DLSS, respectively) to boost frame rates in supported games. The NVIDIA 40-series GPUs support Frame Generation, a feature that uses AI to insert artificially generated frames, resulting in higher frame rates and smoother-looking gameplay in supported games (75 games currently support this feature). AMD has a similar feature called AMD Fluid Motion Frames (AFMF).

Configuration
RAM
Capacity
32 GB
Modules
2
Type
DDR5
Speed
4,800 MHz

You can configure this laptop with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of RAM. The memory is user-replaceable. This laptop supports up to 5200MHz RAM.

Configuration
Storage
Advertised Capacity
512 GB
Usable Capacity
392 GB
Drive 1
Western Digital PC SN810 NVMe
Drive 1 Type SSD
Drive 2
No 2nd Drive
Drive 2 Type No 2nd Drive

You can configure this laptop with 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB, or 8.5TB of storage. Except for the 512GB and 1TB storage options, the other configurations are available in a RAID 0 array, meaning the laptop will have two or three SSDs acting as a single unit. RAID 0 significantly boosts drive speeds by splitting the data evenly across multiple drives; however, the failure of one drive can cause data loss across all drives. The SSDs are user-replaceable. There are varying SSD slot configurations. Models with an RTX 4060 and 4070 come with two M.2 2280 slots. Models with an RTX 4080, 4090, and RX 7600M XT GPU have an additional M.2 2230 slot; finally, the RX 7900M model has one M.2 2280 slot and two M.2 2230 slots.

Performance
10
Performance
Geekbench 5 (Synthetics)
CPU Single-Thread
2,011 points
CPU Multi-Thread
16,625 points
GPU Compute
202,907 points

The Dell m18 with an AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX CPU has a superb overall score in Geekbench 5. The 7845HX has no problem handling general productivity tasks and demanding workloads like programming, music production, CAD, and video editing. These are results in the default Balanced mode. You can change the performance mode in the Alienware Command Center app. Switching to the Overdrive mode, which is the maximum performance setting, only increases the single-thread score by 0.73% and the multi-thread score by 2.51%. The Ryzen 7 7745HX will be slower, while the Ryzen 9 7945HX will be faster.

For GPU-heavy workloads, all of the available discrete GPUs are suitable for demanding tasks, so it's really a matter of how smooth an experience you expect and how fast you want to complete tasks. If you work with extremely complex materials, getting a model with an RX 7900M or RTX 4070, 4080, or 4090 is probably best.

10
Performance
Cinebench R23 (CPU Rendering)
Single-Thread
1,875 points
Multi-Thread
26,181 points

The Dell m18 has a superb overall score in the Cinebench R23 benchmarks. The AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX has no problem handling demanding, multi-threaded applications and heavy multitasking. The Ryzen 7 7745HX is slower but still adequate for intensive tasks. The Ryzen 9 7945HX is the fastest and will give you the smoothest experience. Switching to the Overdrive mode doesn't impact the performance.

9.6
Performance
Blender (3D Rendering)
CPU Render Time
1.6 min
GPU Render Time
0.2 min
GPU Render Time (Optix)
7 s

The performance in Blender is outstanding. While the CPU can render images quickly, it's significantly faster to render with the GPU, thanks to NVIDIA's Optix hardware acceleration. AMD GPUs can get the job done, but don't perform as well as NVIDIA GPUs in this application.

10
Performance
Basemark GPU (Game Scene)
Overall Score
211,669

The Dell Alienware m18 R1 with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU scores superbly in the Basemark GPU benchmark. The RTX 4080 can push high frame rates in demanding games at 1440p with minimal tweaks to the graphical settings. The RTX 4090 is even faster and can handle some games at 4k (with an external monitor). The RX 7900M trades blows with the 4080, while the RTX 4070 is slower, meaning you'll have to lower the settings further to get smooth gameplay at 1440p. The AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT and the RTX 4060 are best suited for 1080p gaming and can handle some games at 1440p, albeit with low graphical settings.

9.7
Performance
Storage Drive Performance
Sequential Write Speed
2,211.9 MB/s
Sequential Read Speed
4,763.8 MB/s
Random Write Speed
135.0 MB/s
Random Read Speed
72.0 MB/s

The 512GB SSD's performance is outstanding. Its fast read and write speeds allow the system to quickly boot up, launch apps, and transfer files. Its sequential read speed is particularly fast, which will help shorten game loading times. The larger capacity SSDs will likely perform better. You can get this laptop with two or three SSDs in a RAID 0 array, further improving performance.

3.0
Performance
Battery
Capacity
97 Wh
Battery Life (Web Browsing)
3.2 hrs
Battery Life (Video Playback)
2.6 hrs
Battery Life (Gaming)
0.8 hrs
Charge Time
2.8 hrs

Battery life will vary depending on your hardware configuration.

8.3
Performance
Borderlands 3
Avg. FPS
157 fps
1% Low
79 fps
0.1% Low
34 fps
1% Low Delta
6 ms
0.1% Low Delta
23 ms
Avg. FPS On Very Low
259 fps

Borderlands 3 runs well on the Dell Alienware m18 R1 with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU. The gameplay is mostly smooth at 1080p with high settings. There are some stutters, but they don't happen often. Switching to the Overdrive mode only increases the performance by about 4%. You can play this and other similarly demanding games at 1440p without problems on models with an RTX 4070 and upwards. The AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT and the RTX 4060 can handle this game at 1440p, albeit with low graphical settings.

We've run additional benchmarks in Red Dead Redemption 2 to give you a better idea of the performance on a Ryzen 9 7845HX and RTX 4080 configuration. Here are the results:

  • Avg FPS (1080p, high settings): 132 fps
  • 1% Low: 61 fps
  • 0.1% Low: 27 fps
  • Avg FPS On Very Low: 161 fps

9.2
Performance
Civilization VI
Avg. FPS
242 fps
1% Low
167 fps
0.1% Low
115 fps
1% Low Delta
2 ms
0.1% Low Delta
5 ms
Avg. FPS On Minimum
362 fps
Avg. Turn Time
6.2 s

Every configuration of this laptop can provide smooth gameplay in Civilization VI and other similar titles, even at 1440p. The average turn time is good and among the best compared to other current-gen CPUs. Upgrading to the AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX will only improve the turn time slightly.

9.7
Performance
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Avg. FPS
508 fps
1% Low
256 fps
0.1% Low
156 fps
1% Low Delta
2 ms
0.1% Low Delta
4 ms
Avg. FPS On Low
622 fps

Every configuration of the Dell m18 can provide a very smooth experience in CS:GO and other similar titles. You can even play this game at 1440p and still get very high, consistent frame rates.

9.1
Performance
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
Avg. FPS
173 fps
1% Low
105 fps
0.1% Low
73 fps
1% Low Delta
4 ms
0.1% Low Delta
8 ms
Avg. FPS On Lowest
181 fps

Every configuration of the Dell Alienware m18 R1 can handle Shadow of the Tomb Raider and other similarly demanding games at 1080p. Again, most of the CPU/GPU combo can also run this game at 1440p; however, you'll have to tweak the settings a bit or rely on features like DLSS and FSR (in supported games) to get smooth gameplay on models with an AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT or RTX 4060.

6.7
Performance
Thermals And Noise
Keyboard Temp While Idle
30 °C (85 °F)
Keyboard Temp Under Load
44 °C (111 °F)
Fan Noise While Idle
25.5 dBA
Fan Noise Under Load
54.0 dBA
Power & Fan Control App
Yes

Although the keyboard gets warm under load, the hot spots are at the top of the keyboard deck, away from where most people rest their hands. Unfortunately, the fans get pretty loud under load and can be quite distracting. Switching to the Overdrive mode only increases the keyboard temperature by 1° C and the fan noise by 1 dBA.

9.9
Performance
Performance Over Time
CPU Temp (Cinebench)
100 °C
CPU Perf. Loss (Cinebench)
1% loss
GPU Temp (Heaven)
73 °C
GPU Perf. Loss (Heaven)
0% loss

The results are the same in the Overdrive mode.

Additional Features And Software
Additional Features And Software
Software
Operating System
Windows 11
Additional Software
Yes

The Dell m18 has many pre-installed applications, including:

  • Alienware Command Center: Lets you change the power and performance settings, launch games, customize the RGB lighting, and view system status like CPU/GPU usage and temperature.
  • Alienware Customer Connect: Survey about the system's performance.
  • Alienware Digital Delivery: Lets you download digital content purchased from Dell.
  • Alienware Update: Keeps the BIOS, drivers, and firmware up to date.
  • Dell SupportAssist: Scans your computer for firmware and driver updates.
  • intelliGo Neptune: Noise cancellation software to reduce background noise on video calls.
  • My Alienware: Shows your laptop's specifications, warranty, and other info.
  • Spotify: App for the music streaming service.

Additional Features And Software
Extra Features
RGB Illumination
Yes
Touch Pen
No
Secondary Display
No
Biometrics
Face Recognition

The Dell Alienware m18 laptop has a facial recognition IR camera. You can use it to log in quickly, authorize purchases in the Windows Store, and auto-fill saved passwords on supported websites. The keyboard has per-key RGB backlighting; you can customize it via the Alienware Command Center application.