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Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) Laptop Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8.2
Reviewed Mar 25, 2024 at 09:00 am
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 18, 2024 at 03:15 pm
Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) Picture
6.3
School
9.1
Gaming
6.0
Multimedia
9.4
Workstation
7.8
Business

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) is a mid-range gaming laptop. It replaces the Dell Alienware m18 (2023). This 2024 model is available with Intel 14th Gen CPUs (Raptor Lake refresh), up to a Core i9-14900HX, and NVIDIA 40-series GPUs, ranging from an RTX 4060 to an RTX 4090, with the latter running at a max TGP (Total Graphics Power) of 175W. Memory and storage max out at 64GB and 8TB (in RAID 0), respectively. Display options remain the same as its predecessor, including a 165Hz QHD+ and a 480Hz FHD+ panel; both support G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology. It has a 1080p webcam, Wi-Fi 7 support, and a 97Wh battery. The keyboard switch is customizable; you can choose between scissor switches or ultra-low-profile (clicky) CherryMX mechanical switches. Ports comprise three USB-As, three USB-Cs (two with Thunderbolt 4 support), an HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

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

Our Verdict

6.3 School

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 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, 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 four 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 is well suited for multitasking.
  • CPU and GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • Spacious keyboard, responsive touchpad.
  • Wide port selection.
Cons
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Short battery life.
  • Gets hot and loud under load.
  • Screen doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in well-lit settings.
9.1 Gaming

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is an outstanding gaming laptop. Its high-performance Intel 14th Gen CPUs and NVIDIA RTX 40-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. Thermal throttling is minimal, though the laptop gets hot and loud under load.

Pros
  • Delivers smooth gameplay at 1080p or 1440p.
  • High-refresh displays with fast response time and VRR support.
  • Minimal thermal throttling.
  • User-replaceable RAM and storage.
  • Wide port selection.
Cons
  • Gets hot and loud under load.
6.0 Multimedia

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is mediocre for media consumption. You can get this laptop with an FHD+ or QHD+ display; both look colorful and get reasonably bright. However, you'll have to calibrate the display to get the best viewing experience, as the factory calibration is sub-par. As for the speakers, although they get fairly loud, they sound boxy, with very little bass. Unfortunately, this laptop is bulky and heavy, and its battery lasts around three hours of video playback.

Pros
  • Large, immersive display.
  • Displays have full DCI P3 coverage.
  • Speakers get reasonably loud with minimal compression.
Cons
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Short battery life.
  • Display's low contrast makes blacks look gray in dim settings.
  • Screen doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in well-lit settings.
  • Speakers sound boxy with almost no bass.
9.4 Workstation

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 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 comprises two Thunderbolt 4s, an HDMI 2.1, an Ethernet, and an SD card reader, so you likely won't need a dock. Unfortunately, the laptop gets hot and loud under load.

Pros
  • CPU and GPU can handle demanding workloads.
  • Minimal thermal throttling.
  • Displays have full DCI P3 coverage.
  • User-replaceable RAM and storage.
  • Wide port selection.
Cons
  • Gets hot and loud under load.
7.8 Business

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is good for business use. It feels well-built and provides a good user experience with its large display, tactile keyboard, and responsive touchpad. It has plenty of processing power to tackle productivity tasks like web browsing, text formatting, and spreadsheets, as well as more demanding workloads like video editing, making it a great option for small business owners needing to do a little bit of everything. There's a facial recognition IR camera for quick logins and a wide array of ports for peripherals and external displays. The downside is that it's hard to carry around because it's bulky and heavy. Also, its battery only lasts around four hours of light use.

Pros
  • Sturdy build.
  • Large screen is well suited for multitasking.
  • Spacious keyboard, responsive touchpad.
  • Decent webcam.
  • Wide port selection.
Cons
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Short battery life.
  • Screen doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in well-lit settings.
  • 6.3 School
  • 9.1 Gaming
  • 6.0 Multimedia
  • 9.4 Workstation
  • 7.8 Business
  1. Updated Apr 18, 2024: Added mention of the Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024) as a more compact alternative in the Portability section.
  2. Updated Mar 25, 2024: Review published.
  3. Updated Mar 15, 2024: Early access published.
  4. Updated Mar 04, 2024: Our testers have started testing this product.
  5. Updated Feb 22, 2024: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  6. Updated Feb 07, 2024: 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 R2 equipped with a 480Hz FHD+ display, an Intel Core i9-14900HX CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU, 32GB of memory, 1TB of storage, and a CherryMX ultra low-profile mechanical keyboard. The available configuration options are in the table below.

 Display
  • 18" IPS 2560 x 1600 165Hz (G-SYNC, 100% DCI P3)
  • 18" IPS 1920 x 1200 480Hz (G-SYNC, 100% DCI P3)
 CPU
  • Intel Core i7-14650HX (16 cores/24 threads, up to 5.2GHz, 30MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-14700HX (20 cores/28 threads, up to 5.5GHz, 33MB cache)
  • Intel Core i9-14900HX (24 cores/32 threads, up to 5.8GHz, 36MB cache)
 GPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6 (140W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6 (140W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU 12GB GDDR6 (175W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU 16GB GDDR6 (175W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
 Memory
  • 16GB DDR5 5600MHz
  • 32GB DDR5 5600MHz
  • 64GB DDR5 5200MHz
 Storage
  • 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
  • 2TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
  • 2TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD RAID0 (2x 1TB)
  • 4TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
  • 4TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD RAID0 (2x 2TB)
  • 8TB M.2 PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD RAID0 (2x 4TB)
Keyboard
  • AlienFX RGB Alienware M Series keyboard (scissor switch)
  • AlienFX RGB Alienware CherryMX ultra low-profile mechanical keyboard
 Color
  • Dark Metallic Moon

See our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Laptops

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is an excellent gaming laptop with a sturdy build, a fast display, tons of ports, and great performance. It's also one of the few laptops on the market that lets you customize the keyboard switch. However, its bulky design and weight make it hard to recommend for on-the-go use, and it gets very hot and loud under load.

See our recommendations for the best gaming laptops, the best budget and cheap gaming laptops, and the best workstation laptops.

Dell Alienware m18 (2023)

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 m18 R2 (2024) is essentially a larger and newer version of the Dell Alienware m16 R1 (2023). The m18 R2 has a larger, more immersive display, but it's bulkier and heavier, so it isn't as well suited for on-the-go use. Both laptops deliver a smooth gaming experience at 1080p and 1440p, though the m18 gets hotter and louder under load. The m18 R2 has Wi-Fi 7 wireless connectivity, while the m16 supports Wi-Fi 6E.

MSI Raider GE67 HX (2022)

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) is better than the MSI Raider GE67 HX (2022) for gaming. The Alienware is available with faster Intel 14th Gen CPUs and NVIDIA 40-series GPUs. It also has a better cooling system, resulting in better performance in heavy, sustained workloads. The Alienware has a larger display, and its FHD+ panel has a higher refresh rate of 480Hz to provide better responsiveness; however, the MSI's display is an OLED panel, making it a better option for dim settings and for viewing HDR content.

Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024)

The Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024) and the Dell Alienware m18 R2 (2024) are both excellent gaming laptops. The m16 R2 is a smaller device, so it's portable, and it sports a newer design that can blend more easily into a professional work environment. However, it still has a distinctively 'gamer' aesthetic. Performance is better on the m18, as it's available with faster CPUs and GPUs, and its superior cooling system results in less thermal throttling. The M18 also has more ports for peripherals and external displays, and models with an RTX 4080 and 4090 have two additional storage slots.

Test Results

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

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is only available in the Dark Metallic Moon color. See the bottom of the laptop here.

9.0
Design
Build Quality

The Dell Alienware m18 R2's build quality is outstanding. The construction is a mix of aluminum and plastic. It feels very sturdy and hefty, exhibiting only a small amount of flex on the lid but almost none on the keyboard deck. The finish is fairly scratch- and smudge-resistant, and the feet feel solid and stick firmly to the bottom.

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

The Dell Alienware m18 R2's hinge is outstanding. It feels smooth when opening and closing the lid and is stable, exhibiting only a little wobble when touching the screen or typing heavily. There's a fair amount of resistance, but you can still open the lid with one hand because the laptop's base is heavy enough to keep it in place.

3.0
Design
Portability
Size
18"
Thickness
1.1" (2.7 cm)
Width
16.2" (41.2 cm)
Depth
12.6" (32.0 cm)
Volume
217.2 in³ (3,559.7 cm³)
Weight
8.7 lbs (3.9 kg)
Charger Size
25.2 in³ (412.8 cm³)
Charger Weight
2.3 lbs (1.0 kg)

Check out the Dell Alienware m16 R2 (2024) if you want a smaller, more compact laptop for on-the-go use.

9.1
Design
Serviceability
Ease Of Access
9.0
RAM Slots
2
Storage Slots
4
Replaceable Battery
Yes
Replaceable Wireless Adapter
Yes

The Dell Alienware m18 R2's serviceability is outstanding. Accessing the internals is straightforward; you only need to remove a few Philips screws and undo the bottom panel's clips with a prying tool. The two corners are captive, meaning they remain attached to the panel. The four storage slots comprise two M.2 2230 and two M.2 2280/2230 slots. Models with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 or 4070 GPU only have two M.2 2280/2230 slots.

See the owner's manual here.

Design
In The Box

  • 360W power adapter and cord
  • Documentation

Note: Models with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 and 4070 GPU come with a 280W power adapter

Display
Display
Screen Specs
Resolution
1920 x 1200
Aspect Ratio
16:10
Pixel Density
125 PPI
Panel Type
IPS
Touch Screen
No
Screen-To-Body Ratio
86%

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is available with the following displays:

  • 18" IPS 2560 x 1600 165Hz
  • 18" 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 a better option for productivity and media consumption. The lower-resolution FHD+ (1920 x 1200) display is better suited for fast-moving games like FPS and racing games because its high refresh rate provides better responsiveness when gaming.

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

The 480Hz FHD+ display has a fast response time, resulting in a clear image with minimal ghosting in fast-moving scenes. The 165Hz QHD+ display has the same advertised response time and will likely perform similarly. Both displays support variable refresh rate to minimize screen tearing.

6.9
Display
Contrast
Native Contrast
1,080 : 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 has the same contrast ratio.

6.6
Display
Brightness
Maximum Brightness
266 cd/m²
Minimum Brightness
14 cd/m²

The FHD+ display gets reasonably bright, though it falls short of the advertised 300 cd/m². This brightness level is fine for most indoor environments, but you'll likely have trouble seeing dark-color content in bright ambient lighting. The display gets pretty dim at the lowest brightness setting, which helps reduce eye strain when viewing content in the dark. The QHD+ display has the same advertised brightness.

7.5
Display
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
5.37%
Indirect Reflections
4.74%
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.63%

The display's reflection handling is good. Its matte anti-reflective coating works well against direct reflections like a lamp or open window during the day. For the most part, reflections aren't an issue when viewing bright-color content with the screen at maximum brightness; however, they make dark-color scenes much harder to see.

5.7
Display
Black Uniformity
Uniformity (Std. Dev.)
2.180%
5.7
Display
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
20°
Color Washout From Right
24°
Color Shift From Left
18°
Color Shift From Right
23°
Brightness Loss From Left
27°
Brightness Loss From Right
31°
Black Level Raise From Left
22°
Black Level Raise From Right
60°
Gamma Shift From Left
18°
Gamma Shift From Right
23°

The display's horizontal viewing angle is sub-par. The image dims and washes out 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.

5.8
Display
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
22°
Color Washout From Above
28°
Color Shift From Below
16°
Color Shift From Above
25°
Brightness Loss From Below
24°
Brightness Loss From Above
31°
Black Level Raise From Below
27°
Black Level Raise From Above
45°
Gamma Shift From Below
21°
Gamma Shift From Above
28°

The display's vertical viewing angle is sub-par. Like the horizontal viewing angle, the image dims and washes out 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.

4.0
Display
Out-Of-The-Box Color Accuracy
Avg. White Balance dE
5.99
Avg. Gamma
2.1
Avg. Color dE
5.28
Avg. Color Temperature
5,908 K

The display's accuracy is bad out of the box. Most colors look oversaturated because the default color profile targets a wider color space, and the white balance is also off, as there's far too much red. The gamma doesn't follow the sRGB curve all that well; most scenes look too bright, while dark scenes are a tad too dark.

9.4
Display
Color Gamut
sRGB xy
99.9%
sRGB uv
99.58%
Adobe RGB xy
88.8%
Adobe RGB uv
94.83%
DCI P3 xy
99.26%
DCI P3 uv
98.86%
Rec. 2020 xy
73.22%
Rec. 2020 uv
75.49%

The FHD+ display's color gamut is outstanding. It has full coverage of the commonly used sRGB color space. It also has full DCI P3 coverage, making it suitable for viewing and producing HDR content. Its Adobe RGB coverage is outstanding, though it might still be too low for professional print photography, as it can't reproduce the highly saturated greens that define Adobe RGB. The QHD+ display has the same advertised color gamut.

10
Display
Flicker
Flicker-Free
Yes
Flicker Frequency
No Flicker
Flicker Active Below
0%
Interface
9.2
Interface
Keyboard
Typing Quality
9.0
Numpad
Yes
Backlighting
Per-Key RGB
Operating Force
61 gf
Actuation Force
38 gf
Pre-Travel
1.14 mm
Total Travel
1.76 mm

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 has an outstanding keyboard. Our unit's keyboard has CherryMX ultra-low-profile mechanical switches. You can also get the laptop with a scissor-switch keyboard, which we expect to be similar to the one on the Dell Alienware m18 (2023). The layout feels spacious and is easy to adapt to, and it's the same regardless of which key switch you get. The keys are stable, have a good amount of travel, and require very little force to actuate. They provide distinct tactile and audio feedback; you can hear how it sounds here. Both keyboards (scissor switch and mechanical) have per-key RGB backlighting, which you can customize via the Alienware Command Center app. The brightness is adjustable using the F7 shortcut.

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

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 has a great touchpad. Its glass surface feels very smooth, allowing the fingers to glide easily, and it tracks all movements and gestures well. There's no issue with palm rejection or accidental triggers. As for the size, it's reasonably large but could be bigger, considering the amount of space available on the deck. You can only click in the bottom half of the touchpad, and the buttons are decently tactile.

7.6
Interface
Speakers
Max Volume
76 dB SPL
Standard Error @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
5.4 dB
Slope @ Normal Vol. (65 dB)
0.7
Bass Extension (Low-Frequency Ext.)
364 Hz
Treble Extension (High-Frequency Ext.)
16 kHz
Dynamic Range Compression @ Max Vol.
0.7 dB

The Dell Alienware m18 R2's speakers get reasonably loud with minimal compression at higher volume levels. They sound clear but boxy and tinny, with very little bass. It's worth noting that the grills above the keyboard are air vents; the speakers are on the bottom near the front.

7.4
Interface
Webcam & Microphone
Video Quality
7.5
Resolution
1080p
Position
Top Center
Privacy Cover
No
Face Unlock
Yes

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 has a decent webcam. The image looks a tad soft, noisy, and overexposed, though the colors are reasonably accurate and natural. Voices sound clear over the microphone with very little background noise.

Connectivity
9.5
Connectivity
Ports
USB-A Ports
3
USB-C Ports
3
Thunderbolt
Thunderbolt 4
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 Alienware m18 R2's port selection is outstanding. All three USB-A ports support USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speed of up to 5Gbps. The USB-A next to the Ethernet port supports PowerShare, a feature that 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. Both USB-Cs on the back support Thunderbolt 4 (up to 40Gbps data transfer speed and two external 4k displays at 60Hz) and DisplayPort 1.4, while the one on the laptop's right side supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer speed. The HDMI is a true HDMI 2.1 port that can output a 4k @ 120Hz signal. The Ethernet controller is an Intel Killer E5000 5G.

Connectivity
Wireless Communication
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be)
Bluetooth
5.4

The Dell Alienware m18 R2's wireless adapter is an Intel Killer 1750 2x2.

Configuration
Configuration
CPU
Brand
Intel
Model
Core i9-14900HX
Core Count
24
Thread Count
32

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is available with the following CPUs:

  • Intel Core i7-14650HX (16 cores/24 threads, up to 5.2GHz, 30MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-14700HX (20 cores/28 threads, up to 5.5GHz, 33MB cache)
  • Intel Core i9-14900HX (24 cores/32 threads, up to 5.8GHz, 36MB cache)

All three CPUs are high-performance processors typically found in gaming laptops and mobile workstations. These CPUs are a refresh of Intel's 13th Gen CPUs and a separate line of processors from Intel's Meteor Lake family with no low-power E-cores or Neural Processing Unit (for A.I.-based tasks). They can handle general productivity tasks as well as more demanding workloads like video editing, gaming, and programming. The choice of the CPU depends on the GPU, as there are limitations regarding CPU and GPU pairing: you can only pair the Core i7-14650HX with an RTX 4060, the Core i7-14700HX with an RTX 4070, and the top-end Core i9-4900HX with an RTX 4080 or 4090. Since most games are GPU-limited, it’s best to choose the GPU first.

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

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 is available with the following CPUs:

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6 (140W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6 (140W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU 12GB GDDR6 (175W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU 16GB GDDR6 (175W TGP /w Dynamic Boost)

All four available GPUs can handle demanding AAA games at 1080p and 1440p. However, if you plan on gaming at 1440p, getting an RTX 4080 or 4090 is best, as the RTX 4060 and 4070's 8GB VRAM is very limiting at the QHD resolution. You can even experience performance issues like stutters and graphical pop-ins with 8GB of VRAM at 1080p, depending on the game. This isn't to say that you should avoid the RTX 4060 and 4070; just know that you'll run into issues sooner as newer games become increasingly demanding. All four have the same features, meaning they all support DLSS 3 (including frame generation), ray tracing, NVIDIA Reflex, and Resizable BAR. See more details about NVIDA's 40-series laptop GPUs here.

This laptop has a MUX (multiplexer) switch, a feature that allows the GPU to send information directly to the display without going through the integrated GPU. This means you'll see better performance than laptops without this feature. The performance difference can be anywhere from 10% to 25%, or more in some cases.

Configuration
RAM
Capacity
32 GB
Modules
2
Type
DDR5
Speed
5,600 MHz

You can configure this laptop with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of memory. The 16GB and 32GB configurations use DDR5 5600MHz RAM, while the 64GB configuration uses DDR5 5200MHz RAM. The speed difference doesn't significantly impact performance. You can replace the memory modules; the laptop uses standard SO-DIMM memory.

Configuration
Storage
Advertised Capacity
1,000 GB
Usable Capacity
919 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 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB of storage. Configurations with 2TB of storage or more are available in a RAID 0 array, which 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; models with an RTX 4060 or 4070 GPU have two M.2 2280/2230 slots, while models with an RTX 4080/ or 4090 GPU have two M.2 2230 and two M.2 2280/2230 slots (four total).

Performance
10
Performance
Geekbench 5 (Synthetics)
CPU Single-Thread
2,039 points
CPU Multi-Thread
18,807 points
GPU Compute
203,416 points

The Dell Alienware m18 R2's overall score in Geekbench 5 is outstanding. The Intel Core i9-14900HX can easily handle general productivity tasks and other highly demanding workloads. The Core i7-14650HX and Core i7-14700HX are slower, with the former being the slowest, but they can still handle intensive workloads with ease. All four available GPUs are suitable for heavy GPU computing; the higher-end options will simply complete tasks faster and provide a smoother experience.

10
Performance
Cinebench R23 (CPU Rendering)
Single-Thread
2,004 points
Multi-Thread
27,346 points

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 has an exceptional overall score in the Cinebench R23 benchmarks. The Core i9-14900HX has no problems handling demanding multi-threaded applications and general heavy multitasking.

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

Thanks to the NVIDIA GPUs' Optix support, the Dell Alienware m18 R2 is well suited for 3D rendering in Blender.

10
Performance
Basemark GPU (Game Scene)
Overall Score
220,316

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU scores exceptionally well in the Basemark GPU benchmark. As mentioned in the GPU section, all four GPUs can handle gaming at 1080p and 1440p, though you'll have to dial down the graphical settings a bit when playing at 1440p on the RTX 4060 and 4070 models to get high, consistent frame rates.

9.7
Performance
Storage Drive Performance
Sequential Write Speed
2,713.0 MB/s
Sequential Read Speed
5,222.0 MB/s
Random Write Speed
116.9 MB/s
Random Read Speed
69.0 MB/s

The larger capacity SSDs will likely perform better. You can get this laptop with two SSDs in a RAID 0 array, further improving performance.

3.8
Performance
Battery
Capacity
97 Wh
Battery Life (Web Browsing)
4.1 hrs
Battery Life (Video Playback)
3.1 hrs
Battery Life (Gaming)
1.2 hrs
Charge Time
2.8 hrs
8.9
Performance
Borderlands 3
Avg. FPS
207 fps
1% Low
108 fps
0.1% Low
47 fps
1% Low Delta
4 ms
0.1% Low Delta
17 ms
Avg. FPS On Very Low
290 fps

Borderlands 3 runs well on the Dell Alienware m18 R2 with an Intel Core i9-14900HX CPU and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU. Except for a few occasional stutters, the gameplay is very smooth. This configuration can even handle the game at 4k with high settings, pushing an average frame rate of 74 fps. Switching to the Performance mode increases the average frame rate (at 1080p) to 213 fps with high settings and 307 fps with low settings, a 3% and 6% performance increase, respectively. The Overdrive mode further boosts performance, albeit only slightly, pushing the average frame rate to 214 fps (+4%) with high settings and 311 fps (+8%) with low settings.

Here are some additional benchmarks in Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 to give you a better idea of the performance on a Core i9-14900HX model paired with an RTX 4080:

Red Dead Redemption 2

  • Average fps in Balanced mode:
    • 1080p, DLSS (Quality): 127 fps
    • 1080p, DLSS( Performance): 136 fps
    • 4k, DLSS (Quality): 60 fps
    • 4k, DLSS (Balanced): 86 fps
  • Average fps in Overdrive mode:
    • 1080p, DLSS (Quality): 133 fps
    • 1080p, DLSS (Performance): 141 fps
    • 4k, DLSS (Quality): 67 fps
    • 4k, DLSS (Balanced): 91 fps

Cyberpunk 2077

  • Average fps in Balanced mode:
    • 1080p, Ultra: 127 fps
    • 1080p, Lowest: 144 fps
    • 1080p, Ultra, ray tracing: 62 fps
    • 4k, Ultra: 41 fps
    • 4k, Ultra, DLSS (Balanced): 58 fps
    • 4k, Ultra, DLSS (Balanced), Frame Generation: 95 fps
  • Average fps in Overdrive mode:
    • 1080p, Ultra: 130 fps
    • 1080p, Lowest: 146 fps
    • 1080p, Ultra, ray tracing: 64 fps
    • 4k, Ultra: 42 fps
    • 4k, Ultra, DLSS (Balanced): 59 fps
    • 4k, Ultra, DLSS (Balanced), Frame Generation: 96 fps

9.1
Performance
Civilization VI
Avg. FPS
312 fps
1% Low
180 fps
0.1% Low
116 fps
1% Low Delta
2 ms
0.1% Low Delta
5 ms
Avg. FPS On Minimum
405 fps
Avg. Turn Time
6.5 s

Civilization VI runs incredibly well. Every configuration can handle this and other similar games with ease.

9.1
Performance
Counter-Strike 2
Avg. FPS
304fps
1% Low
121fps
0.1% Low
66fps
1% Low Delta
5 ms
0.1% Low Delta
12 ms
Avg. FPS On Low
427fps

Counter-Strike 2 runs very smoothly. Every configuration can handle this and other similar games with ease.

9.6
Performance
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
Avg. FPS
221 fps
1% Low
135 fps
0.1% Low
97 fps
1% Low Delta
3 ms
0.1% Low Delta
6 ms
Avg. FPS On Lowest
237 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider runs very smoothly. Every configuration can easily handle this and other similar games at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k, even without DLSS. Switching to the Overdrive mode increases the average frame rate slightly to 214 fps with high settings (1080p) and 311 fps with low settings. The average frame rate at 4k (Balanced mode) is 73 fps with no DLSS—switching to the Overdrive setting has little to no effect.

5.4
Performance
Thermals And Noise
Keyboard Temp While Idle
46 °C (115 °F)
Keyboard Temp Under Load
50 °C (122 °F)
Fan Noise While Idle
25.0 dBA
Fan Noise Under Load
55.0 dBA
Power & Fan Control App
Yes

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 gets hot and loud under load. The fan noise isn't overly bothersome, though, as it's just the sound of heavy airflow, not a high-pitch whine. Switching to the Overdrive mode doesn't increase fan noise; it makes the fans spin at full speed all the time, whereas the default profile ramps down the fan speed when the cooling isn't necessary.

9.9
Performance
Performance Over Time
CPU Temp (Cinebench)
99 °C
CPU Perf. Loss (Cinebench)
1% loss
GPU Temp (Heaven)
68 °C
GPU Perf. Loss (Heaven)
0% loss
Additional Features And Software
Additional Features And Software
Software
Operating System
Windows 11
Additional Software
Yes

The Dell Alienware m18 R2 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 statuses 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.
  • Dolby Access: Adds Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support. It also lets you change the sound and picture profile or create a custom sound profile through EQ.
  • intelliGo Neptune: Noise cancellation software to reduce background noise on video calls.
  • My Alienware: Shows your laptop's specifications, warranty, and other info.
  • Solitaire and casual games: Solitaire, FreeCell, Spider, Mahjong, Sudoku, and other casual games.
  • 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 R2 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's RGB backlighting and the lighting on the lid and back of the laptop are customizable via the Alienware Command Center application.