Home Electronics Computers Alienware x14 Review

Alienware x14 Review

Alienware x14

THE BOTTOM LINE

The brand-new Alienware x14 joins the higher echelon of 14-inch gaming laptops, delivering sound gaming expertise and quick general efficiency in a super-portable design.

PROS

  • Impressively quick Core i7 “Alder Lake” processor
  • RTX 3060 unit delivers a constant 60fps-plus gaming expertise
  • Compact design
  • Lengthy-lasting battery
  • Wide selection of connectivity, together with three USB-C ports

CONS

  • Costly
  • 14-inch display dimension could also be too small for some hardcore players

ALIENWARE X14 SPECS

Laptop ClassGaming
ProcessorIntel Core i7-12700H
Processor Speed2.7 GHz
RAM (as Tested)32 GB
Boot Drive KindSSD
Boot Drive Capability (as Examined)2 TB
Display Dimension14 inches
Native Show Decision1920 by 1080
Contact DisplayNo
Panel ExpertiseIPS
Variable Refresh HelpNone
Display Refresh Charge144 Hz
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop computer GPU
Graphics Reminiscence6 GB
Wi-fi NetworkingBluetooth, wi-fi 6E
Dimensions (HWD)0.57 by 12.66 by 10.34 inches
Weight3.96 lbs
Working SystemHome windows 11
Examined Battery Life (Hours: Minutes)8:43

It’s secure to say gaming laptops with 14-inch screens are in vogue. Some producers at the moment are providing downsized variations of the most well-liked 15-inch and 17-inch designs. Amongst them is the brand new Alienware x14 (begins at $1,649.99; $2,299.99 as examined), a brand new dimension for the X Collection that takes its design cues from the bigger Alienware x15 and x17. The slim and compact design makes more sense at 14 inches than more significant display size. However, leading to a very portable laptop computer that has the motive to be particularly trim.

The internal energy backs up the idea: The brand-new Intel Core i7 “Alder Lake” processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU in our mannequin ship full-fledged gaming expertise, similar to or higher than competing laptops. You may nonetheless get extra energy per greenback in a more extensive laptop computer. Still, when your gaming rig shall be a frequent journey companion, the Alienware x14 is a high possibility.

A Pure Match: X Collection Design at 14 Inches

Alienware x14 r1

First, little background on why this downsize is interesting. Alienware’s X Collection spun off from the M Collection line, taking the Alienware m15 and m17 base design, tweaking the look, and making them even thinner. The result’s the x15 and x17. The x14 is a brand new dimension in each traces—there isn’t any pre-existing 14-inch M Collection laptop computer; as an alternative, make use of the X Collection design to a smaller dimension.

In follow, regardless of the x15 and x17 being marginally thinner than their counterparts, they’re genuinely a bit heavier, which does not make them any extra transportable. As well as, a thinner enclosure means much less room for cooling, so the ability output is barely lowered in contrast with the m15 and m17. A hardly different fashion from the M Collection (it’s subjective whether or not the white or black keyboard deck appears to be higher) was not motive sufficient, in our view, to justify the 15-inch and 17-inch X Collection laptops given the opposite components.

The x14, although, is one of the best deployment of this design. The X Collection redesign didn’t change the maths on how transportable these 15- and 17-inch laptops are, leaving us underwhelmed, but it indeed makes rather more sense right here at 14 inches. A laptop computer with a smaller display will at all times be extra transportable than its bigger siblings, and whenever you apply the thinner design to this display, you get a profitable mixture.

The smaller chassis also appears to belie and slick, and it’s no phantasm: The x14 is available at simply 0.57 by 12.7 by 10.Three inches (HWD). It adalsodeas the scales at 3.96 kilos, which is respectable for many laptops but particularly good for a gaming machine. It’s really a gaming laptop computer you may tuck underneath your arm or throw in a bag or backpack and not using a second thought. The ability adapter is compact, too—removed from a given on this class. Generally slim designs are wasted on an influence brick twice as thick and simply as heavy.

These design chops properly step with high 14-inch opponents juke the Razer Blade 14 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The construct is extra on par with the latter than the previous—Razer’s all-metal providing stands out from the pack—however these two are nonetheless sturdy and really feel nicely well worth the cash. Merely put, the thin-and-light X Collection idea plus a 14-inch chassis equals a pure match.

Alienware x14 r1

Though we name them 15- and 17-inch laptops, their precise show dimension (measured diagonally) is barely off these spherical numbers, at 15.6 and 17.Three inches, respectively. With 14-inch laptops, the display is strictly 14 inches diagonally, and in order that’s what now we have right here. Whereas the x14 is simple to hold, there’s no getting round the truth that the show is noticeably smaller, a worth you pay for the improved portability.

For some players, that dimension could also be a deal breaker, however I do discover video games a lot playable at 14 inches. Extra UI-dense or detail-oriented titles could also be tougher to learn, but it surely’s a good compromise for mobility. In case you’re strongly contemplating a smaller laptop computer, you already know that having the ability to take your laptop computer on the go is a precedence for you. In case you primarily intend to go away your gaming laptop computer in your desk or your property, a bigger show makes extra sense.

As for the show expertise, our unit incorporates a full HD (1,920 by 1,080) decision and a 144Hz refresh rate. This dimension n be a no-brainer mixture for me in a laptop computer; smaller laptops are restricted of their energy output, so they’ll have a a lot tougher time ever making good use of a QHD or 4K show with a 240Hz or 300Hz refresh charge for gaming. The complete HD and 144Hz ceiling are rather more cheap targets for the elements right here. The image high quality is crisp and brilliant, dwelling as much as (and as our testing will present, even past) its 400-nit score. The panel can also be Dolby Imaginative and prescient-certified, which improves the color depth and high quality additional.

The keyboard and touchpad are much less outstanding than the design as an entire, however they do the job. The keys don’t have numerous journey, with the area bar particularly shallow. This can be a facet impact of the skinny construct, although it doesn’t should be this fashion; the G14’s keys have a superb quantity of journey, and the Blade 14 is someplace between.

The condensed keyboard dimension additionally takes some getting used to (I put my fingers down within the wrong place on several occasions at first); however, that is simply one thing you’ll adapt to after a while. The keys are backlit as one zone with customizable RGB lighting, all managed by means of Alienware’s Command Middle software program. The touchpad may be very easy, and maybe a bit on the small facet, but it surely tracks easily and responds nicely to faucets and full presses.

This construct sees all of its ports positioned on its rear block. The x15 and x17 have most of their ports round again; however, the energy adapter and headphone jacks stay on the left and right edges. That’s not the case right here, a really uncommon occasion of a laptop computer not having a single left or proper facet port, little question an impact of the super-thin kind.

Alienware x14 r1

One can find loads of connections again there, although. There are three USB-C ports: Two characteristic Thunderbolt 4 help, energy supply, and DisplayPort output, whereas the third lacks Thunderbolt help. The latter, alone on the left, is designated because the charging port with an icon, however all of them can cost the laptop computer. You additionally get one USB-A 3.2 port, an HDMI connection, a microSD card slot, and the headphone jack.

Reaching across the show or spinning the laptop computer to see what you’re doing is slightly inconvenient, I have to admit, however you most likely gained’t assume twice about it after some time, and it’s troublesome to name a official grievance. Plugging in wired headphones is more likely to be the most important irritant, as a result of these jacks are very not often positioned out of sight and extra typically have to be plugged again in. All collectively, the I/O providing is powerful for a smaller system, and the laptop computer additionally helps wi-fi 6E for cutting-edge wi-fi connections.

The webcam up high options help for Home windows Hi there; however, its sensor is not full HD (1080p), as an alternative restricted to a 1,280-by-720-pixel decision.


Part Rundown: Welcome, Alder Lake

I discussed the elements being a superb match for the display dimension earlier, so now it could be time to see what this laptop computer has underneath the hood. From the bottom mannequin to the utmost loadout, the x14 is extra modestly outfitted than its bigger siblings. Let’s begin with the processor (along with the 14-inch dimension).

Alienware x14 r1

Alienware presents two Core i7 processor choices, from Intel’s newest 12th Technology, also called “Alder Lake.” This platform was successful on desktop, and the cell variations are solely simply arriving—see our initial testing run of a beefy Core i9 system. The x14 is the primary U.S.-retail laptop computer we’re reviewing with this new platform.

The 2 processor choices are the Core i7-12700H and the i7-12900H, each laden with 14 cores and 20 threads. You may read our coverage of Alder Lake cell for elements on how these cores function on this new era, however suffice it to say it’s not so simple as uncooked core and thread rely; some cores are devoted to pure high-power processing, and others are efficiency-minded ones meant to avoid wasting vitality for gentle duties.

Becoming a member of these chips are three GPU choices: the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, RTX 3050 Ti, and RTX 3060. Once more, even the very best selection stops wanting the x15 and x17’s beefier choices, but it surely’s a logical set for this dimension, and also you’ll see how our unit carried out within the testing part under.

As for the remainder, you may max out the reminiscence at 32GB (there are no enlargement slots because the RAM is soldered down), and storage ranges from a 512GB SSD to a 2TB SSD. Alienware tells me a 256GB possibility shall be coming down the highway.

All of meaning the present base mannequin is $1,649.99 for a Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of reminiscence, a 512GB SSD, and an RTX 3050 GPU. That worth is truthful for these elements, even when we’re unable to test that actual loadout. Alienware does not supply an entry-level or lower-midrange possibility, alas—as an Alienware product this tilts to the fanatic facet, and thus, fanatic pricing.

Alienware x14 r1

Our assessment unit is an interesting mixture, although one which leans towards the higher-end choices. For $2,299, our mannequin contains the Core i7-12700H CPU, 32GB of reminiscence, a 2TB SSD, and the RTX 3060 GPU. Clearly the value level isn’t as little as it could possibly be, so your choices are open for a cheaper configuration, however this one ought to have the ability to present what the 14-inch machine can actually do. Keep in mind that the value is being pumped up by the expensive inclusion of a 2TB SSD, which isn’t a necessity.

Producers are in a position to set Nvidia’s 30-series GPUs to an influence supply stage that fits their design targets and thermal limitations, leading to a variety of differing wattages, even for a similar GPU. In some circumstances, meaning a higher-wattage RTX 3070 may outperform (or hold surprisingly near) an RTX 3080, or that two RTX 3070 GPUs in two totally different laptops can carry out very in a different way. It’s a bit complicated for customers, hobutignifies that it’s exmoreital than ever to examine our per-system benchmark test outcomes. The RTX 3060 within the x14 is configured with a most energy of 85 watts.


Testing the Alienware x14: Punching Above Its Weight

it’s engaging to see what this technique can do between the brand new X Collection dimension and the Alder Lake chip; we’ll be operating it by means of our standard suite of benchmark exams, and evaluating the outcomes towards these of the next laptops…

Test System Configurations

PROCESSORGRAPHICSRAMSTORAGE
Alienwarex14IntelCore i7-12700H (2.7GHz)NvidiaGeForce RTX 3060 (6GB)32GBRAM2TBSSD
Alienwarex15IntelCore i7-11800H (2.3GHz)NvidiaGeForce RTX 3070 (8GB)16GBRAM512GBSSD
AsusROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)AMDRyzen 9 5900HS (3.3GHz)NvidiaGeForce RTX 3060 (6GB)32GBRAM1TBSSD
MSIKatana GF66IntelCore i7-11800H (2.3GHz)NvidiaGeForce RTX 3060 (6GB)16GBRAM1TBSSD
RazerBlade 14AMDRyzen 9 5900HX (3.3GHz)NvidiaGeForce RTX 3070 (8GB)16GBRAM1TBSSD

There’s a helpful mixture of programs right here representing two competing 14-inch laptops, the related Alienware x15 and a finances system within the MSI Katana GF66. The latter is an attention-grabbing inclusion because it reveals what related elements can do if you wish to spend totally on efficiency over the trimmest attainable kind issue, chopping its value with a decrease high quality, much less compact construct.

Productiveness Exams

The primary benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates quite a lot of real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows, measuring general efficiency for office-centric duties reminiscent of phrase processing, spreadsheeting, internet searching, and videoconferencing. We additionally run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to evaluate the load time and throughput of a laptop computer’s storage.

Alienware x14 r1

Three benchmarks give attention to the CPU, utilizing all accessible cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a fancy scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.four Professional simulates common apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.four to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).

Our ultimate productiveness test is workstation maker Puget Methods’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which makes use of the Artistic Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia purposes. It is an automatic extension that executes qumanyasic and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties s, tarting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to musing masks, gradient fills, and filters.

That is the place we put the brand new Alder Lake chip to the test, and it handed with flying colours. The x14 was one of the best performer on each benchmark right here, topping the bigger machines and the AMD-based counterparts. AMD’s new Ryzen 6000 collection is coming to laptops this month, so the Ryzen chips right here will technically be last-generation quickly, however are related for now. We’ll circle again on that head-to-head as soon as Ryzen 6000 laptops can be found, however contemplating the efficiency lead AMD has had within the latest previous, this enchancment is nice information for Intel.

Lengthy story quick, the x14 and i7 Alder Lake are impressively well-suited for productiveness and media duties. These choices have crept up from “ok when wanted” to legitimately helpful for enhancing and content material creation. Devoted skilled machines and workstations will nonetheless maintain a bonus as the principle system you’re employed on, however for a compact laptop computer you may take with you for gaming {and professional} work, the x14’s outlook is rosy.

Graphics and Gaming Exams

We test Home windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Night time Raid (extra modest, appropriate for laptops with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, appropriate for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

As well as, we run three real-world recreation exams utilizing the built-in benchmarks of F1 2021, Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege. These signify simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive esports shooter video games respectively. Valhalla and Siege are run twice (Valhalla on the Medium and Extremely high quality presets, Siege at Low and Extremely high quality), whereas F1 2021 is run twice at most settings, oon as with Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing turned off and as soon as with it on.

The brand new Alder Lake CPU is worthy of loads of consideration, however these outcomes are the meat and potatoes for the x14. First, let’s take a look at the outcomes remoted from the opposite laptops. The scores and body charges are good, higher than common even for an RTX 3060. Focusing in on Valhalla as probably the most strenuous title, it might clear a mean of 80fps by enjoying on the (nonetheless great-looking) Medium preset, and hover just below 60fps on the highest element preset. That may embody some dips which is able to look uneven, however decreasing a number of settings will allow you to benefit from the title extra easily.

The less-demanding video games are an excellent expertise on the x14. Don’t let the truth that there are a number of GPUs above the RTX 3060 in Nvidia’s hierarchy dissuade you: It’s a really succesful providing. You may obtain a race-ready 60fps on F1 2021 at most settings even with out DLSS, and make nice use of the 144Hz show in Rainbow Six Siege.

Evaluating it now to the opposite programs, the x14 holds up nicely. It was by no means going to be extra highly effective than the x15, and the Blade 14 has an edge with its RTX 3070, however the x14 hung shut. It was even superior to the Blade 14 on Valhalla, whereas additionally markedly higher than the Zephyrus G14 and a contact forward of the MSI Katana. It posted one of the best low-settings Rainbow Six Siege outcomes as nicely, seemingly helped on by the processor on this case.

As discussed earlier, with the expensive 2TB SSD, numerous variables go into the value of those actual configurations, so evaluating price-to-performance isn’t ultimately reduced and dry. Typically, although this reveals that larger designs of the x14 are worth it, so far as thermal effectivity and its efficiency ceiling, these elements carry out at or above expectations on this compact chassis, and there’s the motive to assume the decreased configurations shall be sound for extra budget-conscious customers.

Warmth, Noise, and Nvidia Superior Optimus

The x14 additionally did not get uncomfortably scorching, whereas gaming, significantly on the keyboard. The very again of the underside was scorching (how may it not be, actually?), however in contrast to another laptop, the warmth has primarily evaded the place of your arms relaxed, and there wasn’t a particularly scorching spot anyplace on the deck. Between the efficiency and the heat, Alienware’s unique “Ingredient 31” thermal materials (a Gallium-Silicone answer which isn’t new to this technique) is doing their half together with a vapor cooling chamber.

Alienware x14 r1

Moreover, the Command Middle software program additionally opens up choices for several different energy modes. We examined this technique on Efficiency mode, where the fan speeds weren’t loud whereas idle and inside an appropriate vary whereas gaming. Bumping as much as Full Pace made issues a lot louder, and I would not say it is value the additional noise—this mode solely pushed three or 4 different frames per second on these video games, even when mixed with the preset overclock possibility. Beneath these modes are Balanced, Cool, and Quiet choices, as nicely.

Lastly, the x14 does characteristic Nvidia Superior Optimus, which kicks the dedicated GPU (the RTX 3060) into motion whenever you launch a 3D or graphics-dependent program. You may power the GPU to be energetic always if you want; however, Optimus will routinely do it for you by default. Operating the built-in graphics chip for easy duties saves energy, particularly if you’re on battery, and can cut back fan noise. The implementation is essentially efficient, with occasional hiccups with minimizing and the Optimus pop-up notification when it first kicks in. The inclusion of Optimus seemingly contributes to the system’s value, but it surely additionally helps supply extra premium-feeling expertise.

Battery and Show Exams

We test laptops’ battery life by enjoying a regionally saved 720p video file that shows brightness at 50% and audio quantity at 100% till the system quits. We make confident the battery is charged earlier than the test, with wi-fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.

Excellent news for this portable bodily machine—the battery life is lengthy! Almost 9 hours on our rundown test is a superb consequence, and you may see the others fall nicely wanting that mark. The opposite two 14-inch programs did last more on our test; however, all three clear a workday’s value of battery life. If the battery solely lasted 4 or 5 hours right here, it could have severely undermined the portability; however, you may pack it confidently.

The show’s coloration protection is a contact fuller than the others, and the brightness exams confirmed what I see, anecdotally, in a particular person. This can be a vibrant and brighter-than-average show, pushing extra nits than some other system right here.


X Collection Has Landed

The Alienware x14 is a beautiful 14-inch gaming pocketbook, an all-around strong laptop computer, and one of the best efforts throughout the X Collection to this point. It retains the smooth look whereas matching or besting its competitors on efficiency, avoiding the ability dropoff we see within the x15 and x17. Going super-compact provides worth at this dimension, making for a genuinely road-ready gaming laptop computer.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 can also be lovely, but it indeed’s the Razer Blade 14 that trades blows with Alienware’s machine. The Blade 14 incorporates a different premium steel construct; its RTX 3070 configuration is cheaper than what we reviewed right here, and its show is extra superior at 1440p and 165Hz. The Blade 14 (and the G14) shall be receiving AMD’s Ryzen 6000 processors early this yr, too, so the present processor benefit isn’t intrinsic to the x14 and gained maintain perpetually.

However, a smaller SSD would put the value benefit again to the x14; its ready-now Alder Lake CPU is blazing quick, and its RTX 3060 stacks as much as the Blade’s RTX 3070. It’s nearly a wash between these two high machines, down mainly to choice on the design and a few characteristic variations. If you wish to make use of the Alder Lake juice now and just like the fashion of this machine, the x14 is a high possibility for cell players.


You may also like