Alienware was at Club Millian this evening to celebrate 20 years in providing high-performance PC gaming to the masses. The club grounds were decked out with food and a variety of tech booths offering VR (virtual reality) tryouts and activity areas to demonstrate their VR-capable product line. Regional and product managers from Dell and Intel were present onstage too to give introductory welcome and presentation of their new product line, including 2 new notebooks and 1 desktop from the Alienware range.
The main partners in crime here will be the new Alienware 15 and 17 notebooks, both VR-ready notebooks not only spotting the new Intel Kaby Lake (7th gen) processor refresh in a new chassis, but boasting too the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10- Series family of GPUs, with claimed 85% improved performance over previous generation Alienware notebooks. There is no word on the Alienware 13 model as of yet as current models still can only be equipped with Skylake CPUs and a GTX 960M.
The $3,999 SGD Alienware 17 is the flagship model of the Alienware laptop range, with an emphasis on screen size, gaming performance and overall immersion. Powering this large desktop-replacement laptop is an overclocked Intel Core i7 k-series CPU coupled with DDR4 memory (overclocked to 2667Mhz). The introduction of an optional IR Tobii eye-tracker was the 17” laptop main selling point- which adds an IR and camera tracker bar at the bottom of the screen, just above the hinge which constantly scans your eye movements.
Alienware has put together a few nice tech demo software included with the Alienware 17 to showcase its eye tracking capabilities. We had seen this technology a couple of years back, but never had it been integrated into a laptop chassis to enhance efficiency in gameplay, power use and security. When looking at the screen, it first detects your gaze, and if you software/game supports it, allow you to record and export your gaze pattern as an improvement tool to help improve your productivity. It can also sense your presence and attention to lock your system when you are away. You can technically use the eye tracking to command hands-free use of the computer with your eyes, but it will definitely give you eye fatigue after 10 minutes of continued use, as such I can see it primarily being useful for apps requiring user presence for eye tracking and accommodating for better user-accessibility (e.g enhancing areas of the screen the user is looking).
With limited areas of innovation you can have nowadays with gaming notebooks, and besides just undergoing a simple concurrency processor refresh to current generation, Alienware has explored other tangible technologies to differentiate their products from the already crowded gaming notebook market, such as use of premium materials, better cooling and productivity technologies.
The Alienware 15 is the entry model in the Kaby Lake range. The $2,399 VR-ready laptop also spots the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, with a 300-nits 15.6” FHD IPS display as standard (upgradable to 120Hz with NVIDIA G-Sync). It is available end October 2016 on Dell Singapore online and subsequently mid-November in retail. Both Alienware 15 and 17 laptops feature full LED system illumination, a trademark of the brand.
There were a couple of Alienware machines showcasing as nice demonstrators running Steam VR demos coupled with HTC vive, such as Audioshield, 3D paint (which I particularly enjoyed), and a rather immersive locally-developed VR game called Reality+, where you get to clear virtual levels traversing floating platforms, over a pre-fabricated game playing area, not for those with vertigo!
Alienware did have their old graphics amplifier on display, primarily on it’s compatibility with the new Alienware 15 and 17 notebooks.
Alienware Aurora desktop
Last but not least, the new Alienware Aurora sits at a price segment below the Area 51 desktop range and now features a new tool-less mid-tower chassis, with CPU-only liquid-cooled gaming, it is both 4K and 12K capable with a dual-graphics setup. Performance improvements includes a choice of the latest Intel 7th-gen Kaby Lake CPUs with factory- overclocked Kingston Fury X DDR4 running at 2400MHz. The chassis is rather space-optimized too, allowing you to cram in 3 to 5 hard drives depending on drive form factor.
That’s all for the Alienware range here. Proceed on to the Dell Product range announced at the show.