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CES 2024: Alienware beams down three new gaming laptops

Alienware m18 R2 at CES 2024 pictured from the front

The Alienware M16 R2 and x16 R2 use Intel’s new Core Ultra processors, while the M18 R2 debuts the 14th Gen Core HX chips

Dell may not have a physical presence at CES 2024, but that hasn’t stopped it from announcing the next wave of Alienware gaming laptops during the show.

The M16 R2 and x16 R2 join the likes of Asus’ Zenbook 14 OLED and Samsung’ Galaxy Book 4 series in featuring the new Intel Core Ultra chipsets, while the M18 R2 gets even more cutting-edge hardware, running on the just-announced 14th Gen Intel Core i chips.

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Beyond the shiny new processors, we’ve got a fair amount of information for each device, so let’s dig into what we know so far, starting with the M16 R2.

CES 2024: Alienware M16 R2

Alienware describes this new laptop as a complete redesign compared to the R1, with a slimmed-down thermal solution contributing to a footprint that is 15% smaller than its predecessor. This claim is certainly reflected in the specs: The M16 R2 measures 249 x 364 x 23.5mm and can weigh between 2.55kg and 2.61kg, depending on your chosen build.

On that front, you’re getting a vast array of configuration options here, including both single and dual PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD storage options, ranging from 512GB all the way up to 8TB (2x 4TB). Certain RAM loadouts are exclusive to China, but the rest of us still get the choice of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB Dual-Channel DDR5 5600MHz RAM, and then of course you can pick your performance poisons with the Intel Core Ultra H-series processors and Nvidia RTX 40-series graphics cards.

Aside from the processors and slimmed-down design, Alienware was most keen to highlight the new “Stealth Mode” feature. With the touch of a button (that appears to share real estate with the F2 key), this feature can take the laptop from high-performance with full RGB lighting down to a lower performance level with quieter fans and a simple white backlight. It wasn’t stated, but presumably hitting the key again will restore your previous settings, making this a handy shortcut for transitioning your setup between different uses.

CES 2024: Alienware x16 R2

Moving on to the x16 R2, here we’ve got the face of the group. Alienware made it clear that this is considered to be the most premium offering, with a sleek all-metal chassis and a wide array of RGB lighting options, including a backstrip that contains 100 programmable micro-LEDs and options for RGB animations in the touchpad.

Alienware m18 R2 at CES 2024 - power logo close up

Design-wise, the x16 R2 is larger but slimmer than the M16 R2, measuring 290 x 365 x 18.6mm, and weighs in at a solid 2.72kg. The 16in QHD display now refreshes at 240Hz as standard, up from the previous baseline of 165Hz, and you’re getting the same choice of processors as the M16 R2, with H-Series Intel Core Ultra 7 and Ultra 9 configurations. These are joined by a range of Nvidia RTX 40-series graphics options and storage setups ranging from 512GB single to 8TB Raid 0 (2x4TB).

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CES 2024: Alienware M18 R2

Slightly confusingly, the most powerful of these new Alienware laptops doesn’t use the “Ultra”-labelled processors like its siblings. Instead, it comes with your choice of the 14th Gen Intel Core HX chips: the 16-core Core i7-14650HX, 20-core Core i7-14700HX or the Core i9-14900HX, which offers a healthy 24 cores in total. Memory is user upgradable, with dual-channel DDR5 up to 64GB, and the CPUs are overclockable, too.

Alienware m18 R2 at CES 2024 - keyboard

On the graphics front, the M18 R2 offers a selection of Nvidia RTX 40-series GPUs like the other two models, and you can choose either single storage up to 4TB or or dual storage configurations going all the way up to 8TB (2x 4TB). The display is, naturally, an 18in panel, and you can either opt for a QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) resolution and 165Hz refresh rate, or swap the focus to a blisteringly fast 480Hz panel with a lower Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) resolution.

With all that horsepower, it will come as little surprise to hear that the M18 R2 is the bulkiest of the bunch, measuring 320 x 410 x 26.7mm – no details are given on the weight, but I expect that it will be varied based on your selected components, like the M16 R2, and I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t the heaviest of the three laptops.

We’ll have a lot more information, including pricing and expected release dates, soon, and expect to see full reviews for each of these models once we’ve got our hands on review samples. In the meantime, CES is far from a one-trick pony, so be sure to check back in over the next few days to see what other exciting new tech 2024 has in store.

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