For my son: new Dell G15 or four-year-old Alienware 13 R3?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Mitlov, Jul 16, 2021.

  1. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    My son is turning 15 and is interested in a gaming laptop of his own for his birthday. He's more into indie games on Steam than, say, Cyberpunk at max settings, so we don't need blistering speed. I also definitely don't want to spend four figures at this time.

    Two options have emerged: giving him my hand-me-down Alienware 13 (upgrading the SSD storage), or buying new but budget, most likely the Dell G15 (with 512gb ssd but otherwise base specs).

    The Alienware has perhaps more "quality components," but it's four years old at this point and I'm just not sure if it's reasonable to expect it to last several more years.

    The Dell G15 looks good on paper for an $800 laptop, but it's not a price point I've bought before and I worry about them cutting corners on stuff that doesn't show on a spec sheet, like screen and keyboard quality, creaky chassis, etc.

    The G15 has a GTX 1650 and my Alienware has a 1050. Edit: the G15 offers an RTX 3050 for just $50 more, which seems compelling compared to the other two GPU options, especially my Alienware's 1050?

    What would you do in my shoes? Which would be a better option for a gift for your teenage son, a four-year-old premium laptop or a new budget gaming laptop, and why?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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  3. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    Thanks, I am pretty gunshy about Lenovo after a very bad experience with an Ideapad gaming laptop, but in all fairness that was 15 years ago and a sample size of one, so I realize it may not be a fair response.
     
  4. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    I had a Y720 that didn't have any issues but, a co-worker had a work Carbon X1 that was a total PITA to keep running. So, as a whole Lenovo / IBM has more working systems than not.

    I have a Clevo now that has the 9750H in it and it runs well. Well, there are some quirks I've run into since getting it where certain driver releases cause some havoc within Windows but, the HW itself is good. I sold the Y720 for more horsepower / newer HW. Seems the QC of drivers has gone downhill recently from MSFT / Intel...well everywhere really if you keep an eye on 0-day issues popping up a lot more frequently. I'm a bit more hesitant to update things due to the issues and delay installing the latest patches due to the problems they cause at this point.
     
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  5. Sentential

    Sentential Notebook Evangelist

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    I've investigated this myself for my son and so far if you can find one the best bang for buck right now is the HP Pavilion Gaming laptop through Walmart for $589. The panel is atrocious in terms of color accuracy but cant argue on price. 1650 is more than enough to play light weight games and it's cheap enough to be a throw away until the prices come down.

    All of your concerns about chassis and build quality are fine with this unit, the only glaring downside is the internal panel's color reproduction is poor and tends to skew colors like purple to outright blue. Assuming he's going to use an external monitor it wont matter.

    Also the price floor for a decent laptop has risen dramatically and if you're looking for a same like-for-like to your AW13 in terms of parts the closest equivalent would be an Asus Zephyrus M16 or a Acer 500SE or a 15R6 with either a 3050Ti or 3060. As you'll discover the floor for those is around $1500-2000 due to COVID and crypto mining.

    HP Pavilion i5 GTX 1650 8GB/256GB Gaming Laptop - Walmart.com - Walmart.com
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
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  6. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    If that's the case a panel upgrade is easy enough to do for about $100.

    I have a GTX1650 in mine and it works fine with a 4K upgrade on the panel. It's not the fastest setup but the 4K allows for more visual real estate to place windows / icons w/o feeling cluttered.
     
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  7. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    Something else to consider is an inexpensive laptop and a GeForce Now subscription.

    Otherwise, the Lenovo Legion laptops are pretty solid. I would try hard to get a 6GB GPU; should your son change his mind about playing some of the more demanding AAA titles, you'll be glad you spent a little extra.

    Charles
     
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  8. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Virtuoso

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    only if the r3 has the oled....then yes the alienware
     
  9. kojack

    kojack Notebook Prophet

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    I would go with the new G15 seeing as it provides further futureproofing and the 3070 will be helpful moving forward. You can always put more ram etc in at a later date as well.
     
  10. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Virtuoso

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    yeah like the 3070 is hard to beat but screen>experience

    but @kojack its a 3050 or 1650 not a 3070

    the alienware is a far more solid option
     
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