*OFFICIAL* Alienware 15 R1/R2 Owner's Lounge

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by Mr. Fox, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox BGA Filth-Hating Elitist

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    This thread is a place to discuss all things related to your new Alienware 15 and share information your experience with fellow owners, or a place that prospective owners can read and ask questions.

    Below are some links that owners of this model may find helpful.

    Alienware 15 Service Manual

    Dell Phone Directory
    Spare Parts and Accessories: Purchase your Upgrade, Accessories, or Replacement Parts 1-800-357-3355

    For Alienware Support, avoid calling Dell Support. Call 1-800-ALIENWARE whenever possible.


    Alienware 15 Official Driver Downloads

    Benchmark thread
    *OFFICIAL* Alienware 15 R1/R2 Benchmark Thread


    Edit: Having issues with your fans not working well? Please promote this and comment at IdeaStorm. This is the second generation of Alienware laptops with fans problems. It needs to be fixed, and needs to stop here.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2016
  2. Oranjoose

    Oranjoose Notebook Enthusiast

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    Update log
    - changed drawbacks section to be troubleshooting common problems section and added entries and modified others

    Update log continued in the following spoiler:
    - added Soloduo11x's report of the graphics performance with the 180w psu versus a 240w psu

    - added complaint in complaint section
    - added reports of M.2 and SSD compatibility in confirmed specs section
    - added uofaboy's pics of his 4K Alienware 15 in the videos/photos and reviews section

    - Added fix to light bleed under Alienware logo on the front in the resources section.
    - Added a few complaints some users have reported.
    - Updated faq item to mention that there's no numpad with FN key either.
    - Added link to the full manuals page in resources

    - Added to observations
    - Added RAM information
    - Polished some styling
    - Added link to official driver page
    - Added a couple of items to the issues/complaints list
    Created thread

    This post was the OP for the original thread for this product, before forum reshuffling. Please continue to use this post as a resource, and I will try to continue to update it.


    Hi all, I just received my Alienware 15, and with the encouragement of a few others in the other Alienware 15 thread, I am creating a new thread to establish a new tone for the conversation surrounding the physical product and its maintenance and support. I intend to update this thread periodically with information relevant to those who own the product, and otherwise prospective purchasers.

    I'll start with a list of confirmed hardware shipped with the product:
    4K (UHD) screen: I have confirmed that the screen has the hardware ID of SHP1430, which is a 60Hz non-pentile Sharp screen. It is absolutely marvelous.

    Storage drives:
    : garache has confirmed that the 256GB SSD is the LITEONIT L8T-256L9G-11, and claims that it would be wise to just buy the SSD on your own.
    - irwinm confirmed that the Transcend M.2 MTS800 works with the Alienware 15.
    HDD: I received the Toshiba MQ01ABD100, which can be seen here: TOSHIBA MQ01ABD100 1TB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive - Newegg.com . As you can see, this is a 5400 RPM, 8MB cache HDD.

    M.2 Ports
    - The two M.2 ports are 80mm (2280) and have confirmed they support the SATA interface, but it is unconfirmed whether or not they support PCI-e; still waiting on that. It's looking more and more that the M.2 ports do not support PCI-e, unfortunately.

    The touchpad is made by Synaptics.

    The 8GB configuration on the Alienware web site comes with two 4GB DIMMs made by Hyundai. They are PC3-12800 1.35V CAS 11.

    List of resources:
    - Service manual, which describes how to disassemble the computer to put in custom parts: Alienware 15 Service Manual, and here is the location for the rest of the manuals associated with this product: http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/product-support/product/alienware-15/manuals .

    - Official Alienware driver download page: http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/19/product-support/product/alienware-15/drivers

    - Table of competing laptops and various specs: http://1drv.ms/1tBQjHN

    - Average GPU scores for 3DMark 2013 Fire Strike standard on Alienware 15's GPU options (http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-970M.126694.0.html):
    nVidia 965m: 5394
    AMD M295X: 6767
    nVidia 970m: 7406
    nVidia 980m: 9725

    Soloduo11x has reported graphics scores with the stock 180W PSU versus a 240W PSU. Here are the average combined scores:
    180W: 3280
    240W: 3686

    This clearly demonstrates that you should acquire a more powerful PSU (power adapter) if you want maximum performance.

    - dogbird's post about how to fix light bleed under the front alienware logo: http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...owners-information-thread-11.html#post9903398

    This space is for reviews and videos:
    - Pretty good unboxing video:

    - uofaboy's pictures of his 4K Alienware 15:

    Common problems and their solutions:
    Problem: backlight bleed under the alienware logo on the front, as dogbird reported.
    Solution: dogbird describes how to fix it here: http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...owners-information-thread-11.html#post9903398 .

    Problem: network stuttering or computer becoming overly taxed with network tasks such as steam.
    Solution: djangi has suggested unchecking "Enable Bandwidth Control" in the Killer Network Manager. At least one has reported that this did the trick. This may also fix YouTube stuttering problems.
    This post tackles issues with Killer network cards: https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=178063.0

    Issues that have not be resolved or cannot be resolved:

    - The surface bezel around the keyboard and the touchpad is a fingerprint magnet.

    - Th4tRedhe4d reported irritating vibration in the front right of the laptop when the fans are on faster. adipocere reported the fans vibrating the touchpad. Others have denied that these issues are not the case for them.

    - Apparently the microphone easily picks up typing sounds, as my students reported while I was teaching an online live session, even while typing softly. This was not a problem for the Samsung Ativ Book 8.

    - Mine was shipped with a loose screw rattling throughout the internals. I opened it open, rattled it to where I could see it, and carefully used special tweezers to extract the screw. Watch out for this kind of quality control blunder. Other than this, the laptop appeared mostly unscathed, despite the beaten up box.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
    Q: Is the Graphics Amplifier x4 or x16?
    A: AlienwareTechSupport on Twitter told me that it is x4, despite the CPU supporting x16. The practical performance difference between x4 and x16 is apparently way overblown, as seen in this article:

    GeForce GTX 980 PCI-Express Scaling | techPowerUp .

    Q: Why would you want a touchscreen? Eww.
    A: - More effective multi-touch mobile game and app development.
    - While I'm standing up and roaming around, it's nice to be able to quickly tap something that pops up on the screen, without having to keel down to the touchpad or mouse.
    - It's faster to tap big form fields (such as Gmail) even when sitting.
    - It makes casually scrolling through articles far more comfortable while sitting cross-legged with the laptop on my lap.
    - It makes it easier to pin-and-zoom to quickly show somebody nearby a specific part of a web page, such as a picture.
    - It makes it easier for me to over-the-shoulder help guide someone sitting at my computer on how to perform a task. "Click this

    (tap), then scroll down here (swipe)" and so on.

    Q: Doesn't 4K scale to 1080p perfectly, since there are exactly 4 times the number of pixels (evenly divisible)?
    A: Not necessarily. In my experience with a 4K Y50, 1080p was less sharp than a native 1080p screen. It appears that the screen interpolates pixels regardless of the ideal arithmetic. Playing games at 1080p was seamless though and I don't think I would be able to tell which was the native 1080p screen if placed side-by-side.

    Q: Doesn't Windows have sucky scaling?
    A: This is a common misconception. For the most part, 4K on the Lenovo Y50 worked really well in Windows (8.1). I had the scale settings set at 125% or 150% and I only had trouble in certain applications, such as Adobe CS6 suite and a few game development IDEs. It really depends on what applications you're using. But for normal web browsing and file management, the 4K was great.

    Q: Where's my numpad?
    A: No numpad, not even accessible hidden on the right with the FN key. I personally don't like the numpad. Not having a numpad keeps my typing more centered with the screen. Typing on a laptop with a numpad has slowly taken a toll on my neck muscles, because my shoulders are oriented asymmetrically, even if ever so slightly. Moreover, I type numbers a lot, but the horizontal number row is much faster to type on, because they are closer to the letters, and you can also more effectively use two hands.

    Q: How configurable are the lights (touchpad and so on)?
    A: There are an incredible number of options in the AW Command Center application, including custom colors, glow speed, glow duration, looping/pulsing, and more, for just about each section of lights.

    Here are some general observations on my part so far:
    - The chassis is incredibly solid. Very impressed with that.

    - The keyboard doesn't flex much, but the keys themselves are expectedly pretty squishy (it's a laptop keyboard). It feels better so far than a Samsung Ativ Book 8 that I own, but maybe not quite as nice as the Lenovo Y50.

    - The height of the laptop is almost exactly the height of a DVD case with two CD cases stacked on top of it (go ahead, find a DVD case and a couple CD cases, you know you want to).

    I feel that random users' opinions of screen quality, keyboard feel, and so on isn't all that helpful, since it is entirely subjective, and you may have a different opinion. I prefer hard numbers relative to other laptops' hard numbers. For example, "the fans are kinda loud" is useless compared to "the fans are measured at 32dB versus this other laptop measured at 40dB." This is the main reason I haven't weighed in too heavily, and am waiting for professional reviews.

    Alas, in the midst of waiting for your laptop, or choosing between laptops, you'll lap up anything you can get, no matter how inconsequential it is. So, fine, I'll weigh in a bit more.

    A bit of background. I teach game development and graphics design and have done a fair bit of photography. I have owned many monitors/laptop screens, including the LP3065, 2209WA, LP1423p, Samsung Ativ Book 8 (AUO MVA panel), Lenovo Y50 4K (Samsung PLS), and a slew of TN panels.

    The 4K Sharp panel on this Alienware 15 is actually really nice. I haven't gotten around to calibrating it yet, but at this point, I dare say that it might be the best quality screen I've used. I have also used Apple Cinema displays and Macbook Pro 15" retina newest version. The backlight bleed isn't good, and there's some serious tonal falloff at the left and right edges, creating an undesired vignette effect. Despite those things, the colors are nice, and the contrast is really good. The screen is probably a newer version of the one tested here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Toshiba-Satellite-P50t-B-10T-Notebook-Review.129317.0.html .

    The hinge is really solid so far. When you tap the screen, it doesn't wobble, like others I've seen. Very sturdy. The quality of the glass isn't as nice as the Ativ Book 8 in my opinion.

    I like good keyboards. I own a Cherry brown Filco with heavy-duty double shot keys, that I bought and customized long before any of the major companies started jumping on the wagon. This is one of a few expensive professional mechanical keyboards I've purchased. That said, the keyboard on the Alienware 15 was a pleasant surprise. When I test out laptops in Best Buy and the Microsoft Store, I type "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" in notepad on each display computer. I wonder what people think when they walk by and see the screens after I'm done. This keyboard beats all of the ones I've tested in the stores recently. This is partially because Best Buy and Microsoft puts super cheap laptops on display, or ones that are too thin to effectively accommodate a nice keyboard.

    The keyboard is definitely nicer than the Ativ Book 8's chiclet keyboard, and I'm starting to think it is better than the Y50's keyboard too. I don't think it's quite better than the old scissor switch keyboard on an XPS 1210 I owned, but it's definitely similar. It's just a tad tougher and squishier.

    The fans at idle are darn near silent in a quiet environment. You can hear them barely hum when it is silent in the room. However, the CPU and GPU temperature hovers around 50 degrees celsius, which is maybe a bit warm to my liking. I think the Y50 and Ativ Book 8 idle at a lower temperature than that. I might increase the fan speed a bit since they already are so darn quiet. When the fans start kicking in because of GPU load, they definitely get quite a bit louder, but in no annoying way. No buzzing, whining, clicking or anything like that. I haven't put it under load enough to compare, but I'd say it's no louder than the Y50 or Ativ Book 8 under load.

    No comment about the touchpad, because I try to use either a mouse, the touchscreen, or a Wacom Intuos instead of that touchpad. It's not terrible, but on this 4K screen, its default sensitivity is pretty low. I've had some trouble scrolling with it too. In chrome (I think), it will often fly up to the top instead of scrolling down. Weird. It also isn't all that precise in my opinion. But par for the course for touchpads I guess. People swear by Macbook touchpads, but seriously, it's still a touchpad. I used one on a Macbook Pro earlier today and no thanks.

    - Here's a picture of the black bleed:
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  3. stefan1126-

    stefan1126- Notebook Enthusiast

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    Does anyone know if there's a way to make the touch-pad light stay on at all times?
  4. Ingvarr

    Ingvarr Notebook Deity

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    Does this one use Nvidia Optimus?
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  5. J.Dre

    J.Dre Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Oh no, I caved and ordered one after negotiating with a rep. for a while.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
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  6. Omniscient

    Omniscient Notebook Consultant

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    I thought I did good with my $200 off and 10% back, but you seem to have done well for yourself!

    Still over here waiting on mine!
  7. hendav

    hendav Notebook Enthusiast

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    I saw an option in bios on boot. Just press f2 on boot up to enter bios configuration.
  8. djcgeez2189

    djcgeez2189 Notebook Consultant

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    Yes however as long as they haven't changed the bios too much you can completely disable it like in all the past models just dont expect much more then 1 hour of battery life lol
  9. djcgeez2189

    djcgeez2189 Notebook Consultant

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    There is a thread here of another user that used his 240 watt brick on his 17 r2 and got performance gains across the board which confirms the system is held back by the 180psu so if you have the 240 bring use it if not buy one or your system will be seriously gimped
  10. J.Dre

    J.Dre Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I'll definitely be using the 240W PSU if it works. There's no way I will skip out on that.

    Not sure if I'll need more than 240W or not. The 330W PSU is about the same price as the 240W.

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