[Review by ::iunlock::] - ALIENWARE 17R4 -vs- MSI GT73VR [Unrated Version]

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  1. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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    Alienware 17R4 vs MSI GT73VR (6RF Titan Pro) [Unrated Version]

    [​IMG]

    AW 17R4: [i7-6820HK (tattooed) | GTX 1080 (tattooed)]
    MSI GT73VR: [i7-6820HK (tattooed) | GTX 1080 (mxm)]


    [​IMG]


    Greetings everyone,

    It's finally here! Thanks to all of those who have been patiently waiting. I really appreciate your anticipation and all the encouragement to get a review up.

    Originally I was working on a review for just the new Alienware line, but as time went on I had figured that it would make things more interesting to have a show down between the two popular top end units. This is an unrated review meaning that the content in here will focus more on the ‘real stuff,’ as oppose to the fluff of reading off specs like you would see on a typical review.

    I've had the pleasure to meet many of you and for those that know me, there is no sugar coating or bubble gum business. I am not loyal to any particular brand, which makes this review unbiased. The focus of this review is to give you my straight forward and honest opinion on what I think about the two systems. This will be very black and white; perhaps a little too straight forward, but hey...that's my style and I know that many of you will appreciate that. For those that can’t handle? - I’ll shake your hand too. We can all be friends.

    Keep in mind that this is purely the AW 17R4 vs MSI GT73VR 6RF Titan Pro. What is contained here may not pertain to all MSI's or AW's. This is just a raw review with no strings attached. Also bare in mind that this was originally going to be an AW only review, but I've decided to merge it into a 2-in-1 to knock out two birds with one stone.

    The goal is to keep this short, simple and sweet. (To avoid TL;DR) A good review doesn't need to be a book. However, I have a feeling it's going to be one LOL. Here we gooo…. ;)

    Rating System (Overall for the category): ("0" Rubbish <-> "5" Average <-> "10" Excellent.)


    Point system: (Each category will either be a win, tie, or lose earning 1 point or 0 points respectively in the event of a lose or a tie.)

    -

    Why did I even go with the Alienware 17R4 initially?

    For me personally it was because of the unlocked 6820HK and GTX 1080. If there wasn't an unlocked CPU, I would not own several of these machines or even have considered AW. The 6820HK is a worthy mobile chip and we have already proven that so that is pretty much inarguable.

    With the introduction of Pascal, there is no more 980M vs 980 nonsense, which means the playing fields are pretty much even in the graphics department. Of course unless the ODM’s nurf it like we’ve seen in almost all the worthy machines with the exception of MSI.

    Aesthetics is another important factor that played into my buying decision as I prefer to look at sometime nice, rather than something ugly and cheap. This is subjective of course, but take all the current offerings, take a survey and see which one people would choose and I'll go all in on the AW winning the majority of those votes. The new AW line is a class above its competition when it comes to overall aesthetics and build quality.

    The warranty is the best in the industry, however, it may take several attempts to get your system just right. We can fill a library with data on the monkey techs and/or the depot horror stories, but the point here is that the actual "coverage," is superb and quick.

    Alienware's community is also among the largest of them all so reselling the unit is much easier and it'll hold its value. This is the back end that not a lot of people think about, but there is a back end to the ownership that holds value that plays a role in the overall ownership.

    -

    Build Quality: AW [10] | MSI [4]


    AW (1): The best in its class. I could just stop there, but since this is a review I'll elaborate. If the looks doesn't give it away, the weight of the system will as it is very dense and built like a tank. The tolerance levels are excellent and the use of all the metal everywhere is very reassuring. Once you get a chance to drive the new AW, hopping into anything else after will feel like a major downgrade to the point of being shocked. (This excludes the uni body Razer Blade Pro = Macbook Pro knock off.)

    It has that refinement that a lot of us have been waiting for in a laptop. If you need the best built machine in this chassis class, this is it. The new AW really sets the standard and the bar has been risen very high.

    Note: I have a feeling that the three lined design was on purpose to prevent dents as it also provides a cushion if there was every pressure applied on the screen. Perhaps a buffer incorporated into the design (3 lines)?
    [​IMG]

    MSI (0): The build quality in some ways is better than the Clevo, but in other ways it is worse. It is worth noting that the P775DM3 does have a point over the GT73VR overall, again for what its worth. There is no denying that the material choice of the MSI is cheap and not its strong point, just like it is on the Clevo. Does the cheap, light and thin plastic have its purpose? To be fair, yes in order to keep the machine light, but even if they had used better materials (exact same as AW's), this thing really wouldn't weigh that much more to even be an issue. MSI could have used better materials under the skin for more rigidity to make it feel more premium instead of a compromise, because at the end of the day, there is no excuse for the lack fit and finish at this price range.

    The keyboard is really nice and solid, but that is where it ends. The best way to put it is this, “You don’t buy MSI for its build quality, but rather you buy it for just the engine.” - The same can be said for the Clevo's as well.

    An MSI is like an old classic car with a newly rebuilt big block V8. It’s simple, basic and with a turn of a wrench it gives you that feeling of taking the project beast to the track to break some personal records. (1/4 mile that is).

    Whereas with the AW, it’s more of a fine tuned 4 cylinder Turbo, that can hang in a straight line with the V8, but it would demolish the old school V8 on a track with a lot of turns. (This is when you factor in the suspension, agility etc...ie....the fit and finish.)

    If you ask me, it's like looking under the hood of a big block V8 muscle car vs a 4 cylinder turbo sports car.
    [​IMG]



    -

    Design: AW [9] | MSI [7]

    AW (1): The design of the new line is elegant and classy and I find that there is a nice balance for the laptop to fit in varies environments without standing out. (Dark mode = All LED's Off) Now on the flip side if you want to stand out and have something pretty to look at, you can customize the lights to anything you want.

    The point here is that you have options and having options is very important when it comes to the exterior design. It is the small things that add value to the overall picture. They all add up.

    There's a lot of question marks as to...why why why?
    [​IMG]

    MSI (0): The MSI has red permanent accents and trims that aren't too loud, but they are well...permanent. There is no ability to turn these off thus making this laptop not as versatile, in general, than the AW. It has a strong racing style design language and it works well for those who like this. The actual surface material is really nice with a brush like texture that gives it a very Bugatti type of look and feel.

    To be fair, for those who buy this probably really likes and wants this type of design, which is good, but what loses some points for the MSI IMO is the build quality and fit & finish that can not be overlooked. No matter how good a design is, the short comings outweigh the initial love at first sight. (ie...Man she's beautiful...but if it ends there... get it?)

    This would have been a tie for me, but if you take a scale and start adding on the weights...at the end of the day there will be a winner if you factor in all variables. Just on pure looks, that is completely subjective, but we're talking design here, which has many different factors that can not be ignored, or else it'll just end up being a comparison on just, "looks," which isn't all there is to a design.

    Again that big V8 muscle car.
    [​IMG]

    -

    Display Housing: AW [10] | MSI [1]

    AW (1):
    Best in the business. The display is rock solid with a high quality plastic trim (frame) and a metal back plate that is very sturdy. I really appreciate the all metal on the back side of the display that gives it that premium feel, rigidity and protection. For those worried about scratches, go poke at dBrand as I've heard that they were toying with the idea of making AW skins. Hint hint. There is also another company that currently do make skins as well. - This is the best gaming laptop display housing I've seen to date. Nothing comes close.

    MSI (0): To be honest, this is the flimsiest display housing I've seen so far in any gaming laptop. Although I really like the texture and feel of the skin, there is no comparison here against the AW. On the other hand in all fairness, flexibility doesn't always mean a bad thing, HOWEVER, when it comes to display panels itself, you don't want the panel flexing and coming in contact with the housing so that 'excuse' or 'justification,' doesn't fly here. Anything that can contribute to panel damage and/or lead to dead pixels is not a good thing.

    The video will speak for itself.



    (Note: The unit was dead (pixels and boot up issues) and going back as there were just too many things wrong with it, so this was taking one for the team so to speak to show a rare footage that would be almost impossible to come across. It did not turn on (at random), gpu fried, and the screen was shot to begin with along with the gaps around the housing. It's like going to a shady restaurant where they would take your untouched food and serve it to another customer. Crazy right? Well, same goes with this unit, how is it fair that some poor sap ends up with this reused unit when the that customer paid for a new one right? Let's get real here. Pay it forward. It's doing the other fellow justice to making sure they don't end up with this broken unit. No animals were harmed during this demo.)



    -

    Display Hinge: AW [10] | MSI [3]

    AW (1): The display hinge on the AW is the best in the industry. Solid as rock.

    MSI (0): The hinges on the MSI has a very similar feel as the Clevo's. It's strong enough to keep things intact, but again there is a lack of rigidity here. To be fair, I am getting reports that the newer models are much better so keep that in mind. Which is great news. This unit here is a 6RF.





    -

    Screen Panel: AW <- TIE -> MSI


    FHD: It's actually not that bad for a 1080p. The FHD 120Hz on the MSI is a lot more brighter and vibrant, but a FHD is a FHD. (I’m not a fan, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t get why FHD in a laptop that rocks a GTX 1080? *roll eyes*)

    QHD: This panel was obviously made for gaming and it does an excellent job at what it was designed for. Gaming. Despite the line issues (AUO's watermark) the panel is the best in the industry for gaming. There are other QHD’s floating around, and a new QHD is just around the horizon.

    UHD: If you get lucky enough to end up with the Sharp display, it is the best in the industry. I’ve always liked the UHD screens and despite all the talk about windows scaling etc…I’ve actually never had any issues, although I do run my native resolution at 1440p, but that’s another story…Regardless, the UHD is a great screen.

    MSI Display Panel:



    -

    Keyboard: AW <- TIE -> MSI


    AW (1): Very good. In fact, the keyboard is one of, if not the best in its class for typing. For the most part the keys are solid with great tolerance levels. My only gripe is that a few keys such as the (+) and (ENTER) keys on the number pad and the (BACKSPACE) key feel a little hollow compared to the rest of the keys. It's nowhere near a deal breaker, but it's worth noting. Overall the keys are very confident and not mushy.

    It's really nice to type on.
    [​IMG]

    For entertainment purposes.
    [​IMG]

    MSI (1): Very good as well. For those of you who like chiclet style keyboards, you’ll really like the keys on the MSI by: steelseries. It’s so good that even if you’re not a fan of chiclet style, you’ll be better off with less typing errors than if you were on the Clevo’s terrible keyboard. I’ve had a few people test out both keyboards and the ones not used to the chiclet style still had minimal typing errors compared to the traditional style keys that they are used to.

    On fire...
    [​IMG]

    I really like the chiclet style keyboards by: steelseries. Two thumbs up!
    [​IMG]

    Up close and personal...
    [​IMG]

    -

    Track Pad: AW [8] | MSI [4]


    AW (1): Very good as well, although it would nice if the surface area was a little bigger. The track pad on my MBP is larger than the 17" AW. I've found myself sliding past the given area many times, which was a bit annoying. - Adjusting the sensitivity is not a fix as I like my cursor travel settings to be about medium and not hyper sensitive. I do appreciate the individual left and right click buttons though. They are nice to press and have a feedback that is well suited for both regular tasks and gaming. This is among one of the best track pads in the gaming laptop segment.

    Ariel shot of the two...
    [​IMG]

    MSI (0): The track pad is okay and it does have a hint of the Clevo trackpads flavor, but nowhere near as bad. I find that the left and right click buttons to be too aggressive where you really have to press down hard on it to have it engage. Now this may not be the same for all the units, but I can't imagine there being that much of a variance between models, because if there is, that would also shed light onto the fact that there are inconsistencies, which isn't a good thing. The issue with the left/right click buttons is that the pressure point is not balanced so if you click way toward the left and right, it changes the point of when it registers the click. Refer to the video below.



    -

    Grease Magnet: AW [4] | MSI [7]

    AW (0): The palm surface of the new line is a bit thicker (coating wise) but in someways it attracts more grease and smudges. Dell should have just gone with the carbon fiber surface of the XPS line which is excellent.

    MSI (1): The surface area is shiny and easy to clean, but not immune to grease and smudges. Because it is smoother and not so porous, a simple wipe with a microfiber cloth will usually do the trick. MSI wins this one pretty easily. I really like the surface skin of the MSI, but again it's what's underneath that kills it for me.

    -

    LED & Keyboard Lighting: AW [8] | MSI [5]


    Note: A lot of people want this so this is a legitimate category that deserves recognition, because it is a very real thing that can't be ignored. Either way, one can go dark if they don't want LED's and for those that like it, can go all out. Win-Win. :)

    AW (1): The quality of the LED's on the outer part of the unit is excellent. However, the LED's under certain parts of the keyboard could use some work. Under the 'left' + 'right' + 'down' arrows the keys have four individual LED's under them. Out of the four LED's, the third one from the left always seem to be a bit off from the rest. This is highly nitpicking, but worth nothing. Also, on some units, the 'E' on the ALIENWARE LED logo on the display can be a little faint in color, perhaps due to the positioning of an LED. So far it has been about 2 out of 10 systems where I have noticed this minor issue.

    MSI (0): Red and White on the exterior. RGB on the keyboard. Some like it like this, some don’t. It’s very subjective and one of those grey areas, but what it really boils down to is if one prefers aesthetics and if that’s the case, the choice is obvious. The LED is likely the weakest factor in one making a decision, but it does add points to the overall package so take it for what it is. The colors do shine nicely through the keyboard, especially through them individual steelseries keys.

    -

    Speakers: AW [8] | MSI: [5]

    AW (1):
    There is one woofer on the bottom and two front facing speakers on the left and right side of the laptop, total of 5 speakers. The acoustics are pretty good and I'm not sure if this is design related, but the sound is projected from the center of the laptop, which is practical. I really find this as a big plus for the AW, because even with the external gaming keyboard in front of the laptop, the sound is not obstructed in anyway. It doesn’t have as much bass as the MSI, but the overall sound is stronger and it does not fade or distort when you turn up the volume, whereas on the MSI it does.

    You know them moments....why bother? I think this is the same sadness in the lower end Dell's...
    [​IMG]

    These produce great sound. The mids and highs are great and best of all there are 4 total. A pair on each side...
    [​IMG]

    MSI (0): It has one woofer that is much bigger and beefier than the AW and one speaker on the right and one on the left, total of 3. At low to medium volume the sound seems fuller than the AW, although it does sound a little muffled. The bass hits a lot more than the AW as well, but if you turn up the bass and/or the volume the bass begins to distort and it sounds awful. The sound is not the MSI’s strong point, but neither is it for the AW. If you tweak the equalizer the sound can be improved, but it is still limited as to how much you can improve it.

    Pretty decent...
    [​IMG]

    Has some thump, but too bad it distorts at higher volume and/or when the bass is cranked up on the equalizer.
    [​IMG]

    -

    i/O: AW [4] | MSI [10]

    AW (0):
    This is where the new AW lacks compared to the direct competitor, MSI. Only 2x regular USB ports? Really? One USB-C on the left side…mmm okay. The bottom line is when it comes to i/o. Weak. Take the MSI for example with 3x USB ports on the left and 2x on the right, making a total of 5x. Now that’s practical.

    With the AW, you plug in a keyboard and a mouse and bam, there goes your USB ports. Yes, I do have an adapter for the USB-C, but still. They could have at least fit one more USB port on the right side, which would have been perfect in leaving one port open for a USB Flash etc… Even some ultra books have more ports ROFL. What’s up with that? Weak sauce.

    Yes for the record, having that extra USB port makes all the difference.

    Ports, ports, ports....we want ports...MSI has it right...
    [​IMG]

    Pretty standard...
    [​IMG]

    Why the missing port?
    [​IMG]

    Could have? Tell me it's not impossible...because I'm pretty sure it is not impossible.
    [​IMG]

    MSI (1): One thing that I really appreciate about MSI and heck even Clevo (ports wise, not the positioning) is that they don't skimp out on the ports and they are well placed. Kudos! AW needs to learn from MSI. (Yea the MSI is bigger so there's more room to play. I get it. But fitting another USB port on the AW doesn't seem impossible. The emphasis here is how important even having one extra USB port is, when a mouse and keyboard eats up two.)

    -

    Fan Noise (Max+Avg): AW [9] | MSI [2]


    AW (1): The fan on max is one of the most subtle pitch sounds that I’ve heard on a gaming laptop. It clocks in at only xxdb and when compared to the msi GT73VR, the AW is considered quiet. The tone of the fan noise on the AW is soft whereas the sound on the GT73VR is like the World coming to an end. Yes, really.

    It’s even louder than the my previous P775DM3, less the high pitch tone that it had. When you go max fan on the GT73VR, it’s literally, “GET THE _____ OUT OF HERE. IT’S GONNA BLOW!” No I’m not exaggerating. So if fan noise is important to you then this could be a deal breaker for you.

    MSI (0): No comment. It’s the most annoying pitch sound I’ve ever heard on a laptop. It makes the rocket blast sound of the 775’s fan noise sound decent compared to the MSI. On average it sounds okay and is not completely bothersome, but the unbearable noise max really kills it for the MSI.

    -

    Cooling System: AW [9] | MSI [10]

    AW (0): The new AW's have an excellent cooling system that works due to its engineering and design. Its confined space allows it to pump out air efficiently so even though the fans are much smaller than the MSI's, this confinement (less volume / high pressure) works well with the fans cfm capacity.

    Important note: For those of you with the 15R3, keep in mind that the fans are smaller than the 17R4 so don't get let down by not being able to achieve the temps of the 17R4. Expect to have a little higher temps from the 17R4's, but if you repaste with liquid metal you should be well within the comfortable range so no need to worry. - HOWEVER, there are some 15R3's that are on par with 17R4 temps.

    The CFM ratings for the 15R3 are:
    7.6 and 8.7

    The CFM ratings for the 17R4 are:
    12.1 and 12.8

    This translates to the CPU fans being ~37% larger (CFM capacity, not physical size) and the GPU fans being ~32% larger on the 17R4, which is a big difference guys in its ability to pump out air so again, 15R3 owners, don't be discouraged.

    MSI (1): The MSI uses a completely different approach and fortunately it works, very well. Big @__, space/volume, Big @__ fans, Big @__ heat pipes, Big @__heat plates, and Big @__ fins (aluminum), all equate to being able to move Big @__ air to expel the heat.

    This is the big block motor mentality, where it can do one heck of a job going straight extremely well, but bring it to a track with turns and it'll all short due to the nature of what it is. (Overall package) This translates to the fact that this set up only works because of the form factor of how big it is. There's a lot of volume under the hood for good cooling.

    For giggles. Two completely cars with two totally different heat sink designs....
    [​IMG]

    MSI about double the size. It's aluminum on the MSI where as the fins are copper on the AW.
    [​IMG]

    Notice the blade angles? About the same pitch as the AW...hmmm
    [​IMG]

    About the same pitch / angle of the blades, but thinner on the AW by almost half.
    [​IMG]

    AW/DELL take note...
    [​IMG]

    Looks tiny compared to the MSI, but again...two different design and engineering.
    [​IMG]

    -

    CPU Temps: AW [10] <- Tie -> MSI [10]

    AW (1): The CPU temps only after a proper repaste, repad, HS fix, etc... are excellent or at least should be. We all know that the initial batch of systems are terrible and so are some of the newer ones, however, with the newer systems being shipped out the temps are reasonable in a completely stock state.

    It's important to note here that the AW does a fantastic job of cooling despite the smaller heat sink assembly, due to the engineering. Yea, we don't favor shared heat pipes and all that jazz, I get it, but results are results. For what it is, the AW does a fine job for its thin form factor and quite frankly the best I've seen in this chassis class.

    MSI (1): The stock temps out of the box are better due to the beefy cooling system, but that does not mean that one should be complacent and keep it stock, because it can be so much better. The MSI pumps out some serious air and has some serious heat pipe business going on there.

    I really like the focus that MSI puts on the heat sink / pipe design, because it works. Like that old school rig with a big block V8, it gets the job done and screams down that 1/4 track like there's no tomorrow. The best way to explain it is that the MSI is made for pure performance and that's where all the money went into, while that is great for some that wants only this, it also takes a hit on the overall package factor, which most buyers want.

    The MSI GT73VR has a better cooling system than the Clevo P775DM3 and if this GT73VR had a lga 7700K, it would wipe out the charts and claim top spot in the majority of the benches, if not all in the single gpu class.

    -

    GPU Temps: AW [10] - MSI [8]


    AW (1): The GPU temps have always been pretty decent on the new AW, even with the crappy stock stamp. The average GPU temp during gaming (after a proper repaste) is around 57C-59C. The max I've seen the GPU temp during heavy gaming and on stock fan profile is 60C-61C. Yes, that's the max. As for the wattage rating, the stock GPU fluctuates in the 150W+, but does dance in the 160W's and peaks up to 180W. We should know in a month or two about the GTX 1080 card in the AW getting its certification from NVIDIA for unlocking the power to 180W. ie...+30W. (The temps could end up being a tie so this is subjected to change.)

    [​IMG]

    MSI (0): The GPU temps are higher in nature due to it having more power and it does take a bit of a performance hit during long stretches of gaming. During benches and gaming the GPU is supplied with a hefty 200+ watts, which makes for a nice beefy experience. However, if you don't have the cooling in check and/or if it is not on max fan profile, the heat can result in some diminishing returns due to thermal throttling.

    Interesting note: Although the AW is rated lower with its power on the GTX 1080, my FPS in game were more steady and higher than the MSI's at the same exact clocks, including the CPU. The culprit here is the heat as for every 5C above xxC, it throttles back by 13MHz and after xxC it throttles back in increments of 26MHz. (Let me get the exact numbers and I'll fill them in.)

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    RAM: AW <- Tie -> MSI

    AW(1): Some will argue, only two slots! But do you really need more than 32GB of RAM in a thin gaming laptop? If one does then I assume they need the CPU power as well so they need to look at the Clevo's in that case.

    The perks with the AW is that the two slots are easily accessible and can handle up to 2667MHz and maybe more? TBD...

    MSI(1): It has 4x slots limited to 2667MHz due to bios limitations, however, two are under the keyboard which is tedious because you have to remove the motherboard to access them. There are two slots easily accessible on the bottom, however, again, if you are needing more RAM, changes are you are also needing some serious CPU power. If so, you're looking at the wrong class of laptops here....go with a P775DM3 and/or P870DM3 with a 7700K monster.

    More doesn't always mean better and although the MSI has 4x RAM slots vs the 2x on the AW, many factors negate itself to where this is a wash...

    -

    Portability: AW [8] | MSI [6]


    AW (1): All of the models do boast a larger foot print now, but despite it being an inch or so longer due to the rear hump, it doesn’t make it any less portable than the previous 17R3. What wins it here for the AW is the uniform slim profile, where as the MSI has a slim to a hump thing going on.

    MSI (0): It's undoubtedly thicker and bulkier, there's no doubt about it. This is not to say that it isn't portable, but when compared to something like the AW's design language, with the MSI having that huge rear thick hump really kills it for its portability factor. Just make sure you have an extra big bag to carry this thing in, because that the slightest bit of thickness makes a huge different in backpacks and cases.

    Battery Life (Gaming and Everyday Stuff):


    * There are two parts to battery life. Gaming and obviously the everyday stuff like social media, email, word, etc...

    I will be honest. I am very biased when it comes to battery life, so I won't comment on this and let you guys fill in the blank on this one. Let me know what you get battery life wise, upload a screen shot and I'll update the OP to display your results.

    For me, I have this mindset of, "We don't buy gaming laptops for battery life," lol so that's my take on it. Don't get me wrong, gaming on battery is nice and all, but this is one area that is at the very bottom of my list.

    These are gaming laptops after all. Again, I get that there is a purpose for good battery life, but this is one area that I do not focus on since I'm usually always plugged in. Now for word processing and every day stuff, that is where the second category of battery life comes into play.

    I think it would be much more practical for everyone to participate in this anyway. Now, without even having to think twice, the AW will yield a much better battery life than the MSI, so this is an easy win for AW.

    AW (1): 99Wh

    MSI (0): 75.24Wh

    [​IMG]

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    Warranty: AW [9] | MSI [8]

    Both the actual warranty and service are grouped into one category here.

    AW (1): It is no secret that the actual warranty itself is stellar with Dell. Very quick turn around times. If you opt for home service, they can dispatch a service order and get someone to your house within 24-48 hours depending on the situation. However, this does not mean that the actual 'service' is the best.

    What we do know is that at the end of the day, you'll end up with what you want if you process things right.

    Rule #1, don't send your computer to the depot and complain that it came back worse than it was before you had sent it out.

    Rule #2, if you do get a dell tech to come to your home to repair something, watch him like a hawk. Heck, set up a video camera (phone) on a tri pod and record his every move. The bottom line is, if you play the cards right in covering your end through common sense measures you'll be okay. Even if you don't you'll still be alright for the most part.

    AW edges MSI here with a point because of its proven track record of having a good, "warranty," not to be confused with "service." + The turn around time is stellar with Dell. It's hard to beat is among the best in the industry, especially if you have accidental coverage on top of your Premium warranty.

    MSI (0): The good thing here is that MSI comes with a standard 2 year warranty, but the thing that may be a drawback is the turn around time. If anyone can comment on this, that would be greatly appreciated. Please share your experience and I'll update it here. Thanks.

    -

    Accessibility to the Heat SInk:

    AW (0):

    MSI (1):

    -

    Repaste / Modification:


    AW:

    MSI:

    -

    Performance: AW [8] | MSI [9]


    For the most part this section needs to be looked at in a very specific manner. It's like two different cars with different engines competing in the same race. The main factor here is power to weight ratio. Also, the MSI has more torque than the AW, there's no doubt about it. Now when it comes to horsepower, the MSI also has more HP, but what distinguishes them apart is the overall HP/TQ curve and the amount that is lost through the drive train, because at the end of the day, it's all about how much power it really delivers to the wheels...

    The major thing that I've noticed about all these machines is the tolerance of how much of a hit it can take in a storm under stress, along with the integrity of the systems to be able to stand on their own two feet. - I've just thought of an excellent analogy, one in which tells the story very thoroughly.

    A fully socketed machine is a house built on a rock.

    A hybrid machine is a house built on gravel.

    A bga machine is a house built on sand.


    When the storm comes (petal to the metal / when these machines are put to the test under high stress) with rain and the floods crash on in...the house built on the sand will wither away (bga) and at times so will the house built on gravel (hybrid), while the one built on the rock remains standing (socketed/lga). - Tech Verse M7:24-27

    This is so true for these different form factors. It's been nice to be able to really put all of these to the test, because proof is in the pudding.

    AW (0): Purely stock and if you keep the power limits stock and run everything at stock, it'll get by just fine. However, with a proper repaste, repad, HS fix etc..., it is a fantastic machine and will satisfy all your cravings for games with no issues at 36x-42x and a moderate GPU OC. Anything beyond this, the air will be thin and due to the form factor, the integrity of bga is very weak and it'll fall flat on its face. ie...BSOD, FREEZE/LOCK UP, forcing you to have to hard power down by pressing the power button.

    For the majority of you gamers, this won't be an issue, because you can get by just fine with stock clocks, but for the enthusiasts, you can only drive this thing aggressively if you properly fix and tune it up. This does not mean just a simple repaste. The machine will need a proper repaste, repad, HS custom mod, HS balanced and a bit of tuning to get it to run at its peak within its limits.

    MSI (1): Purely stock you'll be better off than the AW out of the box, however, having untamed power does not equal better performance. If your GPU is soaring into the 80C's and such, that is counter intuitive, because a properly cooled and tuned GPU on the AW would be right on par with the MSI's despite the AW's GPU having less power. Then you have to factor in the noise factor. The fan noise on the GT73VR is horrific compared to the AW's. Next you have to factor in the actual gain that you would achieve with a bit of OC on the GPU. Does it really make a huge difference? No. It does not.

    The bottom line is, if the GPU is not kept cooled, you can OC it all you want, but that heat will chomp away at your GPU and the heat will eat your clocks for lunch. If you can keep the GPU cooled, a nice OC on the GPU could gain you some FPS in games, but when the GTX 1080 stock is already smashing a lot of the titles anyway at 100-150+ FPS on maxed settings at 1080p, do you really need more FPS than that? Even at 1440p the GTX 1080 does a great job. Now if you're all about 4K, then I hope you're reading this for entertainment purposes, because you should be looking at gaming notebooks that have SLI, like the P870DM3. :)

    There is no doubt that the MSI is much stronger than the AW in its overall integrity when OC'ed. For the most part the MSI can stand on its two feet without BSOD'ing on your and/or just locking up for not being able to take a hit. I really appreciate this about the MSI and despite the build quality, if you're looking for just pure power and not worried about anything else, MSI is a good choice.

    However, is the an ever so slight (yes slight) gain in performance worth the price? Remember that in my experience, in Overwatch my FPS were higher on the AW than on the MSI at the same exact setting, both at stock clocks, various combos of GPU OC + CPU OC etc...

    So which one is better for you? That's a question that only you can answer and I hope that based on the information provided here that you'd be able to make a sound buying decision.

    There are pro's and con's to both, but... it really boils down to performance vs overall package.

    The MSI edges the AW by one point here in the performance category, not because it is far superior in performance, but rather due to the fact that it has a higher tolerance level in Overclocking than the AW. I should clarify in that it has a much higher "extreme," OC tolerance as both machines can handle light to medium OC'ing no problem.

    -

    Summary:

    This has been a really tough battle, because the strengths of each really pack a big punch to the grand scheme of things. The truth of the matter is that, most people / gamers can get by just fine with the AW. It does everything well within the stock limits, but if you want to unleash its full potential as I along with others have demonstrated, you really need to treat your AW with a proper repaste, repad, HS fix and all that jazz.
    - The same can be said for the MSI as well, because it is also not perfect out of the box.

    IF, you want the overall package and plan to stay within stock limits the clear winner here is AW.

    + Aesthetics (Subjective, but for the majority they'll opt for AW.)
    + Design
    + Build Quality
    + Portability
    + Battery Life
    + Screen Options
    + Warranty
    + Keyboard
    + Track Pad
    + Fan Noise

    IF, you only care about power and am buying a machine just for gaming and/or benching, then the MSI is the clear winner. Now, there may be things that you like about the MSI better such as:

    + Design
    + Keyboard

    However, keep in mind that when it comes to gaming performance, there really is a zero difference here with your overall experience. Even if you were to apply a nice OC on the GPU and have it stick by keeping it cool, the gain will not be enough to justify the sacrifices.

    Again, my FPS in Overwatch was more consistent and overall higher than the MSI at the exact same settings. AW running cooler and steady vs MSI running hotter at higher clocks...

    After all of this, yes I will come out to say that you can have a beast of a machine, the P775DM3 w/ - 7700K Kaby Lake / 17.3" QHD 120Hz / GTX 1080 / Bare bones RAM (~8GB to 16GB) + 1TB Spinner ...all for a little over ~$2600 out the door LOL. However, that is only if you want pure power and nothing else is important to you. The build quality is still poor with some things better than the MSI and some not, but if you don't care then that's a lot of machine for the money. (Click here for the 775 review.)

    Still, there is nothing touching the new AW line for overall package. There are many choices so let the World be your oyster.



    -

    Overall Category Points in General:

    AW: 134
    P775DM3: 103
    MSI: 99

    * I was curious so I've added up the P775DM3 score and there it is...

    -

    Overall (Win or Lose) Simple Points:

    AW: 12
    MSI: 5

    -

    Disclaimer:

    This review is my honest opinion and based on my own experiences so please bare that in mind. I believe that every worthy laptop has a place in the market to fill the desires of those who are looking for specific things in a gaming laptop. A synthetic benchmark does not determine whether a laptop is good or not and benchmarks play a small role in the overall ownership experience in whole, if at all for most people. If you would like to see a category added and/or have any suggestions, please PM me. - I am not loyal to any brand as I have respect for each of the big three we're talking about here for their strengths.

    ...stay tuned...still more to be added....

    @DeeX, @Mobius 1, @zergslayer69, @Phoenix, @Papusan, @richiec77, @Stuart Pipe, @SimplyJ3sse, @hmscott, @D2 Ultima, @sarou, @rinneh,

    Thumbs up if you've enjoyed this review and a PM if you have suggestions on more things to add. :)

    - Thanks.


    Team LHz,
    ::iunlock::
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  2. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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    ALIENWARE 17R4

    OCCT CPU Test & Temps at 40x:

    [​IMG]

    The Extreme 11 Hour OCCT Test...
    [​IMG]

    95W at 4.3GHz for wPrime run on my 17R4 (6820HK)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  3. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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  4. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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  5. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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  6. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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  7. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Nice review iunlock!

    Have you used the P650RS and up keyboard? I'm interested in what you think of them since I also agree that the P7XX and P8XX keyboards are literally awful. But for some reason I've found the P650 keyboard is really quite good.

    Did the Clevo P775 have a category for external leds like the AW did? That's pretty much the only source of pretty subjective bias I can see in these, they are otherwise great. Because you gave the AW a 8 for external lights while a lot of people would give them like a 1. Otherwise the total points between machines seems pretty directly comparable.
     
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  8. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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    Hey Galm, actually you're right and I'll include that in the review in that the keyboards IMO are much better in the lower models. Very true.

    As for the LED category, that was specifically focused on the fact that the AW does offer them, because for those that don't want them they can just go dark and turn everything off as if nothing is even there. It's true though that it's one of those love it or hate it things.

    However, in the grand scheme of things it does deserve its own category respectively, because it is a huge want to a lot of people. It's kind of a win-win to either side as it can be completely turned off, unplugged or heck snip the wires! haha jk...

    Thanks for your reply.

    Cheers
     
  9. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    It definitely deserves to be talked about as RGB lighting is a big thing, I just meant that maybe it shouldn't contribute points to it's overall rating. I guess that's the same thing as aesthetics though. For me personally I'd need an AW to be blacked out with no logo to be appropriate enough for me to consider purchasing, so I suppose that's my own take on the outer appearance. I appreciate it if looking for a gaming notebook only though.

    Also last question have you seen the P650 lid flex? How would that compare to the GT73? The P650 flex is pretty bad relative to most machines. I never got the chance to mess with a GT73 for more than a few minutes.
     
  10. iunlock

    iunlock 7980XE @ 5.4GHz

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    One of the team members may be getting the new Kaby Lake version of the GT73VR and apparently some are claiming that it is much better built so we'll have to see about that before making any concrete judgements on the newer model. It'd be great news if they did improve on the QC. As for the P650 lid flex, it does have flex, but then again we have to factor in the class of the machine in respect to the price.

    Even though if the lighting was not even mentioned, the AW still pulls ahead by a good amount in overall points. Again, this is my opinion and review so I get that people will have their own opinion. That's fine.

    Just know that I did not rate this on a whim...it is and was very well thought out. I will say though that there are some things that are not even questionable like the overall build quality and choice of materials.
     
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