Alienware X14 Review: A Laptop for Mobile Players

Construction

A rather versatile design for an Alienware.  © The Digital

A rather versatile design for an Alienware. © The Digital

Alienware X14 has a white dress that is easily broken down to gray. A large “14” adorns the bonnet, accompanied by the inevitable alien head, naturally backlit and customizable.
We are immediately struck by the features of the PC and by this 4 cm extension of the chassis behind the hinge.

Face: white;  battery side: black.  © The Digital

Face: white; battery side: black. © The Digital

Opening the screen reveals an all-black interior with perforations around the top edge of the keyboard. We also notice the smallness of the touchpad and, by transparency, the two fans, which suck the air both under the chassis and above the level of the keyboard.

Our test model has a few flight hours, dust has started to collect around the fans.  © The Digital

Our test model has a few flight hours, dust has started to collect around the fans. © The Digital

Typing on the keyboard gives a good feeling, with good feedback. Key backlighting can be customized in the FX tab of the Alienware Command Center software.
On the other hand, due to its low height and its proximity to the chassis and keyboard, the touchpad is inaccessible. For example, a two-finger roller works half the time; you end up connecting your mouse to play.

The touchpad is really small.  © The Digital

The touchpad is really small. © The Digital

The connectors are completely located on the edge behind the screen. For a brand that is supposed to be detail-oriented, we notice that none of the gates are height-adjusted. Thus, the two Thunderbolt 4 ports and the USB-C port (compatible with 130 W charging) are on the lower part, while a mini-jack connector, an HDMI 2.0, a USB 3.0 and a microSD card reader are on the upper part share. Note the presence of a USB-C / RJ45 2.5G adapter in the network cable dependent box.

These off-axis ports are visually frustrating.  © The Digital

These off-axis ports are visually frustrating. © The Digital

Wireless connection is provided by an Intel AX211 chip that is compatible with wifi 6E at 2400 Mb / s and Bluetooth 5.2. The webcam located above the screen features a poor HD sensor, the quality of which far from highlights the curves of your face.



In the shadow.


Good brightness.

On the cooling side, Alienware has multiplied air intakes and outlets. Thus, as mentioned above, the fresh air is sucked in both above and below the chassis to be expelled by 4 outlets distributed under the upper corners, which are equipped with an equal number of radiators. However, it is difficult to know the exact number of heat pipes, as the motherboard is mounted upside down, with its components on the keyboard side.
The thermocamera reveals what we were a little scared of: the whole chassis is generally very hot after 15 minutes of play. We note almost 37 ° C on the Z key, more than 50 ° C on the part between the keyboard and the screen, and palm rests at more than 34 ° C, whereas these parts generally remain below 26 ° C, even on a chassis game.

© The Digital

Switching to the sound level meter is not flattering either. If X14 does not exceed 37 dB in silent mode, ie. an acceptable hum, performance is severely limited. Activating Performance mode releases the fans to reach 48.2dB; it quickly becomes uncomfortable, especially since the X14 is equipped with small fans with particularly loud noise. The so-called “balanced” mode limits noise pollution to 46.9 dB, but it offers far from the expected calm.
A word about the general behavior of ventilation, as the latter is triggered very easily. For non-game use or in photo / video processing, we recommend that you activate the Silent mode to attenuate the waves from the processor and thus the fans. The balanced mode leaves too much freedom to the fans, who switch to at the slightest request.
We are also quite surprised to hear the fans running, even when the hood is closed and Windows is on standby …

A word about Alienware Command Control software, the software that is common to all the brand’s laptops and that allows you to control ventilation, keyboard backlighting and even overclocking. Its use proved to be particularly painful on the X14, especially with loop updates. Finally, for our test, we contented ourselves with playing with the lighting effects and ventilation profiles to evaluate the noise pollution, the control of the cooling, and the performance.

Disassembly is quite simple. It goes through 6 Phillips screws. Please note that the two central screws are held to the cover with specific washers, so do not try to remove them. To remove the hull, there is a slight finesse: two ears are present in the center of the chassis. You must therefore lift the shell to loosen them, then push it forward and release it from the rear.
The opening reveals the huge removable 80 Wh battery. You will also have access to the SSD and wifi card. The RAM seems soldered to the motherboard, but on the keyboard side, which requires a complete separation.

© The Digital

Editor's rating: 5 out of 5

Performance

Alienware has integrated an Intel Core i7-12700H (Alder Lake hybrid architecture) processor with 16GB of DDR5 RAM. The 75W Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU completes this CPU-RAM pair.
As a reminder, the Core i7-12700H has six high-performance cores (P-Cores), hyperthreaded and clocked at 2.3 GHz with a boost at 4.7 GHz, and eight low-power cores (E-Cores) at 1.7 GHz with a boost to 3.5 GHz. During our traditional coding, we noted an average frequency of 2.94 GHz for the P-cores and 2.4 GHz for the E-cores with respective maximum frequencies of 4.55 GHz and 3.49 GHz.

© The Digital

The Alienware X14 and its Intel Core i7-12700H processor achieve a performance index of 151. It thus makes fun of the Ryzen 7 5800H from Lenovo Legion 5 and even the Ryzen 9 6900HS from the Asus Zephyrus G14, which in turn enjoys a much lower power frame. Only the Core i9-12900HP from MSI Raiger GE76 (168) resists it. It is important to remember that the Alienware X14 allows its Core i7-12700H to fully express itself and does not suffer from a drop in frequency (throttle) even during long encodings.

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