Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 unveiled: Meet the first AMD-powered Alienware since 2007

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Alienware has tapped AMD for its latest gaming notebook, the m15 Ryzen Edition R5. The first Alienware powered by an AMD processor in over a decade, the m15 uses the newest Ryzen 5000 series chips alongside Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards. 

Those aren't the only highlights; this gaming rig can be equipped with a 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a blindingly quick 360Hz refresh rate and the keyboard is available with ultra-low-profile CherryMX switches. On paper, the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 is sounding like the dream laptop for gamers who favor AMD. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 price and release date

The Alienware m15 Ryzen R5 will start shipping on April 20 in the US at a starting price of $2,229.99. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 design

Using Alienware's new Legend industrial design, the m15 Ryzen Edition isn't a massive departure from what we've seen previously. It is on the thicker and heavier side, weighing in at 5.3 pounds (up to 5.9 pounds) and measuring 0.76 inches thick. 

We haven't seen the machine in person yet but press images reveal a simple, understated design featuring a stylized "15" on the gray Dark Side of the Moon lid. RGB lighting wraps around an ovular grill in the rear, giving the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 the look of a spaceship taking off. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The display bezels seem to be relatively thin for a gaming machine although the bottom chin is chunky. There is more RGB lighting on the keyboard and the obligatory "Alien" logo centered on the lid. 

There are plenty of ports, as expected. On the left is an RJ-45 Ethernet port and a headphone jack. Flip to the right and you'll find two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, one with PowerShare. The rear edge houses everything else, including the DC-in power port, a USB Type-C input with DisplayPort Out, a third USB 3.2 Type-A input and an HDMI 2.1 connection. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 keyboard

There are two keyboard options for the m15 Ryzen Edition R5. The first is an mSeries four-zone AlienFX RGB keyboard with a standard 1.7mm key travel with built-in anti-ghosting.

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The other, more interesting choice, uses Alienware's new CherryMX ultra-low-profile mechanical switches and has per-key AlienFX lighting. These keys reach 1.8mm of travel and include N-key rollover tech. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 display

The use of AMD chips makes the m15 Ryzen a unique option in the space but that isn't the only first with this machine. The 15.6-inch display can be configured with various resolutions and high refresh rates. 

If you need the fastest gameplay for esports or competitive first-person shooters, the m15 Ryzen Edition can be equipped with a 1080p panel with a 360Hz refresh rate.

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

That is the quickest screen we've seen so far, so expect buttery smooth action. The middle-ground option is a QHD (2560 x 1440-pixels) option at 240Hz for a nice balance of sharpness and speed. 

Finally, if you just want to save some money and optimize for battery life, the base display is a 1080p panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. All three displays come with low-blue light technology to prevent your eyes from straining during long sessions. 

The FHD panels get up to 300 nits of brightness and cover 100% of the sRGB color gamut whereas the QHD display peaks at 400 nits and covers 100% of the wider DCI-P3 color gamut. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 performance

Alienware is using AMD CPUs for the first time in over a decade, and we don't blame the company. After lagging behind Intel for years, AMD proved itself in the mobile space with its Ryzen 4000 chips (see the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15) and now the latest Ryzen 5000 CPUs, which deliver faster performance and greater efficiency than some of their Intel counterparts. 

With the m15 Ryzen Edition R5, you'll be able to choose between an AMD Ryzen R7 5800H CPU with a max boost of 4.4Ghz or a Ryzen R9 5900HX CPU with a 4.6Ghz max frequency. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Those chips will be paired with either 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of RAM (the first at 3200Mhz DDR4) and up to 4TB of dual PCIe M.2 SSD storage. 

While AMD gets some love on the computing side, Alienware turns to Nvidia for its industry-leading 30-series graphics cards. Specifically, the m15 Ryzen can be outfitted with a GeForce RTX 3060 with 8GB of VRAM or the RTX 3070 with 8GB of VRAM. 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 battery life

We aren't seeing any battery life estimates for the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 but we know the machine will feed off an 86Whr cell. AMD chips have proven to be efficient in recent years, so we're hopeful this Alienware will get decent runtimes (with the 1080p display options at least). 

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 outlook

This is the laptop so many people have been asking for. Alienware has finally opted for AMD chips and it's going all-in with the m15 Ryzen Edition. Instead of releasing a budget version of its Intel-based gaming laptops, Alienware is throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the m15 Ryzen Edition. 

That includes three high-end display options including a 1080p panel with a 360Hz refresh rate. Moreover, the laptop can be equipped with a new Alienware CherryMX ultra-low-profile keyboard, and the 3200Mhz DDR4 memory is another first.

But of course, the star of the show is the one-two punch of AMD Ryzen 5000-series processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards. If those two play nicely together, the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 could become the best gaming laptop of 2021. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.