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Alienware rolls out the first 480Hz laptop displays

Dell announced updates to two of its 17-inch Alienware laptops, both of which sport the first 480Hz screens to ever debut on gaming laptops. It’s available now as an option for the previously announced Alienware x17 R2, and it’s debuting on the all-AMD Alienware m17 R5.

We got a taste of 480Hz laptop displays in May, but we didn’t expect them to hit the market so soon. As we saw earlier this year, the Alienware laptops come with a Full HD resolution to hit the high refresh rate, and the response times are bit higher than gamers might be accustomed to — 3ms as opposed to the typical 1ms.

Alienware m17 R5 laptop sitting next to a headset.
Dell / Alienware

Although Dell is the first to market with a 480Hz laptop display, there should be more soon. AUO, the company that originally demoed the cutting-edge display, works with vendors like MSI, Acer, and Asus, among others. As the year continues, we could see more 480Hz laptops start to make their way to market.

For the laptops themselves, Dell says the m17 R5 is “the world’s most powerful 17-inch AMD Advantage laptop.” It comes equipped with up to an eight-core Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, as well as a 12GB RX 6850M XT graphics card. You need both an AMD CPU and GPU for the AMD Advantage features, but Dell is offering the laptop with Nvidia GPUs as well — up to a mobile 16GB RTX 3080 Ti.

If you opt for the Advantage configuration, you’ll have access to three of AMD’s Smart Technologies. SmartShift Max allows the CPU and GPU to dynamically swap power when needed; SmartAccess Graphics enables them to optimize battery life or performance by going between the integrated graphics and dedicated GPU, and Smart Access Memory boosts game performance in certain titles by giving a direct line from the GPU to the CPU. The machine comes with FreeSync Premium, as well, even on the 480Hz model.

If you opt for an Nvidia GPU, you can still use a variable refresh rate with G-Sync, as well.

Although the 480Hz display is the crown jewel, you don’t have to go that high if you don’t want to. Dell is offering Full HD variants with a 165Hz or 360Hz refresh rate, or you can opt for a 4K 120Hz display if you want to chase resolution. Dell hasn’t announced pricing yet, but it’s safe to assume the 480Hz display will come at a premium.

The Alienware x17 R2 isn’t new, debuting in early 2022 alongside Intel’s mobile 12th-gen processors. Dell is simply adding a 480Hz panel option to the machine, which matches the specs available on the m17 R5. It serves as an Intel alternative to the m17 R5, coming with up to a Core i9-12900HK processor and RTX 3080 Ti mobile graphics card.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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