Alienware M18 R1 "AMD Advantage" Gaming Laptop Review

The AMD Advantage edition of the Alienware M18 R1 is the most powerful gaming laptop Team Red has ever offered. Join us as we take a close look.

Published
Manufacturer: Alienware
5 minutes & 25 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 92%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

Anyone in the market for a high performance portable gaming machine, paired with a fantastic high refresh display, will want the Alienware M18 R1 on their shortlist.

Pros

  • + Price vs. performance
  • + Upgradeable memory and storage
  • + WiFi6e + Gig Ethernet
  • + 480Hz 18

Cons

  • - No USB4
  • - Small trackpad

Should you buy it?

AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

We initially reviewed the M18 R1 back in August of '23, an Intel x RTX build that, coming away, was one of the best currently available gaming laptops on the market. Right after that review, Alienware launched the AMD models that offer the best Ryzen and Radeon have to offer on the mobile side, and we put our name in the hat to have a unit sent over.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 03

The build-out from Alienware includes the Ryzen 9 7945HX, a sixteen-core thirty-two-thread CPU that offers a massive 80M cache and boost clocks up to 5.4GHz. This is paired with DDR5 memory, and our unit had 32GB installed. Graphics, of course, are AMD built as well with the Radeon RX 7900M, complete with 16GB of dedicated VRAM. This extends to our sample's display, which is a 480Hz 1200p panel.

Storage on our model is a 1TB NVMe solution, though Alienware does offer single drive solutions up to 4TB, and RAID can be configured from the factory up to 8TB. Connectivity on this model includes a total of three Type-A ports and three Type-C, all of which are backed by USB 3.2 Gen 2. You also have access to a MiniDP, two HDMI 2.1, and RJ45 Gig ethernet.

As configured, the pricing of Alienware M18 R1 AMD comes in at $2799.99.

Buy at Amazon

Alienware M18 Gaming Laptop QHD+ Display (Intel Core i7-13700HX)

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$2220.56$2069.55$2309.90
* Prices last scanned on 3/1/2024 at 12:51 am CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Notebook Overview

Overview

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 05

The M18 arrived in factory packaging, as seen above.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 06

The power adapter for this machine is a 330W unit offering 19.5v at 16.9A.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 07

The chassis for the M18 R1 AMD is identical in appearance to the Intel model we reviewed in late August. This includes an Alienware logo and "18" embossed into the lid.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 08

Getting right to it, we start with the rear I/O, which includes two USB-C ports far left that also include support for DisplayPort. Next to that, we have a Type-A and HDMI port. Wrapping the rear ports, we have the MiniDP and card reader power input on the far right.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 09

The left side includes two USB Type-A; these are 3.2 Gen 2 ports; we also have a 3.5mm audio jack and the RJ45 Gig connection.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 10

The right side includes a single port, USB-C.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 11

The bottom of the M18 offers a large, vented area with a rubber ledge that wraps around it.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 12

Internally, a 97Wh battery lives along the bottom half of the chassis. Above, we have four fans to cool the CPU, GPU, and memory while the SO-DIMM slots live in the middle of the motherboard NVMe offset to the right with two slots available, and M.2 Key E is socketed.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 13

Opening the machine to boot it up, we have the 18" display up top and full keyboard below. The keyboard is sunken into the chassis and offers per-key RGB lighting. The trackpad is offset to the left and is a bit small.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 14

If we turn down the room lighting, we can see the per-key lighting of the keyboard, and we also note the rear of the machine has RGB around the I/O as well.

BIOS/UEFI and Software

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 20Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 21
Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 22Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 23

The BIOS for the M18 R1 AMD is quite a bit different from the Intel model. The main page offers hardware information, while the advanced menu includes many customization options and performance-tuning capabilities. Security includes TPM options and additional security features like Absolute, Secure Boot, and System passwords.

Software

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 25

Software for the M18 includes AlienFX, which allows users to configure the lightning of the system along with any Alienware peripherals you may have.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 26

Alienware Command Center also includes the ability to set up performance profiles. We tested on Overdrive for this review.

System/CPU Benchmarks

Cinebench

Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to highlight their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests: a single-core workload utilizing one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 30

The M18 R1 is the last system we will run Cinebench R23 on as we slowly move all of our testing to 2024. That said, it comes in as one of the best systems we have tested with single thread at 1888 and multi-core, reaching a fantastic 32516.

BAPCo CrossMark

CrossMark™ is an easy-to-run native cross-platform benchmark that uses real-world application models to measure overall system performance and responsiveness. CrossMark™ supports devices running Windows, iOS, and macOS platforms.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 31

CrossMark landed at 1675 overall; this puts the M18 in the bottom half of our charts.

AIDA64 Memory

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 32

Memory performance gave us 60K read, 57K write, and 49K copy. The latency was a bit high at 95ns.

Geekbench 6

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 33

Geekbench CPU testing gave the M18 a 1774 single-core score while multi-core picked up 160004.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 34

OpenCL picked up a solid 146K, with Vulkan doing a bit better at 151K.

Graphics, System I/O, Battery, and Gaming

System I/O Performance

PCMark

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 35

PCMark Extended scored the M18 at 12469, a touch below the Intel variant of the M18.

3DMark

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 36

CPU Profile one and two thread gave us scores of 1030 and 1982.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 37

Looking at four, eight, and sixteen threads, the Ryzen 9 7945hX is a very powerful CPU, landing a score of 12945 at sixteen threads.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 38

Time Spy is our first synthetic gaming workload. The M18 scored 15651 with the RX 7900M.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 39

Speed Way scores 4381 with the 7900M, performance equal to the RTX 4080 Laptop GPU.

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 40

Running 3DMark Storage, the M18 picked up a bandwidth of 482 MB/s.

Gaming

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 41

With the panel on this machine being 1080p, we couldn't test any higher resolutions. That said, we did pick up 129 FPS from the 7900M, which offered similar performance to the 6900M x 6900HS combo we found in the Voyager a1600 from Corsair.

Value and Final Thoughts

Value

Alienware M18 R1 AMD Advantage Gaming Laptop Review 42

Our Value chart is quite packed; top to bottom, we have a difference of just 0.8%. The M18 R1 AMD lands in the top half of this chart at 99.5%.

Final Thoughts

Like the Intel variant, the AMD Advantage model of the M18 R1 is a strong offering for an 18" desktop replacement, though it differs quite a bit in its market placement and competition, as our sample came with a 1200p 18" display at 480Hz; this being a first, as we haven't seen a gaming laptop this powerful limited to 1920x1200. This makes me think Alienware may be positioning this model for fast-paced FPS gaming, as the display certainly lends itself to that market, as does the CPU-GPU combo.

Adding to this, the AMD edition does have much of the same feature list as the Intel variant, including a front-facing FHD IR camera, ready for Windows Hello, and a full-size mechanical keyboard that offers per-key RGB lighting.

Testing the M18, this machine is middle of the pack in single-core operations; we picked up 1888 in R23, while the CPU profile score landed at 1030. This AMD machine is a multi-threaded beast, landing a 32516 R23 score and 12945 in CPU Profile at sixteen threads. For full system workloads, we turn to Crossmark and PCMark; the M18 finished with a score of 1675 in Crossmark, about 300 points lower than the Scar 17, while PCMark landed in the middle of our charts at 12469. Storage performance was quite good, with our unit having a WDC NVMe solution. We wrapped up testing with bandwidth at 482 MB/s, about 50 MB/s short of the best we have seen.

Pricing is where this M18 R1 does a fantastic job; as configured, our sample came in at $2799, though we have seen sales drop this machine down to $2499. That said, we don't have much for comparison, as this is the first laptop to offer the RX 7900M and 7945HX together; the best we currently have in our charts is the Strix Scar 17, which pairs the same CPU with an RTX 4090, with lesser connectivity and a price tag that's nearly $800 more.

Performance

95%

Quality

90%

Features

92%

Value

90%

Overall

92%

The Bottom Line

Anyone in the market for a high performance portable gaming machine, paired with a fantastic high refresh display, will want the Alienware M18 R1 on their shortlist.

TweakTown award
92%

Alienware M18 Gaming Laptop QHD+ Display (Intel Core i7-13700HX)

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$2220.56$2069.55$2309.90
* Prices last scanned on 3/1/2024 at 12:51 am CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Tyler joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

Newsletter Subscription
We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.