In this article, we compare the Alienware M15 to the Apple Macbook Pro. Their screen size, keyboards, battery life, performance, upgradeability, etc.
Here’s everything you need to know about Dell Alienware M15 Vs MacBook Pro.
Alienware M15 vs MacBook Pro Overview
Apple Macbook Pro
Build Quality (5)
Battery Life (5)
Alienware M15/17 – Pros & Cons
Beautiful Display & Design
Slim & Lightweight
Decent Battery Life For A Gaming Laptop
Soldered RAM And WLAN Card
Apple MacBook Pro – Pros & Cons
Solid Build Quality
Slim & Lightweight
Long Battery Life
Can’t Be Upgraded & Difficult To Repair
Still Uses Butterfly Keyboard
Runs Hot, Thermal & Power Throttles A Lot Limiting Performance
Design, Build Quality And Upgradeability
Dell redesigned the Alienware and the result was a beautiful gaming laptop. The new Alienware takes it looks from the Alienware Area-51m.
You could say it is a slim and lightweight version of it. It weighs 4.75 lbs (2.16 kg) and it’s less than an inch thick. You can easily carry this around.
The gaming laptop comes in two colours – lunar light (white) and the dark side of the moon (greyish black).
The rear vents are covered by RGB LED strips and protrude out of the laptop. Giving it an alien spaceship look.
The majority of the ports are also found at the back including the Thunderbolt port. The vents on the rear, underside and keyboard deck take the shape of honeycombs. While the ones on the side are slanted.
The Alienware logo on the back is also RGB. Overall, the design is beautiful and looks a lot different compared to a lot of gaming laptops.
The build quality of the Alienware though could have been better.
Made from plastic and magnesium alloy. It has quite a bit of flex. The lid and keyboard deck are magnesium alloy whilst the rest is plastic.
At its price point, Dell could have done better. Still, it is quite sturdy and not something to lose sleep for.
However, upgradeability is disappointing. It is easy to open the laptop.
But, once in you quickly notice the motherboard is flipped, RAM and WLAN card are soldered and there is no HDD bay. The only upgradeable component there is SSD storage.
You can’t upgrade the RAM and WLAN card. If you get the 16GB model, you are stuck with it.
NB: Newer models have upgradeable RAM, WLAN card and SSD storage. The motherboard also isn’t flipped.
Apple has maintained the MacBook Pro design since 2016. And the newer models are no exception.
It is the same simple and minimalistic design with the Apple logo located on the back.
There is not much to talk about the design since it has been the same for a long time.
However, the MacBook Pro is lighter and slimmer than ever. It weighs 4 lbs (1.81kg) and it’s almost half an inch thick.
This makes it one of the slimmest and lightest laptops on the market.
The build quality of the MacBook Pro is excellent. An aluminium unibody design that has no flex and is robust.
There are no USB Type-A ports only Thunderbolt 3 ports which sucks. Because you need to carry a dock with you at all times.
Apple still maintains the butterfly keyboard design. They made some changes to it so that it won’t fail like the 2018 model.
In addition to that, there is a keyboard replacement program. This somewhat tells you that the Butterfly keyboard is far from perfect.
Now for upgradeability. The MacBook Pro is not upgradeable and difficult to repair. You will notice this quickly when you open it.
The RAM, SSD and WLAN card is soldered onto the motherboard. This means you are stuck with whatever configuration you buy.
The battery is strongly glued onto the upper case making it hard to remove.
And you have to remove a whole bunch of screws before you can remove the motherboard. The keyboard deck is also fixed onto the top part of the case.
In short, when your MacBook Pro gets damaged. You have to send it back to Apple for repairs or a replacement.
And depending on the situation it can be expensive. In short, the MacBook Pro is non-upgradeable and difficult to repair.
Overall, the MacBook Pro has a better build quality than the Alienware. But, loses when it comes to upgradeability and repairs.
Because even though the Alienware has soldered RAM and WLAN card you can still upgrade the SSD. Also, taking the Alienware apart is easy to do compared to the MacBook Pro.
For the design, it is subjective. The Alienware is beautiful but it has that gaming look.
The Apple MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is simple and minimalistic. So for the better-looking one, it all depends on your taste.
The Dell Alienware has a high-quality panel with slim bezels. The Alienware M15 comes with a 15.6-inch display.
For resolution, you have the option to choose between a Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080) or 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED display.
The Full HD is sharp, has decent viewing angles and average brightness.
The 4K OLED display has a very high colour accuracy, sharpness and brightness.
The 4K OLED has a 60Hz refresh rate. If you game a lot, you will know that the higher the refresh rate the smoother the gameplay.
Because high refresh rates reduce visual distortions (screen tearing, stuttering and ghosting).
The MacBook Pro has options for a 13, 15 and 16-inch displays. Both are great and have high colour accuracy.
They are also bright enough to be used outdoors. However, MacBooks make use of glossy displays so in bright light or sunlight, there will be reflections on the display.
The Retina display resolution is still maintained. It has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 for 13-inch, 2880 x 1800 for 15-inch and 3072×1920 for 16-inch.
Overall, MacBook Pro displays haven’t changed. If you are familiar with MacBook Pros. You know how the display is like.
Now for the most important part of the displays. If you game a lot. You will benefit from the Alienware’s high refresh rate display.
The MacBook Pro has a 60Hz display and it is not suitable for fast-paced games because there will be a lot of visual distortions.
The Alienware also beats the MacBook Pro in colour accuracy. It is higher than it and therefore more suited for work that requires a lot of colour accuracy.
Where the MacBook Pro beats the Alienware is the brightness and viewing angles. It is brighter and has better viewing angles than the Alienware.
That is assuming, you choose the Full HD display over the 4K OLED. If you go with the 4K OLED, it is going to blow away the MacBook Pro’s display.
It is sharper, brighter and far more accurate when it comes to colours. But, at the cost of having a 60Hz refresh rate.
Slim and lightweight laptops are always going to run hot and thermal throttle no matter what. And the Alienware and MacBook Pro is no exception.
However, the Alienware has clear advantages because you can apply the thermal paste and undervolt it to get better temperatures.
For the MacBook Pro, on the other hand, applying thermal paste is the only solution. Because Apple blocks out the feature of it being undervolted. Disabling Intel Turbo boost is a good alternative.
Now to explain why these two laptops get hot i.e. aside from them being slim and lightweight.
The Alienware has a flipped motherboard. And that means the CPU and GPU are going to face the keyboard deck.
Sadly, there aren’t enough vents for the heat to escape because of the keyboard. The underside also doesn’t have enough vents.
This results in a poorly ventilated laptop chassis that can reach high temperatures quickly. When it comes to the rear vents.
The fans are no way close to it. Instead, it is heat pipes that are next to it. And so the fans are not able to push hot air out of the chassis efficiently.
There is a reason why air condition fans are located close to the opening.
Talking about heat pipes, there are four in total: two shared by the CPU and GPU at the same time each one has its own.
Now it becomes easy to see why the Alienware gets hot (90 degrees Celsius and above) quickly.
Most gaming laptops have more than four heat pipes. The only thing that was done right is the size of the heat plates.
The MacBook Pro is a hot laptop, hotter than Alienware. And it thermal throttles, all the time because the temperatures are also above 90 degrees Celsius.
First of all, the MacBook Pro has thin vents. So thin it is difficult to see them.
This makes it difficult for hot air to be expelled and cool air to be drawn in. Moreover, it has only rear vents. So when you put in powerful components in a poorly ventilated slim chassis. You get a very hot device.
Ever been in a room full of people that has one small window and a fan? It gets hot quickly. The same thing happens to the MacBook Pro. Even gaming laptops that have a lot of vents get hot.
Opening the MacBook Pro will expose another reason why it thermal and power throttles so badly.
One heat pipe is shared by the powerful CPU and GPU which is cooled by two small fans at the end. And it is not able to dissipate heat quickly.
To be honest, the whole cooling system is a mess. This thing under heavy loads will get hot quickly and slowly destroy itself.
It also won’t be able to sustain high boost clocks for long periods. It will drop to base clocks and it will still run hot.
In a MacBook Pro, you have powerful components, a single thin vent, not enough heat pipes, small fans and the inability to undervolt. This laptop will, by all means, thermal throttle like crazy.
All in all, Alienware wins this round. Because you can apply the thermal paste and undervolt it to bring it to appreciable temperatures.
Unfortunately, with the MacBook Pro, you can only apply the thermal paste and it won’t even do a thing. Because the cooling system is not able to get rid of heat properly.
Alienware wins this round.
No matter how powerful the components are in a slim and light laptop. The performance is going to be affected by temperature.
Both are powerful laptops. But, power means nothing if they are not properly cooled.
The Alienware is a gaming laptop and a powerful one too. For the specs, you can choose between an Intel Core i5/i7/i9, 8/16/32GB RAM and GTX or RTX series.
Powerful components that will give you high FPS on AAA title games no matter the settings. If you do some video or multimedia editing. It will be enough to handle it.
However, best to go with Intel Core i7 and 16GB RAM or above if you are in that line of work. The storage devices are also fast. PCI-e M.2 that have high read and write speeds.
The Apple MacBook Pro is also powerful but isn’t meant for demanding games but rather productivity tasks.
For the specs, you have an Intel Core i5/i7/i9/Apple M1/M1 Max/M1 Pro, 8GB/16GB/32GB RAM, AMD Radeon Pro Graphics (15 and 16 inch only)/M1 graphics and up to 8TB of storage options.
If you are into gaming. Better skip, the MacBook Pro because they are not meant for games. Only a select few games will run well on it.
The rest will be unplayable or run on low FPS even though you have a powerful processor and graphics cards. Macs are just not great for gaming.
Where the MacBook Pro shines is the multimedia work and rendering.
A workstation that you can use to use edit your multimedia work and render AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Revit, SketchUp, etc.
The AMD Radeon Pro/M1 graphics is a workstation graphics and will do a much better job at rendering than a consumer graphics card.
Overall, the Alienware M15 beats the MacBook Pro in real-world performance and gaming because it’s optimized for gaming.
However, the MacBook Pro comes out on top if you are rendering a lot. The only thing that stops it from achieving its full potential is the cooling system.
This is where the MacBook Pro shines – battery life. It can last 10-12 hours under consistent use which is impressive. Because it has powerful components which normally take a toll on battery life.
The Alienware also isn’t that bad for a gaming laptop. It’s able to last 4-5 hours under normal use. Most gaming laptops last 2-3 hours.
However, the Apple MacBook Pro is the clear winner in this.
Alienware M15 vs MacBook Pro – Which One To Get?
To be honest, it is not a difficult choice. Because both cater to different things. The Alienware is a gaming laptop and so it’s great at handling demanding games. You can still use it for other things though.
The MacBook Pro is the go-to workstation for multimedia work e.g. Final Cut and business. But, not so great for gaming. So it all depends on what you are looking for.
If you find yourself gaming a lot. Then the Alienware M15 is the right machine. But, if you edit a lot of photos, videos, rendering, etc. The MacBook Pro will be the better option.
This is not to say Alienware can’t do the same thing. But, there are tasks the Apple MacBook Pro will do better than the Alienware M15 and vice versa.
All you have to do is see which one caters to your needs best. And you are good to go.
Apple MacBook Pro
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