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Help Me Decide! M15 vs Razer 15

Buying a new laptop for daily work in the I.T. department and a light gaming system when at home.(currently have a 2017 XPS 13""

 

Specs are i7-8750/16g DDR4/GTX 1060 gpu/SSD 512/1920x1080 display @ 144mhz.

 

I'm torn between the new Alienware m15 and the new Razer blade 15 as I need to stay around the $2,500 (cdn) mark before tax.

 

Have done a lot of research and both seem to have their own issues like customer support to thermal issues, does anyone have actual experiences with either rather than just biased opinions would be great.

 

Thanks!

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Location? Preferred max weight in kg/lbs and min battery life in hours?

My Desktop specs:

Spoiler

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Nvidia RTX3060Ti 8GB PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB 16GB (8X2) 3200MHz CL16 Team Group MP33 Pro 1TB
ID-Cooling SE-224-XT White Gigabyte B550M DS3H mATX Tecware Forge M2 mATX White Case Montech Century 650W Gold

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I owned an XPS 15 and and m15 for a few weeks. Returned due to a number of issues. Settled on a Blade 15 which has been the best by far. People often say the build quality of dell/Alienware products is good - I was not impressed. The blade is damn near perfect.

 

Xps 15 - headphone jack crackled incessantly. Otherwise it was a nice unit, compact, portable,  beautiful 4K display. Underpowered for gaming with 1050ti.

 

Alienware (4K/1070/256/16gb) - Despite being marketed as thin and light it’s a lot bigger than the xps and blade 15. Doesn’t fit in standard 15” laptop sleeve unlike the other 2. My unit didn’t have power cable secured from battery to motherboard, the trackpad had play between it and the chassis resulting in an unsatisfying double clunk with each left click. I fixed this with a piece of duct tape between the chassis and the trackpad (have to open computer remove battery and trackpad). Then there was a dead pixel on the screen. Dell sent a tech in 48h to replace that and the trackpad. The trackpad fix didn’t work. And my god they don’t send the top coating with the replacement trackpad so the tech ripped it off the old one with a screwdriver and reused the adhesive and misaligned this surface so the trackpad didn’t even work properly. The CPU thermals were terrible hitting 100C before undervolt, and 88-95 after. 

 

Blade 15 (1060/mercury white/512gb/144hz/16gb) - build quality is amazing, trackpad is larger, much nicer to use, no issues with thumb rejection. Some people have lamented the screen isn’t that bright - I’ve found it to be fantastic. Thermals dramatically better then m15, hitting 85 max after an hour of gaming without any undervolt. It’s basically the same weight as the m15 with the smaller battery but if you go with the big battery the m15 is noticibly heavier.  Battery life has been in excess of 6h for productivity with screen left on 144hz.

 

Decision points:

form factor - blade 15

keyboard layout - m15

keyboard backlight - blade 15

display - 144hz makes a bigger difference for games than 4K does for productivity in this size. 15” 1080p is still fine for side by side apps, it just looks a little more grainy. Totally readable. You end up using about 200% scaling anyways at 4K 15” so the added resolution is basically just improving image crispness. Totally unnoticeable and unneacessary for games in this form factor.

cpu - same

gpu - I mostly play over watch and there isn’t a huge difference between the two (1060 vs 1070). Both will hit 144 FPS stable in overwatch).

 

hooe this helps, happy to answer any specific questions but I’d go with the blade

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2 hours ago, Banshee77 said:

they both weigh about the same I think.

Answer correctly:

10 hours ago, GeneXiS_X said:

Preferred max weight in kg/lbs and min battery life in hours?

My Desktop specs:

Spoiler

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Nvidia RTX3060Ti 8GB PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB 16GB (8X2) 3200MHz CL16 Team Group MP33 Pro 1TB
ID-Cooling SE-224-XT White Gigabyte B550M DS3H mATX Tecware Forge M2 mATX White Case Montech Century 650W Gold

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22 hours ago, 1234john1234 said:

I owned an XPS 15 and and m15 for a few weeks. Returned due to a number of issues. Settled on a Blade 15 which has been the best by far. People often say the build quality of dell/Alienware products is good - I was not impressed. The blade is damn near perfect.

 

Xps 15 - headphone jack crackled incessantly. Otherwise it was a nice unit, compact, portable,  beautiful 4K display. Underpowered for gaming with 1050ti.

 

Alienware (4K/1070/256/16gb) - Despite being marketed as thin and light it’s a lot bigger than the xps and blade 15. Doesn’t fit in standard 15” laptop sleeve unlike the other 2. My unit didn’t have power cable secured from battery to motherboard, the trackpad had play between it and the chassis resulting in an unsatisfying double clunk with each left click. I fixed this with a piece of duct tape between the chassis and the trackpad (have to open computer remove battery and trackpad). Then there was a dead pixel on the screen. Dell sent a tech in 48h to replace that and the trackpad. The trackpad fix didn’t work. And my god they don’t send the top coating with the replacement trackpad so the tech ripped it off the old one with a screwdriver and reused the adhesive and misaligned this surface so the trackpad didn’t even work properly. The CPU thermals were terrible hitting 100C before undervolt, and 88-95 after. 

 

Blade 15 (1060/mercury white/512gb/144hz/16gb) - build quality is amazing, trackpad is larger, much nicer to use, no issues with thumb rejection. Some people have lamented the screen isn’t that bright - I’ve found it to be fantastic. Thermals dramatically better then m15, hitting 85 max after an hour of gaming without any undervolt. It’s basically the same weight as the m15 with the smaller battery but if you go with the big battery the m15 is noticibly heavier.  Battery life has been in excess of 6h for productivity with screen left on 144hz.

 

Decision points:

form factor - blade 15

keyboard layout - m15

keyboard backlight - blade 15

display - 144hz makes a bigger difference for games than 4K does for productivity in this size. 15” 1080p is still fine for side by side apps, it just looks a little more grainy. Totally readable. You end up using about 200% scaling anyways at 4K 15” so the added resolution is basically just improving image crispness. Totally unnoticeable and unneacessary for games in this form factor.

cpu - same

gpu - I mostly play over watch and there isn’t a huge difference between the two (1060 vs 1070). Both will hit 144 FPS stable in overwatch).

 

hooe this helps, happy to answer any specific questions but I’d go with the blade

Wow! Thanks for so much info John, you have me heavily considering the Blade 15 now for sure. (Probably in black though)

 

When you state that you get 6hr battery life, is that the standard battery or the larger one?

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22 hours ago, GeneXiS_X said:

Answer correctly:

4.8lbs, 6hrs

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Larger battery, the mercury white only comes in the "advanced" config, with one M.2 SSD and no option for a SATA HDD. Gaming on battery is not a realistic proposition regardless of battery. 

 

The new basic model or whatever they're calling it with the ethernet connector only has the small battery as the paired SATA HDD/SSD combo eats space for the battery

 

FYI the mercury white is an anodized aluminum silver finish like a MacBook. its really nice and isn't a finger print magnet like their black finishes. 

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On 12/22/2018 at 10:48 PM, 1234john1234 said:

People often say the build quality of dell/Alienware products is good

Who said? Only exterior build quality is good. QC+QA is still questionable

1 hour ago, Banshee77 said:

Blade 15

NEVER get Razer laptops, terrible QC+QA and aftersales support. If someone don't have enough knowledge then please don't provide bad suggestions

 

You won't get a laptop with good cooling due to the requirements you wanted:

1. Gigabyte Aero 15X - mediocre cooling, potential minor QC issues

2. MSI GS63 8RE / GS65 8RE / P65 8RE - mediocre cooling, OKish build quality

 

If you can accept ~5 hrs battery life:

1. Alienware m15 with 60Wh battery - might have CPU cooling issue due to thermal pads that are too thick, causing poor contact between heatsink and IHS

2. Clevo P950/P955EP6/ER (Eurocom Q6, Sager NP8954 / NP8955) - mediocre cooling

My Desktop specs:

Spoiler

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Nvidia RTX3060Ti 8GB PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB 16GB (8X2) 3200MHz CL16 Team Group MP33 Pro 1TB
ID-Cooling SE-224-XT White Gigabyte B550M DS3H mATX Tecware Forge M2 mATX White Case Montech Century 650W Gold

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Genesis have you ever owned a blade 15. I don't think there is a single Windows laptop that touches it in fit/finish/user experience. It has all the niceties of a MacBook (Anodized aluminum, huge responsive glass trackpad), with none of the downsides (much better keyboard, full compliment of port selection, proper hardware (GTX 1060/1070, 144Hz IPS display), and yes its expensive, but still 1000-1500 cheaper than a MacBook Pro 15 which has substandard GPU even with Vega 20). They dropped the price of the laptop within the return policy and it took 15 minutes on chat support for them to refund the difference. Try this with dell, it will take an hour and you'll get transferred to 4 different people. The cooling is in another league compared to the M15. 

 

Be realistic, MSI and Gigabyte laptops have an abundance of cheap flexy plastic that is well below their price bracket.  After sales support isn't any better. Its all RMA, ship out, get it (or replacement) back in a month. Use your appropriate Visa and extend warranty to 2 years. 

 

Alienware m15 QC was crap in comparison and they couldn't even fix the problem with replacement parts. OH they also charge $800 for a 3 year warranty lol... The laptop ships without proper wifi drivers, unactivated copy of windows and the battery wasn't even connected. No idea how I could ever recommend this laptop to anyone. 24-48h in home service is no use if it does not even fix the problem.

 

Never seen a Clevo laptop - can't comment on anything about them. They look like they are the same price for the same hardware in a cheap looking chassis. Don't imagine they have world class after sales support, but could be wrong...

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19 minutes ago, 1234john1234 said:

snip

Did you read what I wrote carefully. The problem isn't the exterior build quality. It's the QC+QA. Razer is infamously bad on that

20 minutes ago, 1234john1234 said:

MSI and Gigabyte laptops have an abundance of cheap flexy plastic that is well below their price bracket.  After sales support isn't any better. Its all RMA, ship out, get it (or replacement) back in a month

MSI aftersales is like Asus, need to ship back to China and wait for a period. But at least you can do the RMA unlike Razer which requires 3rd party RMA service, otherwise you need to wait for a few months for RMA and yet the laptop has not been fixed. Build quality in MSI GS series isn't great as I mentioned above, however Aero 15w/15x is definitely better. For Gigabyte laptops, there are some countries with local service centers (like Malaysia)

22 minutes ago, 1234john1234 said:

Alienware m15 QC

13 hours ago, GeneXiS_X said:

QC+QA is still questionable

 

24 minutes ago, 1234john1234 said:

Never seen a Clevo laptop - can't comment on anything about them. They look like they are the same price for the same hardware in a cheap looking chassis. Don't imagine they have world class after sales support, but could be wrong...

They have decent models. Support is great since Clevo is a big ODM and there are many resellers around the world (international support)

My Desktop specs:

Spoiler

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Nvidia RTX3060Ti 8GB PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB 16GB (8X2) 3200MHz CL16 Team Group MP33 Pro 1TB
ID-Cooling SE-224-XT White Gigabyte B550M DS3H mATX Tecware Forge M2 mATX White Case Montech Century 650W Gold

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Thanks for the info about after sales support and Clevo. 

 

After sales support is important, but only relevant for a small subset of users that have technical failures. If a particular product appeals to you but their support is noted to be substandard, buy through Microsoft store, or other vendor and get their extended warranty. 

 

At the end of the day the GPU/CPU/SSD/RAM are all the same parts every other laptop in the segment are using. Razers "vapor chamber" cooling appears to be superior, and has 2 fans as the failure point, just like the competition. The motherboard is likely the variable component, but theres anecdoes galore descrbing issues with all the above machines. Unless there is hard objective data (number sold vs number RMA'd) all we are doing is speculating on anecdotes of opinionated people on chat forums. 

Most people that own any of the above laptops will use them until they are outdated, and upgrade without having had any issues. The vocal subset (myself included Re: XPS15, M15 above) with problems will always be overrepresented, and you never really know how the number of these people compare to the number of units sold. 

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3 hours ago, 1234john1234 said:

After sales support is important, but only relevant for a small subset of users that have technical failures. If a particular product appeals to you but their support is noted to be substandard, buy through Microsoft store, or other vendor and get their extended warranty. 

The problem is, Razer laptops are so bad in QC+QA and users will most probably have to RMA it due to different issues. Yes you can buy through Microsoft (safest choice), but who wants their laptops to be returned often

3 hours ago, 1234john1234 said:

Razers "vapor chamber" cooling appears to be superior

It's slightly better than MSI GS and Gigabyte Aero 15w/15x, but still not 'good'. TongFang GK5CN6Z has better cooling (slightly thicker, slightly lighter), but it doesn't have good battery life (there's an option to put 62Wh without HDD, but not many vendors provide this)

 

In the end, I think QC issues can happen in every laptop, but some models have them more often

My Desktop specs:

Spoiler

AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Nvidia RTX3060Ti 8GB PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB 16GB (8X2) 3200MHz CL16 Team Group MP33 Pro 1TB
ID-Cooling SE-224-XT White Gigabyte B550M DS3H mATX Tecware Forge M2 mATX White Case Montech Century 650W Gold

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