Alienware’s new x15 gaming laptop boasts a Razer-thin profile with a quad fan cooling system

At Computex, Alienware unveiled its new X-series of thin and powerful gaming laptops. The lineup includes two models called the x15 and x17, and they’re the thinnest Alienware machines in their respective size categories (15.6- and 17.3-inches). Featuring Alienware’s updated ‘Legend 2.0’ design language, the x15 and x17 are launching with a choice of Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake and Nvidia 3000-series chips, alongside a custom cooling system that utilizes four fans and a new thermal interface material called Element 31.

Dell’s gaming arm, Alienware, claims the new x15 is the world’s most powerful sub-16mm gaming laptop available right now. Coming in at 15.9mm thin, the sleek x15 is just a hair’s width thicker than the recently-refresh Razer Blade 15.

The base Alienware x15 comes in at $300 cheaper than its Razer rival, packing the same CPU (8C/16T Intel Core i7-11800H), GPU (RTX 3060), and RAM (16GB DDR4). The configuration differs when it comes to the display spec and storage. Here the x15 offers a 1080p/360Hz or 165Hz panel and 256GB of NVMe storage vs. Razer’s QHD/240Hz screen and a 1TB SSD.

A fully loaded x15, meanwhile, comes equipped with an 8C/16T Core i7-11900H, an 8GB RTX 3080 (90W), 32GB RAM, a 2TB m.2 SSD (up to 4TB in RAID 0), and a QHD/240Hz display. To cool all this hardware inside the x15’s slim chassis, Alienware has installed the latest version of its Cryo-tech cooling system.

This solution consists of four fans that can spin/stop independently with Smart Fan control technology and includes Element 31, Alienware’s proprietary gallium-silicon liquid metal that acts as a thermal interface, which the company claims offers a 25 percent improvement in thermal resistance over previous Alienware laptops. This material is also said to last longer than conventional pastes, though buyers should be aware that Alienware will only apply it on RTX 3070- or 3080-equipped x15s and x17s.

The latter 17.3-inch model starts at $2,099 and is able to pack beefier internals than the x15 due to its larger size and thicker dimensions (20.9mm). This includes a more powerful 130W variant of the RTX 3060 on the base model, while a fully kitted-out version packs a 16GB RTX 3080 (165W), an 8C/16T Core i9-11900HK, 64GB RAM, and a similar storage configuration as the x15. The latter’s FHD displays are also available on the x17, alongside an additional 4K/120Hz option and the ability to spec 1.8mm Cherry MX ultra-low profile mechanical switches for the keyboard.

Both X-series models come with an 87Whr battery, Windows Hello-capable 720p webcams, but interestingly, they lack Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier port on the rear. In a statement to The Verge, Alienware notes that it removed the proprietary port since its Graphics Amplifier solution would have been unable to take full advantage of the latest desktop GPUs and offered limited performance improvement over the laptops’ onboard graphics. Consequently, dropping the port allowed Alienware to add extra ports and gain more thermal headroom.

Featuring a magnesium alloy chassis, the Alienware x15 and x17 laptops are initially launching with limited configuration options. However, buyers will be able to choose from the complete range from June 15 onwards.