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But no laptop is perfect and each brand has its strengths and weaknesses.
In this article, we’re going to explore how Alienware and MSI go head-to-head. We’ll also check out some of their top-of-the-line gaming computers and see which one offers the better gaming experience.
So which laptop brand is better? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- MSI vs. Alienware Performance
- MSI vs. Alienware Upgradability
- MSI vs. Alienware Build Quality
- MSI vs. Alienware Screen
- MSI vs. Alienware Keyboard and Trackpad
- MSI vs. Alienware Design and Weight
- MSI vs. Alienware Webcam and Speakers
- MSI vs. Alienware Ports Selection
- MSI vs. Alienware Battery Life and Portability
- MSI vs. Alienware Pricing and Customer Support/Warranty
- Head-to-Head: Summary of Results
- Our Top Pick: Should You Get an MSI or Alienware?
MSI vs. Alienware Performance
In terms of performance, you can’t go wrong either way.
Both brands make laptops with the latest and most powerful chips available. MSI 2023 models are powered by the 13th Gen. Intel Core processors and NVIDIA’s 40 series graphics cards, just like Alienware’s.
One thing is clear: both brands have amazing machines in their lineups capable of delivering near-desktop performance.
So, how much power are we talking about? You can rest assured that their most expensive gaming laptops will run any game at ultra settings. Even the most demanding AAA titles bend to the will of these gaming behemoths so you can enjoy a lag-free, high-fps, crystal-clear and smooth gaming experience.
But for most users, getting the fastest laptop available is usually overkill. The good news is both brands also have models with lower configurations that cost under $2000. We’re not talking about budget-friendly laptops here. But if you want a powerful device that can run the AAA titles, the pricing is reasonable.
Since these machines are so powerful, they are also great for content creators. Working in power-hungry apps for 3D modeling, video editing, or CAD tools is a breeze.
You also have the option of getting an AMD-powered device from both MSI and Alienware. To be clear, if you want the absolute best performance, go for the latest generation Intel Core i9 processor. But it’s nice to know there are options to choose from.
Neither brand cuts corners when it comes to performance. Their machines are powered by the latest and greatest components. And the best part is you still have the option of a lower configuration at a more affordable price.
MSI vs. Alienware Upgradability
How about upgradability? Well, it pretty much depends on the model you choose.
Let’s take a look at Alienware gaming laptops first. The X17 R2 is Alienware’s best laptop at the moment. Its cheapest configuration comes with 16GB dual-channel DDR5 RAM and 512GB SSD storage. The laptop also has two extra slots for memory and storage. So, as far as laptops go, I’d say it is pretty upgradable.
But if we look at its smaller brother – the X15 R2, it’s a different story. You can still get the base RAM and storage combo as with the X17, but the RAM is baked onto the motherboard, and there is no extra slot for upgrades. You can upgrade the storage though.
On the other hand, MSI laptops usually have more space for upgrades. Whether you go for a 17-inch or a 15-inch model of their GE Raider series (Alienware’s X series counterpart), you don’t have to worry about upgradability. The RAM and the storage are user-upgradable in most cases, and the max capacity is usually higher than Alienware’s.
MSI laptops usually have more space for upgrades.
MSI vs. Alienware Build Quality
Alienware has a reputation for making possibly the toughest and most premium-looking laptops.
To compare, this hasn’t always been the case with MSI. Of course, their premium models are built of sturdy and high-quality materials. But when it comes to their lower-grade models, there is room for improvement.
I was a bit concerned about the build quality when Alienware announced how thin their X series laptops would be. Yet, somehow they managed to make these laptops even sturdier than their bulky predecessors.
Alienware has a reputation for making possibly the toughest and most premium-looking Windows laptops.
MSI vs. Alienware Screen
Whether you want a smooth gaming experience or exquisite picture quality, you really can’t go wrong with either laptop brand. Both MSI and Alienware offer a variety of screens with their gaming devices.
Before anything else, these brands make high-end gaming laptops. So, as you would expect, they offer screens with high refresh rates (up to 360Hz) and quick response times.
If besides gaming, you want a laptop that is also great for content creation, you’ll get the best of both worlds with a color-accurate 4K screen laptop and high refresh rate. And the great news is that both Alienware and MSI offer this option with their premium laptops.
MSI vs. Alienware Keyboard and Trackpad
If I had to single out one feature that can make or break my decision in the Alienware vs. MSI debate, it would be the keyboard.
Don’t get me wrong, MSI laptops have pretty comfortable keyboards. But the typing experience with Alienware’s keyboard is by far my favorite. I mean, the clickiness and tactile feedback are so pleasant you just might start writing a novel.
Plus, with most Alienware models, you can choose between a standard keyboard and the Cherry MX low-profile mechanical keyboard. I’d recommend the latter, but it’s really a personal preference.
These wouldn’t be true gaming laptops without any RGB lighting. And both brands make their premium laptops with customizable per-key backlighting.
Granted, trackpads could have been better, but I have no particular complaints. Most gamers use a mouse, but it’s nice to know they’re there in case you need them.
MSI vs. Alienware Design and Weight
Unique-looking laptops with all kinds of aesthetic accessories and RGB backlighting are pretty popular in the gaming world. And the main difference between MSI and Alienware laptops is their looks.
If you prefer dark, bulky Darth-Vader-looking laptops, maybe MSI is for you. On the other hand, Alienware is for those who prefer light, slim and sleek, extraterrestrial aesthetics.
As for weight, powerful gaming laptops are usually large and heavy, and these brands are no exception. Alienware laptops are usually a bit lighter, though still on the heavier side.
Since design is mostly about personal preference, it would be unfair to declare a winner in this segment. You should be the one to decide which laptop is more appealing to you.
MSI vs. Alienware Webcam and Speakers
If you’re paying top dollar for a gaming machine, you’d expect every component to be high-end.
I hate to admit it, but when it comes to audio/video quality, even the Alienware X17 R2 is a bit of a disappointment. For some reason, Alienware settles for an average 720p webcam even on their most premium models.
This is probably the easiest win for MSI since their premium lineup is packed with FHD 1080p webcams.
No laptop speakers are a match for a nice set of gaming headphones, but I personally like the sound on the MSI laptops a little bit better than on Alienware’s laptops.
MSI vs. Alienware Ports Selection
Port selection is excellent with either brand. Which ports you get ultimately depends on the specific model. One thing is sure though: the 17-inch devices usually have more ports than their smaller variants.
However, since MSI laptops normally have larger chassis, there is more space for ports. Take the MSI Titan GT77, for example. It has so many ports you could mistake it for a desktop.
MSI vs. Alienware Battery Life and Portability
For the best gaming performance, top-tier hardware components require a lot of power. So when it comes to gaming laptops, you should be ready to compromise on battery life.
Even the most expensive machines of MSI and Alienware wouldn’t last more than a few hours of gaming. So for uninterrupted gaming sessions, you’re better off keeping your laptop plugged in.
There is a slight advantage to MSI, though. This is mainly because their laptops have larger chassis and more space for a bigger battery (MSI’s best laptops have 99.99Wh batteries and Alienware’s best laptops have 87Wh batteries). Some Alienware models, though, last only 1-2 hours of gaming.
MSI’s bulkier chassis is also a disadvantage if we talk about portability. I don’t necessarily mean weight, but just the sheer size of the beast can be a challenge.
Make no mistake, Alienware laptops are no Ultrabooks, but they are usually lighter and thinner than MSI laptops.
Winner: MSI for battery life/Alienware for portability
MSI vs. Alienware Pricing and Customer Support/Warranty
Alienware only offers premium and super-expensive gaming devices. On the other hand, MSI has various lineups ranging from the affordable GL series all the way to the elite GE Raider and GT Titan series.
Still, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention that Alienware is a part of the tech giant – Dell. So if you cannot afford their premium models, Dell has other options too, like Dell G15.
As for customer support and warranty, Alienware is the absolute champion. This is the only laptop company that offers on-site customer support.
What do I mean by this? Basically, if your Alienware laptop breaks or malfunctions, their repair crew will literally come to your home or office and try to fix it on-site. And this is usually done within a couple of days.
With MSI and other laptop companies, you’d have to give away your device for a few weeks.
In the section below, we’ve provided some of the most frequently asked questions about MSI and Alienware laptops.
Is Alienware laptop for gaming only?
Absolutely not. Alienware laptops are equipped with the best and latest generations of hardware components available. Due to this, they are great for almost anything you want to do with them, even heavy-duty workloads like 3D modeling, programming, and video editing.
Is MSI or Alienware better for video editing?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Both brands have high-performance machines capable of heavy-duty tasks like video editing.
Is MSI or Alienware better for engineering students?
If you want an almighty device that is great for gaming and school, you really can’t go wrong with either an MSI or Alienware laptop. Both brands make powerful laptops capable of running CAD and other engineering apps. But if you are looking for powerful and affordable laptops, you should consider an MSI.
Head-to-Head: Summary of Results
|Performance||Tie (1)||Tie (1)|
|Build Quality||–||Winner (1)|
|Screen||Tie (1)||Tie (1)|
|Keyboard and Trackpad||–||Winner (1)|
|Design and Weight||Tie (1)||Tie (1)|
|Webcam and Speakers||Winner (1)||–|
|Ports Selection||Winner (1)||–|
|Battery Life||Winner (1)||–|
|Pricing and Customer Support/Warranty||–||Winner (1)|
|SUMMARY||7 Points||7 Points|
Our Top Pick: Should You Get an MSI or Alienware?
Deciding which laptop brand is better is no easy task. Both MSI and Alienware laptops are among the very best.
If I had to pick one, I’d choose Alienware simply because its design aesthetics is more appealing to my taste. And then there is the onsite customer support which is freaking awesome. But it would be unfair to say that Alienware is better than MSI.
The choice pretty much depends on your personal needs and preferences.
Now over to you. Would you get an MSI or an Alienware laptop, and why? Let us know in the comment section below.
If you’re interested to see other recommendations for powerful gaming laptops just under $2000, we got you covered. And if that is a little above your price range, maybe check out our favorite picks of budget gaming laptops.
Are you interested in learning how Alienware compares to Razer laptops?