ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 vs Alienware m18 R2 – a Modern-Day Gigantomachia

It’s rather fun for us to compare beastly gaming devices, and you seem to like reading these, so today we’ve got another one for you. This time, it’s the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 against the Alienware m18 R2. The SCAR laptops are the beefiest and most dangerous of the ASUS ROG laptops, with the best cooling and most powerful hardware that ASUS has to offer.

On the flip side, Alienware laptops need no introduction, as pretty much every gamer has heard the name and knows what’s up. The m18 R2 is their most prized possession, bringing the best possible components that vendors (Intel, AMD, NVIDIA) have to offer. Today these two giants go toe-to-toe, with CPU, GPU, Display, Battery, Storage, and Cooling all going under our microscope, so see which one is better and how much better it is.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834, 2024) – Specs sheet / In-depth Review

Alienware m18 R2 – Specs sheet / In-depth Review

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834, 2024) configurations:

Alienware m18 R2 configurations:

Specs table

SpecificationASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834, 2024)Alienware m18 R2
ProcessorIntel Core i9-14900HXIntel Core i9-14900HX
Intel Core i7-14700HX
Intel Core i7-14650HX
Intel Core Ultra 7 165H
AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS
GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (Laptop, 175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (Laptop, 175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (Laptop, 175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (Laptop, 175W)
Display18.0″, WQXGA (2560 x 1600), 240 Hz, Mini LED18.0”, FHD+ (1920 x 1200), 480 Hz, IPS
18.0”, QHD+ (2560 x 1600), 165 Hz, IPS
Memoryup to 192GBup to 192GB
Battery90Wh, 4-cell97Wh, 6-cell
Weight6.8 lbs (3.10 kg)9.3 lbs (4.23 kg)
Dimensions15.71″ x 11.57″ x 0.91″ (399 x 294 x 23.1 – 30.8 mm)16.15″ x 12.59″ x 0.95″ (410.30 x 319.90 x 24.10 – 25.10 mm)
Ports
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000, 2500 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000, 2500, 5000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11be
  • Bluetooth 5.4
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack

Unboxing

ASUS is really trying to make purchasing the SCAR 18 a big deal for the consumer, as the package contains a lot more than just the laptop. There’s an ROG backpack that looks quite stylish, the 330W charger, and armor caps (replaceable plastic bits on the chassis that provide unique customization). In some regions, the SCAR 18 comes bundled with ROG Fusion II 300 headphones, ROG Gladius III P514 Mouse, or a 100W Type-C travel adapter.

Alienware’s unboxing is much simpler, with either a 280W or a 360W charger depending on the configuration, as well as the mandatory paperwork and manuals.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
Charger speed330W280W or 360W

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Design and construction

RGB is prevalent on both notebooks, however, the SCAR 18 takes the cake in terms of total lighting. In terms of construction, you get a metal lid and a plastic base/bottom panel. The RGB is present on the ROG logo, and two strips (one on the back and another wrapping around the front edge of the base). Opening the lid is easy with one hand and the hinges are stiff, so there’s no wobbling.

The Alienware m18 R2 has an illuminated Alien logo on the lid and an RGB ring that surrounds the entire heat vent on the back. The body of the m18 R2 is a mix of anodized aluminum and plastic. The laptop is plenty durable, with no deck flexing even when we typed a bit faster and harsher. There’s also a big 18 indent on the lid, signifying the form factor. The hinges here are even stronger, in order to compensate for the extra weight that the lid and chassis carry. The m18 R2 can weigh as much as 9.32 lbs (4.23 kg), so you need extra-strong hinges to carry all that weight and not fail.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
Weight6.8 lbs (3.10 kg)9.3 lbs (4.23 kg)
Dimensions15.71″ x 11.57″ x 0.91″
(399 x 294 x 23.1 – 30.8 mm)
16.15″ x 12.59″ x 0.95″
(410.30 x 319.90 x 24.10 – 25.10 mm)

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Keyboard and touchpad

Both keyboards offer a full array of keys and buttons, with a row of F-keys, Media control keys, and even a Numpad. The base on the SCAR 18 is semi-transparent, however, you can’t really see the internals that well. It also has a per-key RGB backlight and n-key rollover, which is great for prolonged gaming sessions, with tactile feedback and long key travel, which could have been longer considering the thickness of the device.

The keyboard on the Alienware laptop is pretty quiet too, also providing long key travel and clicky feedback, You can switch to a CherryMX low-profile mechanical board, which we haven’t tested. In terms of touchpads, both units are similarly sized, while being smooth and responsive.

Touchpad dimensions
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 185.12″ x  3.35″ (130 mm x 85 mm)
Alienware m18 R25.16″ x 3.15″ (131 mm x 80 mm)

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Ports

In terms of ports, the Alienware laptop has one more USB Type-A port, one more Type-C port, as well as an additional Mini DisplayPort.

Acer ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
Ports
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000, 2500 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C 4.0, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000, 2500, 5000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11be
  • Bluetooth 5.4
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Display and Sound Quality

The two laptops have very similar displays. One area where the SCAR 18 shines is that its display uses a MiniLED backlight. This promises higher contrast and brightness, which we’ll check out further down in the comparison. The display of the SCAR 18 ticks at 240Hz, while the Alienware m18 R2 has a more subtle 165Hz refresh rate.

 Quad HD+ 16:10 IPS panelASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
Pixel density168 PPI168 PPI
Dot pitch0.15 x 0.15 mm0.15 x 0.15 mm
Retina distance20.47″ (52 cm)20.47″ (52 cm)

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Here, you can check out the viewing angles of both displays. We’ve provided samples at 45 degrees to evaluate quality. Both laptops have excellent visibility, even if you’re not directly looking at the panel.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Thanks to the MiniLED backlight, it has much higher brightness, as well as a lower deviation (the difference between the brightest and dimmest parts of the panel). Having good uniformity (aka low deviation) is important for Creators, as you want your colors and work to appear the same naunce and tones across the entire display. The contrast ratio is slightly higher on the Strix SCAR 18, while color temperature is good on both, leading to a balanced color representation, at least as far as temperature is concerned.

 Quad HD+ 16:10 IPS panelAcer ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
Peak brightness (middle of the screen/average for the entire display area)540/542 nits319/313 nits
Max deviation4%11%
Color temperature (on white screen)6350K6100K
Contrast ratio1130:11080:1

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Color coverage

Here are some illustrations (Fig. 1) & (Fig. 2). The whole “sail-shaped” map below consists of all the colors we can see, while the black crooked line shows all the colors from real-world scenes and nature around us.

Then, we’ve drawn some of the most important and interesting color spaces, compared to the colors that the panels of the laptops can display:

Standard/For Web: sRGB – widely used color space for most consumer devices, ideal for Web design and development
For Print: AdobeRGB – used in professional photo editing, graphic design, and print
For Photographers/Video Editors: DCI-P3 – used in high-end film production, post-production, and digital cinema
Premium HDR: Rec.2020 – the widest consumer ITU color standard, covering a massive 75.8% of the visible spectrum, a benchmark for premium HDR content

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 and the Alienware m18 R2.

Quad HD+ 16:10 IPS panelASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
sRGB100%95%
DCI-P384%76%

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Color accuracy

Now let’s see how big is the difference between the real colors and the ones you’ll see on the three laptops. We measure that distance in DeltaE – the bigger the number, the more different they look.

For the next illustration, we’ve chosen 24 common colors like dark and light skin, blue sky, green grass, etc.

Below you can see the results of the two laptops with our Web Design and Office Work profile applied. The Strix SCAR 18 is the more accurate of the two, with a dE of 0.9. dE values below 1.0 are indistinguishable by the human eye, so its as accurate as it can get.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834, 2024) 18.0″ BOE NE180QDM-NM1 (BOE0C58) (2560×160) Mini LED IPS: Buy our profiles

Alienware m18 R2 18.0″ BOE HF1FV-NE18NZ1 (BOE0AFB; NE180QDM-NZ1) (2560 x 1600) WVA: Buy our profiles

PWM

PWM or flickering, is a way for displays to adjust brightness. By constantly switching on and off with a high frequency, you get less light into your eyes, thus perceiving the display as darker and more dim. However, this has its drawbacks, as while you don’t see the flickering, your eyes do and constantly have to adjust their aperture, which can cause headaches.

The Strix SCAR 18 has pulsations across all brightness levels, which won’t be very comfortable for prolonged use. On the other hand, the Alienware m18 R2’s panel doesn’t use PWM at all.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Sound

Both laptops have bottom-firing speakers, despite the available space on the base. Thankfully, the setups are loud and clear, with no deviations across the low, mid, and high frequencies.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Performance – CPU, GPU, Gaming, Storage

The two laptops are powered by the Intel Core i9-14900HX, with 24 cores and 32 threads. We’ll also compare the RTX Graphics that are inside, with both laptops running a 175W RTX 4080.

SpecificationASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18Alienware m18 R2
ProcessorIntel Core i9-14900HXIntel Core i9-14900HX
Intel Core i7-14700HX
Intel Core i7-14650HX
Intel Core Ultra 7 165H
AMD Ryzen 9 4900H
GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (175W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 (140W)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 (140W)

CPU tests

The processors are close to being dead-even, with only a 0.27% differecne in favor of the Alienware.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

GPU tests

The GPU inside the Alienware laptop is also a little bit faster, scoring a 4% higher score in 3DMark Time Spy.

Storage

More often than not, manufacturers scale the SSD speeds with the capacity, so the more storage you order your laptop with, the faster said storage will be. Here, both laptops that we tested come with 1TB drives which have pretty similar speeds when we ran the CrystalDiskMark test.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 – 1TB SK Hynix HFS001TEJ9X101N
Alienware m18 R2 – 1TB Samsung PM9A1

Disassembly and upgrades

These laptops have a fair bit of space on the inside, resulting in plenty of upgradeability. Both laptops have two M.2 slots for Gen 4 NVMe SSDs and two RAM slots for up to 192GB of DDR5 memory (official limit is 64GB, but the CPUs can handle way more)

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18
Alienware m18 R2

Verdict

These two laptops represent the pinnacle of portable gaming, offering the most powerful available hardware, in a package that gives a gamer everything they need. They’re also not bad at content creation, with quality screens that cover a wide range of colors and do a hell of a good job at being color-accurate.

These aren’t the most portable machines, so transportation isn’t as easy, but for the amount of performance that you get, you really can’t complain. There are small differences between the two devices. The Alienware laptop is significantly heavier, in order to accommodate a beastly cooling solution. Still, both laptops could have utilized the space on the base for more (bigger touchpad, front-facing speakers, more air vents). The Alienware laptop also has a more populated port selection, with two extra USB ports and a Mini DisplayPort.

The MiniLED display on the SCAR 18 is brighter and ticks faster at 240Hz, however, the PWM usage is aggressive and will put off some consumers who will use this machine for long hours of video editing and other complex work. On the other hand, most professional editors resort to an external monitor, so for a quicker edit on the go or just adding finishing touches, the panel won’t tire your eyes that much.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834, 2024) – Specs sheet / In-depth Review

Alienware m18 R2 – Specs sheet / In-depth Review

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834, 2024) configurations:

Alienware m18 R2 configurations:

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