Alienware vs MSI – Which is the best gaming laptop? [2020]

For anyone who takes their PC games seriously, choosing their next computer is a decision of great importance. They must consider the basics: RAM, hard drive space, graphics card and processing speed. They must also consider the finer points, too: design, brand, laptop or desktop, and of course, cost. Every gamer has their own preferences. Some like to make their gaming portable, some like it better at their designated gaming station. There are those who want to spend their every last dime on an extreme-spec PC, and those who want to get the biggest bang for their buck. So, let’s break down the biggest competitors: Alienware versus MSI.

Alienware vs MSI – A Rundown

If you’re trying to work out which is better, then most people can agree that Alienware are a premium brand of gaming laptop. If you have the cash, then getting an Alienware laptop is a great idea.

Alienware is a line of laptops and desktop computers made by Dell. They are renowned for being one of the biggest and the best in gaming. The cheapest gaming machine that you can buy from their range at the moment is around $650, with lower specs than a lot of the priciest non-gaming computers, but the most expensive at almost $8000, is a professional gaming desktop computer. There is a lot of money in e-gaming these days, and a pro setup can make a difference.

MSI make their own parts and assemble their own machines. It is not likely that anyone has heard of them outside of the gaming bubble, because they sell no ordinary computers. The whole company is specialised and geared towards gamers. They sell parts separately, as well as monitors and other peripheral gaming gear. At $850 for their cheapest model, MSI are slightly more expensive at the bottom than Alienware, and their most expensive available computer caps at around $6000.


Both companies have a great selection of laptops, desktops, peripherals and hardware for upgrading an existing setup. Alienware allow the buyer to customise the amount of RAM and storage they want in their PC, and to choose their processor. This is a big incentive to choose Alienware for those who are very particular about their specs and have a very specific thing in mind. On the other hand, the variety of gaming laptops from MSI is larger than that of Alienware. There are a lot more combinations to choose from with varying abilities and designs, so if you are looking for a laptop rather than a PC, MSI could be a good place to start.


Like I mentioned above, MSI gaming machines start about $200 more expensive than Dell’s Alienware range do. Both companies do the professional gaming world justice with their high-end laptops and desktop computers, which are tailored for absolute performance. $8000 at Dell will get you the greatest and latest technology, packed into a neat, quiet box. Meanwhile, $6000 at MSI can buy the sleekest, most heavy-duty gaming laptop on the market. For beginners in the gaming world, Alienware are a more well-known name. They have more cost-effective PCs and laptops for you to choose from. For the professionals, the choice is down to individual nuances, and not the price. Both companies produce amazing top-tier tech, albeit at a very high price.


Alienware’s laptops have a rugged, robust look. The only hint of their modernity is that they have colourful LEDS that light up the keyboard at a touch. The LEDs are customisable, you can change colour, or even turn them off. The desktop PCs are a hit or miss as well. Some are too bulky and oddly shaped to fit in to a domestic situation, especially if you want to save space. Others are sleek, slim and super modern.
MSI are much the same in this category, unfortunately. The laptops are clunky, the design is not updated regularly. However, the company does make some beautiful desktop gaming PCs, and for less than Alienware’s line sells for. The trident range are especially nice in design, but MSI does not make any ugly desktop machines, so any choice is a good one from a design perspective.

Hardware and Specs

While it is hard to make a clear choice about whether Alienware are better for specs, or MSI, we can draw some conclusions at least. Alienware focus more heavily on their desktop models than MSI, so it figures that their highest spec model would be a desktop computer: the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper edition. When purchased with the recommended specs, it comes with a custom processor running on 16 cores at up to 4.4 GHz, top of the range dual graphics cards, 16Gb dual channel RAM, and 280Gb SSD hard drive.
MSI’s strengths lie in their laptops. They have a comprehensive selection to choose from, but at the top of their line is the GT75 8RG Laptop. The design may be lacking, but the specs pack a punch. Included are the latest intel i9 processor, GeForce graphics card with desktop level performance, and 4k display. MSI didn’t skimp on audio quality, connectivity or hard drive space for this laptop either.


Now that we have lined up the competitors, let’s sum up the pros and cons.


  • Pros: very high spec at the top end, lets you customise every aspect of your purchase, a lot of choice with desktop PCs, lower entry level prices.
  • Cons: more expensive at the top end, less pleasing on the eye, more widely available


  • Pros: whole company built for gaming, huge selection of laptops, desktop options have better design, very high spec across the board
  • Cons: more expensive at the bottom end, reuse of old designs for laptops, brand less widely known

All in all, if you are looking for a gaming laptop, you will find a lot more choice at MSI, and their specs are incredibly high. On the other hand, if you are interested in kitting out a desktop gaming station, Alienware have a bigger selection. They let you customise specs in a lot of their range, so you can fine-tune to the performance you need. If you want to upgrade your existing computer, your choice will depend on what hardware is you want to upgrade.  Each supplier has their strengths, each in different hardware categories.
The choice is a personal one, but knowing what you want from your PC is the best place to begin.

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