MSI vs Alienware – Which Brand Makes the Best Laptops?

VERDICT: Despite the high cost of their machines, Alienware is still the king of the hill when it comes to gaming laptops.

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Computer gaming is growing exponentially. Gaming from home on powerful computers is on the rise and with it has come better and better computer technology.

If you are one of the thousands of people now looking into plunging into the world of gaming computers you are sure to run into two companies over and over again: MSI vs Alienware. Both of these companies have strong followings, fantastic pedigrees, and a growing reputation for excellence.

But which one is better? That is the question we are going to answer in this in-depth guide.

In this comparison, we break down every important feature of a gaming laptop, compare how each company does before breaking down four of our favorite computers available right now. By the end, you will have all of the information you need to make an informed decision about whether MSI or Alienware is right for you.


MSI vs Alienware – Overview

PRICE

For many people, price is the starting point for any shopping excursion. Most people do not have the luxury of shopping without a budget. Is MSI or Alienware better on price? What are typical prices for standard rigs from both companies?

In terms of price, Alienware has a reputation for consistently being one of the most expensive brands on the market. Even their basic computers often run more expensive than similar models even if there are no huge differences in the specifications.

If you are trying to work within a reasonable budget and do not want to spend at least $1500 then Alienware is going to be a tough sell. On the other hand, MSI has a much wider price scale. They still have computers that can stretch up towards $1500 to $2000 or more but they also have a fair few offerings that come in less than that.

In terms of overall price, MSI has cheaper computers and they also have the benefit of having more computers to choose from.

BRAND RECOGNITION

When it comes to brand recognition, Alienware and its parent company, Dell, are king. Alienware has been a pioneer in the computer gaming market for decades. They were one of the first brands to market powerful laptops to gamers.

They were the ones who set the tone for computer gamers with sleek hardware and glowing peripherals. Most people know about Alienware even if they aren’t truly interested in the computer gaming space.

MSI on the other hand does not have that same kind of clout, at least not yet. Recently, they have been gaining popularity and accolades by sponsoring many successful eSport teams. Their computers perform consistently well and as the computer gaming market has grown, so too has MSI but they still cannot hold a candle to Alienware in terms of overall recognition. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer service is an important pillar of any good company, and that is especially true of companies that offer expensive products meant to last you for years to come. Alienware has some of the best customer service available with responsive technicians stationed all over the world ready to help you troubleshoot any problems remotely.

Alienware computers come with a standard one-year limited warranty but they also offer complete warranty services for a monthly fee or a yearly buy-in. The complete warranty offers everything from 24/7 support to in-home visits from trained repairmen.

MSI also offers a one-year limited warranty on all of its products but their overall customer service is lacking compared to Alienware. Laptopmag.com rated MSI’s customer service as 65/100 with decent marks for web-based customer service but poor marks over the phone. In comparison, they gave Alienware 77/100 which is a marked difference.

APPEARANCE

When it comes to appearance both Alienware and MSI have, what is now considered a classic, gaming aesthetic. Both have sleek metallic cases, tons of glowing parts, and a lot of colorful lights to enhance your gaming experience.

Alienware was one of the first companies to truly lean into the colorful gaming look that has dominated the market in recent years and MSI has followed suit.

Both companies’ computers have tons of flashy and modern looking pieces and parts that will appeal to the avid gamer.

Neither company truly outshines the other in terms of appearance. Alienware did it first if that means anything to you but MSI also makes sharp-looking machines.

COMPONENTS

Both Alienware and MSI use top-quality components in their computers. Neither one skimps out on the newest and best when it comes to outfitting their machines. Some gaming laptops try to shave off the cost by using last generation CPUs and GPUs but none of that is seen here.

These two companies are dedicated to excellence and they use the latest generation Intel processors, the best graphics cards, and the most powerful RAM available. Both companies have options for Intel and AMD and have a whole host of different GPU units running from mid-range to absolutely top of the line.

OPTIONS

When it comes to options, Alienware is unsurpassed. One of the biggest draws to Dell’s gaming division is the ability to custom order your computer from the ground up.

You can pick every facet and feature you want from the number of cores in your CPU to what graphics card you want. They are one of the best available for choosing exactly the computer specifications you want and have been for a very long time.

However, if you do not feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to build a computer completely from scratch and just want to grab a pre-built machine to use then MSI might be more your cup of tea. MSI has a ton of great pre-built gaming laptops that run the gamut from budget to space age.

You still get plenty of options to choose from without having to deliberate over whether or not a 2070 TI is a good fit for a 10th generation i5 processor.

GAMING

MSI and Alienware are two companies that are dedicated almost entirely to gaming. While gaming computers are often great at many things, they are always designed with running powerful computer game programs in mind. In this, MSI and Alienware are very similar and will beat out any non-gaming computer brands in terms of overall performance.

Comparing the two and picking a winner as to who has a better gaming pedigree is difficult. Computer gaming is a very broad hobby that includes online board games and runs all the way up to full virtual reality universes.

Some MSI computers might outperform some Alienware computers and vise versa. In this, the model of computer and games played are going to be a stronger determining factor than each company themself.

MANUFACTURING

MSI is a Taiwanese company and therefore most of their manufacturing is done overseas in Asia. MSI’s headquarters are in Taipei, Taiwan and all of their initial manufacturing took place in factories around the city.

Now, MSI is a large multinational corporation with offices all over the world. In effect, their manufacturing has also been dispersed around the world as well. But the bulk of their materials are still made in Taiwan or China and are sometimes assembled elsewhere.

Alienware is also manufactured overseas, primarily in China. Alienware and Dell have long histories and they have made computers all over the world including in the United States and Europe but recently the bulk of their custom gaming computers are manufactured in Asia.

Occasionally, some models are shipped to the US and assembled here in local facilities but for the most part, they are all done overseas and shipped to the US and Europe.

Top 10 MSI vs Alienware Laptops

Price Legend (estimates): $ = under $500 | $$ = $500-$1000 | $$$ = $1000-$1500 | $$$$ = over $1500

Top 4 MSI vs Alienware Laptops in Detail

Best MSI Gaming Laptop:
MSI GL65 Leopard

15.6 INCHES

16GB DDR4

512GB SSD

WINDOWS 10

5 HOURS

9 LBS

The MSI GL65 Leopard is a powerful gaming laptop, full stop. It has all of the specifications required of a modern gaming laptop without the super high price tag that often accompanies such computers.

You will want for very little with the MSI GL65 Leopard as it shows off what MSI is capable of.

One of the best parts of this computer is the fact that it ships with a GeForce RTX 2070. While it may lag slightly behind the newest generation of GPUs that just came out last quarter, the RTX 2070 is still a card more than powerful enough to tackle all of the hottest games.

It is accompanied by a fast current generation processor from Intel as well as a full 16GB of RAM.

Normally, laptops this powerful often run into heating issues that make them too hot to handle for long periods of time.

That is why MSI brought an innovative cooling system that has individual pipes for both the CPU and GPU units to enhance cooling so you don’t have to drop out of your game to deal with a hot laptop.

The only downside to this rig is the fact that it weighs a whopping 9lbs making it one of the heavier laptops on the market. 512GB of storage might fill up quickly and need the help of an external drive over time.


KEY FEATURES
● Intel Core i7-10750H Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce RTX 270 Graphics
● 15.6” (1920×1080) Full HD IPS Display


Pros
  • Powerful
  • Not too pricey
  • Lots of RAM
Cons
  • Low storage
  • Heavy

Best Day-to-Day MSI Laptop:
MSI GE75 Raider Gaming Laptop

17.3 INCHES

16GB DDR4

512GB SSD / 1TB HDD

WINDOWS 10

4 HOURS

5.25 LBS

The MSI GE75 Raider is another flagship laptop from MSI that takes everything the GL65 Leopard did and cranks it up one more notch.

The screen on this laptop is bigger, it has a dual drive that eliminates the storage issues found on the smaller model and they got the weight down to just over five pounds.

All of these upgrades come in at roughly the same price as the Leopard model. The only downside is that this computer does not have the cooling capability or the battery life of the Leopard.

The MSI GE75 Raider is able to get a lower weight and bigger screen but that also increases the heat and reduces the size of the battery as well.

But if you can get past those minor niggles the results are great. This computer is super fast with 16GB of RAM and the same Intel processor.

It looks great with all of the best RBG lighting that you could want with a responsive keyboard that glows and flashes. It even has a dual drive.

Now instead of 512GB of storage, you get that on a solid-state drive plus a whole terabyte of traditional storage on a standard drive.

This computer is a great example of where MSI is going with flashy, powerful, and functional gaming laptops for the masses.


KEY FEATURES
● 10th Gen i7-10750H Processor
● NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 Graphics
● 17.3” (1920×1080) FHD Display


Pros
  • Huge screen
  • Tons of storage
  • Super fast
Cons
  • Poor battery life
  • Runs hot

Best Alienware Gaming Laptop:
Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop

15.6 INCHES

16GB DDR4

512GB SSD

WINDOWS 10

4 HOURS

4.8 LBS

The Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop is the perfect example of what Dell brings to the table. It is sleek. It is elegant. It is super powerful.

It has a crisp screen, a fast refresh rate, and stunning graphics. They also strived to address the biggest complaints people have about gaming laptops, that they’re bulky, heavy, and hot.

Even Alienware made moves to make their laptops thinner and lighter than ever. It is 5% thinner and 20% lighter than their previous model.

They also included brand new Alienware Crya-Tech V2.0 Cooling Technology that has a dual intake and dual exhaust system that keeps the computer quiet and cool even during super tough gaming sessions.

The casings and components are made with some of the lightest and most advanced metals on the market today. These are the kind of innovations you get with an Alienware computer.

This laptop has a full 16 GB of RAM, weighs less than five pounds, and has a lightning fast SSD storage system. It features NVIDIA’s ray tracing enabled RTX 2060 that is able to handle all of today’s games without breaking a sweat.

The downside is that this laptop is pricey. You can get a similar laptop for a quarter less than this one, though you don’t get the innovative features you get here. The computer also has a shoddy battery life but that is to be expected when running hardware like this.


KEY FEATURES
● 8th Gen Intel i7-8750H Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics
● 15.6” (1920×1080) FHD Anti-Glare IPS Display


Pros
  • Innovative throughout
  • Lightweight
  • Good graphics
Cons
  • Low battery
  • Pricey

Best Top of The Line Alienware Laptop: Alienware Area 51M Gaming Laptop

17.3 INCHES

16GB DDR4

1 TB SSD

WINDOWS 10

3 HOURS

10 LBS

You can’t think of aliens without thinking about Area 51 and you can’t think of Alienware without thinking of Area 51M laptops. Once billed as the most powerful laptop in the world, the Area 51M is on the cutting edge of what laptops are able to do in gaming.

While this model features 16GB of DDR4 RAM, the chassis is able to support up to 64GB of RAM. It has a full terabyte of memory standard in a single solid state drive.

All of this power is run by an i7 processor and an NVIDIA RTX 2070 SUPER that boasts 8GB of video memory. That is more than enough video memory to run the highest levels of computer games today.

Everything about this laptop is designed to do it bigger and better. This is what Alienware does best.

All of these features do come at a variety of costs. First, the price is quite high. The results are spectacular but the cost is steep.

Second, it is super heavy. It weighs 10lbs because of the advanced cooling system that needs to keep the casing under proper temperature thresholds for comfortable long-term gaming.

Lastly, no computer this beefy can handle that load under battery power alone. The battery life on this computer is woefully short and you will not be able to do any real gaming far from the comfort of an outlet.

But this is one of the most powerful and cutting edge laptops available today. 


KEY FEATURES
● Intel Core i7-10700K Processor
● NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super Graphics 
● 17.3” (1920×1080) FHD Display


Pros
  • Cutting edge
  • Tons of RAM with room for more
  • Lots of SSD memory
Cons
  • Tiny battery life
  • Super heavy

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Which Company is Better for New Gamers?

If you are brand new to computer gaming and are looking for a laptop that is going to get the job done without overwhelming you, you probably want to go with MSI.

They are more affordable, offer a bunch of great pre-built options for gaming, and look the part as well.

You can get some mid-range specifications that will get your feet wet with gaming without blowing too much time or money if you are not a hundred percent sold on PC gaming as a long term hobby.

Alienware is the company you want to go with if you are someone who likes to dive in headfirst. Alienware laptops are powerful, complicated, and expensive but they offer some of the best that you can possibly get.

If you are new to gaming and can’t tell the difference between a 3060 TI and a 3080 then you might want to stick with MSI.

Which company offers better computers on a budget?

MSI is the better brand if you have a budget. MSI computers are much cheaper, on the whole, than Alienware laptops. Even at the lower end of their pricing, Alienware is much more cost-prohibitive than MSI computers.

That makes MSI the clear choice for anyone who doesn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on setting up their new gaming laptop or anyone who is looking to give gaming a try without investing too much.

MSI has solid gaming laptops for as little as $700 that are perfect for the budget conscious buyer. Even their higher end computers rarely get as high as Alienware’s cheapest models. 

What is the most important component of a gaming computer?

Computers are complicated machines and they come with a lot of specifications. Which specification is the most important to ensure a smooth gaming experience?

They all work together in concert with one another to give you the performance you need to enjoy your games but if you had to focus on one single component it would be the graphics card, also known as the GPU. 

The processor, RAM, and storage are also important parts of a computer. You can’t download large games if your hard drive is full and a great graphics card won’t function well with a slow processor but if you had to choose one to take the most time and attention it would definitely be the graphics card.

Most gaming computers come with above average graphics cards but not all of them do, be sure to double-check you are getting the graphical power you want out of your computer.

Which company offers better customization options?

If you are someone who enjoys customizing their own computers, someone who likes to have a plethora of options when it comes to your gaming devices, then you definitely want to look at Alienware.

With Alienware, you can customize just about every part of your laptop. Even if you choose a pre-built model you can select different options and they will make it for you.

MSI has some good options too and they have a lot of aesthetic options for different colors and lighting choices for their keyboards, cases, and similar things.

But if you want to customize the innards of your computer, the processors, graphics cards, and more, then you definitely will want to take a look at Alienware’s computer building options.

THE VERDICT

Alienware. Despite the high cost of their machines, Alienware is still the king of the hill when it comes to gaming laptops. While MSI has come a long way recently in terms of brand recognition and overall performance, they still fall short of Alienware in terms of overall power, quality, and poise.

If you have the money to invest in a good gaming laptop, you should definitely consider investing in Alienware.

With superior customer service, excellent components, and a gaming pedigree second to none, Alienware continues to provide the best in computer gaming to date.

If you are not interested in either MSI or Alienware, check out our Laptop Finder and take a deep dive into the best available laptops in the market today such as our list of best gaming laptops under $500.

Happy Laptop Shopping!