We all know that Nvidia’s RTX 4090 is the best GPU you can buy for gaming and is also pretty good for AI development. Unfortunately, scalpers know this too and have apparently been buying the cards in bulk so that they can resell them to researchers in China who face an import ban. In fact, Chinese companies are doing what they can to refurbish existing 4090s that were imported before the ban took effect so they can be used for AI development.
Where does that leave you and me? We can still buy an RTX 4090 card today, but for $700 or $800 more than it cost two weeks ago. At press time, the cheapest card we could find in stock was a PNY card for $2,399 at Newegg. Just a few days ago, you could get a 4090 for around $1600!
But spending $2,399 or more (by the time you read this, it could be even more) because of scalpers is insane. It’s particularly insane when you consider that you can buy an entire prebuilt laptop or desktop with an RTX 4090 inside for between $400 and $700 more.
Alienware continues to have some excellent holiday sales on Alienware R15 desktops and m16 / m18 laptops that have RTX 4090 cards. First, there’s a configuration of the Alienware Aurora R15 desktop with an RTX 4090 GPU, a Ryzen 9 7950X CPU, a 2TB SSD and 32GB of RAM and that’s on sale for $3,099. If you prefer an Intel-powered system, there’s also an Alienware Aurora R15 with a Core i9-14900KF CPU for $3,699.
If you want something mobile that’s even cheaper, there’s a decked-out configuration of the Alienware m16 with an RTX 4090, Core i9 CPU, 2TB SSD, 32GB of RAM and a 240 Hz, 2K display for just $2,799. For those who want a larger screen, there’s an Alienware m18 with the same CPU, RAM and SSD, but with a 480 Hz FHD screen for $3,099. In any of these cases, you’re getting an entire system for not much more than an RTX 4090 card would cost by itself.
Alienware RTX 4090 Desktop Deal
For those who want a desktop system, there’s the Aurora R15 desktop with Ryzen 9 7950X CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD and an RTX 4090 card for $3,099, reduced from around $3,899. That’s the cheapest RTX 4090-powered desktop we’ve seen. We don’t think this is nearly as good of a deal, but there’s a similarly-configured Aurora R16 with a Core i9-14900KF CPU instead of the Ryzen 9 processor and it goes for $3,699.
We reviewed an Aurora R15 with an RTX 4090 and an Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU a few months ago. That system, which had an MSRP of $4,929, returned impressive frame rate of 263 fps in Borderlands 3 at 1080p ultra with the number dropping to a still-smooth 128 fps at 4K.
Considering how much an RTX 4090 desktop card costs right now, you’re paying only about $700 for a Ryzen 9-powered PC with great specs. While Alienware uses some proprietary parts, we can try to approximate how much it would cost to build a similarly-specked desktop to the Alienware Aurora R15 config that’s on sale and it would easily cost at least $3,500.
Alienware m16 Laptop with RTX 4090: Pros and Cons
If you buy the Aurora R15 desktop, you still have to get a monitor, a keyboard and mouse, which will add to the cost if you don’t already own those things. However, the Alienware m16 is a turnkey solution for your gaming needs. It has a 16-inch, 240 Hz screen built right in and you can carry it around or balance it on your lap.
To be fair, a mobile RTX 4090 card is not going to be as fast as its desktop counterpart. The mobile versions of card have a lot more in common with the desktop RTX 4080 and use the same AD103 GPU. But the laptop parts also use far less power and generate less heat, since laptops couldn’t handle all the wattage and cooling a top performance desktop card needs. But let’s be clear: the RTX 4090 is the fastest laptop GPU you can get.
We haven’t tested this Alienware m16 , but we have tested a similarly-configured Alienware m18 with RTX 4090, along with a couple of other RTX 4090-powered laptops in the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 and MSI Titan GT77 HX. The results were impressive.
On Shadow of the TombRaider at the highest settings, the RTX 4090, the Alienware m18 returned aa frame rate of 192 fps at 1080p and 163 fps at 1200p. At 2560×1600, the Strix managed a strong 112 fps and, at 4K, the Titan hit a very smooth 71 fps. With the Alienware m16, you’d be playing at 2560×1440 or lower, because that’s what its screen supports.
Note that your mileage will vary depending on the game. If you play an eSports title such as Counter-Strike 2 or League of Legendsyou may well be able to get to 240 fps and take full advantage of the 16-inch screen’s 240 Hz refresh rate.
If you’re going to buy any RTX 4090 laptop this holiday season, this Alienware m16 is a great choice, not only because of its price but because of its other features. This is an Alienware so it has the classic, sci-fi aesthetic and fantastic build quality. It also has AlienFX RGB lighting effects. The Alienware m18 is bulkier and more expensive, but has a larger screen and a higher refresh rate.
If you want to use either laptop for productivity, you’ll have plenty of pop, thanks to their 32GB of RAM, 2TB SSD, and Core i9 CPU. The 16-inch, 2560×1440 display on the m16 should provide lots of room for wide spreadsheets. And, since it outputs at 100 percent of DCI-P3 gamut, the screen should be great for video and photo editing.