Dell Alienware Area-51 Core i7-980 X Infused Gaming PC

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When you think about the market for a pre-built, proverbial "Killer Gaming Rig," you have to consider the class of consumer that would have interest in this type of system. For the most part, the average do-it-yourselfer isn't going to take much interest here, save for perhaps the appreciation of all the bleeding-edge technology and design quality that is the hallmark of such a system.  That said, there is obviously a significant market opportunity for consumers that want top-of-the line components and build quality for enthusiast-class gaming performance and head-turning aesthetics, without the hassle of going at it the home-grown way.  Dell obviously saw this market opportunity when they snatched up the then not-so boutique system builder Alienware, back in March of 2006.

Historically, Alienware had been known for the same impeccable build quality and top-shelf components that put many a performance PC start-up on the map.  However their chassis designs were a bit over the top for some folks to handle.  With a pair of bulbous alien eyes looking back at you like a hood ornament with a bad attitude and bubbly, rounded high gloss chassis designs, Alienware machines were a "you either love 'em or hate 'em" sort of thing.  That said, four years later, Dell has managed to assimilate the Alienware colony and what has emerged is a significantly more refined and stylish chassis design along with the same bleeding edge component selection and build quality.

Also, being one of Intel's large customers, Dell more recently afforded their Alienware division the inside track on Intel's benchmark crushing Core i7-980X Gulftown 6-core processor and the resources to get it validated for delivery to market quickly.  We've had the new Dell Alienware Area-51 in for testing for a week now and have spent some quality time with the machine, helping it break its first sweat, globally we might add.  In the following pages we're happy to give you a first look at what Dell likes to think of as their Killer Alien gaming rig.  First we'll serve you up a quick video preview and then make sure to journey on for a deep dive look and benchmark analysis of the new Alienware Area-51 gaming PC.


Don't miss our deep-dive look and detailed performance analysis on the pages that follow...

Alienware Area-51 Gaming PC
System Specifications

  • Core i7-980 X 6-Core Processor - 3.33GHz
  • Alienware  High-Performance Liquid Cooling - Self Contained
  • 3.8GHz and 4GHz Factory Overclocks
  • Alienware  Approved Intel  X58 ATX Motherboard
  • 6GB DDR3-1333 System Memory
  • 2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 - 1TB Hard Drives RAID 0
  • Dual 2GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon  HD 5970 - ATI CrossFireX & DirectX 11 Enabled
  • 6X Dual Layer Blu-ray Disc  Burner (BD-RE, DVD±RW, CD-RW)
  • Alienware approved 1100 Watt, multi-GPU Power Supply
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Base Price $1999;  $4569 - as tested with keyboard and mouse


A quick rundown of the system specs let you know that the build-out we received means business.  From the Core i7-980X, with its self contained water cooler to its dual Radeon HD 5970 graphics card with 4 high-end AMD ATI graphics processors under the hood, this machine is hell-bent for high frame rates and very little compromise.  In graphics cards and Intel processors alone, you're looking at $2200 - $2300 worth of components.  The "as tested" price for our system comes into focus a bit more when you consider the horsepower under its hood, though we might suggest an SSD might have been in order as a boot drive, though there are obvious pros and cons to this, not the least of which is added cost.  Regardless with a pair of Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB drives in RAID 0 and 6GB of DDR3-1333 memory on board, this machine is well-rounded enough in all the right places.  If you're looking for bone-crushing gaming performance or perhaps a workstation that looks good and tears through just about anything you can throw at it, the Area-51 model we'll show you in the pages ahead, should fit the bill nicely.

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I really like the case. That thing looks heavy. Strongly considering getting a pre-made system like this rather than doing my own for once. They've become pretty affordable. I remember when you couldn't get a good Alienware system for under 3 grand.

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I don't know I think I will stick to upgrading my own for now. I have a core i7 so I am up to date for a while atleast. I wan't to wait for something that really catches my attention. Although this case is awesome, I could use it to weigh down my car in the winter.  

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Wow.Dig.

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I have always admired the aggressive look of the Alienware case as there is no mistaking that alien head with the glowing eyes, you knows its a top of the line rig for its time. The numbers of this sick core i7-980X speak for themselves!!!! No need to guess this bad boy has top quality components throughout. The vents on the top add some flair as well. Top it off this baby is watercooled with a warranty for those who are uneasy about going at it alone. If you got the money or just don't want to assemble a rig yourself and want a sick looking one of a kind warranty head turner, this is one of the best on the market today.Yes

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I love Alienware & Origin - Love my M15x and my next desktop will be Alienware as well, Origin is just too expensive for me still.

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HFS... this beast weighs 84lbs!!!

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What a nice Dell Alienware Area 51 System! I did read whole story about it. Very Impressed with performance at 4.3 GHz on Intel I7 980X. I think it did performance better with water cooling system.

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I think it is a big improvement over the usual Alienware cases. The classic one had a lot of plastic on it and the airflow in those cases was barely average in my opinion.

Only 3 DIMM slots...? I know I know, that should be enough. But you got an Intel 980X, 2x 5970s, 1100w psu, and a water cooling kit with a custom Alienware logo. Couldn't spend a little more on a board with 6 DIMM slots?

 

So when is HP coming out with their i7 980X beast? Would love to see the next Blackbird.

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YES! :) the review is finally here. :) it has been waited for since the announcement of HH getting this xD

Compared to Dave sitting down there... THAT IS HUGE! (:D) (Was that screen on the case edited in or was it really attached there??? Smile) I love the color changing option here. JUST WISH I CAN HAVE IT :( lol

That alien was suppose to be our next sweepstakes :( lol! What do you guys do with the computer after reviewing it anyways? Do you guys have to ship it back or do you keep it???

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This case looks awesome. I've never been a big fan of Alienware, though.

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