Today is a pretty big day in technology. Not only did Intel's long-anticipated Haswell-E finally roll into town (check out review of the burly Intel Core i7 5960X CPU), but we also get a sneak peek at a completely redesigned Alienware Area 51 desktop system. This refreshed system is unlike any previous Alienware rig you've seen -- heck, it's unlike any PC you've ever seen, period.
Dell's enthusiast Alienware brand has always stood out for its unique, other-worldly looks, though if there's such a thing as taking things to the next level, this is it. However, there's more to this refresh than just shock value -- it's a futuristic aesthetic with a purposeful design behind it.
You'll notice the angled corners and somewhat of a triangular shape (with twice as many sides). According to Dell, you can place the Alienware Area 51 against the wall and not have to worry about thermals getting out of the control. That's because there's a controlled gap and a sharp angle that ensures only a small part of the system actually rests against the wall, whereas there's still plenty of room for hot air to escape up and away.
This design also offers users easy access to rear ports, though if you need more room, you can rotate the chassis like a ball so that the rear is facing upward instead of an at angle. Another advantage to all those angles is it makes the occasional transportation chore easier -- there are more places to grab hold of compared to a traditional desktop.
As to physical specs, the case system measures 25.16 inches (D) by 10.74 inches (W) by 22.41 inches (H) / 638.96mm (D) by 272.71mm (W) by 569.25mm (H) and weighs about 45 pounds.
Despite the unique design, there's plenty of room for high end components inside. The retooled chassis can swallow up to three 300W double-wide full-length graphics cards. It also brings to the table Intel's latest and greatest Haswell-E in six-core or eight-core options, liquid cooled and nestled into Intel's X99 chipset.
After all that, there's still room for up to five storage drives with support for HDD and SSD options. Rounding out the feature-set you'll find built-in Killer GbE LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2x2), DDR4 memory, and of course 9 programmable lighting zones (it wouldn't be an Alienware rig if you couldn't play with the lighting.
Dell says its new Alienware Area 51 is designed for upgrades, though beyond the physical attributes, the advantages lie in the hardware. Imagine configuring one of these with an 8-core Haswell-E processor, three graphics card in SLI or CrossFire powered by a 1.5kW PSU, 32GB or DDR4 memory, and four SSDs in RAID 0 with a large capacity hard drive for storing data. Fully loaded, the Alienware X51 can drive three 4K displays with a combined 11520x2160 resolution.
Update: 8/29 - 11:40PM: Here's Dell's video tease on this new bad boy....
Waiting is the hard part, though look for the Alienware Area 51 to start shipping in October. No word from Dell on the price, but why go and ruin a good fantasy with the reality of a high price tag, anyway?