Mammoth, that's the first word that came to mind when we bent over to pull the Area-51 from its shipping containers. There are two boxes actually, an inner protective box and a larger outer shell box that keeps the inner container from taking little if any abuse. The Area-51 weighs 84lbs and if you are the only person carrying the machine, we'd suggest you follow Zombieland Rule #18 and limber up first.
The chassis is built with a heavy gauge painted aluminum and if you look closely, you might noticed our system took a little hit courtesy of the shipping company. The paint and finish however, as you can see, held up very well and looks sharp as a tack with its "Lunar Shadow" silver finish. The other color option is "Cosmic Black". It's no coincidence that Dell is going with automotive-style color branding on the line of machines. The paint quality is of automotive class workmanship. In the top right shot above, you can see the 1.1KW power support that has a chrome handle attached to it. If you pull the handle down, it unlocks the PSU from the case and you can slide it out for cleaning or service, should the need ever arise.
Another rather distinctive feature of the Area-51 is its top ventilation system that consists of a series of motorized vent louvers that move up or down, depending on how much heat builds up in the chassis. These vents are keyed off fan speeds inside the case and temperature thresholds in the BIOS can be set to affect the pitch of the vents and fan speeds based on the settings you provide. You'll also note the nice lighting accents throughout the chassis design. This is courtesy of Alienware's signature AlienFX lighting system which we'll take a closer look at next.