Dell Alienware X51, SFF PC Gaming Refined - HotHardware

Dell Alienware X51, SFF PC Gaming Refined

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Dell's enthusiast gaming PC division has built a legacy on designing over-the-top desktops and notebooks, that push the boundaries of performance and style with an unmistakable design flair.  We've been pretty impressed with the Alienware systems we've looked at thus far, and though they tend to run a premium in terms of price, performance and design quality generally scale along with that higher price tag.

On the test track, Alienware notebooks have racked up some of the best performance numbers we've seen and the company's desktops rank right up there as well.  One shape the Aliens have never assumed previously, however, is the small form-factor desktop.  And let's be honest, systems in this weight class generally aren't known for their gaming prowess but usually serve as home theater or mainstream PCs.  The folks at Alienware have a different sort of vision for their next alien life form and if you weren't paying attention, you'd almost mistake it for a game console rather than a PC. But you're here at HH, so you're obviously paying attention. And so are we.

You could say the Alienware X51 gaming PC system got our attention when it hacked into our news channel not long ago.  So we decided to send a peaceful return transmission and allow it to touch down on a test pod in our lab.

But first, we interrupt this program to allow the Aliens a bit of air time in this hands-on demo. Then get set for the specifics, the benchmarks and our analysis.


Alienware X51 Small Form Factor Gaming PC
Specifications & Features
CPU:
Memory:
Graphics:
Storage:
Optical:
Operating System:
Ethernet LAN/Wireless:
Front Panel Ports:
Rear Panel Ports:
Sound:
Power Supply:
Warranty:
Price:
Dimensions:

Core i5-2320 - 3GHz, 6MB Cache with Turbo Boost 2.0
8GB Dual Channel DDR-1333
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555
Western Digital 1TB, 7200RPM, 32MB Cache, 6Gbps SATA
Slot-Loading Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD±RW,CD-RW)
Windows 7 Home Premium X64
10/100/1000 Ethernet, DW1502 Wireless-N WLAN Half Mini-Card
2 x USB 2.0; Headphone and Mic
4 x USB 2.0; 2x USB 3.0; GbE LAN; Optical SPDIF; Audio inputs, HDMI
Integrated 7.1 surround sound
330 Watt External AC Adapter
1 Year Limited
$999 (as configured and tested)
Front-Height: 13.504"  (343mm)
Rear-Height: 12.54" (318.5mm)
Depth: 12.52" (318mm)
Width: 3.74" (95mm)
Starting Weight: 12.1 lbs (5.49 Kg)




The Alienware team played it smart configuring the X51.  If you're a gamer, you need a fair bit of CPU horsepower and clock speed to drive data requests to the primary graphics engine that ultimately works the magic of rendering shaders and pushing pixels to the screen. However, you darn sure better have a decent GPU at the ready, so Alienware's choice of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 555 was spot-on.  The GeForce GTX 555 is a 288 CUDA core machine and while you may be lulled into thinking it's a midrange workhorse, it's actually no slouch, as you'll see in the benchmarks that follow.  Also, backing Intel's quad-core Core i5 CPU is 8GB of DDR3-1333 system memory and a fairly peppy 7200RPM 1TB WD hard drive.

Again however, the X51's component selection is a bit deceiving and perhaps underwhelming at first glance, so let's get a closer look at the hardware and go under the hood.

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Nice little box,.......I think  that the price is livable for the performance that you're getting with it. For those that buy fully built PC's, it's a good deal.

Many people still complain about Alienware being so much different since Dell bought them out. But I just don't see how they could have remained the same dialed-in enthusiast's resource when they came under corporate control. Considering their circumstances, they still put out great PC's.

As always, building your own PC is cheaper, but this little PC is a good deal for a store bought unit. It looks pretty good too.

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Hey Neil, you trying to take my job? ;) Agreed though! :)

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Dave_HH:
Hey Neil, you trying to take my job? ;) Agreed though! :)

There is no replacing you Dave. Smile

(or any of you HH Mooks)

 

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awww, thanks Neil. :)

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When I went to buy my first gaming PC Alienware was the first one I thought of, but man they charge a lot for their computers including this one. I considered building it myself, but I found out about Ironside Computers. They have really great prices, and I purchased a custom built computer from for about $65 more then what I would've spend if I built it myself. For $65 I got a professionally built computer, warrantied, and backed by a professional company. So I consider a good deal. It was certainly hundreds of dollars less then what Alienware wanted. :P

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Everything good but i don't like the price, i can build a better onewith the same amount of $$$ and get that case :) nice review thoughhehehhee

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I wish I knew you... -___- @cowboyspace

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More like "PC gamming destroyed"

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It certainly is nice looking like most AW systems. It is pretty amazing what they were able to cram into that small case of course it means there is not much room to upgrade either.

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omegadraco:
It certainly is nice looking like most AW systems. It is pretty amazing what they were able to cram into that small case of course it means there is not much room to upgrade either.

You may be able to replace the RAM with faster, or higher capacity sticks,......and it looks like there is room for a larger Video Card, but can the power brick handle the extra load? The hard drive looks like a standard size, so that's not a problem to change.

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