Dell Alienware X51, SFF PC Gaming Refined - HotHardware

Dell Alienware X51, SFF PC Gaming Refined

33 thumbs up
In terms of its exterior design and aesthetics, the X51 definitely borrows more than a few cues from popular current game console designs. Whether you consider the X51 in light of the Xbox 360 or PS3, it's easy to see that the Dell Alienware design team intended this machine to drop right into the same footprint with very similar living room appeal.  And the similarities don't stop at just the skins.



Alienware's AlienFX custom lighting adorns the side panels of this toaster-sized machine. These panels can assume a myriad of hues that you can select in the AlienFX Command Center control software that comes pre-loaded on the machine. Alienware was also smart to keep the glossy trimmings down to a minimum, with only the front face of the system sporting a signature angular midnight black grill.  With a pair of USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks and a slot-load combo DVD/CD RW drive up front, the X51 is somewhat understated for an Alienware rig, though its glowing alien head logo tips you about what's inside this little beast.  The front logo is also customizable in terms of lighting effects, like the side panels are, via the AlienFX software.  One notable missing feature we would have liked to see carved into the front panel would be an SD card slot, though you could just hang one off a USB port of course.


The back side of the X51 system sports a surprising array of ports and features; pretty much anything you'd want to connect this system to in a desktop environment or perhaps in the entertainment center, just to piss off that aging Xbox 360 a little bit.  The HDMI port off the integrated graphics of Intel's Sandy Bridge Core i5 processor is there, though if you're up for some big screen gaming, you're better off using the mini-HDMI connector on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 555 graphics card, which by the way is a full dual-slot affair that exhausts outside the X51's classy little chassis.

From there you also get copious amounts of USB connectivity, with four USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports offering a 5Gbps signaling rate connection for up to 10x the performance when connected to a USB 3.0 compatible device.  There are also integrated 7.1 surround sound ports, driven by Realtek integrated HD audio, as well as optical SPDIF and coaxial SPDIF ports.  Finally, integrated Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (one port) comes via a Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet controller.

The external AC adapter PSU for the X51 that we received is a massive 330 Watt brick, though a 240 Watt PSU is standard.  We'd suggest going with the upgraded 330 Watt brick you see here, for the extra headroom, should you wish to upgrade a bit down the road.  Speaking of which, let's give you a look at some X51 alien guts.

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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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