Alienware Area-51 R5 (2018) Review: Liquid Cooled GPUs, Skylake-X Firepower

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Area-51 R5: Final Thoughts & Conclusion

The Area-51 R5 is everything we have come to expect from an Alienware flagship PC. The giant triad chassis, though now in its 5th incarnation, continues to house envy-inducing performance without breaking a sweat due to its well-planned, thermally-optimized design.

Alienware Area 51 R5 Front Panel

Dell-Alienware's new GPU liquid cooling option is also a very welcome addition, which we are very pleased to see make its way into this product line-up. GPU liquid cooling has really only been an option for boutique builders and extreme DIYers. It is not as pleasing to the eye as custom hard-line tubing runs we've seen recently, of course, but the liquid cooling does a great job of keeping the GPU temperatures in check, even under a significant load. 

Alienware Area 51 R5 Liquid Cooled GPU Profile

We do wish Alienware had included an overclocking profile for the GPUs to go along with the CPU overclock, however. Enthusiasts will break out their own favorite GPU tweaking software regardless, but a one-click solution could be a very welcome feature for users who just want to game. After all, there is not much point to liquid cooling a chip if its boundaries are not being pushed.

Alienware Area 51 R5 Off Center

Performance-wise, this Area-51 is a computing behemoth. The system's Intel Skylake-X chip really pushes this machine outside the realm of even most enthusiasts. We cannot recommend such a burly CPU to gaming purists, when a mainstream Core i7 can deliver similar performance in GPU-limited use cases. Add in streaming, video editing and rendering, or 3D modeling, however, and this spaceship just might be a money-maker that you could shake. The Alienware Area-51 is a machine for content creators through and through which, in a sense, makes it as functional for business as it is for gaming. And of course, there are AMD Threadripper-powered versions of this beast as well, if that's your jam.

Alienware Area 51 R5 Rear Panel

There is no doubt about the Area-51's business roots under the surface either. The pedestrian internals share a lot of DNA with Dell's Optiplex line of business desktops. We're pretty fond of the chassis itself on the team here, but again for some it could be an acquired taste. However, it is a breeze to work inside the Area-51, and it can simply be tucked away under a larger desk space, if desired. Regardless, those willing to overlook a little vanity (or if you don't mind an edgy, striking design) will be treated to a mostly tool-less interior with pre-routed spare cabling and copious amounts of space. 

Alienware Area 51 R5 Full Interior

The Alienware Area-51 is a pleasure to use and is easy to recommend to anyone in the enthusiast gaming or content creation space with the budget for such a powerhouse.
  • 18-Core Compute Beatdown
  • Content Creation Megatasker
  • Chassis Design Makes Upgrades Easy
  • Liquid Cooling Thermal Performance
  • One-Click CPU Overclocking
  • Near Boutique Level Pricing
  • Acoustics Under Heavy Load
  • No GPU Overclock Profile

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