Alienware Area-51 Ryzen Threadripper Edition Hands-On With Benchmark Annihilation
Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition - A Many-Core Gaming And Mega-Tasking Beast
When Dell announced in June that its Alienware gaming division would be the exclusive OEM partner for pre-built 16-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper systems, we figured Alienware would have a jump on the rest of the OEM pack, but we never thought they'd have this much of a head-start. In fact, we have Ryzen Threadripper test kits still incoming from AMD, but Alienware beat them to the punch here with delivery of the all new Area-51 Threadripper Edition. So naturally, we fired-up this 16-core multi-shredding beast post haste to get a look at what it's made of and how she rolls. And let's just say, she rolls good...
The new Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition shares the Triad chassis design that previous generation Area-51 systems were built upon. From a design and stylistic standpoint, we really like the look of Dell's case, but we've gotten feedback that it's kind of a love or or hate it affair. We'd sit firmly in the "love-it" column, and we can tell you that mechanically and thermally, the design works exceptionally well. Cool air is drawn in from the front of the chassis, where there are top and bottom mounted intake fans pushing air into the case. The rear of the chassis has an opposite configuration, with the PSU fan and CPU radiator fan pulling warm air out of the rear of the chassis. It's a mechanical design implementation that just works and for a 16-core/32-thread beast with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on board, it's very quiet system as well.
We should note that this is a pre-production unit from Alienware, however, so things could change a bit. Regardless, here's a quick guided video tour of the beastly new Dell-Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition, along with a benchmark run or two. Then we'll finish-up with a gallery of high res centerfold shots to get you steamed-up, along with some benchmark screen grabs...
Again, the Area-51 chassis itself hasn't changed much from previous versions of the Alienware flagship gaming desktop, but clearly Dell and Alienware had to engineer a more robust AIO liquid cooling solution for AMD's Threadripper 1950X 16-core beast of a CPU. What's interesting is that you'll notice that the Ryzen Threadripper's CPU cooler mounting posts are offset slightly around the socket area, with a larger spread between them on one side of the socket versus the other. Side note: we were itching to pull off Alienware's pump and cold plate to pull out the Threadripper chip underneath it, but we decided to come back to that another day, after a few more benchmark runs are cataloged on this currently rare other-worldly machine.
The Dell Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition also brings back a couple of tried and true Alienware custom design features, like the back side storage mounting area with cages for both 2.5-inch and up to three 3.5-inch hard drives. Our system was outfitted with a 1TB Toshiba 7200 RPM SATA drive for bulk storage, but as you can see, there's an M.2 NVMe SSD populated in a motherboard socket as well, for blazing-fast OS boot drive storage. Finally, though only one NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card occupies the first slot, as you can see, the Area-51's custom GPU card cage and retainer brackets have slots for another two GPUs, for tri-SLI or Crossfire, if that's your thing. We're considering dropping in another GTX 1080 Ti, just for grins, in the weeks ahead.
For now, this is about all we can show you for benchmarks with this savage, many-core Alien machine, though we promise to return in short order with copious amounts of benchmark data to pour through...
Though we're told Alienware is still optimizing the Area-51 Threadripper Edition for peak performance, as you can see it still puts up some rather impressive numbers for a pre-production unit. The Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-core processor peaks at about 3.5GHz when all threads are pushed for 100% CPU utilization. Its final Cinebench score of 2905 puts it about 30 - 32 percent faster than Intel's 10-core Core i9 7900X Skylake-X processor. When you consider the 16-core Ryzen Threadripper 1950X will retail for $999, the same price as Intel's 10-core 7900X, Threadripper seems to represent an excellent value for enthusiasts, gamers, and workstation professionals that run highly threaded workloads and usage models.
More to come with the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition soon, so stick with us!