Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition Review: Revisiting A Megatasking Beast

Alienware Area 51 Threadripper Cinebench, POV-Ray, PCMark 8 Benchmarks

The Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition desktop system is a fairly unique product in that it caters not only to PC gaming enthusiasts, but also presents a strong value proposition for content creation professionals. In the following benchmarks, we'll of course present you with lots of raw frame rate data in a number of current and classic game titles, but also try to show where perhaps a Ryzen Threadripper-based system like this might excel, beyond just gaming.

And so with that in mind, we'll dive right into a couple of content creation and workstation professional usage models.

Cinebench R11.5 64-bit
Content Creation Performance

Based on Maxon Cinema 4D software, this test uses a 3D scene and polygon and texture manipulation to assess GPU and CPU performance. We ran the Main Processor Performance (CPU) test, which builds a still scene containing about 2,000 objects, for a total polygon count above the 300,000 mark. Here we're focusing strictly on software rendering on the CPU and it's heavily taxing on this one aspect of system performance, both with multi-threaded and single-threaded rendering. 

Cinebench R11 Area 51 Threadripper

cinebench r15 2

Our first set of Cinebench numbers come from a legacy version of the benchmark suite, Cinebench R11.5, since we have a wealth of reference test system data to compare results to. Here the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X-equipped Area-51 surpasses other Intel Core i7-6950X 10-core systems handily, but not by as wide a margin as in the most recent version of Cinebench R15. In R15, we have some HH Intel Skylake-X bench system numbers to compare to and the Area-51 Threadripper Edition system, though trailing in single core performance, offers dramatically better multi-threaded performance numbers versus Intel's 10-core Skylake-X Core i9-7900X. 
POV-Ray Performance
Ray Tracing Benchmark

POV-Ray, or the Persistence of Vision Ray-Tracer, is an open source tool for creating realistically lit images. We tested with POV-Ray's standard 'one-CPU' and 'all-CPU' benchmarking tools on all of our test machines and recorded the scores reported for each. Results are measured in pixels-per-second throughput; higher scores equate to better performance.

pov ray 2

Since we don't typically run POV-Ray for our gaming system reviews, we're limited to HH bench system results here again. You can, however, check our in-house bench system specs here in our recent AMD Ryzen Threadripper review, for reference. Regardless, similar to our Cinebench R15 results, the Area-51 Threadripper Edition system offers dramatically better multi-threaded throughput with roughly a 15 percent performance advantage over the similarly-priced Skylake-X numbers. In single-core performance, the system does trail by as much as 30 percent, however, versus Skylake-X Core i9 platforms. 
Futuremark PCMark 8
Simulated Application Performance

PCMark 8 simulates the workloads computers face in several different settings, including home, office and content creation. The benchmark also has a test that simulates a creative professional’s usage, as well as battery and storage bandwidth tests. We ran the following tests with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage the power of the system's GPU, CPU and storage subsystem combined.

PCMark 8 Area 51 Threadripper

The lightly threaded workloads of PCMark 8 drop the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper edition into the bottom half of our benchmark group versus the higher clock speeds of 4 and 8-core Kaby Lake and Haswell-E based systems we've tested in the past. That's not to say you'd be want for performance in these sorts of office applications like spreadsheet work and video conferencing. In fact the Area-51 Threadripper feel nimble and responsive at every turn here, but the numbers are the numbers regardless. 

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