Inside Alienware Area-51 Gaming PC
Each side panel of the Area-51 pops open by lifting up on a small lever on the top back area of the case. Once the latch is released you can open the door and take it off its hinges completely. The right side panel opens to expose the 6-bay drive cage that is lighted even when the system is powered down and unplugged from wall power. Each bay has two quick release buttons that allow a hard drive to lift up off each SATA data and power connector, for installation or replacement. Take note however, this drive cage is not hot-swappable and the system needs to be powered off before adding or removing hard drives. We're a little disappointed at this shortcoming, especially since we're of the mindset to run a RAID 1 array for critical bulk storage as a means of backup redundancy.
Like the back side storage rack, the entire internal area of the case is adorned with bright blue LED lighting. Again these lights require no wall power at all and turn on when the case door is opened but shut down when closed. It definitely does make for a handy setup working inside the system. Wiring inside the Area-51 is fairly neat but not what we would call impeccable. Most cables are wrapped behind the motherboard where possible and there are a few custom cable routing brackets and harnesses, but we would have preferred a few more zip-ties for the little stuff. However, airflow inside the case is relatively unrestricted and the active heatsink and fan combo on the Intel X58 chip is a beefy cooling solution that ensures stability under pressure.