Alienware X51 R3 Review: Console-Sized Gaming PC Gets Skylake Infusion

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Power Consumption and Noise

Power consumption isn't always a major consideration for PC gamers, though the resulting heat output is. Also of concern is noise, especially for a system that's destined for the living room. The power measurement chart is one of the few graphs in which smaller numbers are better.

Power Test
Real World Performance
To test the power draw, we let the system sit for several minutes after booting and recorded the wattage for our idle measurement. We then put the system under load to stress the CPU and GPU and let it run until the wattage no longer increased. This gave us our load rating.

power

Under both idle and load conditions, the Alienware X51 R3, thanks to its power friendly combination of Skylake (the Core i7-6700K) and Maxwell (the GeForce GTX 960), virtually sips power. The only other system to use less here was the diminutive Alienware Alpha, which is powered by much lower-end hardware.

A Note On Thermal Performance And Noise

The Alienware X51 R3 is a very quiet machine, generally speaking. Under light duty workloads on the desktop, the machine is hardly audible and really does keep a low profile acoustically to go with its diminutive form factor. Under extreme conditions, the CPU water cooler's fan can spin up, but it takes a fair bit of load to kick this up to levels that could be considered annoying. In fact, during our benchmark gauntlet with various gaming stress tests, we only heard a rather subdued whir emanating from the machine.

Under the stress of AIDA64 however, though the X51 R3 was rock solid stable, we were able to make it sing a bit.
 
AIDA64 Stress Test

Regardless, the X51 R3 wasn't unreasonably loud and in fact there were only a few occasions under intense gaming conditions that we noticed the machine spin up to any significant degree. If you're looking for a stealthy, quiet rig, the X51 R3 doesn't offer a ninja-like acoustic signature but, in the configuration we tested, its performance in this area was impressive. 

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