Alienware Area-51m Review With Benchmarks And Teardown

Alienware Area-51m - Performance Summary And Our Final Assessment

Dell's Alienware Area-51m is a refreshing new take on the traditional desktop replacement gaming laptop we've become accustomed to. The machine's fully user-serviceable, modular design combines some of the best high-end desktop class components for absolutely killer performance, that you won't find in any other gaming notebook currently. 

Alienware Area 51m rear vents ports

When it came to content creation and office productivity tasks, the Area-51m totally smoked all of the other gaming notebooks we've tested to date. So, we then matched the machine up to our full desktop GPU test system to challenge it even more while gaming, and the Area-51m still wouldn't relent. The machine consistently delivered true desktop-class gaming performance in a refined, futuristic 8.5 pound laptop chassis.

And we can't emphasize enough how refined the Alienware Area-51m's chassis really is, especially when you consider its internal desktop platform.

We've seen a recent batch of new GeForce RTX 2080-powered laptops from other brands like ASUS and MSI, and you might be surprised to learn that dual AC power adapters are thing now. In addition, these other machines are based on mobile CPUs, so it's apparently a GPU and high-speed panel power requirement on some level. We can also tell you that these other dual power brick setups are just as bulky, if not more-so actually. So Alienware will not be unique in this regard, but we can say that the Area-51m definitely stands out in terms of its sleek industrial design and thin-bezel display. We hear that Dell is working on sourcing higher res panels in the future for the Area-51m as well, which should offer some nice options, if and when that time comes. Regardless, from what we've seen in a similar class of notebook firepower, the Alienware Area-51m is actually much cleaner-looking and slightly understated by comparison, despite its increased horsepower.

Alienware Area 51m with back pack
You're gonna need a bigger bag, Captain. Oh, here's one...

There are some caveats here to be sure with the Alienware Area-51m, however. For starters, Dell definitely commands a premium for its desktop horsepower and modular design approach. You can find similarly configured machines like the ASUS G703G (also with dual power inputs) but with a six-core mobile CPU platform, for several hundreds less than our configuration's $4500 price tag. There are some other smaller shortfalls with our Area-51m's setup too, like a lack of MicroSD card slot and our machine's less-than premium NVMe SSD selection in its RAID 0 array. 

And finally, with respect to the upgrade path for its CPU and GPU, beyond its current high-end Core i9-9900K and RTX 2080 configuration, it remains to be seen what might come to market that's socket- and module-compatible for next generation technologies in the future. Theoretically there should be options here (and certainly there are if you go with a lower-end config to start) but only time will tell how well Dell can support the platform.

alienware area 51 rear talights

Then again, no RTX 2080-powered notebook we've seen thus far looks quite this attractive and composed in our opinion, especially in Alineware's Lunar Light color. Other gaming laptops with this kind of horsepower on-board are generally a lot bulkier, kind of clunky in comparison, and weigh more as well.

And though we haven't tested the others just yet, we can say for sure that the Alienware Area-51m can literally go toe-to-toe with many high-end gaming desktop configurations. This machine almost defies the laws of physics as it infiltrates game engines and shatters frame rate limits. 
  • Killer Gaming Desktop Performance In A Laptop
  • Amazingly Efficient And Sleek Design
  • Attractive, Space-Inspired Look
  • Acoustically Tamer Than You'd Expect
  • Exterior Thermals Are Reasonable
  • Fast, Thin-Bezel 144Hz Display
  • Pricey
  • Mediocre NVMe SSD Selection
  • No MicroSD Card Slot
  • Dual AC Adapters (Not Uncommon Now)

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