Dell’s Alienware X51 desktop gaming PC marks a major turn for the Alienware brand. We all know the brand for its “absolute performance” orientation, and if you’ve tried to lift a “classic” Alienware Desktop system, you know that these were not the kind of things that one would put in a living room, or bring to a friend’s place for an afternoon. The Alienware X51 is just the opposite: it’s a small desktop machine that can fit discreetly on your desk, or in your living room next to the game console. The computer is designed to play the latest “PC games” at framerates north of 30FPS – and yes, that includes Battlefield 3 at “high quality settings”. While walking around the Alienware launch event, I have been able to eyeball a number of games that ran at 60FPS as well.This is a big move for Alienware because this is a deep rethinking of the identity, and that always carries some risks. It’s not clear what hardcore gamers (the traditional Alienware customer) will think of this, but in the end, the potential rewards of “opening up” to a whole new group of customers is simply too big to ignore.
To me, this is a follow-up move to the launch of the Alienware MX11 and MX14 series of gaming laptop. Those two were excellent gaming computers that were affordable because they were tweaked with all the right settings to maximize gaming performance. That was very smart then, and chances are that the Alienware X51 is a very smart move as well. What do you think of this console-sized, true “gaming PC”?
The computer itself can stand horizontally, or vertically and from what I have seen, its cooling system works very well either way. The photo gallery will show you how it looks like inside, but it was built to let customers upgrade the components themselves – there are only a couple of screws to remove and you can access all the guts. As for size, you can’t tell on this photo, but it occupies more of less the same volume than a game console.
Dell Alienware X51, quick specs
Up to Intel Core i7
Up to NVIDIA GTX (150W card)
The base configuration uses a Core i3, 4GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GT 545 and a 1TB 7200rpm HDD. Pricing starts at $699.