Dell Alienware Area 51 For Sale, Alienware Area

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If you’ve been looking at the field of gaming laptops for the past couple of years, you’ve probably noticed that they are getting thinner, lighter, và less conspicuous. Today’s gaming laptops are not only capable of playing the latest games at high frame rates, but they can also pull double duty for productivity work just as easily.


Alienware’s new Area-51m, which starts at around $1,950 and can be configured well north of $5,000, is not one of those gaming laptops. It is a behemoth that calls back to the time when all gaming laptops were thick, heavy computers that never left the comfort of a sturdy desk.


But while the Area-51m is twice as heavy and almost twice as thick as the latest Razer Blade or thin MSI gaming laptops, it does things that those computers just can’t. It’s more powerful, thanks to a desktop-class processor and full-power thiết bị di động GPU, instead of the lower-power Max Q graphics cards và mobile processors found in those other machines. Unlike most, it has a 17-inch display & a full-size keyboard, with both a number pad & macro keys. But it also has the ability to let you nâng cấp its primary components when better, faster chips become available. That’s just not something you can do with the vast majority of gaming laptops on the market right now — whether they’re thin or not.


The Area-51m is technically not the first máy tính to offer this kind of upgradability. There have been big clunkers of laptops in the past that let you upgrade the CPU, & there’s still an upgradeable GPU standard called MXM. But there’s not much movement or competition in the MXM market — an RTX 2080 module alone could cost you upwards of $1500, và the laptops that can make use of them are few and far between.


To avoid having khổng lồ use MXM, Alienware’s parent company Dell developed its own system for workstations called DGFF (Dell Graphics khung Factor) that allows it lớn put the latest GPUs on modular boards that can then be swapped out. The Area-51m is the first consumer laptop to make use of this new platform.


Future upgradeability is a nice thing khổng lồ have, but when you’re spending $2,000 or more on a laptop, you don’t want to lớn have to upgrade any of it anytime soon. The Area-51m’s design may immediately separate from the rest of the gaming máy tính pack, but if it’s really going khổng lồ justify its cost, it needs khổng lồ be a đứng đầu performer out of the box.




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The Good

Desktop-class performanceVery effective cooling systemUpgradable CPU & GPU
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The Bad

Requires two large power nguồn adaptersPortable in only the most literal senseExtremely high cost relative khổng lồ other gaming systems
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It’s perhaps best lớn think of the Area-51m as a “portable desktop,” as opposed khổng lồ a máy tính or truly di động computer. It’s a massive machine, weighing over 8.5 pounds và measuring 1.7 inches at its thickest point. It has two power adapters, which vary in kích cỡ depending on the internal configuration, but they địa chỉ at least another few pounds to the total package. This isn’t the kind of computer you can just unplug & carry away from your desk; moving it from place to lớn place is a production each time.


It’s also not the kind of computer you’ll be able to lớn use while traveling. Sure, you can bring it from one place khổng lồ another, but you won’t be gaming along the way because that demands two power nguồn outlets, and the giant machine is practically unsafe khổng lồ use on your lap. Even though the Area-51m is far heavier and larger than most modern laptops (gaming or not), it’s a pound lighter than the Alienware 17 it replaces, thanks to its new magnesium alloy chassis.


The Area-51m’s overall kiến thiết signals a new direction for Alienware, & it will inform other products the company releases in the future. I lượt thích it: the matte white (“lunar light” in Alienware’s marketing-speak) model I’ve been using for this review is modern, attractive, & smooth to the touch.


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But it’s not subtle: there’s no mistaking this for anything but a gaming laptop, with its multiple alien head logos và various lighting effects. The most prominent design feature is the gigantic rear exhaust, with its hexagonally patterned grates for ventilation, surrounded by a single ring of LED light that makes the whole assembly look a bit like the engine of a sci-fi spaceship. I don’t mind the look, but if you want a sleeper gaming rig, this isn’t it.


In terms of basic specs & layout, the Area-51m has a full-size, non-chiclet keyboard with a number pad, a traditional trackpad with physical buttons (it lights up when you cảm ứng it), và a 17-inch display with slim bezels on the sides và top. I’m not the biggest tín đồ of the keyboard or the trackpad — both feel like something that would have been appropriate on a computer a decade ago — but if you’re coming from an older Alienware laptop, you’ll feel right at home.


The keyboard has customizable macro keys và full RGB lighting options, và since most people will instantly plug a gaming mouse into the side of the Area-51m, the trackpad’s small kích cỡ and so-so tracking performance aren’t that much of an issue. My biggest complaint is the annoyingly squeaky N key on my review unit, but I have a feeling that is limited to lớn my sample. Still, it’s not something I’d want lớn put up with on a multi-thousand-dollar computer.


Alienware offers four different display options with the Area-51m, but they all giới thiệu the same form size and resolution: 17 inches & 1080p. The display on my higher-end review unit is a 144Hz panel with Nvidia’s G-Sync tech plus built-in Tobii eye tracking, và it’s great for gaming. It’s fast, there’s little to lớn no ghosting, and its anti-glare finish helps cut down reflections. It’s not the brightest screen, especially compared to lớn something lượt thích a apple macbook Pro, but it’s about average for gaming laptops, & it’s not lượt thích you’ll be using this thing outside anyway.


I do wish there were higher-resolution options since the Area-51m’s hardware is definitely capable of pushing more pixels, but Alienware tells me that there just aren’t 17-inch, high-resolution, high-refresh panels with slim bezels available yet. When those components are available, it will make them an option at the time of purchase on the Area-51m, it says. (The display is not something you’ll be able to upgrade after the fact.)


The Area-51m has the standard mix of ports you’d expect on a gaming laptop in 2019: three USB-A 3.1 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, 2.5-gigabit Ethernet, a headset jack, a microphone jack, và Alienware’s proprietary graphics amplifier port for an external GPU. That’s probably enough ports for the average gamer, but I’d have liked lớn have seen even more, including an SD card slot. There’s a lot of empty space on the Area-51m’s chassis that could be used for more I/O, và multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports or an SD thẻ slot would have made the computer much more attractive khổng lồ the content creators that would use its horsepower for video clip editing & other tasks.


Inside the hulking chassis is a Z390 chipset, with a desktop processor, up to 64GB (four sticks) of RAM, two M.2 SSD slots, a 2.5-inch drive bay, and Dell’s DGFF modular graphics card. You can get the Area-51m with a Core-i7 8700 processor & Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU khổng lồ start, but I think most people interested in this machine will opt for the higher-end (and more expensive) configurations. The model I’ve been testing has the vi xử lý core i9-9900K processor, RTX 2080 GPU, 32GB of DD4 2400MHz RAM, two 512GB M.2 SSDs (in a RAID 0 cài đặt for a total of 1TB of fast storage), and an additional 1TB hybrid drive for more storage. Alongside the Tobii eye-tracking và 144Hz G-Sync display, this configuration costs about $4,500.


It is possible lớn buy the lower-end configurations và then tăng cấp down the road — after all, this is a desktop processor và modular graphics card — but that really only makes sense for upgrading to lớn new generations of CPUs and GPUs, not ones from the same generation. Stepping up from the 8700 processor khổng lồ the 9900K is a $450 option when you buy the Area-51m; doing it after the fact will cost about $525 at today’s processor prices.

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The battery inside the Area-51m is a large, 90 watt-hour unit, but that doesn’t translate into great battery life. In my tests, I was able to lớn get about 90 minutes to lớn two hours of use between charges for productivity work và closer to lớn 30 minutes while gaming. That means you’ll want khổng lồ carry around both of the Area-51m’s nguồn adapters when you bring the computer places, as you’ll need both of them for full-power gaming. It is possible to lớn rely on just the smaller, 180W charger for productivity work, but if you’re already lugging the Area-51m around, you might as well fully commit.


All of those specs and power mean little if the components can’t stay cool enough khổng lồ run optimally, which is the biggest challenge with gaming laptops. Fortunately, the cooling system Alienware developed for the Area-51m is excellent, & it’s able khổng lồ keep both the CPU và GPU at temps well below their throttling points. It’s not silent — the fan system is very loud, especially when at full speed — but it’s effective, và it lets the Area-51m hit performance numbers that are much closer lớn what a desktop provides than a laptop.


Loud fans are not really unusual for a gaming laptop, và if you’re in the market for the Area-51m, you probably expect it. There are powerful speakers up front that can overpower the tín đồ noise, but most people will just want to lớn use a headset while gaming so they don’t have to lớn hear the fans at all. You just might not be able to get away with using the Area-51m in a quiet office or library without getting some dirty looks.


Playing games is what the Area-51m was designed to lớn do, & it does that job excellently. It is able to play virtually any modern AAA trò chơi I throw at it with the graphical settings maxed out & still maintain high frame rates. Even games lượt thích Battlefield V & Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which have a lot of eye candy & special ray-tracing lighting effects, could be played with virtually every setting turned on & maxed out và the Area-51m still maintains frame rates between 60 & 80 frames per second. That’s not quite the full 144Hz that this screen can push, but it’s still high enough for a great experience in those games.


Competitive shooting games, lượt thích Apex Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO, and everyone’s favorite, Fortnite, can be played with all of their graphical features enabled at 120 lớn 144 frames per second. Players that prefer high frame rates over eye candy can configure these games with lower settings & run them at hundreds of frames per second, which is well more than the native refresh rate of the display. If stock settings aren’t providing enough power, Alienware’s Command Center offers overclocking options for both the CPU & GPU to lớn squeeze even more performance out of them.


All of that performance headroom highlights the Area-51m’s bottleneck: the display’s resolution. I have no doubt that the Area-51m could easily push a 1440p panel or maybe even a 4K display in lots of games, but for the time being, you’re limited to 1080p. If you’re after the fastest frame rates you can get, you probably prefer a high-refresh rate screen, but if you are more into visual presentation & eye-candy, more resolution is appreciated, especially for non-gaming applications. For now, if you want to trò chơi or work at a higher resolution on the Area-51m, you’ll just have to lớn use an external display.


As it stands, the Area-51m is the most powerful gaming laptop you can buy, and its upgradeable features mean it could remain powerful for years khổng lồ come. When we opened up the Area-51m ourselves, we found that — while it isn’t exactly easy — swapping out the CPU and GPU isn’t much different than doing so on an average desktop gaming PC. But there’s an asterisk next to lớn all of this: we don’t know for sure that the next generation of intel processors or Nvidia or AMD GPUs will actually fit in this computer or how much those modular graphics cards will cost. Dell has said that if it’s possible to physically và electrically fit the chips onto its swappable graphics boards, it will offer tăng cấp options, but Dell admits it doesn’t necessarily know what Nvidia’s next plans are.


That uncertainty makes it tough khổng lồ swallow the Area-51m’s price because we really don’t know if this experiment will last. For the cost of a well-configured Area-51m, you could buy a desktop computer & monitor with similar power & still have enough money left over to lớn buy a more mainstream thin-and-light gaming máy tính for when you want to game on the go.


The Area-51m is an unrealistic option for most gamers. The kind of game thủ who is going to lớn demand this cấp độ of performance in a portable machine và put up with all of the compromises and costs necessary khổng lồ get it is likely a competitive e-sports player or a virtual reality game developer who needs an easier way to transport their desktop to lớn the next trade show.


That said, what Alienware has done with the Area-51m is really impressive. Not only does it hit performance marks unmatched by other portable machines, but it doesn’t have any glaring issues or show-stopping usability problems that bring it down, other than the obvious compromises with its kích thước and weight. Even just being able to lớn cool these desktop components efficiently enough for them to perform this well in a portable machine is a genuine feat. If you are the type of người chơi who wants the ultimate power nguồn in a portable machine & are willing to lớn pay any cost lớn get it, the Area-51m is for you.


For the rest of us, I’m hopeful that Dell’s plans for upgradability pan out because I’m very curious khổng lồ see where the Area-51m’s ideas on performance & portability go in the future.


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