Review: Stuart “Veridian3” Davidson & Projekct
Design/Editor: Allan “Zardon” Campbell


Alienware are a company that are synonymous with quality systems aimed at the gamer who wants the best system money can buy. As well as the excellent desktops that Alienware produce they also make a several high performance laptop models which come equipped with components that most desktop users would love, Pentium 4 processor up to 3.2Ghz, DDR3200 ram, ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 pro graphics. Alienware also provide a real enthusiast feature which allows the laptops graphics card to be upgraded. Sounds too good to be true really! Todays review will compare the Alienware system against a Pentium 4/9600XT based system to see just how good the Alienware is.


System Specs
Alienware Magnesium Alloy Chassis
Intel Pentium® 4 @ 3.0GHz 800FSB
Hyperthreading Technology
User-Upgradeable Graphics
ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 PRO 128MB
15.4"inch WideSXGA+ 1680x1050 LCD
60GB 7200rpm HDD with 8MB Cache
Infrared Remote control
24x CDRW / 8X DVD Combo Drive
SiS648FX + SiS963L AGP8X Chipset
1024mb DDR3200 (2x512mb)
Integrated 10/100 NIC
56k/v.92 Modem
Windows XP Home

The first thing that sticks out from the specifications is the casing, the Alienware Area51-m comes in Magnesium alloy, no bendy/flimsy plastic here. Not only does this metal case protect the inside more efficiently it also adds an excellent feel of quality to the whole machine. From the internals we have a “real” Pentium 4 processor, not the Pentium-m model that you would expect in any other laptop. As per most other P4 desktop chip the Alienware processor uses an 800mhz fsb and supports hyperthreading. The graphics card is 9600 pro based and so fully supports Direct X 9. Comparing the rest of the specifications we can see that there is not much difference to any desktop system.

A few words on the system…

As you will see from the pictures below, this system is stunning. The 15.4inch LCD screen is exceptionally clear, so much so that it impressed my wife enough to make her happy enough to watch a movie on it.


Looking at the system as a whole it is rather large, however this also allows the keys to be sightly larger than most laptops, just giving that slightly nicer feel rather than cramped.



On the top of the screen you have the unique power status indicator, the aliens eyes. Depending on charging or running from battery the aliens eyes change colour, red, blue green etc. The following shot was taken with the power fully charged. You can also see the rubber grips which add a stylish look as well as making the machine easy to pick up.



From a connectivity point of view the alienware is very well kitted out:

Above: VGA, Parallel, power, nic, modem.


Above: Video-out, Dvd/CDRW


Above: Infared port, SD memory card slot, PCMCIA slot.


Above: Microphone, Spdif out, Firewire, 3x usb 2.0



Above: You can see from the base of the system that the magnesium alloy continues throughout. You can also see the panels which can be removed to replace/upgrade the graphics card and memory.


Next: Specs/Setup