The last time we looked at an Alienware system was February
of last year and my colleague Stuart came away with
a warm fuzzy feeling as that particular system performed
exceptionally well considering the limitations of the
mobile sector. Today we have the opportunity to test one
of the new Alienware area 51m gaming systems. As some
of you might know when you order a machine from Alienware
you custom build it on their website. So with a budget
of £3000 we decided to go "balls out"
and put as much top end hardware into the rig as possible.
Ive been reviewing and testing so much ATI hardware lately
I went the Nvidia route for the graphics, its a 256 GDDR3
megabyte, 12 pipe design running at 330 core and 1000mhz
on the ram. The CPU is the hot running Intel based Prescott,
id first looked at a Prescott based laptop in a Dell
Inspirion machine mid 2004, as you would expect these
need serious cooling, ill be dwelling on that later in
Alienware Area 51m 7700 Xeno Grey
for displaying high resolution images, these may be blocked
by some popupblockers.
This is the system we choose to test - and for more information
on the alienware systems please head to this
Intel Prescott 3.6ghz - 1meg level2 cache.
Intel 915x Chipset.
2 gigabytes of DDR2 - Corsair 512x4.
Audigy 2 ZS PCMCIA.
17 inch screen: max resolution 1680x1050 with glass covering.
Nvidia 6800 go @ 330mhz core 1000mhz ram. GDDR3 256 meg.
2x100gig Fuji HDs on Promise Raid Controller in Raid 0.
NEC 6500 dual layer 8x DVD burner.
Opening the packaging first impressions are as expected
for a desktop replacement, this machine is large and heavy
and im glad to see a full numpad on this keyboard. As
you can see in the image (above right), the screen has
a gorgeous glass coating (seen often on Sony xblack machines)
which adds contrast and overall impact to images you view.
The chassis is very deep and the extreme opposite of
the wafer thin superportables - I cant quite see this
being lugged around for everyday use. Pictures can be
deceiving so ill show you an image next to the large Logitech
MX1000 laser mouse so you can judge for yourself.
Working from the rear we have the usual array of ports
along with a DVI out from the 6800 go, this allows you
to connect a larger or secondary screen to your machine.
1. DC-In Jack
2. Serial Port
3. Parallel Port
4. DVI-Out Port
5. PS2 Port
6. RJ-11 Phone Jack
7. RJ-45 LAN Jack
8. CATV Jack*
9. S-Video-In Jack*
You can see in the image above a 20inch
Dell 2001fp connected via the DVI out, the image quality
is superb as you would expect from a 6800 card and you
can of course use Nview for cloning and dual monitor for
even more deskspace.
Next to the rear ports are the quite
substantial vents for the Prescott processor, ill deal
with the chassis cooling shortly but it is necessary to
give this machine plenty of room to cool or you will run
We have fitted an NEC 6500 dual layer
8x DVD rewriter and in operation this drive performs flawlessly.
This chassis has space for two drives in a vertical placement.