When you take a look at the Alienware Area-51, you see an awesome design, along with neon lights, making this system look like it’s from another planet. Intel’s new 875P chipset (code-named Canterwood), and a 3 GHZ processor is alone a huge chunk of the price for the Area-51, but the real competition is what’s under the case. The Area-51 comes with the top Graphics Card, and Sound Card on the market, so why isn’t everyone rambling out and purchasing this awesome machine? Well it’s price tag is expensive at around $3,600.00, but is lower then most of it’s other competition. It’s counterpart the Area- 51 ALX is priced at 6,500.00, but that is a different story with extra hardware not even needed for the high-end gamer. The thing that makes this machine stand out from all the other Alienware machines, is it’s design. The ALX has a typical Alienware design, but the Area-51 uses a unique design.
On the outside the Area-51 looks very pretty. The machine comes in 7 different colors so picking a color for your own customization shouldn’t be a big problem. The keyboard is very nice, with easy feel buttons, and an optical mouse, this is a gamers dream to the way a good machine should feel. When you go inside the computer the organization is very well kept. There are tubes that keep the machine cool with an alcohol based substance, along with enough space to remove, and add different hardware. The system fans add to the cooling of the system, so this is a system that won’t overheat at all. With room for expansion, there are many compartments that haven’t even been filled, with wires that are tied to the sides inside, so any extra hard drives, or RAM that you want to add won’t be a problem either. Connectivity options are no problem as the case features 10 USB 2.0 ports, a bunch of legacy ports with full surround-sound audio connectors, and much more. This is probably the first system to have double digit USB ports so Alienware set a record for that. There is only one Firewire cable, which is odd, as I thought Alienware would add a few in the back, but there is only one. Overall the inside of the computer is very nicely done, and very well organized.
Features include a 3 GHZ processor with the new 875P chipset, and a bus of 800 MHZ. With that bus speed the 1 GB of RAM will have no problems running any programs error free so Alienware was aware of that problem, and took to the chase. The Intel Pentium 4 Chip features Hyper Threading Technology, which advances the way a machine runs, etc. Included also is a 52X/24X/52X CD-RW Drive, and a Pioneer DVR-A05 drive. The hard drive included is a 120 GB Seagate model, running through a new integrated RAID controller, which is built into the Canterwood board. The Alienware Area-51 includes a 128 MB ATI Radeon 9800 PRO, which is upgradable to 256 MB. Any game should run on the Alienware Area-51, as we have tried games such as Doom 3, etc. DVD media can be played on this machine, with Z-680 THX-Certified Speakers with surround sound. Entertainment is at it’s best in the Area-51. The system comes with a 19-Inch NEC 991SB CRT display, with a flat DiamondTron screen. Graphics look sharp up to as high as 1,792 x 1,344, which is quite spectacular. Unfortunately the Area-51 doesn’t allow you to take Works or Office for free, but for a fee. Alienware obviously didn’t think you would be using there machines for word processing, so for a small fee buying Works or Office won’t be a problem. I would definitely recommend upgrading to 256 MB of video ram, since this machine only comes with 128. If you are a serious gamer you will know what I am talking about, and if you aren’t, then most games like to run with over room, which means the video card should be double the speed that is recommended. Although the 128 MB is fast enough to run most games, having a 256 MB card is not a bad thing.
Performance wise the Area-51 runs perfect. Intel’s new chipset makes this machine run at speeds that I can’t even believe. With a dial-up modem the speed of the internet increased dramatically with the new Intel Chip. This is because the Cache being backed up in the system memory, was recording all of the sites we went too, and making them run at Broadband speed. While I wouldn’t recommend using a Dial-Up modem for gaming, or any purposes, this can use a lot of system memory, and cause the computer to run more sluggish than normal. This is just how cache works, and how the internet chooses to open there pages is up to you. You can set the cache to whatever you want, just paying the consequences is the only cost. Overall performance all came in the top 5 of the highest end computers with the Area-51, which is a great accomplishment.
I would recommend this system for a hardcore gamer. An average PC user probably wouldn’t want to get this machine, even though it is lower than most high-end PC’s. I give the Area-51 a 4 out of 5, for it’s look and feel when operating the machine.