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[Anand] Alienware X51: The Xbox With Teeth

post #1 of 116
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It's hard not to walk away from the Alienware X51 feeling at least a little impressed. While I have to wonder a why Dell and Alienware didn't opt to wait for Kepler and Ivy Bridge, at the same time we can probably be certain that a refresh with those technologies will be en route once they launch. In the meantime, Alienware has produced a system that wouldn't look at all out of place next to other gaming consoles or other home entertainment hardware.

What's inside counts just as much, though, if not more, and here Alienware again delivers. The internal design of the X51 is smart, consisting of standardized hardware that's assembled in such a way as to allow the end user a measure of freedom and configurability while also doing an excellent job of keeping the internals organized. More importantly, the system runs coolly and quietly. While the 150-watt limitation on the graphics card does hurt at least a little bit, 150-watt cards have been perfectly adequate for gaming at 1080p for a while now, and we're already on the eve of another refresh that should continue to push impressive performance into tighter and tighter thermal envelopes.

If we had to find fault with the X51, the glossy plastic front finish is definitely going to be prone to smudges (not to mention just looking cheap in general), and there's really no reason for the front USB ports not to be 3.0 capable. That front finish also seems to be at least a little bit on the fragile side. Understanding that SSDs are still on the expensive side, I also wish that Alienware had made an allowance for including a 2.5" drive inside the system; there should be at least a little space beneath the optical drive for one, and SSDs don't exactly throw off a lot of heat. Having to live with a single 3.5" hard drive really hampers performance and thus the user experience somewhat. An SSD doesn't need to be mandatory and it would drive the price up, but the option should exist.

Ultimately, though, the X51 is a heck of a product. It's essentially Alienware's "budget" PC, but it's also very capable, and the small form factor and low power consumption make it compelling in ways that transcend Alienware's target market. A visit to NewEgg reveals virtually nothing in the way of competition on price, either; only pre-built machines from CyberpowerPC compete, and those don't have the benefit of being small form factor, let alone everything else the X51 brings to the table.

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post #2 of 116
Pffft, I'll stick with my Xbox and Kinect for casual games and use my pc for extreme high graphical gubbins,
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post #3 of 116
I could probably build a way more powerful ITX rig for the price of that review sample ($1000) while maintaining that form factor. It's nothing new cases like that have been around for a while. If you wanted really slim you can even buy stuff like low profile 6850s.
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post #4 of 116
this maxes call of duty games just fine and will for probably a long long time at least until they change the game engion. This and its not marketed at a level of "extreme" when someone buys this its a "taste" of pc gaming, the person wont say your quote but rather understand what they bought and find what Pc has to offer and later when they want more upgrade. If you think I'm wrong then look at other products and how they sell and market things. At the stock price of 699$ it fits in with OEMs like HP Etc so even if the person isn't interested in video games its still sleek, nice and fits in with other items and packs a punch. This computer doesn't appeal to everyone as it shouldn't they don't want that but its safe to say someone who is looking for a new computer on a budget and knows zip about computers this Pc looks good.

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post #5 of 116
Sadly this is the reality. PC gaming requires a level of knowledge about computers to be able to play games on them.
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post #6 of 116
I dont see the x51 as that much of a failure tbh.
They managed to squeeze quite a bit into a small package, which looks pretty nice, runs games decently (though I am pretty sure console warriors would put all their games at max and say that it is a PoS), manages to put in stuff like Wifi and BluRay Readers and stuff. And at a pretty decent price-point, considering it is carrying the Alienware brand as well.

So, I dont really see how this is that much of a failure as you guys put it tbh. Cos this is probably the only Alienware Product I will consider recommending to my friends.
post #7 of 116
Ya, I know someone who sounds just like that. Plays on his laptop and thinks his xbox is superior.
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post #8 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by james_ant View Post

Ya, I know someone who sounds just like that. Plays on his laptop and thinks his xbox is superior.

It's pretty unfortunate, but that was the case for a lot of my friends in college. However, I managed to build them all gaming PCs for, well, much less than this X51. Always love building computers...
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post #9 of 116
As much as we all hate alienware, we've got to realize that this is a good product for a casual gamer who wants to play videogames on PC, and have the same 'feel' of a console.
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post #10 of 116
http://www.overclock.net/t/1201696/venturebeat-alienware-releases-699-gaming-pc


You're a month late bro.
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