The New Alienware Area-51 Is The Weirdest Gaming PC I've Ever Seen

Alienware is famous for two things. One: selling ever more powerful gaming computers. Two: making them look like they were designed by aliens. But its latest full-size desktop gaming PC isn't just another box sculpted to look like it's out of this world. In fact, the new Alienware Area-51 is trying to challenge the assumption that PC gamers need a "box" at all.

Three years ago, Alienware decided to figure out how people actually use desktop towers at home. Usually, the answer was tucking them away under a desk, creating chiropractic nightmares. "It's pretty uncomfortable to interface with the system if you have look under the desk and try to find the port," says Alienware boss Frank Azor. "And if you wanted to plug something into the back of your desktop, that was a mission all its own."

But Azor asserts that the new Area-51, with its 22-inch tall triangular-hexagonal body, which they call a Triad chassis, cuts down on back-breaking incursions into the shadowy PC underworld. The cabinet's front sloping interface offers easy access to USB ports and headphone jacks, and better still, the entire chassis can also be pulled forward, pivoting on its front edge, to help plug in cables and additional devices on the back. The back also includes LEDs to light up the rear panel so you can actually see what you're doing.

The new design also minds the gap, specifically between the wall and the computer, to help create what the Alienware engineers call "a controlled thermal exhaust." Basically, as a triangle, it's pretty impossible to have the back vents pushed up right against the wall compared to a traditional setup. The tower (can we still call it that?) is even easier to transport because of the built-in handles in each corner and the tilt-friendly design. LAN parties just became much, much easier, assuming you can manage its 45-lb bulkiness.

But despite the triangular configuration, the Area-51 finds room to pack in plenty of premium hardware. Two giant, quick-release interchangeable side panels allow access to every inch of the computer, and it can fit in some serious horsepower: The particular setup I saw ran three NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780s running Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag at 45 fps at a gorgeous 4K resolution.

On the CPU side, Area-51 supports Intel's new six- and eight-core (!) Haswell-E series processors, and both overclocking and liquid cooling will come standard. There's room for up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, bays for up to three full-size hard drives and two solid state drives, and an optional 1.5-kilowatt modular power supply to feed all the components you add. While almost all the specs are customizable and upgradeable (as you'd expect from a high-powered gaming rig), you'll also find that high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Killer Gigabit Ethernet come standard.


For the creative decorator inside all of us, the chassis also has nine separate lighting zones that can be changed to one of 20 different colors. You control them Alienware's proprietary Control Center app, which also now lets you fine-tune settings, overclock processors from within Windows, and even create widgets to keep track of your PC's performance while doing other tasks.

Alienware is still working out pricing and availability for the Area-51, but you can probably expect to pay multiple thousands of dollars when units begin shipping in October in the US and globally this holiday season. It won't be the only outlandish-yet-impressive new product from the company during that timeframe. Alienware is displaying an experimental spirit recently with several new gaming PC options, including a slim new 13-inch laptop and the relatively inexpensive Alienware Alpha console.

47 comments:

  1. Help! Run! Something different! It makes my neck beard itchy, I don't like change.

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    1. that bottom graphics card is being smothered for air. that's a series issue.

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    2. theres a fan in the back blowing St all 3

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    3. Fan is in the front. Ports are at the back so no place for a fan there. The gtx intake is hard up against the power supply. OP is correct, bottom video card will die prematurely of asphyxiation.

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  2. Replies
    1. Apparently Polish for "Satan is alive."

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  3. This design is bad and alienware is known for being overpriced dells.

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    1. I bought a MX14 with plenty upgrades for $2300. Thing is flawless and blows other similar laptops out of the water. Worth every penny. It will last me 6-7 years or more and that works out to $400/yr. Chump change

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    2. I upgraded my PWN1337 desktop with plenty of upgrades for $700 through sales on black Friday. Thing is flawless and blows everything ever out of the water. Worth every penny. It will last me 7-8 years or more and that works out to $93/yr. That's a lot of ramen.

      My HD 7950 3GB and 8-Core 4.0 GHz and 8gigs of G.Skill doesn't use lube.

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    3. theres no way you'll get 6-7 years out of a laptop, unless you're elderly and dont use it but twice a week, and never move it inside your house, and never play games on it.

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    4. if you're not an idiot most computers should last you 5-7 years, laptops included.

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    5. A high end laptop uses higher quality materials than a cheap laptop. Even if you think they are similar, a cheap laptop has a projected lifespan of around 22 months while a higher end laptop, I.e. the alienware. Will last you 5 years or more, as long as you don't have a defective model or don't take care of it like you should.

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    6. Any laptop or electronic device usually have 10,000,000+ running hour lifespans. As long as you take care of them, a cheap $100 netbook can last 30 years.

      But surviving != anything measurable.
      The performance of the components are only relevant for 5 years at the most. (even if you buy the BEST cpu or gpu at the time, in 5 years you will be playing games on low-med settings, and a $300-400 desktop you assemble yourself will beat it).

      Think about 5 years ago today, that was the core 2 dou/core 2 quads with around that time the core i3/i5/i7 1st gen emerging.

      A 1st gen i7, by todays standards is only a "ok" cpu. and in 2009, that was like the amd 5870 and gtx 480 days. imagine those gpus today. thats only 5 years.

      a laptop not only cant be upgraded like a desktop, but laptops have weaker hardware then desktops. (the best laptop cpu/gpu you can buy, is about equal to a higher mid range cpu/gpu on a desktop).

      so year.... 5-7 years on a laptop isnt going to happen, unless you like playing games on very low settings lol

      $2000 laptop = ~2 years of gaming on high or ultra settings. then will steadily decrease over time.

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  4. design by and for retarded kids

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    Replies
    1. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

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    2. R + J ref
      I bit thy thumb at thee

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  5. This is for beginning modders to play with. Say what you want about Alienware, but there hasn't been a company that has more aggressive cases than them. I don't want this case, but I would love to see what NZXT, Corsair, or Phantek does with this style of design.

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  6. Great bit of hardware!
    Looking for a live chat software provider? Try IMsupporting.com

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  7. Ergonomically, this seems like a brilliant idea. So simple and yet genius. Assuming that they've found ways to make the new shape cool properly of course.

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    1. Until you learn at least a bit about airflow and cooling (something that AW don't seem to consider when building something like this). That bottom card is going to run so hot you could bake muffins on it.

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  8. no thanks. i'll stick to my i3, HD graphics 3000 asus laptop.

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  9. But can it run star citizen.

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    1. They think a £900 Desktop can run Modern Titles at 40FPS When a Custom one can easily pumpout 60+FPS on Ultra. Alienware are designed for irresponsible consumers who don't know better.

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  10. I wonder what makes them think that pitiful single fan would provide sufficient cooling for a 3-way SLI...

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    1. I'm guessing the liquid cooling system that they mentioned in the article. Fans are starting to become obsolete, really all you need is 1.

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    2. Liquid cooling is only for the CPU, that won't help keep the GPUs cool.

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    3. You can cool gpus and ram even hds if you so desire to run that amount of liquid in you case

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  11. I wonder what makes some nobody think they have more electrical engineering and design knowledge than one of the leading PC Gaming brands who have paid professionals designing their products...

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    1. They have little children designing their products. Been like that for ages. The only thing they're leading in is excessive pricing.

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    2. that's not true. you can hook liquid cooling up to your GPU as well.

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  12. It also states in the article that liquid cooling comes standard with the upward angled fan I doubt cooling will be an issue

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  13. We'll most of us aren't complete idiots like you and understand that having a GPU sitting 1mm from the fan of the power supply is an extremely idiotic idea that's only going to lead to thermal management issues for the GPU in question.

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  14. Watch how, in the third image the PSU is suffocating the poor GPU put directly above it. This is not a superior and awesome design. That GeForce's gonna fry

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    Replies
    1. You beaners need to look at the pics. fan1 front, fan 2 back top, fan3 power supply,

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  15. Yes, im sure these are things AlienWare have not thought of, or stress tested... you are effin brilliant man. Please apply.

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  16. YES! Burn that 780 Ti! Make it work in vacuum - no air needed.

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  17. That cable management, my fucking god

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  18. S3 is still the best looking phone out.

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  19. on sale now for a billion dollars

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  20. They could have at least done a nice job with the cabling... All that money and you're given stock cables just "there".

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  21. I wonder if they'll ever just admit people only want the neat cases and sell those seperately. I'd buy a case like this

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  22. Can't they market gamin machines that don't look like reject designs for MotoCross Chassis? I want a plain black case, a reliable power supply, with components I can replace without having to seriously mod or buy from a single source.

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