AlienWare X51 System Review (Core i7)


Are you tired of the same, boring looking desktop system?
Alienware hope you are, because their X51 is designed from the ground up to turn heads. The system is built inside a diminutive, superslim chassis which can be used either vertically or horizontally.
Think Xbox 360.
The big question we need to answer today however, is it actually any good?
Unlike some of the more expensive Alienware systems, the The X51 won’t break the bank. The basic configuration starts at £649 including VAT and shipping. The model we are reviewing today has received a couple of upgrades, featuring a Core i7 2600 @ £899 inc vat and delivery.
X51 review system:
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600
Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600mhz
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 555 (1GB GDDR5)
Storage: 1TB SATA 7,200rpm HDD
Optical: DVD+/-RW (Read/Write)
Audio: Onboard High Definition 7:1
Wireless: Integrated 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Wireless LAN
The X51 arrives in a futuristically designed box, similar to other Alienware designs we have seen before.
Inside are two boxes which contain the accessories and keyboard. Underneath, the system is protected between two very strong plastic support beams.
The larger box contains all the accessories. Alienware include a decent gaming mouse, software and reinstallation discs, an Alienware head sticker and literature on the product. There is also a power adapter.
The mouse and keyboard are both pleasant to use, although they won’t compete with the higher end peripherals from the likes of Razer or Steelseries. Great additions however, as all you have left to add is a monitor or television set.
The power supply is very large and heavy. We included an image above left, pictured next to the mouse to give an indication of the physical size. The power supply is designed to work worldwide (100-240V) and it is a 19.5V – 16.9A design.
No felt bag for our X51, although it ships from the factory with thick sheets of protective plastic on all the surfaces. This helps to ensure that it won’t get scuffed during shipping.
The X51 is a svelte design, around the same size as the Xbox 360, but much more attractively designed.
The side panels have a sculpted textured plastic panel in the center. These light up when the system is powered up.
The colour schemes can be controlled via the proprietary software. Similar to the Alienware laptop systems we have reviewed in the past.
The front of the X51 has two USB ports and a headphone and microphone jack. To the left is the optical drive, a slimline unit. Underneath is an embossed Alienware logo.
The power button is the silver strip down the center at the front of the chassis. Easily missed!
The top and bottom of the case is plastic and completely vented to allow for a high level of airflow across the components inside.
The ‘X51′ is engraved at the top of the rear panel. Next to this are the digital audio connectors. Underneath is an HDMI port, 4 USB 2.0 ports, a GB lan connector and two USB 3.0 ports (blue). Underneath are the 7:1 audio connectors. At the bottom of the case is the nVidia dual slot GTX555 with dual DVI ports. The external power adapter connects to the plug on the left of the case, next to the graphics card.
There is a pull out panel on the right, next to the power section which contains the machine information. Opening the side panel is straightforward, simply remove a single screw and pull forward on the side panel. The graphics card is installed on a riser card and placed in parallel to the micro motherboard. You need to remove the graphics card to get access to the hard drive underneath.
There is a fan at the front of the case which sucks in cool air and pushes backwards across the components. Thankfully moving the power supply to an external unit, will help reduce internal temperatures.
Sadly (yet again) Alienware are using memory without headspreaders, however parent company Dell buy memory in bulk and use them across their full range of machines. That said, we do wish they would buy gaming grade memory for these higher end systems.
On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source.
The system scores 5.9 points, held back by the mechanical hard drive. A solid state drive would boost the score to over 7.0 points.
Our review system had a clean software install, with the only red flag being the McAfee Security Center. We would immediately deinstall this software as it is a resource hog.
This Alienware X51 uses the desktop based Core i7 2600 processor. Our previous tests have shown that this is a very fast processor built around the 32nm manufacturing process. The X51 also includes 8GB of DDR3 memory, which runs at 1333mhz. This is more than enough for the target audience, and ideal for an office machine which may have more applications running simultaneously.
The Nvidia GTX555 is a decent low end discrete solution, running at 736 mhz core. It has 24 ROPS, and 288 CUDA cores. There is 1GB of GDDR5 memory on the card, connected via a 192 bit memory interface.
For some reason, the standard clocked system didn’t achieve validation via CPUz, but it was rock solid through the last week of testing. You can see it over here.
To test the system today, we are using a mixture of synthetic and real world software as well as a series of games. We will also compare the results from the AlienWare X51 System against some other systems we have tested in recent months.
These are listed below:
Comparison Systems:
Intel Core i7 2700k System
Cooling: ThermalTake Frio OCK
Graphics: XFX HD6870 Black Edition x 2
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 Motherboard
Chassis: Silverstone Raven 3.
Power Supply: Corsair 850W.
Memory: Corsair 1600mhz memory
Storage: Intel 80GB SSD (boot) / Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD.
Monitor: Toshiba Regza 55 inch LED television & Dell U3011.
AMD FX 8150 Black Edition
Motherboard: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7
Cooler: Noctua NH D14
Memory: G-SKill Ripjaws 1600mhz 8GB (2x 4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: ADATA 1200W
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Chassis: SilverStone Raven 3
Monitors: 3x Ilyama ProLite E2472HDD
Boot Drive: Intel 40GB SSD
Secondary Drive: Patriot 120GB WildFire
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 
Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1100T @ 3.3ghz
Motherboard: Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7
Cooler: Noctua NH D14
Memory: G-SKill Ripjaws 1600mhz 8GB (2x 4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: ADATA 1200W
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Chassis: SilverStone Raven 3
Boot Drive: Intel 40GB SSD
Secondary Drive: Patriot 120GB WildFire
Intel Core i5 2500k
Processor: Intel Core i7 2500k @ 3.3ghz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 Motherboard
Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Rev.2 CPU Cooler
Memory: Corsair 1600mhz memory 8GB (2x4GB)
Graphics Card: HIS HD6970 IceQ Mix
Power Supply: Corsair 850W.
Optical Drive: Asus BluRay Drive
Boot Drive: Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD.
Software:
3DMark 11
3DMark Vantage
PCMark 7
Cinebench 11.5 64 bit
FRAPS Professional
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark
HD Tach
Atto Disk Benchmark
Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra 11
Cyberlink MediaEspresso
Games:
Battlefield 3
Crysis 2
Mass Effect 3
Technical Monitoring and Test Equipment:
Lacie 730 Monitor (Image Quality testing)
Dell U2410 Monitor
Thermal Diodes
Raytek Laser Temp Gun 3i LSRC/MT4 Mini Temp
Extech digital sound level meter & SkyTronic DSL 2 Digital Sound Level Meter
Nikon D3X with R1C1 Kit (4 flashes), Nikon 24-70MM lens.
Some game descriptions are taken and edited with courtesy from Wikipedia.
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software.
Sandra is a (girl’s) name of Greek origin that means “defender”, “helper of mankind”. We think that’s quite fitting.
It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.
Native ports for all major operating systems are available:
  • Windows XP, 2003/R2, Vista, 7, 2008/R2 (x86)
  • Windows XP, 2003/R2, Vista, 7, 2008/R2 (x64)
  • Windows 2003/R2, 2008/R2* (IA64)
  • Windows Mobile 5.x (ARM CE 5.01)
  • Windows Mobile 6.x (ARM CE 5.02)
All major technologies are supported and taken advantage of:
  • SMP – Multi-Processor
  • MC – Multi-Core
  • SMT/HT – Hyper-Threading
  • MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE 4.1, SSE 4.2, AVX, FMA – Multi-Media instructions
  • GPGPU, DirectX, OpenGL – Graphics
  • NUMA – Non-Uniform Memory Access
  • AMD64/EM64T/x64 – 64-bit extensions to x86
  • IA64 – Intel* Itanium 64-bit
Performance is as we would expect from a system based around the Intel Core i7 2600 processor. Excellent.
PCMark 7 includes 7 PC tests for Windows 7, combining more than 25 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed to cover the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 7 offers complete PC performance testing for Windows 7 for home and business use.
The Alienware X51 System scores 3,350 points, which is a little lower than similar systems we have reviewed recently. This is primarily due to the lack of solid state drive.
CINEBENCH R11.5 64 Bit is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
CINEBENCH is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and Mac OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.
A healthy score for the Alienware X51 system, scoring 6.73 points. This system is powerful enough to handle many 3D encoding duties.
Unigine provides an interesting way to test hardware. It can be easily adapted to various projects due to its elaborated software design and flexible toolset. A lot of their customers claim that they have never seen such extremely-effective code, which is so easy to understand.
Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on advanced Unigine engine from Unigine Corp. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. Interactive mode provides emerging experience of exploring the intricate world of steampunk.
Efficient and well-architected framework makes Unigine highly scalable:
  • Multiple API (DirectX 9 / DirectX 10 / DirectX 11 / OpenGL) render
  • Cross-platform: MS Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) / Linux
  • Full support of 32bit and 64bit systems
  • Multicore CPU support
  • Little / big endian support (ready for game consoles)
  • Powerful C++ API
  • Comprehensive performance profiling system
  • Flexible XML-based data structures
We use the following settings: 1920×1080 resolution. Anti Aliasing off. Anisotrophy 4, Tessellation normal. Shaders High. Stereo 3D disabled. API: Direct X 11.
The Nvidia GTX555 averaged just over 31 frames per second, which is better than we had imagined before running the test. This bodes well for the game testing later in the review.
Futuremark released 3DMark Vantage, on April 28, 2008. It is a benchmark based upon DirectX 10, and therefore will only run under Windows Vista (Service Pack 1 is stated as a requirement) and Windows 7. This is the first edition where the feature-restricted, free of charge version could not be used any number of times. 1280×1024 resolution was used with performance settings.
The Core i7 2600 processor delivers an excellent score, over 53,000 points. the overall score is much lower however due to the GTX555, which scores 12,401 points. Still it isn’t a bad score for such a physically diminutive system.
3DMark 11 is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.
If you want to learn more about this benchmark, or to buy it yourself, head over to this page.
The Physics score is excellent, thanks to the Core i7 2600 processor. The overall score is lowered by the GTX555 score of 3,135.
HQV Benchmark 2.0 is an updated version of the original tool and it consists of various video clips and test patterns which are designed to evalute motion correction, de-interlacing, decoding, noise reduction, detail enhancement and film cadence detection.
There are two versions of the program, standard definition on DVD and high definition on Bluray. As our audience will be concentrating on HD content so will we.
This has a total of 39 video tests which is increased from 23 in the original and the scoring is also up from a total of 130 to 210. As hardware and software gets more complicated, the software has been tuned to make sure we can thoroughly maximise our analysis.
Read our initial analysis over here.
Alienware X51 System
Dial
4
Dial with static pattern5
Gray Bars5
Violin5
Stadium 2:25
Stadium 3:25
Horizontal Text Scroll3
Vertical Text Scroll5
Transition to 3:2 Lock5
Transition to 2:2 Lock0
2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCAM Video
5
2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video
5
3:2:3:2:2 24 FOS Vari-Speed
5
5:5 FPS Animation
5
6:4 12 FPS Animation
5
8:7 8 FPS Animation
5
Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)
5
Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)
5
Random Noise: Sailboat
5
Random Noise: Flower
5
Random Noise: Sunrise
5
Random Noise: Harbour Night
5
Scrolling Text
5
Roller Coaster
5
Ferris Wheel
5
Bridge Traffic
5
Text Pattern/ Scrolling Text
5
Roller Coaster
5
Ferris Wheel
5
Bridge Traffic
5
Luminance Frequency Bands
5
Chrominance Frequency Bands
5
Vanishing Text5
Resolution Enhancement
15
Theme Park
5
Driftwood5
Ferris Wheel
5
Skin Tones
5
Total192
The hardware scores 192 points out of a possible 210. A good score thanks to the Nvidia discrete graphics solution.
Alienware are using a 1TB Seagate Barracuda mechanical hard drive which is a 7,200 rpm drive with 32MB of cache.
Performance is much as we would expect, scoring around 115 MB/s on the sequential read test and 108 MB/s on the sequential write test. We have seen higher scores from 7,200 rpm mechanical drives, up to 130 MB/s.
The ATTO Disk Benchmark delivers close to the same results. Peaking around 120 MB/s in the read test and 115 MB/s in the write test.
In the real world we found the hard drive to be rather sluggish, although part of the problem is that I have been testing Solid State Drives recently and it is hard to adapt back to a mechanical drive. It would be possible to swap out the drive, although 1TB of storage will prove invaluable to many people.
Personally I would mirror the partition with Acronis software, swap it out for a 120GB SSD and then purchase an external USB 3.0 enclosure for the 1TB drive. Using it for storage.
V2011 is the first release of 3DStudio Max to fully support the Windows 7 operating system. This is a professional level tool that many people use for work purposes and our test will show any possible differences between board design today.
Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2011 software offers compelling new techniques to help bring designs to life by aggregating data, iterating ideas, and presenting the results.
Streamlined, more intelligent data exchange workflows and innovative new modeling and visualization tools help significantly increase designers’ creativity and productivity, enabling them to better explore, validate, and communicate the stories behind their designs.
Major new features:
  • Slate: A node based material editor.
  • Quicksilver: Hardware renderer with multithreaded rendering engine that utilizes both CPU and GPU.
  • Extended Graphite Modeling Toolset
  • 3ds Max Composite: A HDRI-capable compositor based on Autodesk Toxik.
  • Viewport Canvas toolset for 3D and 2D texture painting directly in the viewport
  • Object Painting: use 3D geometry as ‘brushes’ on other geometry
  • Character Animation Toolkit (CAT): now integrated as part of the base package
  • Autodesk Material Library: Over 1200 new photometrically accurate shaders
  • Additional file format support: includes native support for Sketchup, Inventor
  • FBX file linking
  • Save to Previous Release (2010)
We created a new 8200×3200 scene and recorded the time for the hardware to finalise the render.
A final time of 6 minutes and 55 seconds is a good result. Combined with the Cinebench results earlier in the review we are confident that this would make a decent 3D rendering system for people on a budget.
CyberLink MediaEspresso 6 is the successor to CyberLink MediaShow Espresso 5.5. With its further optimized CPU/GPU-acceleration, MediaEspresso is an even faster way to convert not only your video but also your music and image files between a wide range of popular formats.
Now you can easily playback and display your favourite movies, songs and photos not just on your mobile phone, iPad, PSP, Xbox, or Youtube and Facebook channels but also on the newly launched iPhone 4. Compile, convert and enjoy images and songs on any of your computing devices and enhance your videos with CyberLink’s built-in TrueTheater Technology.
New and Improved Features
  • Ultra Fast Media Conversion – With support from the Intel Core i-Series processor family, ATI Stream & NVIDIA CUDA, MediaEspresso’s Batch-Conversion function enables multiple files to be transcoded simultaneously.
  • Smart Detect Technology – MediaEspresso 6 automatically detects the type of portable device connected to the PC and selects the best multimedia profile to begin the conversion without the need for user’s intervention.
  • Direct Sync to Portable Devices – Video, audio and image files can be transferred in a few easy steps to mobile phones including those from Acer, BlackBerry, HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and Palm, as well as Sony Walkman and PSP devices.
  • Enhanced Video Quality – CyberLink TrueTheater Denoise and Lighting enables the enhancement of video quality through optical noise filters and automatic brightness adjustment.
  • Video, Music and Image File Conversion – Convert not only videos to popular formats such as AVI, MPEG, MKV, H.264/AVC, and FLV at the click of a button, but also images such as JPEG and PNG and music files like WMA, MP3 and M4A.
  • Online Sharing – Conversion to video formats used by popular social networking websites and a direct upload feature means posting videos to Facebook and YouTube has never been easier.
For our testing today we are converting a 3.3GB 720p MKV file (2h:12mins) to Apple Mp4 format for playback on a portable device. This is a common procedure for many people and will give a good indication of system power. We are using the newest version which has been optimised for Sandybridge processors.
We enabled GTX555 video acceleration to help support the Core i7 2600.
With CUDA hardware acceleration enabled, the system turns in a very healthy time of 9 minutes and 52 seconds. This is faster than the 2700k, which takes 10 minutes and 32 seconds to complete the same task.
Handbrake is a fantastic free program which we wanted to include to confirm findings with Media Espresso, earlier in the review. HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.
We used the latest V 0.9.5 for testing today across all platforms. We encoded an DVD.MPG file.
The system performs well in this test, although we feel the slowish 1333mhz memory is holding back the time a little. We have tested 2600k systems in the past which are 3-4 seconds faster with this benchmark.
Battlefield 3 is one of the finest looking first person shooters released in the last year. In campaign mode, players take on the personas of several military roles; a USMC recon Marine, an F-18 systems officer, an M1A2 Abrams tank operator, and a SPETSNAZ operative. The campaign takes place at various locations, from Iran to New York, and follows the story of Sergeant Blackburn and later, Dimitri Mayakovsky.
We used custom settings, shown in the image above.
The Alienware X51 is perfectly capable of playing this game with reasonably high image quality settings. We could actually push the image quality a little higher and still aim for 30 fps+.
Gameplay in Mass Effect 3 is influenced by decisions from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Combat has been changed and refined; in particular, the cover system has been improved, there are more options for moving around the battlefield, instant melee kills and more conventional grenades are introduced as well as improved artificial intelligence. A four player multiplayer co-op mode is also available.
We used the settings above.
The frame rate performance was very good at 1080p, averaging 45 fps. In one of the more intensive sections this dropped to 35 fps, however it generally held at over 40 fps throughout most of the environment.
Crysis 2 is a first-person shooter. The player assumes the role of a Force Recon Marine called Alcatraz. Similar to its predecessor, it provides freedom to customize weaponry and abilities. Crytek wanted to avoid making another game set in a true jungle environment (as were Far Cry and Crysis); New York City has been dubbed an “urban jungle”. The urban atmosphere offers new options with relation to progressing and planning attacks. Players are able to navigate between floors and buildings, as well as a destroyed cityscape.
We used the settings above. We didn’t install the high resolution DX11 tessellation pack as this is very intensive, especially for the modest GTX555.
The system averaged 42 frames per second with this engine at these settings. The frame rate dropped a few times, but remained over 30 at all times. Good results for 1080p.
We have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests. Ambient noise in the room is around 20-25dBa. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.
Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA - Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA - High Quality Computer fan
40dBA - A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA - Normal Conversation
60dBA - Laughter
70dBA - Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA - City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA - Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA - MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA - Orchestra
120dBA - Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA - Threshold of Pain
140dBA - Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA - Instant Perforation of eardrum
The Alienware X51 isn’t the quietest system we have tested. That said, when watching a high definition movie file, it hovered between 33.3 dBa and 34.8 dBa.
You can certainly hear that it is on most of the time, however when idling the fans drop to almost inaudible levels.
When tasked with Prime and Furmark, the fans spin up fast to compensate for rising temperatures.
We wouldn’t say this system would be ideal to be left on 24/7 in a bedroom environment. For a living room however it is ideal.
The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 22c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this.
Idle temperatures were measured after 30 minutes of ‘resting’ in the Windows 7 environment. System temperatures were measured by running Furmark with Cinebench R11.5 64 bit in a loop for 30 minutes then recording the maximum temperatures during this time period.
We attached 5 diodes to the internal of the chassis.
  1. next to the optical drive at the front of the chassis.
  2. next to the processor cooling fan system.
  3. bottom front of the case.
  4. Close to the motherboard and memory slots.
  5. plate, close to rear of the graphics card.
The fan at the front tries to pull in a lot of cool air across the components which can cause fairly high noise emission levels, mentioned on the previous page. The case however is rather small and some warm air does get trapped within parts of the chassis. Close to the processor can get fairly warm, although it is not high enough to cause any concerns.
To measure power consumption we used a calibrated power meter which was attached directly to the system power adapter, excluding all external devices including the monitor. We loaded the last test in 3DMark 11 to measure ‘load’.
The system demands around 54watts at the socket when idling, which is reasonably power efficient. Under system load, it rises to around 150 watts, which is very good.
The Alienware X51 System has left our offices with positive feelings. The diminutive chassis is around the same size as an Xbox 360, meaning it can fit easily next to a television or monitor, without dominating the room. For a student bedsit or bedroom it makes for a tempting proposition.
The appearance of the X51 is sure to appeal to a large audience. The lighting is both subtle and adjustable and the fact that it can be used horizontally or vertically means it will fit into a wide variety of environments, even close to a hi-fi separates stand.
Moving the power supply to an external unit, helps to reduce the physical footprint of the X51 system.
Internally, as would be expected, it is very closely packed and there is a powerful air flow system to ensure that the components remain within tolerable parameters, even in a fairly warm climate. The only downside to this is that it does emit a fairly high level of noise when loaded.
The Intel Core i7 2600 is a capable processor, however we have good news for prospective customers. In the last couple of weeks Alienware have updated the processor to the 3rd generation Core i7 3770k which is slightly faster than the last generation 2600. Therefore if you buy today, you can expect even better performance.
The Nvidia GTX555 surprised us because it coped with some of the more demanding games at reasonable image quality settings at 1920×1080 resolution. It is a capable graphics card that suits this system perfectly. It also offers CUDA acceleration which improved high definition video encoding results significantly.
Power consumption is another positive point of this system. The optimised configuration means that it only drains 50W of power when idling, and only 65W when watching a high definition movie. This could be left on for many hours a day without having a noticeable, negative impact on your electricity bill.
The Alienware X51 is a jack of all trades. It would be ideal as a small office work machine, it can handle 3d encoding and video editing duties. When you get some downtime then you can rest assured it has enough horsepower to play many games at high definition.
Pros:
  • Good processing power.
  • keyboard and mouse included.
  • Fantastic chassis design.
  • efficient.
  • small physical footprint.
  • Runs fairly cool.
Cons:
  • It can get a little loud under heavy load.
  • If size or appearance isn’t important then there are better value for money systems at £900.
  • standard memory without headspreaders.
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