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Alienware Area 51 price, specs and release date officially revealed

Richard Easton
28 Oct 2014
Alienware Area-51 front
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Alienware relaunches its flagship Area-51 desktop in an eye-catching new design with Haswell-E K-series processors

The Alienware Area-51 has long been the gaming behemoth that sits at the top of Alienware's gaming desktop range. This year, the Area-51 has a radical and unmistakable new design that sets it apart from both its predecessors and its competitors. Officially revealed a few weeks ago in the US, we finally got to go hands on with the new Area-51 system with its eye-catching triad chassis at a hands-on event in order to bring you some first impressions.

Based on the outlandish shape, you might think the chassis led the overall design of the system, Alienware's EMEA MD Bryan Joyce revealed that the shape was actually decided last. Instead, the chassis was designed with optimal thermal management in mind, along with improved ergonomics. It's also designed to lean back and forth on its base, allowing easier access to the front and rear ports, which will be a god send for anyone who has struggled to find the USB ports on the back of their system.

 

The internal fans blow air across the components at an angle, while the angled back allows for a larger exhaust for the hot air to escape. For anyone who places their desktop close to a wall, this also allows greater clearance between the back of the system - letting the fans vent more hot air. Alienware promises the internal cable management will also enable maximum airflow. Gaining access to the internals should be a breeze, with quick release side panels held in place by clips. The storage drives are separated on one side of the chassis, which again helps with cable management and airflow. We discovered that the side panels are in fact interchangeable, so you won't need to remember which panel corresponds with which side when you put them back on.

The chassis is a welcome departure from the boxy desktop designs of old and the system felt extremely well constructed. As usual you can customise the system's array of LED lighting to your heart's content using Alienware Command Center for up to 512 trillion colour combinations. Games developed using the AlienFX API can also control the lighting for you for added immersion.

The basic model starts at £1,299, but as you would expect you can configure the Area-51 to your liking. If you want the very best, you can specify the Area-51 with an Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core processor overclocked to 4.0GHz. The Area-51 will support triple graphics cards as well, as you can opt for three Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 GPUs, three AMD Radeon 290X GPUs or even two Nvidia GeForce Titan Z GPUs for a quad-GPU set up and these will allow the Area-51 to output a staggering three 4K displays. The Area-51 chassis supports full-length, double width cards so your upgrade options aren't restricted and the Area-51 has a generous 1.5kw PSU that will accommodate most upgrades. The Intel X99-based motherboard will also support up to 32GB of DDR4. In terms of storage, you can opt for up to a 512GB SSD and a 4TB hard disk. 

All configurations will come with liquid cooling, DDR4 memory, Killer Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac dualband Wi-Fi and Windows 8.1 pre-installed. 

We came away from our time with the Alienware Area-51 excited. The chassis design alone was enough to get our attention but we'll need more time testing to see what impact the Triad design has on thermals beyond just looking good. We'll be getting a review sample in as soon as possible to put the Area-51 through its paces.