Alienware's X51 is Coming

by Dustin Sklavos on 1/17/2012 11:56 PM EST


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  • spyral - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Waiting on performance reviews..

    Are the keyboard and mouse wired or wireless?
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Wired. Reply
  • sgxsingapore - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

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  • bill4 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I know it would cost me about $800 to build a nice gaming PC off newegg (assuming I reuse my current SSD, HDD, PSU, and DVD burner). So 699 isn't bad.

    The two limitations that jump out are 150 watts and 9" on the graphics card. If they could have only upped those to say 11", and 250 watts, you could have replaced the standard GPU with something with a lot more beef. Assuming it wouldn't burn up in there. And an extra 2" doesnt seem like it would have broken the space budget.

    Probably given those limitations, you'd be best sticking with the GT555 anyway, as you probably wouldn't be able to do a whole lot better.

    Core i3 is a nice CPU anyway, and pretty much no games are CPU limited, so even at the low end CPU wont be a problem. Would like to know pricing on a decently specced GTX 555 model.
  • bill4 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    all in all it suffers from the same problem as gaming laptops, not enough beef. Would have been nice if they could have got something like a HD6870 in there. Something beefier on the GPU, even if it cost them a bit on the size or price.

    would be interesting to see what type of small form factor gaming pc you could cobble together on newegg compared to this.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    True, but laptops don't let you upgrade the GPU at all. I'd think long term, it will be easy enough to go with the mainstream desktop GPUs and keep a pretty decent performance level. With a laptop, when it becomes too slow, you're SOL. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    They do actually, the Alienware M17X, M18X, MSI's entire high end range, Clevos/Sagers with GTX560M and up all use standard MXM slots that you can upgrade. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The cost for such parts is high, to say the least, and the laptops are not specifically advertised as being upgradable to my knowledge. If you can buy the necessary GPU(s), get the appropriate BIOS to support the new GPU, and then go ahead and remove your old GPU and upgrade, yes, it's technically possible. It will also void your warranty and leave you with an MXM module that you can't do anything with (although I suppose you can try eBay).

    Also, MXM modules are not standardized other than the connector and, to a lesser extent, the size. The location of the memory chips and GPU can and does vary, so just because a GPU fits in your chassis doesn't mean it will work with your HSF.

    For these reasons, I generally don't even try laptop GPU upgrades. You're often better off selling your old laptop and buying a new model with the GPU you want. Not only do you get a faster GPU, but you often get other features thrown in with the upgrade--a new chipset and CPU perhaps, stuff like USB 3.0, etc.
  • Meaker10 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Those who use non standard positioning (there are specs for it) such as Asus are not considered MXM.

    Again the ones I listed all use the same layout, and while it's not valid for the majority of users it's perfectly valid for enthusiasts.

    A graphics upgrade will cost £200-300 for a highend chip and there are companies selling cards on ebay such as eurocom who actually build systems too.
  • jenniejohn - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    Your answer is just awesome and informational as I learned its really awesome.
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Also any notebook sporting a GTX570M will be faster, so the price on this better be low. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Serious limitation with parts though, it is hard to know how many upgrade cycles that would work. It seems very appliance-like to me. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Mini ITX is a commodity standard. New mobos shouldn't be an issue. 9"/150W covers mid level PCIe GFX cards so upgrades there shouldn't be a problem either. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    It would need to be a nerfed 6870/50 with a custom (shorter PCB) to fit the size/power limits. Power wise the standard 6850 appears to be the limit (might be able to beat it and get a 6870 with binning/undervolting); but you'd still need the shorter custom PCB. I suspect the size/power constraints were behind Alienware going with nerfed 550/560 designs since even a stock 550 would draw too much power.

    While this is a nice step up from previous SFF systems with 2 slot half height cards (and AFAIK the decent options in this space never making it to OEMs), the power supply limit is biting more than I thought it would. I wonder if a mobile CPU to free an extra 50W for the GPU would've been a better move.
  • IanCutress - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    $699 in the US, £699 here, for the i3-2120, 4GB DDR3-1333 and 545. Got to love import+Tax. :( Reply
  • overzealot - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link

    $1300 in Australia... just as bad here. Reply
  • CZroe - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The real question is: When the next generation is able to get performance equivalent to the current high-end under 150 watts, will we have upgrade options?

    Alienware M11x r3 owner/user here.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Yeah, you'll be able to upgrade. It uses a standard PCI Express x16 slot and mount. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    ...there's no way I'd buy this over a normal tower. I mean HP's normal desktop can be configured much higher end than this.

    Still, if for some reason I had to have a small system like this, this is obviously way better than any other alternative I've ever seen, since it's actually user accessible AND powerful enough to play games.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I've been half seriously interested in something like this for a while; although irrationality of other family members is the primary driving factor.

    The only time I feel the lack of a gaming laptop is during extended holiday visits to my parents. Despite almost never using it (everyone has a laptop) my dad keeps half seriously talking about replacing the ancient desktop+15" crt they have with a new PC + widescreen LCD. There's not enough room on the desk to do that without an SFF system; and doin the smart thing and throwing out 12 year old chipboard furniture because it's decrepit and an obsolete form factor is apparently unthinkable. Covering the price gap between a system like this and an IGP based box is much less than a laptop I'd only need a few times a year.
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Sounds like it might work great for that!

    Haha...I'm irrationally kind of wanting one of these, for no good reason.
  • Tetracycloide - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I'm trying to imagine a scenario where the space savings would be worth moving the power brick outside the unit and being hampered by only 150 W on the graphics card. Personally I'd much rather have a slightly larger mini-itx with a reasonable PSU, like the SG09 @ 600 W for example, than shrink the enclosure any more than has already been done. Engineering wise I really like the idea of this case because there is a beautiful efficiency of space there but I just can't imagine why the trade off would be worth it in this case. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I suspect cooling and cost were the real concern and space just an excuse. Getting enough air into a case that small to handle a desktop CPU and full size GPU has to be a major challenge. Swapping in a mobile CPU would shave enough headroom for a ~225W card; but increase the system cost since CPU would be more expensive and they'd need to design a custom PCB instead of being able to get a more or less off the shelf board from an ODM. Reply
  • CaioRearte - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    This is very interesting indeed. Finally, PC gaming being able to compete at price level with consoles. The size limitations will slowly go away, as the power envelope of high end video cards lowers. Throw a wireless video card wireless keyboard/mouse/controller/headset and you can even tuck this baby away somewhere and have a entertainment/office/gaming machine in a single unit - a fast one, at that - using only 2 cables.

    I think that hardware will evolve to a point where the computational processing power of a unit like this one will be able to find its way into something the size of today's smartphones (or, at least, tablets), thus eliminating all the bulk of the desktops, notebooks and gaming consoles today. A screen, a keyboard and a mouse are all you need (and I imagine mice will go away with time as well)...
  • notty22 - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    There is always 28nm parts that are not here yet. That might offer over 50% performance increases that will run with the stock power brick. Reply
  • spyral - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I noticed in the article that there is potential for upgrading the HDD in this system. In its current form, can one simply fit an SSD into the case or will an adapter be required? Am assuming that if an adapter is required, the HDD they provide with the machine will have to be used elsewhere... Reply
  • koldplay - Sunday, January 22, 2012 - link


    Does anyone know if the external power brick can just be replaced with a 220v one to work in europe?


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