We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
PCs Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Alienware Area-51 ALX review

From £2,734 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Alienware

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

If you're looking for an ultimate gaming PC, look no further than the Alienware Area-51 ALX. But at a list price starting at £2,734, all this power will not come cheap.

If you're looking for an ultimate gaming PC, look no further than the Alienware Area-51 ALX. But at a list price starting at £2,734, all this power will not come cheap.

With its 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme X9770 processor, 4GB of RAM, dual nVidia GeForce 9800 GX2 graphics cards with 2GB of DDR3 video memory, a 24in Samsung Syncmaster 245BW display, and a high-end gaming keyboard and mouse, the Alienware Area-51 ALX is a serious machine for serious gamers.

Its WorldBench 6 score of 148 easily beat similar gaming systems. The Alienware Area-51 ALX also includes Windows Vista Home Premium; a BD-R/RE Blu-ray drive; and a wide array of ports including those for FireWire, gigabit ethernet, external SATA, and HDMI connectivity. While the system comes with 5.1 surround sound, other, less-expensive gaming desktops include 7.1 surround sound.

The Alienware Area-51 ALX's case is well-constructed and feels very solid, though the glossy black exterior may be prone to scratching and fingerprints. Alienware includes a soft cloth for wiping off imperfections - a nice touch. The case also has adequate ventilation, but airflow around the three hard drives could be better.

Thanks to those hard drives - two 160GB drives in a striped RAID 0 configuration and a third 1-terabtye storage drive - the Alienware Area-51 ALX includes plenty of storage space, with room to add more, thanks to a fourth internal drive bay.

The machine ships with 4GB of RAM, filling all four memory slots. Of the Alienware Area-51 ALX's four PCI-Express slots, two are used by the SLI graphics system. Unfortunately, the graphics card blocks the other two slots, so to access them you would have to remove the graphics card.

The bundled mouse has all the basic functions, plus a number of user-configurable buttons. We found the Alienware Area-51 ALX's mouse to be a little small and uncomfortable to use. The bundled Logitech G15 keyboard, on the other hand, is great. The G15 has excellent tactile response, a number of programmable keys, and the typical set of brightness and volume control keys. The keyboard is backlit as well. It is a bit big, but not as large as some other gaming keyboards.

Nick Mediati writes for PC World.

Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

Alienware Area-51 ALX Expert Verdict »

Intel Core 2 Extreme
Vista Home Premium/Ultimate
EVGA, NVIDIA 790i Ultra SLI Chipset
up to 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz, 4 dedicated DIMM slots for Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2/512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX/1GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 Quad GPU/1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280/2GB ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2/Triple 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280/Optional Ageia PhysX Physics Processing Unit Connectivity/1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280
Dual RAID 0 Hard Drives: 7,200RPM up to 64MB cache and 2TB storage
10,000RPM up to 32MB cache and 600GB storage
256GB Solid State Drive
20x Dual Layer DVD Burner Lightscribe technology/Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader/4x Dual Layer Blu-ray Burner
Dual Integrated Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45
Standard 7.1/5.1 Digital High-Definition Audio
2x Auto-sensing headphone jack
2x Auto-sensing microphone jack
Optional Sound Blaster X-Fi High Definition Surround Sound Audio
8 Hi-speed USB 2.0 ports
2 IEEE 1394b port
1 E-SATA port
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

If you're serious about gaming - and have the budget - the Alienware Area-51 ALX deserves a look.

  • Dell Alienware Aurora ALX review

    Dell Alienware Aurora ALX

    The Alienware Aurora ALX is a gaming PC with plenty of speed, flair and attitude. But it's the sort of system that polarises people.

  • Alienware Area-51 m9750 laptop PC

    Alienware Area-51 m9750 laptop PC

    The Alienware Area-51 m9750 laptop is a bit of a monster.

  • Alienware M17 review

    Alienware M17

    With the Alienware M17, Dell's Alienware, best-known for expensive, high-performance PCs, delivers a good gaming laptop at a reasonable price.

  • Alienware Area 51 m15x review

    Alienware Area 51 m15x

    The Alienware Area 51 m15x is a gaming laptop that stomped all over our WorldBench 6 benchmark, earning the highest laptop performance score to date and running effortlessly through our current graphics tests.

  • Alienware X51 review

    Alienware X51

    The Alienware X51 desktop PC proves that big things can come in small packages, offering excellent gaming performance in a slim chassis.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features UK: Staggered release with PCs coming first this summer -...

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

MacBook Pro 15in preview: better battery life, faster storage and a new discrete graphics chip may...