Alienware Area-51 Desktop PC Review
Dell has provided us with one of their most expensive systems for review. In our review we will have different kinds of benchmarks ranging from 3DMark to Memory Benchmarks. We will also have overclocked results. I’ll start this review off by providing some of the unboxing pictures then the specifications.
Model: R2 (2014)
CPU: Intel i7 5930K (2011 Enthusiast Socket) “”Water cooled””
Motherboard: Intel X99
Memory: 32GB DDR4 2111MHz (Hyundai Electronics)
Graphics Cards: 3x Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 (SLI) Reference
Power Supply: Dell Branded 1500W (80 Plus Gold Rated)
SSD: Samsung PM851 2.5 7mm 256GB
HDD: Western Digital Green 4TB 5400RPM
ODD: Matshita UJ167AM BD-ROM
This is the part I’m looking forward to write about. As you can tell from the picture, the box it arrives is in huge! probably the same height as my computer desk. The box arrives with plenty of “Dell” delivery stickers all around the box with the Alienware brand on each side.
Upon opening the Alienware box, you will be greeted with another box. Within this box you get a “ROCCAT ISKU FX” keyboard, unique power cord designed specifically for the “Dell” branded PSU which is not your ordinary kettle lead, DVI-VGA adaptor and the quick-start guide. After I’ve removed the top foam above the computer, I was also greeted with a “ROCCAT XTD KONE” Mouse.
A quick warning before removing this computer. “It’s heavy!!” be sure to have someone nearby to help move the box as you recover the computer. I did underestimate the size of this computer as its way to big for my desk. I could have it on the floor but I risk it getting damaged by the kids. You wouldn’t want that to happen with your pride and joy now eh?
Alienware always seem to have the unusual unique cases. Not a bad thing of course, but different. The pictures don’t do it justice, I was a bit wary at first but having it face to face I do like it. It’s easy to tilt towards you to access the rear ports. The side of the case looks like a 3D cut of a triangular prism with 3 straight LED’s. The front of the case has a black plastic grill with the Alienware Logo stamped on it. No big deal on the plastic grill, I like it.
At the rear where the ports are located, you have 2 latches on top which give you access on the internal components. The side panels are extremely easy to re-attach and lock in to place. For security, you have an option of putting a screw in to stop anyone from lifting the latches to access the internal components. I wish it was always this easy to access the components of computers.
Cable management for a OEM branded computer is as good as it gets. The coloured power cables just seems like an ageing thing and looks tacky. If Dell/Alienware opted to use braided power cables instead then I’d guarantee it would look a heck of a lot better! but the PSU is modular, you might be able to replace the cables yourself with braided ones. The CPU’s water cooler looks like unbranded Corsair H80, but correct me if I’m wrong.
I’ve opted to have Windows 10 installed only to take advantage of DirectX12. There’s plenty of DX12 demos released already that runs on the Unreal Engine, early stuff but it looks great!
As always, the Alienware systems come shipped with a program called “Alienware Command Centre” One of the first pages that load up is called “Thermal Controls” this allows you to monitor the temperatures which I’ll list below, I’ll also list what temperature they are currently reading.
- Front Ambient Sensor (25C)
- HDD Sensor (26C)
- VREG Sensor (35C)
- PCI Sensor (25C)
- GPU Sensor #1 (28C) GPU Sensor #2 (30C) GPU Sensor #3 (30C)
- CPU Pump (Running)
- CPU Fan (1129RPM Idle) GPU Fan #1 (26%) GPU Fan #2 (26%) GPU Fan #3 (26%) Top Fan (770RPM 3%) PCI Fan (1146RPM Idle)
With the Top and PCI fan, you have the option to manual set the speed. When manually set to 100% those massive Delta fans sounds like a jet engine! Whilst I was benching, I did an experiment and set the GPU fans and the Top/PCI fans to 100% all 3 GPU’s stayed under 59C
Next we have the AlienFX controls which allow you to set the LED colours on the case. There’s pre-installed themes or you can set them manually to your liking. I have mine set all red with the Alienware Logo at the front set to blue, it really does stand out!
AlienFusion is next, this will allow you to set the power options of your Alienware computer. You have options like when your computer goes to sleep after certain inactivity, or CPU power management options, what pressing the power button does and you also have the option to turn off the AlienFX lights which illuminate the case.
Last of all, we have the “OC Controls” which will allow you to overclock your Alienware computer. If your experienced and know what you’re doing then I’m sure you will have no problem on overclocking your CPU and Memory. For inexperienced users you have the 2 pre-installed overclock settings that Alienware has put in place. The OC Level 2 allows the CPU to run at 3.9GHz instead of 3.5GHz. A small jump in speed but you can always push it much further if you know how to set the CPU voltages also which I’ll explain below shortly.
One other feature I like about this PC is at the rear where the ports are located, there’s 2 led’s. This makes it a lot easier to see where your plugging the cables in the ports. The 2 led’s is powered by a battery which is located in the storage bay compartment. I’ll provide a picture below what it looks like.
Performance – Benchmarks-
To benchmark the Area-51, I’ve used 3DMark, 3DMark11, PCMark and Passmark. I’ll start out by providing the results and screenshots of PCMark using the OpenGL Acceleration option. benchmarks provided below were done at stock clocks. Overclocked results will be provided later in the review.
Next I’ll provide the 3DMark11 screen
Now we have the 3DMark results below.
Overclocking – Benchmarks-
Overclocking the Intel i7 5930K was easier than I expected. However, the overclocking settings in the BIOS are not simple. Setting my desired clocks didn’t apply (CPU-Z still showed the CPU running at stock whilst it was under stress) I resorted using the OC Settings in the Alien Command Centre program that comes pre-installed on your Area-51. I found that applying the overclock in the program was much easier that way and applied straight away. Having the CPU overclocked with the fans on full, it stayed well under 70C with ease.
With some quick research online, I have also overclocked the 3 GTX 980’s in the system. Core is 1127MHz at stock, overclocked to 1277MHz. The memory is 1753MHz at stock and 1873MHz overclocked.
Without incrementally increasing clocks I went straight to 4.5GHz whilst applying 1.28-1.3V on the CPU. With an hour of stress testing, it remained stable. I’ll now provide some overclocked results. We will start off with PCMark using the OpenGL acceleration.
Below is the overclocked results in 3DMark11
We now have the 3DMark results
Last of all, I have the results of Passmark. Just the CPU is overclocked with this test, the GPU’s remained at stock. The results can be viewed here.
From looking at the results, you can see that overclocking the system has increased the score dramatically. But I go against overclocking the system if you’re a novice. I suggest using the pre-applied OC Level 2 setting in Alien Command Centre which gives you a mild overclock to 3.9GHz.
I’ve taken some pictures of the BIOS hoping that some of you might find it useful. As you can see, the overclocking options are not as open as you would get on an aftermarket motherboard like the high-end ASUS boards etc where you can tweak a large variety of voltages relating to the CPU and board. If you have any tips for our viewers, please use the comment box at the end of the review.
To finish off the review, I’ve taken some pictures of the desktop with its LED’s illuminated. They are bright, but not too bright to distract you from your games. Watching a film in the background with the LED’s still on, it makes a great addition to the background.
This is a hard one, in the past I’ve been against Alienware, but actually using it up close and personal has made me change my mind a lot about Alienware. They are expensive and will burn a hole in your wallet but you get what you pay for. A system that you can rely on. This specific system can run anything without a problem without doubt. It’s definitely 4K ready but I don’t have a 4K screen to try it with.
Overall, this is the Ferrari of computers. You pay for the make and the badge and Alienware’s choice of unique cases which I’ve taken a liking. One feature I love about this case is that the side panels easily come away after opening the latches which is located at the rear of the case. For the money that you pay, I do wish that the BIOS would have more overclocking options, especially for a high-end board X99 and a i7 5930K. The CPU is water-cooled and this system can push much further, even run on 4.5GHz 24/7 if need be.
Be sure to pay extra for the longer warranty period and take out the accidental damage cover.
I’ve added the specs on the Alienware site. In total, this specific model will cost £3,448.99 so prepare to get a loan!
Reviews Insider will award this Alienware Area-51 with the 5/5 rating and awarded the Gold star
To buy this model visit the Alienware website to configure it to our specified model or buy the cheaper model below from Amazon
http://reviewsinsider.com/alienware-area-51-desktop-pc-review/http://i2.wp.com/reviewsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/20150819_171434.jpg?fit=1024%2C576http://i2.wp.com/reviewsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/20150819_171434.jpg?resize=150%2C150Computers1500W,2011,3DMark,5930K,980,Alienware,Area-51,Blu-Ray,Desktop,Enthusiast Socket,Gaming,i7,Intel,Killer Gigabit,Nvidia,Overclock,PC,PCMark,Powerful,SLI,SSD,USB 3.0,X99 MotherboardDell has provided us with one of their most expensive systems for review. In our review we will have different kinds of benchmarks ranging from 3DMark to Memory Benchmarks. We will also have overclocked results. I'll start this review off by providing some of the unboxing pictures then the specifications. ...Rhys McClean email@example.comAdministratorReviews Insider