What is the Alienware X51?
The Alienware X51 will look familiar to PC gamers, as its exterior hasn’t changed for a couple of years. Instead of altering the aesthetic, Dell’s designers have upgraded the Alienware’s internals with a host of new components.
The £949 price draws the eye, too. Alienware has a reputation for selling systems that cost too much and deliver too little, so we’re intrigued to see how its latest effort stacks up in the competitive arena of sub-£1,000 gaming PCs.
Alienware X51: Design Build Quality
Alienware designs are never subtle. The X51 has a glossy front panel with a glowing, metallic logo and a shining power button, and its sides glow with meshed panels between two curved, indented lines. It’s a striking machine, and more distinctive than most other gaming systems – those tend to use cases made from matte metal and look far more subtle.
The X51 is several times smaller than most gaming PCs. Its 95mm width and 349mm height make it only a few centimetres larger than the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The X51 won’t take up much room in an office or bedroom, and it could fit beneath a TV – ideal for living-room gaming.
The small size improves the X51’s versatility, but it restricts what upgrades can be made to the interior. The components are shrouded beneath various slabs of metal, and some are easier to access than others.
The processor is only hidden beneath a plastic cover and a standard case-fan, but the graphics card is trickier to remove. It’s attached to a daughterboard and clasped to a metal covering, and the whole unit needs to be pulled free in order to get to the GPU beneath. The two memory slots are easier to get at, but they’re both occupied.
Alienware X51: Connectivity
There are no surprises when it comes to the X51’s connectivity. The front has two USB 3 ports and a pair of audio jacks – the minimum we expect from any desktop PC, let alone a gaming system.
The situation is the same at the back panel. Six USB 3 ports is decent for peripherals, but top-end motherboards often have more.
There’s serial and co-axial S/PDIF connectors, a single Gigabit Ethernet socket and six audio jacks. The only connections missing are PS/2 and eSATA, and they’re of limited use anyway – only those with legacy kit will feel left out.
On the inside there’s Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi – a standard selection.