With products ranging from desktop to multiple mobile form factors, Alienware is considered to be one of the most powerful and trusted brands of gaming PCs in the world.
The Alienware X51 has been around for quite some time now, yet the previous models where sporting some toasty internal temps, and weren’t capable of going beyond 1080p in video-games, SSD support lacked completely, and the price to value ratio was mediocre at its best.
Let’s find out if this next-gen machine is actually worth it or not.
Alienware X51 Review
- Pretty good mid-range specifications
- Capable of 1080p gaming
- Great, slim desktop chasis design
- Can’t go beyond 1080p for gaming
- SSD with poor write speeds
- Not really worth the price tag
Alienware X51 specs – Samsung PM951 256 GB SSD, 16 GB DDR4, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 GPU, 3.9 GHz Intel Core i7-6700k CPU.
Alienware X51 Price – Starts at $699.99
The Dell Alienware X51 squeezed a high-performance PC into a chassis the size of a console, which is aimed for gaming. It’s larger than the Xbox One and PS4, but not by much – 343 mm in height, and 9 mm width.
It looks like your average Dell corporate desktop machine, with a bright plastic that covers its sides, the world renowned Alienware logo plastered on the front, which emanates a blue color, and a top section that’s built out of plastic that illuminates its nearby surroundings with LEDs.
Besides the curved edges at the front, there’s nothing else to mention regarding design of the Alienware X51. It’s not horrible, it’s just flat, and bland.
The power button can be found on the right, with a white LED indicating its status. To the front, you’ll find two audio and USB 3 ports. A notable change is the optical disk drive, which got the boot mainly due to the popularity of cloud-based services like Origin and Steam for gaming.
The Dell gaming desktop comes packed with 16 gigs of DDR4, that run at 2,133 MHz, and a somewhat lackluster 256 gig Samsung PM951 PCI Express SSD, which is connected directly to the m-board’s M.2 slot.
Samsung’s 950 Pro model is currently the leader in the SSD industry – it has read and write speeds north of 1 GB/sec. The one that comes built inside the X51, isn’t really that good. It has great 1GB/sec read speeds, I can give it that, but the 280MB/sec write speeds are just abnormally poor for SSDs.
In addition to the SSD, you’ll find a 2TB Seagate HDD, which is essential for a huge library of video-games.
The X51 is powered by Microsoft’s Windows 10 Home, which is the default OS on all of the new X51 machines.
Steam comes pre-installed, and it becomes clear that it’s the obvious choice for gamers and the industry’s computer manufacturers.
Intel’s i7-6700K proc provides excellent results in video-games, and the default 3.9 GHz clock frequency is more than enough for what the gaming industry offers.
We, here at TrendingTechNow, are Grand Theft Auto V fans, and when we first got our hands on the Alienware X51, we immediately thought of Rockstar’s game.
We couldn’t really choose between Ultra, High, or Medium details, as these settings were restricted by the 2 gigs the Nvidia GeForce GPU comes with. Many advanced visual settings were disabled, and while it offered a rather good 1080p gaming experience, we were put off by the fact that we couldn’t play it with all of the features it has to offer.
At 1080p the X51 outputted, on average, 50 frames per second. The second we moved to the next tier, 1440p, the frame rate dropped to 39, which makes it quite playable. Unfortunately, when we raised the bar to 4K, the machine couldn’t muster more than 25 frames per second.
That is, without the additional advanced settings that were disabled. Otherwise, fps would have been much lower.
Our second test meant going to the epic high-fantasy land concocted by J.R.R Tolkien. Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor was set at Ultra quality, and the game averaged at about 44.95 frames per second at 1080p, with only a few drops that lowered the fps to 32. Yet, when we tried it at 1440p, quality dropped substantially, and we started to see the machine’s limitations. Averaging on 31 frames per second, and with 24 fps drops, the game wasn’t actually playable without cursing the universe and all of its Gods.
There was no chance of moving forward, to 4K.
Our last test lead us to one of the best games released in the past decade – BioShock Infinite. We played it at 1080p with Ultra details on. The Alienware X51 machine clocked 71 fps on average, with 37 fps drops. Yet, again, it had trouble maintaining details and quality at high frame rates when put to 1440p. It averaged at 46 frames per second, but drops were more frequent, and put the game at 27 fps. Quite, disappointing actually, that we couldn’t move further to 4K.
This time around, internal temps were stable and we didn’t have any toasty experiences, like we did with the previous Alienware X51 model. Stressing it a little bit, the machine clocked 76 degrees.
We also didn’t hear crackles or any other noises, even when the CPU fans were at full speed. However, there is a noticeable hum, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The great Skylake-infused CPU, which offers awesome proc performances, is a welcomed addition as well as the move from 8 GB to 16 GB of RAM.
But, how much are you willing to pay for a mid-range gaming PC? Let me tell you, not $1000 plus.
The next-gen model is a significant upgrade over the previous one, but, unfortunately, we still don’t think it’s worth the humongous price. At this point, you’re just paying the Alienware brand, not because it has powerful internals.
At 1080p it does rather well, with a few struggles here and there, but if you want to move forward, you’ll meet a dead end. 1440p is almost manageable, and 4K is just out of the question with that GPU.
We recommend you build your own gaming PC, buy separate parts and ditch this Alienware novelty. You’ll save a ton of money, and you’ll be able to buy a machine that actually offers what you want.