Alienware X51 R2 Review
Alienware has been on the scene for many a year. Supporting the needs of gamers worldwide the brand has gone from strength to strength in the gaming laptop and PC market, often pushing high powered products on the bleeding edge of technology.
The flipside of Alienware is the price – they’re not cheap! When you look at an established brand like Alienware your main question should be the price. Are you paying around $750 for the logo and distinctive design more than the parts inside it?
We’ll go over the specs and our thoughts on this powerful gaming desktop today. Let’s get to it. If you are looking for the newer Alienware X51 model, the R3, you can find our review here
Alienware X51 R2 Specifications
CPU first. The processor in the X51 R2 is an impressive quad core 3.5GHz Intel Core i7-4790. It’s enough. In most modern games you’ll find that the bottleneck of the system is the graphics card. The 3.5GHz i7 will handle all modern titles with ease and comes with the option to easily overclock up to 4GHz. That’s plenty of future proofing on this part of the system – you’d have to look at 1080s in SLI to really push the graphics power up to equal and even then precious few games come close to that level of requirement.
It also comes with 8GB RAM. That’s fine out of the box, but you might be suited to picking up a further 4GB online or in a store. RAM is especially cheap right now and while modern games advertise 8GB RAM as ideal specs you’ll often find your PC is already using a portion of this due to your background programs. This is particularly true if you use resource hungry programs like Skype or even just have YouTube in the background for music. It’s a very cheap potential bottleneck to fix and worth doing if you’re investing in an Alienware rig already.
Ports – you’ve got two USB3s on the front of the tower and two USB and four USB 3 ports on the back.
The hard drive is a reasonable 1TB out of the box. Plenty for most, but it can be worth looking at installing a second or purchasing a small SSD – you can pick up a 250GB or even less for low cost on the market and put your Windows install on it to enjoy an instant cold boot. A 250GB is great for this as you can also route your most used games easily on Steam or otherwise to enjoy faster loading times. Helpful for grabbing those favourite classes when a game starts in your FPS or MOBA of choice!
Alienware X51 R2 Review Case
Worth a quick section of its own. Alienware is famous (infamous to some!) for its aesthetic choices in their laptops and tower cases. The X51 R2 is an interesting continuation of this in that it is a very slim and compact case as opposed to a monster unit you might purchase from other companies like Cooler Master.
Its smaller nature makes it ideal for sitting next to other peripheral items or in a living room next to the TV. This is further made easier by the helpful fact that it can safely lie on its side or be sat vertically as normal. The size of the tower is roughly equivalent to most gaming consoles on the market currently.
The trademark lighting options are pleasantly customizable in the X51 R2. You have what is affectionately dubbed the “Alienware Command Centre” which lets you alter the lighting and logo colors as well as the orientation of the Alienware logo for if you want it resting on its side.
Alienware X51 R2 Benchmarking
The rig runs admirably on most modern games. The most relevant test to perform in the eyes of many is run the infamously power hungry Crysis 3. With the resolution cranked to the common yet still high-end 1920×1080 and the settings on ultra the game chugged. It took lowering the graphics to high and the resolution down to 1280×720 to result in a playable FPS rate of around 40.
This isn’t the end of the world. This is still a powerful PC and the price is reasonable if somewhat towards the higher end due to the Alienware branding.
The Radeon R9 270 is a great card and fits well with the other core parts of the machine. It’s a neat package and shows once more that while Alienware is derided by some for being pricey or having unpleasant aesthetics they still know their core market well. They know how to put together a gaming rig that comes ready and won’t disappoint.
Alienware X51 R2 Upgrading and the value of pre-made
Not everyone can put a PC together. It’s a daunting task even for the experienced among us and can be a headache at best. The ability to buy a pre-made rig with the confidence that it is put together with your specific demographic in mind is a valuable point to consider when you weigh this PC up against the competition.
The good news with the X51 R2 is that Alienware have made it particularly easy to mod and add upgraded parts in. All you do is take out one screw to slide out the panel on the tower.
Replacing parts such as a GPU will be a little more involved – it’s also worth noting that the PSU in the X51 R2 is 330W. If you’re upgrading to a beast of a card like an NIVIDA 1080 you’ll want to consider buying a quality power supply. Good PSUs are worth their weight in gold and will help avoid some very unpleasant side effects of poor quality PSUs or ones that aren’t powerful enough to run a hungry machine.
The quick verdict
Ultimately, it’s a great rig that will give you the hours of gaming pleasure you need. Particularly if you value a solid product out of the box and like the Alienware brand and visuals you can’t go wrong for approximately $750.
We give this one two thumbs up and a hearty recommendation to purchase. It is currently going for $499.99 on Amazon. Click here to find out the best prices.