It’s gaming laptops that Alienware is mostly known for, but they also make desktops suitable for players. One of them is Alienware X51 AX51R2-4292BK, a newly released model with heavy-duty Core i5 processor, 8GB memory and dedicated GeForce GTX750 giving some nice boost to the games. But is it enough for you, and moreover, does the desktop offer good value? In this review you’ll find my opinion about that.
How fast is the desktop?
Alienware X51 AX51R2-4292BK runs on Core i5-4460, a quad-core processor of 3.2GHz clock speed and 3.4GHz turbo. It’s a proper desktop chip, CPU Mark gives it over 6600 points, easily placing it in the high-end category of processors. This Alienware is meant for gaming, but with such a fast CPU, all kind of software will work without issues too. Keep in mind that the heavy-duty processor crammed in a small system unit like this (3.7 x 12.5 x 13.5 inches) can cause some heat, placing extra fans inside or outside might help with that.
The desktop comes with 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz memory. It looks like configuration is two 4GB sticks, eating up the both slots on the Mini-ITX motherboard. Maximum is 16GB, however keep in mind that some tall RAM sticks might badly inside, there’s not much space there.
Hard drive is 1024GB 7200RPM SATA 3 one. As many other people have pointed out, this kind of compact unit would better accommodate a solid-state drive. It would also mean better user experience, for example in form of faster application startup times. But replacing the drive is reportedly easy here, so if you know a bit about technology you can probably do the swap yourself.
How well does it run games?
Alienware X51 AX51R2-4292BK features a discrete GeForce GTX 750Ti graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory. It has a low power consumption of 60W which makes sense for this kind of a small system. Performance-wise, it reaches a mid-range ~3300 points in G3D Mark tests. Translated to plain English, this means heavy games like GTA 5 will work fluently (around 40FPS) on high/very high settings and 1080p resolution. Many games don’t require that much, thus yielding much better frame rates with settings maxed out.
So, what if you still want to change the graphics engine? It’s possible, of course. Current video cards, for example the beefy GTX970/980 fit in this case, but you have to calculate if the power supply would be enough for those. Those cards require 145/165W while the PSU only gives a maximum of 330W.
Does it have decent connectivity?
Alienware X51 AX51R2-4292BK has eight USB ports in total. Two are in front, both are USB 3.0. Four more USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 are located in the rear. There’s also HDMI output, use that to connect your monitor to this desktop.
Despite being very small, the desktop has a DVD burner. SD card slot of any sort doesn’t seem to be present.
Networking interfaces include a 1000Mbps RJ-45 port and 802.11n WiFi adapter. Bluetooth is not supported.
What other things to keep in mind?
Alienware X51 AX51R2-4292BK ships with no display, however keyboard and mouse are included.
Windows 8.1 64-bit is the operating system. Windows 10 upgrade will be provided for free.
Alienware X51 AX51R2-4292BK is definitely a budget gaming desktop. It doesn’t cost much, but offers decent graphics to run games new and old with playable frame rates. Even heavy ones like GTA 5 work with high/very high settings and Full HD, although for excellent 60+ FPS this system won’t probably work. So if you want the best, solution is to pay more. Currently, it’s a great pick for gaming folks who don’t have too much cash to spend and can do with “good enough” frame rates.