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Alienware’s Area 51 PCs, with AMD Threadripper and Intel Core i9, are out of this world

1196151 autosave v1 alienware area 51
Image used with permission by copyright holder
In addition to revealing new Alienware-branded peripherals spanning mice, mechanical keyboards, and even desktop monitors, Alienware announced two new Area-51 gaming desktops slated to arrive later this year. One will be outfitted with AMD’s latest Ryzen Threadripper processors, while the other will be packed with Intel’s recent Core X-Series CPUs. Both models will be completely customizable, with a long list of components ranging from triple-GPU options to 64GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 2,933MHz.

Before moving on to the specifications, we need to point out that the Threadripper model is expected to arrive on July 27, but Alienware didn’t provide a starting price at the time of this publication. We also don’t know when exactly the Intel model will arrive outside Alienware’s “late summer” window, or the system’s starting price. But, for the record, AMD hasn’t released any pricing regarding its new Threadripper chips. However, the Core X-Series chips offered in Intel-based model are priced between $390 and $1,000.

Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition

For the Threadripper Edition, Alienware is offering the 12-core and 16-core variants of AMD’s freshly-baked Ryzen Threadripper CPU. Surprisingly, Alienware didn’t wait for AMD to release its upcoming Radeon RX Vega graphics cards, slated to launch at the end of July. Instead, the options include Radeon RX 500 Series graphics cards along with Nvidia’s more powerful family of GeForce GTX 10-Series cards. Dual-GPU options consist of only GeForce solutions (SLI), while the triple-GPU setups are based on Radeon graphics (CrossFire).

Out of the box, every Ryzen Threadripper processor core will be overclocked. Alienware doesn’t provide any numbers regarding speed, but states that the Area-51 Threadripper Edition is ideal for “customers who explore the world of mega-tasking.” Bottom line, this machine will have no problem powering high-end virtual reality experiences and Ultra HD PC gaming with super-smooth visuals. Adding to that, Alienware is introducing M.2 storage options to the Area-51 line too for super-fast storage access.

This alien-inspired desktop includes nine unique lighting zones that are customized through Alienware’s Alienware Command Center software. It also sports an illuminated I/O panel on the back, and “theater” lighting on the inside to showcase all the pretty, high-end hardware. Powering this beast is an 850-watt 80 Plus Bronze power supply, or a 1,500-watt 80 Plus Gold power supply. Both power supplies are modular and built for multi-graphics chip setups.

Behold, here are the mighty specifications:

Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 12-core overclocked (all cores)
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 16-core overclocked (all cores)
Processor cooling: Alienware Premium Socket TR4 Liquid Cooling
Chipset: AMD X399 with an unlocked BIOS for overclocking
Single graphics card (AMD): Radeon RX 570 with 4GB GDDR5
Radeon RX 580 with 8GB GDDR5
Single graphics card (Nvidia): GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5
GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5X
GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5X Liquid Cooled
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti with 11GB GDDR5X
Dual graphics cards: 2x GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 (SLI)
2x GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5X (SLI)
2x GeForce GTX 1080 Ti with 8GB GDDR5X (SLI)
Triple graphics cards: 3x Radeon RX 570 with 4GB GDDR5 (CrossFire)
3x Radeon RX 580 with 8GB GDDR5 (CrossFire)
Memory capacity: 4x 288-pin DDR4 UDIMM memory slots
Supports up to 64GB
Memory (single channel): 8GB DDR4 @ 2,667MHz
8GB DDR4 XMP @ 2,933MHz (HyperX)
Memory (dual channel): 16GB DDR4 @ 2,667MHz
16GB DDR4 XMP @ 2,933MHz (HyperX)
32GB DDR4 @ 2,667MHz
32GB DDR4 XMP @ 2,933MHz (HyperX)
Memory (quad channel): 64GB DDR4 @ 2,667MHz
64GB DDR4 XMP @ 2,933MHz (HyperX)
Storage (single): Hard drive – 2TB (7,200RPM, SATA 3)
M.2 PCI Express SSD – 256GB
M.2 PCI Express SSD – 512GB
M.2 PCI Express SSD – 1TB
Storage (boot + storage): 128GB M.2 SATA SSD + 2TB 7,200RPM SATA HDD
256GB M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB 7,200RPM SATA HDD
512GB M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB 7,200RPM SATA HDD
Storage (optical): Slot-Loading Dual-Layer DVD Burner (DVD±RW)
Slot-Loading Dual Layer Blu-ray Disc Reader
Connectivity: Alienware 1820 802.11ac (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.1
Killer 1535 802.11ac (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.1
*both provide up to 867Mbps theoretical speed
Ports (front): 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
1x headphone jack
1x microphone jack
1x SD card reader
Ports (back): 2x  Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit Ethernet
2x USB 2.0 Type-A
6x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A (5Gbps)
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A (10Gbps)
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C (10Gbps with charging)
1x SPDIF digital output
1x Line-in (blue)
1x Front left/right speakers (green)
1x Center channel / subwoofer (orange)
1x Back left/right speakers (black)
1x Side left/right speakers (white)
Audio: Internal High-Definition 7.1 Audio (Standard)
Power supply: Alienware 850-watt 80 Plus Bronze (modular)
Alienware 1,500-watt 80 Plus Gold (modular)
Lighting: 9 programmable AlienFX zones with 20 distinct colors
Rear I/O panel illumination
Internal “Theater” illumination
Expansion slots: Slot 1 – PCI Express x16 Gen3 (electrical x16)
Slot 3 – PCI Express x4 Gen3 (electrical x8)
Slot 4 – PCI Express x16 Gen3 (electrical x16)
Slot 5 – PCI Express x16 Gen3 (electrical x8)
Slot 6 – PCI Express x4 Gen3 (electrical x4)
Slot 7 – PCI Express x16 Gen3 (electrical x8)
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64-bit (default)
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Dimensions (inches): 22.411 (H) x 25.156 (D) x 10.736 (W)
Starting weight: 61.73 pounds
Chassis color: Epic Silver
Availability: July 27
Starting price: Unknown
Product page: LINK

Alienware Area-51 Core X-Series

On a whole, the options for this Intel-based Area-51 PC is the same as the Threadripper Edition model. Obviously, this version sports a motherboard supporting Intel’s X299 chipset and Intel’s new Core X-Series chips. You won’t find Intel’s crazy-massive 18-core i9-7980XE chip on the menu, but instead three options ranging from six cores to ten cores.

However, because this Area-51 PC is based on Intel’s “Kaby Lake-X” platform, it supports the company’s Optane memory technology. Sold in 16GB and 32GB capacities, these “cache” sticks don’t replace the PC’s system memory, but serve as a place for the operating system to store highly-used files typically parked on a hard drive. In essence, these sticks have the speed of system memory but the storage capability of a solid state drive, speeding up the PC if it relies on a mechanical hard drive.

That said, the specifications call for 16GB and 32GB stick options paired with a 1TB hard drive, the latter of which appears to only be an option if customers choose to configure this Intel-based PC with Optane memory. Even if customers configure the machine with a dual storage option (SSD + HDD), the Optane stick should still be useful when Windows 10 accesses the hard drive.

Here are the Intel-specific options:

Processor: Intel Core i7-7800X 6-core
Intel Core i7-7820X 8-core
Intel Core i9-7900X 10-core
Processor cooling: Alienware Advanced CPU Liquid Cooling
Chipset: Intel X299 with an unlocked BIOS for overclocking
Intel Optane Acceleration: 16GB Intel Optane (paired with the 1TB hard drive)
32GB Intel Optane (paired with the 1TB hard drive)
32GB Intel Optane (paired with the 2TB hard drive)
Availability: Late Summer
Starting price: Unknown
Product page: LINK

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
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