Boutique high-performance computer maker Alienware has never liked to skimp on performance. When a new technology jumps out which can offer high-end computing enthusiasts, gamers, and content creators an edge over the latest and greatest, Alienware is right there to make you current hot-rod system look so five minutes ago.
And so it is with the new Alienware MJ-12 8550i and 8550a workstations, catering to the Intel (“i”) and AMD (“a”) crowds respectively with healthy portions of multi-core madness. The 8850i is built around Intel Quad-Core Xeon 5300 processor, and that means—being available in either single and dual processor configurations—the 8850i can tout up to eight processor cores. f course, you have to have an operating system and software which can take advantage of all those cores, but if your programs are optimized for multi-core computing (or you’re building programs for multi-core systems) you may need a little help with that unsightly drool right now. The 8850a, conversely, is available with AMD’s Opteron 2000 series at speeds from 1.8 to 2.8 GHz.
“The new MJ-12 8550i and MJ-12 8550a implement mind-blowing technology that builds on the foundation set by previous Alienware workstations, relied upon by everyone from game developers to NASA,” said Marc Diana, Alienware’s Product Marketing Manager.
Being aimed at the heavy-lifting crowd, both the 8850i and 8850a can handle up to four 15,000 rpm SCSI hard drives, up to 16 GB of DDR2 memory, and are available with Nvidia Quadro FX or ATI FireFL graphics controllers; the units also offer hot-swap drive bays and Alienware’s acoustic dampening to keep the neighbors from getting worried you’ve got a jet engine hidden under your desk.
The MJ-12 8850i starts at $2,499, while the 8850a starts at $2,449; both systems will be available in April. Of course, you’ll be wanting to add lots of bells and whistles to workstations like this and the prices for custom configurations go up fast. Right now, the systems are only available with Windows XP; we guess Alienware doesn’t quite have all their ducks in a row in recommending Vista Ultimate across the board.