System Performance

One thing I'd like the readership to keep in mind when looking at these charts is that the Alienware X51 review unit we have on hand is just $999, and the $949 version with only 6GB of RAM will probably perform comparably. That means the desktops it's competing with here are almost all between two to three times more expensive; the only one in the same price bracket is the WarFactory Sentinel, but that system was reviewed nearly a year ago.

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

PCMark certainly takes the X51 to task, but keep in mind that every other system tested here is sporting an SSD while the X51 is making do with a mechanical hard disk. PCMark skews very heavily towards SSD-enabled systems; that's why the AMD Phenom II X4 955 in WarFactory's tower is able to post a lead on the Alienware's substantially faster i5-2320. Nnot that we're disputing how big of an impact that can have in the real world--in many use cases, a moderate Phenom II system with an SSD will feel snappier than a faster Core i5/i7 with a hard drive.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

Once we get to the more CPU-centric application tests the X51 fares a bit better, and again here it's competing with desktops that are almost all running 4GHz or better overclocked processors. CPU performance is still actually quite good, and the i5 definitely offers a better value now than the Phenom II in WarFactory's machine did.

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

On the other hand, the GeForce GTX 460 in the WarFactory machine is definitely a faster video card than the X51's GTX 555, but it's not the most massive lead in the world, and in 3DMark06 the Sentinel winds up being CPU limited. The GTX 555 may very well have its work cut out for it, though; Alienware promises the X51 is able to deliver a compelling gaming experience, but is it going to be able to hack 1080p gaming?

Introducing the Alienware X51 Gaming Performance
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  • swimtech - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    That sounds like a great idea for a follow up article if they can hang on to the review unit for awhile longer. Seriously doubt the 100% OC though - 20% might be enough to get there for a better Battlefield 3 experience. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Alienware had to spec the PSU for a worst case load that's rather heavier than the AT load test. Probably intel burn test + furmark with all the monitor ports connected, the optical drive burning a disk, all the fans spinning at max speed, and tablets charging from every USB port. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    1) Video Card Power is limited to 150w according to dell
    2) Total System Power is limited to an external power brick (same one used in m18x). Dell makes a 240w version and a 330w version. You may only get the 240w version if you skimp out on the video card and processor. You can always buy the 330w power supply separately for $145
    3) The maximum length of the video card is 9 inches. This removes a reference 6870 since that card is 9.84 inches. You may be able to find a non reference 6870 which has a shorter board.

    A 7770 will fit, but it should provide similar enough performance to the geforce 555 (oem only) to be barely worth the trouble. The 7800 series on the other hand may actually work though.
    Reply
  • Roland00Address - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    *wishes for a preview button*, but hey at least most of the spammers have gone away. Reply
  • NicodemusMM - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    I've been seeing a new carriage in some of Dell's Optiplex models. It's essentially a plastic insert that fits into their 3.5" drive slots, but it holds two 2.5" drives. Such an option may be viable for this model. Simply use one SSD and one 7200 RPM 2.5" drive.

    I like the looks of this, but I hope their fan profile allows it to spin up a bit once users get it into their house and fill it with dog hair and tobacco tar. I do not look forward to calls on this model.
    Reply
  • Robalov - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    That case is exactly what I want and have been looking for.

    Hopefully down the line, some of the cases will make it to ebay.

    The computer itself fills a hole for those wanting to game without lugging around a full tower, but it's a small market, I imagine this would get more sales as a HTPC if they marketed it as such.
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    The main problem I see here is you can get a notebook with a built in 1080p screen, GTX570M and 2 hard drive slots (supporting raid0) for the same price! Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    ...where? Reply
  • rpsgc - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    The only notebooks around 1000 USD I can find all have a GTX 560M at best. Reply
  • kevith - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    That´s the only thing I was looking for throughout reading this review: Can you find these features at the same price in a laptop, and: You can´t. Reply

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