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Dec 1, 2008

Review: Alienware Area 51 Desktop Computer

Alienware Area 51 Desktop Computers

If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks for your PC gamer this holiday season, then you can’t go wrong with buying them a customized gaming PC from Alienware. Considered the holy grail of gaming rigs, Alienware has been creating the best in gaming machines since 1996 and has received numerous awards for their products and service.

Alienware laptops and desktops are perfect for the serious gamer as they are customizable from the hard drive to graphics card to even the keyboard and mouse. You can pick out each component for your computer on their user friendly website and the design process is laid out in an easy to navigate menu system that breaks down the additional costs for each item you want to add as well as the overall costs or per month financing costs.
I spent a month testing out my game collection on a custom built Alienware Area 51 desktop computer and I can easily say I will miss this computer when it’s gone. Running on an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz processor, a NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard and a single 2 GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card, this computer blew my little HP Pavilion desktop away for gaming performance with its smooth graphics and quick load times. I ran Call of Duty 4, Hellgate: London and Civilization IV: Colonization on this machine and each game played smoothly without any loading issues or frame rate problems.

The system’s audio was spectacular thanks to the high definition 7.1 performance audio card which pumped out some sweet surround sound on my little four speaker computer set. It was a shame really that I couldn’t hook the computer up to my home theatre system to really get the full experience but cords only stretch so far.

Visually the system case was the real conversation piece with its alien like armour shell and defined ridges. The case actually has lighting installed in the alien logos and along some of the ridges which can be customized by the customer to any colour or the multi-colour Alienware AlienFX lighting system which allows you to customize each part of the case to a different colour at any time. Though I loved the look of the system, the case itself was massively heavy to move around and the design made it too large to fit anywhere on my computer desk.

For the extreme gamers that like to maximize their gaming machines, Alienware provides a choice of gaming peripherals from keyboards to joysticks to ensure you have the right tools to win. I checked out the Logitech G15 Keyboard and G9 Gaming Mouse during my time with the Alienware desktop and found them to be great for customizing your gaming style.

The G9 Gaming Mouse comes with metal weights to change the weight of the mouse, two different grip styles to provide unique textures and grip positions for the mouse, 9 buttons with onboard memory to customize up to 5 different control schemes and instant cursor response with fabulous speed and accuracy.

The G15 Keyboard has a built-in screen that displays information game stats for games like World of Warcraft or Battlefield 2142. The keyboard has backlit keys, 6 programmable g-keys which can be programmed at any time even during your game and it even has media controls for volume and playback.

While I didn’t really see a huge difference with the keyboard as I‘m a pretty simple gamer when it comes to controls, I did find that changing the weight and the grip of my mouse made a huge difference in my control during games like Hellgate: London or Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. My hand wasn’t all over the desk and my movements were more precise.

Another upside for players who love to push their systems long into the wee hours of the morning is the Alienware High-Performance Liquid Cooling System which keeps your over-worked gaming rig from over-heating after playing World of Warcraft for 24 hours straight.

In terms of software, my computer came loaded with Windows Vista which is DirectX 10 ready, a key component to run the newer gaming software these days. The system did come preloaded with all the software to run, but it wasn’t loaded down with a lot of trial programs or anything horrible like that, so don’t worry about having to clean up your system when you get it.

There no mistaking why Alienware is the leader in gaming technology in the current market with their customizable gaming computers, top of the line peripherals and great customer support. Any gamers would be ecstatic to receive an Alienware computer for a present so if you really want to win over someone this holiday season, you simply need to take them over to the official Alienware website, www.alienware.com and let them customize their perfect gaming rig.

I’m still heartbroken I can’t keep my Alienware computer. Do you think they’ll let me visit with it?

Available at Alienware.com.
Area 51 Desktops start at $1,049US.
Buy it!

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