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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  • Meaker10 - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Xotic pc 16f2 barebone.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Except a barebone doesn't come with a CPU, or hard drive bays, or memory.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Er...or hard drives. Derp.
  • Meaker10 - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    This is a customised barebone, so the price includes a dual core CPU, 8GB of ram, HDD, wireless and OS.

    It would also ship with brackets for a second HDD.

    Plus it supports raid.
  • kasakka - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    The mobile graphics chips are nowhere close to the speed of their desktop counterparts. A GTX460M or whatever they've rebranded it as 5xx is about the same as a desktop GTX260, a several years old GPU.

    Personally I'd love to see more gaming PCs like this, but simply ditch the optical drive for more space so a bigger PSU, graphics card and cooler can fit in.
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    This thing has no PSU inside the case, so ditching the ODD would not give you more space for the PSU and without a bigger PSU you can't have a beefier GPU.
  • Mark_Hughes - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    I like this system, If I where looking right now this would certainly be high on my list, I normally use laptops, but one of my laptops hardly ever moves from the desk, this would make a great replacement when the time comes.
  • Swirlser - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Congrats to Dell on once again messing up and being blinded by its continuing race to the bottom.

    As if it wasnt bad enough a few years back when they bought Alienware and began pegging their XPS against it and now have taken what little was left of the BRAND and killed it with this bargain basement offering, quintessentially the opposite of what Alienware *was* about.

    Im embarrassed that once upon a time I bought an Alienware, it cost 5,100 euro (monitor not incl). It was without a doubt the worst purchase Ive ever made, Ive had rather expensive cars experience less depreciation than that did! In the 6 weeks it took to deliver it, a dual core version of what I bought had come out (that'll give an idea how long ago it was). While money isnt particularly an issue and whether you like it or not, theres always something better around the corner, it still stung that before I even opened the box it was outdated. Fine, that was my own fault for not doing more research - in fact I did none. So my bad on that! BUT, even ignoring that, it was still a stupidly overpriced box that within a year I was itching for an upgrade.

    Thankfully, I've since seen the light. I have done the lego route on my last 4ish rigs and its been a joy. Forget the cheaper price tag, just being able to hand pick each part, incl the case, the motherboard, the ram (none of which you get control over with an Alienware). Heck last time I checked they did away with picking a colour scheme (cba to check if its back or not).

    Dell have a bargin basement brand already, its called Dell. A shrinking niche market the Alienware brand may have been, but it *was* that - a brand. Not anymore.
  • KitsuneKnight - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    Are you seriously lamenting that Dell is making Alienware sell more reasonably priced machines in the same post as you tell us the wonderful story of how the "worst purchase [you've] ever made" was a 5,100 euro Alienware machine that was an overpriced piece of junk, and outdated by the time you opened the box?

    Um... what?
  • seapeople - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    I was talking to a guy at work once who had just built his first new computer and I asked him why he didn't just get one from Dell, since you don't save all that much money. He used the argument about how great it is that you can pick each an every single component, whatever motherboard you want, the CPU, ram, etc...

    I then asked him "Oh, ok.. what CPU did you get?"

    His response was "Um, I don't remember. I think it was Intel something or other. It was a quad core I'm pretty sure." (He had just finished building it about a week before)

    So I said, "You mean, like a Q6600? Did you overclock it?"

    "I... I just don't remember. Overclock? What's that?"

    Then he went on to tell me how his computer kept crashing every few minutes, but he didn't know what to do so he just used it like that. It's people like you that lead poor, unknowledgeable saps like this astray.

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