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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  • ranilus - Monday, February 20, 2012 - link

    The advantage is the flexibility of where you can put the system. On the desk, right beside/behind the monitor, on the floor, in an entertainment center, etc.

    I had an Aurora. I was happy with the stock CPU and GPU, didn't feel the need to upgrade or overclock, or add SLI/CF or RAID 0. But that case, on man it wasn't just HUGE. It was HEAVY. I think it was 60lbs. I couldn't put it on the desktop. I couldn't fit it in my computer desk which had space for a computer tower, I could only put it beside the desk, and it was sort of in the way the whole time.

    There's always the want for simplicity, a neat desk-area, a clutter-free Feng-shui, and/or an aesthetically pleasing gaming room. The X51 achieves that, while also being relatively powerful.

    It is indeed just as you've said, you are obviously not the target audience. Really the system, and All-In-Ones, are for those who appreciates a holistic Chi.
  • Coup27 - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    Nice review and a neat little system. What sets this apart is the custom design and build. On that front it is a shame there is only one photo of inside the unit itself and even that you cannot see past the side.
  • Death666Angel - Friday, February 17, 2012 - link

    I like the clean built and the form factor and the relative power it packs. However, I'm a PC nerd and would never buy a complete PC unless I can save 100-200 bucks compared to the components used (which is impossible).
  • Leyawiin - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    I'm kind of intrigued by this tiny form factor and the relative power it has. I'm sure it would perform better than my mid-range PC (GTX 460 OC'd and X4 955 OC'd). Interesting...
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - link

    CPU would be faster in some cases, yes, but the GPU? Overclocked GTX 460 is almost certainly going to outperform the GTX 555 (OEM). 460 has 336 cores at 1350MHz (stock), which works out to 907.2 GFLOPS (theoretical), and the 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface at 3600MHz (effective) gives you 115.2 GB/s of bandwidth -- that's assuming you have the 1GB version of the GTX 460; if not, you'd be sitting down at 86.4 GB/s.

    In comparison, the GTX 555 has 288 cores at 1553 MHz, which yields a theoretical 894.5 GFLOPS. It has a 192-bit memory interface running at 3828MHz, for 91.9GB/s of bandwidth. So, at stock the GTX 460 1GB card would have 1-2% more computations power and 25% more bandwidth, but you say your card is overclocked which would mean that however far you've overclocked basically translates directly into more computational power.
  • Leyawiin - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Ah, I'm not that familiar with the GTX 555 since its OEM and there are no reviews anywhere. I am playing Skyrim almost exclusively right now and its so CPU bound I was thinking that stronger CPU would have more of an impact.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    The 1.4 update should have alleviated a lot of the CPU-bound issues. At least, it seems to have done so on my PC. Plus you can also use the high resolution texture packs -- though with a 1GB card that might be asking too much.
  • TareX - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Extremely irrelevant, but I'm wondering when Anandtech will be reviewing the world's latest, fastest, most impressive handheld gaming machine coming out this week...
  • AndySocial - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I find it interesting that no reviewers ever seem to review the base model. It seems that would be enlightening. Many people are probably intrigued by the idea of a small system with ostensibly enough power to play current games on their HDTV (gotta love HDMI standardization across PC and TV usage). But, this review, like every other I've seen so far, won't tell them if the most-affordable system is worth buying. This is especially true when the X51 is using OEM-only video cards, so a typical user is not going to be able to find a lot of comparisons of other systems with the same specs.

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