The Area-51M is a completely unique beast. At first glance, it looks as if what we used to count on from gaming laptops: It’s an intimidating, hulking device that does not belong in the modern age of narrow notebooks. But what makes it unique is below the hood. Instead of slightly slower and energy-green cellular components, it features effective gear you’ll commonly locate in computers, like Intel’s octa-center i9-9900K CPU, NVIDIA’s complete-velocity RTX GPUs and as much as 64GB of RAM. Best of all, you may improve those components down the line, similar to a tower gaming rig.

What exactly do you call a system that looks like a pc however capabilities like a laptop? The Area-51M practically defies type. Let’s take the philosophically easy approach for now: It’s a gaming computer like no different.

Alienware Area 51m

The maximum upgradeable pc we’ve visible but
Fast computing device components
Gorgeous new Alienware design
All the ports you’ll ever need
Glorious 17-inch 144Hz display screen


Keyboard and trackpad experience dated
Opening and upgrading components is a chunk of a ache
Poor battery existence (not tremendously)
Expensive compared to other current laptops
Heavy (specially with big energy adapters)


The Area 51m is a honestly specific pc. It’s portable, however it packs in all the power, and most of the customizability, that you’d want from a gaming laptop. Still, whilst different current laptops are appreciably thinner, inexpensive, and nearly as effective, it’s a tough sell for most gamers. If some thing, it’s a testomony to Dell’s ingenuity. And for gamers who call for strength especially else, it’s a strong desire.

The first factor you’ll word approximately the Area-51M is that it is big — very huge. It weighs eight.Five kilos, it’s up to 1.7 inches thick and it has a massive 17.3-inch display screen. That seems practically unthinkable now that every PC maker is racing to make their gaming laptops slimmer and lighter. Even Dell is doing that with the Alienware M15 and M17. But in comparison to the last extensive 17-inch Alienware notebook, which weighed 9.7 kilos, the Area-51M is appreciably greater portable. And keep in mind it wasn’t that long ago that gamers had been flawlessly satisfied with laptops over 10 pounds.

The second issue that sticks out is that the Area-51M looks absolutely unlike every other Alienware pocket book. It’s step one towards a purifier, greater futuristic style. Instead of the pointy lines and competitive aesthetic Alienware used to depend upon, the Area-51M really has some rounded edges. And rather than being draped in all black, there’s finally a lighter color alternative. Add in a few LEDs around the rear ports and you have something that looks extra like a sci-fi prop than a gaming pocket book.

There’s no question Dell is trying to make a announcement with the Area-51M. It’s targeted at gamers who call for peak overall performance especially else. That’s all thanks to Intel’s computer Z390 chipset and all of the power-hungry, battery-killing additives it supports. There’s the Core i9-9900K, the quickest gaming chip Intel has ever produced. NVIDIA’s RTX 20-collection cards are the maximum effective GPUs on the market nowadays, and that they enable new features like real-time retracing. It’s additionally well worth noting that Dell isn’t always plugging in the slower Max-Q versions of those chips — they’re full velocity and overclockable. And you can also throw in up to a few separate drives, which includes fast M.2 SSDs, large hybrid drives and a ramification of RAID zero configurations. It’s no surprise that the Area-51M gets most effective 1.Five hours of battery existence — the least of Dell’s concerns.

The huge 17.3-inch display also packs in most of the features gamers call for these days, which include a fast 144Hz refresh rate and skinny bezels. There’s additionally optionally available G-SYNC support and Tobii eye monitoring. Unfortunately, the screen is simplest available with 1080p resolution in the mean time. That’s not a major trouble, since many players are greater inquisitive about getting the very best frame prices viable. But given how Dell is positioning this computer, I’d count on better-resolution presentations sooner or later.

That said, the Area-51M’s 1080p display is no slouch. Everything regarded silky clean as body rates crept above one hundred fps in Overwatch, Forza Horizon 4 and Hitman 2. Colors popped off the screen, and it turned into bright enough for me to seize fine info as I sped via snowy roads in Forza. Unfortunately, there’s no HDR assist, that’s slowly making its manner to other gaming laptops.

Given all of its hardware, the Area-51M will basically by no means disappoint you, irrespective of what sport you throw at it. In the Hitman 2 benchmark, I noticed around 105 fps on common, with all the photographs settings on maximum. And in Forza Horizon four, I saw a watch-watering 124 fps. With all that greater energy, you can additionally supersample many games to render them at a better decision, which makes them look even crisper in 1080p.

Alienware’s complicated cooling, which incorporates large enthusiasts that suck clean air from below and spit warmness out of the rear vents, managed to preserve the GPU underneath 83 levels Celsius. You have plenty of manipulate over the cooling profiles, so you can rev the fans up for longer play periods and make them almost silent while you’re surfing the web. The Area-51M did a splendid task of handling all of that on its personal after I chose the standard profile. As you’d count on, this is a device it truly is constantly spewing out warm air, so it might heat up small rooms. That will be a facet gain in the iciness, but it is not best for summer season months.

The Area-51M is based on two big energy adapters to keep the entirety strolling. It’s worrying but unavoidable considering that AC chargers top out at 330 watts: Having some other charger is sincerely important to maintain this gadget going, specifically considering that it’s counting on desktop parts. When you’re now not gaming, a single adapter is enough to electricity the Area-51M, however you may want to have each plugged in when you start taxing the GPU. Alienware isn’t the most effective business enterprise going this course; the ASUS ROG Mothership also relies on two power components. It’s honestly a physics problem as gaming laptops get more stressful.

To get to the Area-51M’s internals, you just should take off six Phillips-head screws on the bottom of the case. That gives you direct access to four RAM slots, the garage disk and battery. But you’ll must dig even in addition to reach the CPU and GPU: That includes removing another layer of the case, the rear port hump and the fan assembly and disconnecting plenty of additives. It’s now not some thing you’ll want to do regularly, and you will additionally should be more cautious approximately reconnecting the entirety. If this entire method feels like a headache, it is a sign that the Area-51M won’t be for you. Even if you’re used to upgrading computer PC additives, coping with the limited space of a pc case — irrespective of if it’s a huge one like the Area-51M — goes to be irritating.

Still, if you can manage to pay for it and do not mind the demanding disassembly technique, the Area-51M gives you an unprecedented quantity of upgradability in a pc. If you’re tempted through a brand new Intel chip in some years, you can throw that in. And even as the GPU rests in a proprietary Alienware module, the company says it will have new additives coming later this year. There’s no guarantee it’s going to hold pace with anything NVIDIA releases in the near future, even though, so that you’re making a chunk of a chance there.

Unfortunately, the components you cannot improve on the Area-51M — the keyboard and the trackpad — are those that want the most development. While the keyboard seems and feels exquisite in the beginning, with RGB LEDs and 2.2mm of journey, it feels a piece flimsy while gaming. I’m also worried approximately its lengthy-time period durability. When we first obtained the Area-51M, one of the keys flew off within 10 mins of turning it on. Normally, I’d just snap it returned into vicinity, but somehow the plastic spring mechanism beneath become absolutely shattered. This is the kind of aspect Dell could fix underneath warranty if it passed off to you, however it’s nonetheless disheartening to see in such an costly system. And for the report, it later sent us another unit to test.

The trackpad, in the meantime, feels enormously cramped for a present day computer. We’re used to ultrathin notebooks giving us a ton of area to swipe around, however with the Area-51M, my arms always felt boxed in. Alienware also opted for an vintage-school two-button mechanism in preference to letting you click into the trackpad. Using it made me experience like I become transported back in time. Of route, gamers could be counting on mice maximum of the time, but it might had been first-class to see Dell show some innovation with its layout. Even moving over the trackpad from the slimmer Alienware M15 might had been an improvement.

Given its massive length, Alienware became capable of cram in just about every port you would want. There are three USB kind-A ports across the sides and single USB-C Thunderbolt 3 connection as well as HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, headphone and microphone ports. And of course, there may be the proprietary Alienware Graphics Amplifier connection, which helps you to plug inside the company’s external GPU adapter for even extra energy. To be honest, that seems like overkill for a machine that already packs in a laptop’s well worth of overall performance, but I’m sure there are pictures-hungry gamers out there who will take advantage of it.

After spending numerous days with the Area-51M, I’m each awestruck and a bit upset. Sure, it’s tremendously effective and upgradable, however I’d be hard-pressed to propose it to most game enthusiasts. Given its size and rate — beginning at $1,950 but configurable to over $five,000 — most game enthusiasts might be higher off with any of the notebooks that are less than 5 kilos that we’ve been seeing over the last year, just like the ASUS Zephyrus series, the Gigabyte Aero 15 and the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin. They also can double as first rate productivity machines for purchasing work done on the pass, and a few even have first rate battery existence. Most essential, they’ll get you maximum of the performance you need with out crushing your lower back and pockets.

Alienware has made one thing clean with the Area-51M: It’s doing some thing no person else is. So for a certain subset of game enthusiasts — like professional streamers or eSports players who need to face out from the percent — it probably does not rely that there are lighter and cheaper alternatives accessible. They need the effective new laptop that has the center of a desktop, and they’ll pay something it takes to have it. The Area-51M might not be the wisest buy, but it’s truely one of the wildest selections these days.

Product specifications

Intel 8th-technology and ninth-technology Core i7, i9
NVIDIA RTX 2060, 2080

17.3-inch LCD
1080p, 144Hz

Hybrid Drive optionally available

3 x USB three.0 Type-A
1 x USB-C Thunderbolt 3
1 x 2.5Gbps Ethernet
1 x HDMI
1x DisplayPort
1 x three.5mm audio/mic jack
1 x international headset port


15.85 × 12.56 × 1-1.7 inches
8.Five kilos
Camera: Brian Oh
Editor: Liviu Oprescu
Script: Devindra Hardawar
Script editor: Terrence O’Brien
Host: Devindra Hardawar

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