"The Area-51 R5 from Alienware has destroyed our benchmarks without breaking a sweat."
Robust configuration options
Exceptional gaming performance
Expensive in most configurations
The Alienware Area-51 has always been a striking machine. With its angled edges, the pyramid-shaped design and the softly glowing LED lighting, there is nothing comparable. The unusual housing design is usually combined with extravagantly powerful hardware, and the Area-51 R5 is no exception.
Our test device contained a liquid-cooled overclocked 18-core Intel Core i9-7980XE processor, two liquid-cooled Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards with SLI, 64 GB RAM and a 1 TB M.2 SSD with a mechanical 2 TB hard disk backup .
Basically, the Area-51 R5 has brought everything to extremes – even the price. All of this hardware and professional engineering costs about $ 6,709. The Area-51 is billed as a gaming desktop, but with such a price and the unrestricted performance that goes into this thing, it is wasted just for gaming. Let us show you what all this can do.
A real eye-catcher
Look at that thing. As mentioned before, it's completely different from anything else on the market. The iconic "Triad" design of the Area 51 has served Alienware well over the years, and the Area-51 R5 has the second generation version with some internal improvements and refinements.
Despite its unusual shape, we had no problems placing it under desks, on desks, or anywhere else.
On the outside, the Area-51 looks pretty much the same as ever – and that's not a bad thing. It's just a kind of polarization. This is a very large computer and its design is not suitable for being hidden under a desk that is struggling in the dark. This is a desktop computer that needs to be seen, viewed, and viewed. Due to its size, it is a little difficult to find space for it.
The angles on the case make it a little longer than a typical PC. Despite its unusual shape, we actually had no problems installing it under desks, on desks, behind monitors. It's big and heavy, but not as big as it seems. However, this extra weight means you definitely need a sturdy desk.
For the Alienware Area-51 to really be a desktop computer, you need a fairly large desk. The total area is not much larger than that of a conventional gaming desktop, but a little different. For one thing, it's bigger and a little thicker.
All ports and a few more
Because of its unusual shape, you may be surprised at the connectors. Rest assured, they're all where you'd expect them to be – with a few practical changes. First, the Alienware Area-51 R5 replaces the top ports on many desktops and has four USB ports on the front of the case. The angular design makes them easier to access under a desk than typical forward-facing connections.
Otherwise, the external connectivity on the back lives up to expectations, nine USB ports, not one, but two Ethernet ports, one USB-C port and even a handy little button that turns on a little external light so you can do it See the ports more easily.
With such an unusual exterior design, you can expect the inside of the Alienware Area-51 to be cramped or awkward and you'd be wrong. Once you've unscrewed the outer latch on the Area 51 case, all you have to do is pull a pair of switches on the top of the case. The panels open like car doors.
Without moving a single internal component, you have access to the main memory, the graphics cards, the power supply and the fan modules.
Once you've removed the panels, you'll see what we meant by the interior. It is luxurious. There is a lot of freedom, but it is not wasted! On the inside of the front panel there is an intake fan and two of the fans that are connected to the liquid cooling devices of the graphics cards. The rear is connected to the liquid cooling block of the CPU.
Depending on the intended use, the cables are neatly connected to each other, the power cables are labeled and are elegantly routed through the housing without unnecessary sag. Try it as you like, you won't find a single cable here – not even on the back of the motherboard, where cables usually come together to form dense, Brambian nests. Nothing. Simple, uncomplicated cable management with a view to accessibility and future upgrades.
Without moving a single internal component, you have access to the main memory, the graphics cards, the power supply and the fan modules. Due to the excellent cable management, routine maintenance is child's play. The removal of hardware components is almost completely tool-free thanks to the clip that secures the graphics cards. There's even a battery-powered work lamp that turns on when you open the case, so you can see every connector, cable, and plug.
These little details are an important part of what you get when you invest in a system like the Area 51. Sure, you can simply record and assemble all internal components yourself or buy a PC with identical equipment from another manufacturer. What you can achieve with the Area-51 is an unprecedented level of technology and an intuitive internal design.
A pimped daily driver
The Area-51 R5 is a champion for everyday workloads, running Word, Excel and even for the incredibly intensive surfing on the Internet. Between the Core i9 processor and 64 GB RAM, average office workloads do not nearly reach the limits of the functions of this computer.
One thing is perfectly clear; Our standard test suite may not keep up with this machine.
To give you a context, we threw absolutely everything we can imagine with the Area-51 R5. We opened four browser windows, each with 25 live tabs running a 4K video, Geekbench 4 and a Deus Ex: Mankind Divided benchmark while we wrote this review. We haven't even noticed a moment of slowdown in Word, no problem, stuttering or hiccups.
Even the hard drives of the Area-51 R5 are impressive. Well, one of them is. Our test device had a 1 TB M.2 SSD – about the size of a chewing gum – and a normal mechanical drive with an additional 2 TB of storage space.
Of course, the Area-51 R5's SSD isn't the fastest we've ever seen, but it's very fast for its size. With a reading speed of 1,734 megabytes per second, it's about a third slower than the 2 TB M.2 drive in the Falcon Northwest Tiki and the 512 GB M.2 drive in the Origin Millennium.
The mechanical drive performed well for a mechanical drive and achieved a read speed of 195 MB / S and a write speed of 193 MB / s. However, moving large files on the M.2 drive was just as quick as expected. The same M.2 drive is available in 256GB and 512GB configurations, with the mechanical 2TB drive serving as a backup.
If a normal office workload with steroids does not trigger area 51, the question arises: what will happen?
Keep up with an i9
The Alienware Area-51 R5 is available in configurations with Intel Core i7-7800X, i7-7820X and i9-7980XE processors. Our test device is the monstrous 18-core variant i9-7980XE. In order to get an idea of how powerful the hardware in the Alienware Area-51 R5 really is, we tested Geekbench 4 – and the results are definitely instructive. In terms of single core performance, it is clear that this overclocked Core i9 performs above average.
It is outperformed here by 8th generation Core i7-8700K processors, but this is to be expected since they are six-core processors, so each core is slightly faster than any core in the Core i9-7980XE that has an 18 -Core is processor. When it comes to multi-core performance, the Core i9 really shines. The 18-core processor clearly outperforms the standard Core i7-7700K and even the 8th generation Core i7-8700K in terms of multi-core performance.
One thing is absolutely clear: our standard test suite may not be able to keep up with this machine. If you look at how quickly the Area-51 R5 cracked our 4K video encoding, you can see what we mean.
The Area-51 R5 just wiped out our test here. The 4K encoding was shredded so quickly that we had to run it a few times to make sure we set it up properly. The coding was completed in just 123 seconds, or just two minutes and three seconds. It is the fastest we have ever seen – at a clear distance.
As already mentioned, our Alienware Area-51 R5 test device is basically fully utilized. It has one of the most powerful processors on the market, 64 GB RAM and two high-end graphics cards. It should come as no surprise to say that it handles most games with composure.
If you look at the performance in 3DMark, you can get an idea of how well actual games are performing. With its two GTX 1080 graphics cards, the total score on both Fire Strike and Time Spy easily outperforms that we saw on single card machines like the Falcon Northwest Tiki and the Velocity Micro M60. Compared to the Origin Millennium with its two GTX 1080 TI graphics cards, the Alienware Area-51 R5 slips back a bit.
This isn't too much of a problem considering that you can specify the Area-51 R5 with two GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards for similar performance.
This is a trend that we see here in our 1080p performance. The Area-51 R5 is just behind the Origin Millennium and its faster SLI setup. However, it is important to note that the performance gap is small in most cases and even a single 1080 Ti like the one in the Falcon Northwest Tiki is more than capable of running your games at 1080p maximum.
In fact, SLI setups for 1080p are more than a small overkill, as you can see from these numbers. However, if you have a monitor with a high refresh rate, an SLI setup is an easy way to achieve a frame rate that is high enough to use the 144 Hz refresh rate.
If we move to 1440p, we can see a reasonable drop in performance across the board. If we look specifically at the results for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at Ultra, we see something interesting. There is no denying that running two graphics cards in SLI or Crossfire mode will improve performance. And if you're looking for top-notch performance, this is a great way to do it. If you look at these results, there is little margin between the best performance in the industry that you see on the Origin Millennium with its two GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards and the performance that you see on a single-card device like the Tiki or Velocity Micro M60.
The difference between 70 and 88 FPS is big on paper, but when you actually play a game, it's not as flashy as you might think. However, it is worth noting here that all of these machines worked exactly as we would expect given the strength of their hardware.
Our 4K numbers here make one thing very clear: 4K is still very hard on gaming hardware. A well-optimized game like Battlefield 1 delivers the best results with frame rates above 100 FPS when you run an SLI setup. But very detailed, environment-tight games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will give you a little bit more trouble. You will still get good frame rates like 45 FPS when all settings are maximum, but hardly. For most games, 60 FPS is ideal, 30 are playable, and everything else is good, far from.
In VRMark, the powerful hardware of the Area-51 R5 pushed it to the top of the stack. You shouldn't have any problems running the most demanding VR games on this computer, but these benchmark results show that while the R5 is powerful, VR is still very graphically intensive and doesn't always get the most out of SLI setups.
It is as striking as it is functional and would serve you well regardless of the hardware it contains.
The Area-51 scored 9,534 in the entry-level Orange Room benchmark, which is slightly lower than what we saw in the Falcon Northwest Tiki – it scored 13,276 points in the same benchmark. There is a reason for that. While the Alienware Area-51 R5 is a much more powerful computer overall, VR and these VR benchmarks don't always use a dual graphics card rig as much as possible. This means that a system with a single 1080 Ti may perform better than a system with two normal 1080 graphics cards.
Of course, you can always specify up to a dual 1080 Ti version of the Alienware Area-51 R5 to solve this problem. However, it is something you should keep an eye on if you want to buy one of these PCs to run VR demos. Instead, spring for the 1080 Ti.
Revised, updated command center
Proprietary software isn't usually remarkable, but the new Alienware Command Center is definitely an exception. The software unifies the lighting, fan control and even overclocking settings of the Area 51. If you put everything under one roof, you can easily manage the various functions of the Area 51, and the user interface shows everything in a meaningful way.
Even if you've never used Alienware's proprietary software before, you should be able to find everything you need by simply opening the new command center. Change the lighting of the case, turn the factory lock on or off, or even adjust your energy saving settings in one place.
Assessing a desktop like the Alienware Area-51 R5 is difficult, but there are a few important points to consider. First the design and the internal layout. These elements will be the same no matter what hardware you choose for them. Whether you're lowering the Area-51 to a cheaper $ 1,900 or cranking it up to over $ 8,000 – the case and layout are the constants to watch out for – and in the case of the Area-51 R5, these two Elements are world class.
Although the design may be atypical, it's incredibly thoughtful and intuitive, and it can stand the test of time. When it comes to hardware, our test device is equipped with the best of the best and shows it. Let us summarize.
Is there a better alternative?
If you're in the market for a gaming desktop with a design that will last, the Alienware Area-51 R5 is hard to beat. It's built like a tank, but has a unique and uniquely intuitive design. As with RAM, the graphics cards can be removed without a single tool. Everything is exactly where it should be, and no single component obscures another. Compared to a standard desktop case, performing standard maintenance or removing components from the Area-51 R5 is a breeze – no matter how much you've spent on it.
This is an important point, as it makes up a large part of what distinguishes the Alienware Area-51 R5 in a crowded field. Nevertheless, you can pack this hardware into almost any gaming desktop from another major manufacturer – the Origin Neuron comes close to it, as does the Falcon Northwest Tiki.
The powerful processor, maximum memory, and two graphics cards make for a very powerful machine, but the performance you can get elsewhere for about the same price. If you invest around $ 6,700 with other manufacturers, you get very similar hardware.
The special sauce here is the professionally constructed housing and the internal layout. In this regard, there really isn't a better alternative if you don't mind the size of the Area 51.
How long it will take?
The construction of the Alienware Area-51 R5 is incredibly robust. You will notice that you are pulling it out of the shipping box for the first time. Its size and weight give confidence that this desktop can hold everything you can throw at it. Because of the internal design and the ease with which you can perform routine maintenance, you may do it more often, which can absolutely extend the life of the hardware inside.
If you've gone all-in and bought an Area-51 R5 with technical data similar to our review unit, you can say with confidence that you've been in good hands for at least four to five years – probably longer. The hardware of our test device was incredibly powerful and absolutely offers the performance scope to withstand ever more demanding software – and games.
The Area-51 R5 offers a standard one year warranty. However, you can purchase additional support from Dell for up to five years if you don't mind spending another $ 813. The standard guarantee isn't bad, it's what we expect from most manufacturers. But it's far from what you get from Falcon Northwest with its overnight service and three-year warranty.
Should you buy it
Yes. If you are in the market for a desktop PC and need something with incredibly powerful hardware and a unique interior and exterior design, you should definitely buy the Alienware Area-51 R5.
Even if you downsize the hardware to a configuration that's a little more reasonable for medium-range games, the Area-51 R5 is a good choice. The design is definitely a little out there, but it grows on you and it never feels like Alienware sacrificed the function for the shape. The case is as striking as it is functional and would serve you well regardless of the hardware it contains.