Alienware Area 51M
Meta-review: Editors were generally very positive about the exceptional performance offered by the Area 51M, but less ecstatic regarding the high cost of the system.
Alienware Area 51M Prices
There has long been a trend towards thinner and lighter gaming laptops, but there are a few that go against the grain and take a step back to the more conventional desktop replacement form factor. Dell’s Alienware Area 51M is clearly one – this laptop even reuses an old Alienware model name. Its components are all-new, however, and faster than all thin-and-light competitors.
Alienware Area 51M Configurations
Since Alienware is a Dell brand, you have a lot of freedom to configure your own Area 51M on the manufacturer’s website. The alternatives for this 17.3-inch laptop stand out in a few ways, not least by using desktop processors that are allowed to use their full 95W TDP – and more, because you can overclock them. Other high-end gaming laptops usually settle for 45W non-overclockable Intel CPUs. In the 2019 edition of the Area 51M, you get to choose between a range of 9th-gen Intel Core CPUs, all the way up to the desktop Core i9-9900K, which reaches 5.0 GHz even at the standard clock rate.
As for the more important (for gaming) graphics card, your options are all Nvidia GeForce RTX cards, including the RTX 2060, RTX 2070 and RTX 2080. These are the more desktop-like versions of the GPUs and not the power-optimized Max-Q design editions.
The entry-level, pre-configured Area 51M ships with only 8 GB of system RAM, but it can be upgraded to 64 GB. Four user-accessible DIMM slots are available but unlike the competing MSI GT75 Titan 9SX, it won’t let you install 128 GB. Dell offers storage configurations that use dual M.2 PCI Express SSDs in RAID0 to achieve extreme speeds. The dual M.2 drives can be complemented with a standard 2.5″ hard drive (or SSD) for additional capacity.
Multiple display options are also available. No 4K panels were available at the time of writing, but a range of 1080p IPS panels, with or without G-Sync or Tobii eye tracking.
Alienware Area 51M Performance
Thanks to its desktop components and more full-featured GPUs, the Area 51M offers better performance than most gaming laptops on the market.
The above table is based on a range of user-submitted benchmarks and is usually representative of the laptop segment. However, the Area 51M is at the upper end of the scale and the higher-end configurations will be closer to desktop-level performance.
Another stand-out feature of the Area 51M is that it’s modular and user-upgradeable. The CPU is socketed and can be exchanged for any other processor that is compatible with the socket. To upgrade the graphics card, however, you will have to use proprietary DGFF (Dell Graphics Form Factor) modules. The 51M also includes an Alienware TactX keyboard with anti-ghosting and per-key RGB backlighting.
HotHardware (Core i9-9900K, RTX 2080)
… we can say for sure that the Alienware Area-51m can literally go toe-to-toe with many high-end gaming desktop configurations. This machine almost defies the laws of physics as it infiltrates game engines and shatters frame rate limits.
Notebookcheck (Core i9-9900K, RTX 2080)
… as a successor to the Alienware 17, it hits all the right notes to be a strong desktop replacement.
Engadget (Core i9-9900K, RTX 2080)
MobileTechReview (Core i9-9900K, RTX 2080)
- Desktop-level performance
- Modular and upgradeable
- Acceptable noise level and thermals
- Very expensive
- Requires two AC adapters
Specification: Alienware Area 51M