Back in February, Alienware had launched the Alienware X51. Unlike most Alienware systems, the X51 is pretty sleek. Dell had invited couple of bloggers to experience the X51. I took upon this opportunity to take a look at, play with and rip apart the X51. Some background: I’ve never truly liked any of the Alienware systems – be it laptops or desktops. I found them too bulky, too loud and simply not practical to be called as laptops or desktops. I’ve mentioned this during the last Gadgetize meet that was conducted in Bangalore, which had the Alienware in focus. The Alienware X51, however, is quite different from the existing Alienware systems. For starters, it is actually quite reasonably priced. For a starting price of Rs 49,990 – you get a Core i5, 4GB of RAM, a 7200 RPM 1TB HDD system which comes with the GeForce GT 545. Now, I know you’d probably go on rant about how you can assemble a system with better specs and at a lesser price. True, but, I suppose with Alienware comes the bragging rights. And with the X51, you get an insanely sleek system.
When I opened the X51 case, I realized that Alienware needed to apply some techniques you would see in a laptop, onto a desktop class system. The case & insides don’t comprise of a tool-less design. However, the X51 requires just a single screw to be removed to give you access to the inside. The first thing that hits you when you open the case is the complete lack of a Power Supply Unit. Power Supply Units, or PSU/SMPS as it’s commonly known as, is one of the most critical components of a computer, responsible for ensuring that all components in your computer get clean ripple-free, power. Modern PSUs are quite heavy, noisy & generate quite a lot of heat, as a result of which, they require some heavy duty ventilation. With the PSU no longer in the system, Alienware’s managed to shrink down the case size to slim levels without having to sacrifice ventilation
Instead of the PSU, an external power brick, much like the ones you see in laptops, powers the X51. Outsourcing of the PSU was not the only space cutting measure – since the X51 is so thin, there’s enough space for only a single hard drive, an optical drive and 2 RAM slots. Both these result in a severely gimped system, when it comes to expansion capabilities. For a system which announces itself to be blazing fast, the presence of a mechanical hard disk with no scope for a SSD(unless you swap out the hard disk) means that the I/O capabilities of the X51 are severely hampered.
Mr. Sriram Gopalaswamy, the Brand Manager, Alienware India were present during the unveiling of the X51. I spoke to him about the X51 launch and about my reservations on the X51
- The external power adapter for the X51 which makes it almost it a pain for future expansion
- Lack of expansion options in terms of additional hard drives /SSDs & RAM slots
Sriram remarked that these tradeoffs were necessary to achieve X51’s form factor & adding in a SSD would make the X51 significantly more expensive. When asked about timelines on the delivery of the X51, Sriram mentioned that they’re aiming for a 1-week turnaround time for the entire process – from the ordering to the shipment.
The Alienware X51 can be configured and ordered online as well as at Dell Exclusive Stores.
My apologies for the poor quality of the images – the lighting conditions were not suitable for camera phone photography.