Alienware Updates X51 Desktop, Gaming Laptops and First G-Sync Monitor

Posted by at 12:31 pm on August 27, 2015

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Recently, Alienware brought back its massive Alienware 18 gaming laptop. Little did we know, it was the opening salvo for more news, as the company is presenting four updated systems, as well as two new monitors, at PAX Prime in Seattle.

On the desktop front, the company has a new version of the Alienware X51. At the top of the list of changes is Intel’s Skylake CPU, specifically the Core i5-6600K (overclocked to 4.3 GHz) and the Core i7-6700K (overclocked to 4.7 GHz) as the two options. (Our review of both CPUs is here.) For graphics, the previous high-end GPU for the X51 was Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 760 Ti. Now, the new top dog for the desktop is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960.

Even with the GTX 960, the computer’s slim design allows for only one GPU. However, there is room for expansion in the form of the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. Introduced at CES earlier this year, the $199 device allows users to use a more powerful GPU, all the way to the Titan X, to power the desktop display, ensuring 4K gameplay. Initially, it was only supposed to work with the company’s laptop lineup, but it seems that Alienware had a change of heart and is now bringing it to the desktop level in order to satisfy those who want to have a game with better visual qualities to complement the high-end CPU.

Speaking of the processor, cooling it can be a challenge because the X51’s dimensions make it difficult to fit any conventional liquid cooler for the small form-factor design. However, the company figured out a way to create a liquid cooler that would fit inside the chassis. The cooler is an optional purchase.

Rounding out the X51’s upgrades include the switch to DDR4 memory, options for PCIe SSD storage and the addition of USB 3.1. The full specs are listed below:

Dell X15 Desktop Standard Optional
CPU Intel Core-i5 6600K (4.3 GHz overlocked) Intel Core-i7 6700K (4.4 GHz overclocked)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 745 (4 GB GDDR3) AMD Radeon R9 370 (4 GB GDDR5) or Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 (2 GB GDDR5)
RAM 8 GB DDR4 (2133 MHz) 16 GB DDR4 (2133 MHz)
Storage 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD (7200 RPM) 2 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD (7200 RPM), 256 GB PCIe SSD + 2 TB HDD or 512 GB PCIe SSD + 2 TB HDD
Connectivity Integrated 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Intel 3165 1×1 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless LAN and Bluetooth Intel 7265 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless LAN and Bluetooth
I/O Front: 2x USB 3.0, 1x mic in, 1x mic out; Rear: 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 3.1, 1x Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, 1x front speaker input, 1x side speaker input, 1x center/subwoofer speaker input N/A
Operating System N/A Windows 8.1 (64-bit), 8.1 Pro (64-bit), 10 (64-bit), 10 Pro (64-bit)

Staying Current

Along with the Alienware 18 gaming laptop, the 13, 15 and 17 variants were also updated. In fact, the company considers this latest batch more of a refresh instead of an update, with the biggest reason being the many changes made to these laptops compared to last year. The most notable of those is its new Dynamic Overclocking system.

This new feature allows the computer to constantly monitor the internal temperature and load of the laptop. Based on that information, it will automatically adjust the clock speeds on the CPU, GPU or both to ensure the best performance at all times, as long as the temperatures are within a specified safe range. Further good news for enthusiasts is that you can easily override the Dynamic Overclocking and manually overclock the CPU and GPU.

 

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As originally intended, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier will continue to work with all three laptops. In addition, the Alienware 15 will be the first laptop in the market to include a new GPU option — the AMD Radeon R9 M395X (4 GB GDDR5).

The display options were also upgraded for up to 4K resolution. On the Alienware 13, options start with the same old TN panel at 1080p HD; however, you can upgrade to a full HD IPS display or even a QHD+ resolution with an IGZO panel. The IGZO technology allows for higher resolutions with the added benefit of lower power consumption. Neither the Alienware 15 nor the 17 have the touch panels any longer (Alienware indicated that customers just aren’t interested in touchscreens on these gaming machines), yet configurations still start with a full HD IPS panel. You can opt to upgrade to a 4K IGZO display if you prefer, though. The 4K option will be available later on for the Alienware 15, specifically during the 2015 holiday season. For the Alienware 17, the 4K upgrade is a first for the model.

Just like the X51, the laptops support new PCIe SSD storage options. It’s also taking advantage of new ports such as USB Type-C with USB 3.1 (it’s important to note that this USB Type-C port doesn’t support charging) as well as Thunderbolt 3. The company also removed the Mini DisplayPort in favor of HDMI 2.0 ports. Full specs for the new models are below:

Alienware 13 Standard Optional
CPU Intel Core i5-5200U (Dual-Core, 2.7 GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-5500U (Dual-Core, 3.0 GHz Turbo)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (2 GB GDDR5) N/A
RAM 8 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz) 12 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz) or 16 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz)
Storage 500 GB SATA 6 Gb/s Hybrid SSD (5400 RPM) 256 GB PCIe SSD, 512 GB PCIe SSD, 256 GB PCIe SSD + 128 GB mSATA SSD or 512 GB PCIe SSD + 128 GB mSATA SSD
Connectivity Killer Networks e2400 Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 N/A
I/O 1x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C port (supports USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3), 1x Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, 1x HDMI 2.0 port, 1x audio out port (0.125-inch, compatible with in-line mic headset), 1x headphone port (0.125-inch, retaskable for microphone/line-in analog audio output), 1x noble lock port (cable and lock sold separately) N/A
Operating System N/A Windows 8.1 (64-bit), 8.1 Pro (64-bit), 10 (64-bit) or 10 Pro (64-bit)
Display 13.3-inch HD (1366 x 768) TN Anti-Glare 200-nits 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 220-nits or 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IGZO IPS TrueLife 400-nits with Touch
Camera Full HD 2MP camera with dual digital microphones N/A
Alienware 15 Standard Optional
CPU Intel Core i5-4210H (Dual-Core, 3.5 GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-4720HQ (Quad-Core, 3.6 GHz Turbo) or Intel Core i7-4870HQ (Quad-Core, 3.7 GHz Turbo)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (3 GB GDDR5), Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4 GB GDDR5) or AMD Radeon R9 M395X (4 GB GDDR5) N/A
RAM 8 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz) 12 GB DDR4 (2133 MHz) or 16 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz)
Storage 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD (7200 RPM) 256 GB PCIe SSD + 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD, 512 GB PCIe SSD + 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD or 1 TB PCIe SSD + 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s SSD
Connectivity Killer Networks e2400 Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 N/A
I/O 1x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port, 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C port (supports USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3), 1x Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, 1x HDMI (2.0 for Nvidia GPUs, 1.4 for AMD GPU) port, 1x 3-in-1 media card reader, 1x audio out port (0.125-inch, compatible with in-line mic headset), 1x headphone port (0.125-inch, retaskable for microphone/line-in analog audio output) and 1x noble lock port (cable and lock sold separately) N/A
Operating System N/A Windows 8.1 (64-bit), 8.1 Pro (64-bit), 10 (64-bit) or 10 Pro (64-bit)
Display 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 220-nits N/A
Camera FullHD 2MP Camera with dual digital microphones N/A
Alienware 17 Standard Optional
CPU Intel Core i7-4720HQ (Quad-Core, 3.6 GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-4870HQ (Quad-Core, 3.7 GHz Turbo)
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M (3 GB GDDR5) Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M (4 GB GDDR5)
RAM 8 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz) 12 GB DDR4 (2133 MHz) or 16 GB DDR3L (1600 MHz)
Storage 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD (7200 RPM) 256 GB PCIe SSD + 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD, 512 GB PCIe SSD + 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD or 1 TB PCIe SSD + 1 TB SATA 6 Gb/s HDD
Connectivity Killer Networks e2400 Gigabit Ethernet NIC and Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 N/A
I/O 1x RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port, 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C port (supports USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3), 1x Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, 1x HDMI (2.0 for Nvidia GPUs, 1.4 for AMD GPU) port, 1x 3-in-1 media card reader, 1x audio out port (0.125-inch, compatible with in-line mic headset), 1x headphone port (0.125-inch, retaskable for microphone/line-in analog audio output) and 1x noble lock port (cable and lock sold separately) N/A
Operating System N/A Windows 8.1 (64-bit), 8.1 Pro (64-bit), 10 (64-bit) or 10 Pro (64-bit)
Display 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits 17.3-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) IGZO IPS Anti-Glare 400-nits
Camera FullHD 2MP Camera with dual digital microphones N/A

Improving Visuals

The list of G-Sync supported monitors is slim, with only Acer, AOC, BenQ and Philips manufacturing monitors with Nvidia’s new technology, but Dell is now joining that group with a 27-inch S2716DG monitor. It features a 144 Hz refresh rate and a response time of 1ms. Details are slim on the number of ports available, but we do know that it includes DisplayPort 1.2 as well as HDMI, so you can plug in your computer as well as a gaming console.

Although it isn’t specifically designed for gaming, the company also made its first 27-inch curved monitor. The SE2716H has a thin, 7.7 mm bezel on the sides and a 14.6 mm bezel at the bottom of the screen. It also supports integrated audio in the form of two 9 W speakers.

One For Now, One For Later

For those looking to get a new desktop or laptop, the good news is that the X51 as well as the Alienware laptops are all available now. In addition, they all support the new Windows 10 operating system straight out of the box. The X51 starts at $1,099, but prices for the laptops are still unknown.

Unfortunately, the monitors won’t be available immediately, either. The SE2716H curved monitor will come in a few weeks (on September 15) for $399.99, and the G-Sync S2716DG monitor arrives the following month, on October 20, for $799.99.

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