The Alienware brand has always gone hardcore for gaming and with the growing demand for portability, the concept of a “desktop replacement” for gaming PC has been thrown around. The Alienware just blown that concept out of the water with their new Area 51m.
As mentioned in the title, what makes the Area 51m unique and a true ‘desktop replacement’ is the fact that you can open up the laptop and upgrade its components - a major innovation in gaming laptops.
Indeed looking like something that came out of Area 51, the Area 51m looks sleek with a combination of rounded-off sides and angular edges - add in the 17-inch display with some pretty thin bezels and you got the makings of a sexy laptop.
The display even comes with several options: 60Hz; G-SYNC at 60Hz; 144Hz with Tobii eye tracking; 144Hz with G-SYNC; or 144Hz with both of those features. However, these options are restricted to 1080p - no news on 4K panels yet. At around 3.8kg, the Area 51m is not the lightest laptop - their own m17 weighs in at around 2.5kg which is pretty light for a 17-inch device. But this bulk comes with the flexibility for customisation that is unimaginable even when thinking back to last year.
Once the bottom panel is removed, the Area 51m's motherboard is that of a desktop's so the CPU, graphics card, RAM are all easily accessible. It even runs Intel’s high-end Z390 chipset to support future CPUs.
The storage potential is like a desktop’s too, going up to two 1TB m.2 SSDs, and up to a 1TB 2.5-inch hybrid drive. You don’t even have to worry about ports - it has three USB 3.1 connections, a USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, a 2.5Gbps Ethernet jack, a miniDisplayport, and HDMI 2.0, plus Alienware's Graphics Amplifier port for an optional external GPU.
The Alienware Area 51m is such a beast that it comes with two power adapters - connect one for every other activities but you’ll need to connect the second one to power the GPU. It carries up to a 90Wh battery but conspicuously, no details on battery life. I don’t think it’ll run for long on battery but I don’t expect it to.
So, “what would something like this cost?”, you might ask. Well, it starts off at around $2,549 (MYR10,489) at launch on January 29th. Dell has said lower-priced configurations will be available but the prospect of an upgradable gaming laptop itself will probably still cost a pretty penny.