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Alienware's Area-51 gaming desktop reborn as a powerful Haswell-E-packing triangle

Hayden Dingman | Sept. 1, 2014
The first thing you notice about Alienware's new Area-51 refresh is that it's a freakin' triangle. Yeah, you heard me right--Alienware is bringing its Area-51 desktop line back from the dead, and the thing is shaped like a triangle. Pythagoras would be proud.

The first thing you notice about Alienware's new Area-51 refresh is that it's a freakin' triangle. Yeah, you heard me right — Alienware is bringing its Area-51 desktop line back from the dead, and the thing is shaped like a triangle. Pythagoras would be proud.

But let's talk the interior first. Underneath the hood, the 2014 incarnation of the Area-51 is a beastly machine. Alienware's announcement matches up with some other news you might've read this morning — Intel's new high-performance Haswell-E Core processors. The Area-51 has them, with both six- and eight-core Intel Haswell-E processors available. While many games still use only one or two cores and Intel's four cores have been the standard for PCs in recent years, we can expect that to change now that both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are eight-core machines.

On top of that, the new Area-51 features up to 32GB of top-of-the-line DDR4 memory and support for up to three Nvidia or AMD video cards. We haven't run any official benchmarks yet of course, having had only brief hands-on time with the Area 51 earlier this month in San Francisco. However, from the specs alone I can guarantee this is one powerful machine.

The system also features some standard high-end rig commodities: liquid cooling, nine different programmable lighting zones, and factory overclocking. The interior is surprisingly roomy, giving you plenty of room to upgrade components later (though you probably won't need to for a long while). You also get an updated Alienware Command Center, used to both monitor temperatures and adjust overclock settings, voltages, and the like. It's a relatively sleek presentation of something that's typically intimidating to non-enthusiasts.

About those angles...

But back to my first point — it's a for-the-love-of-all-things-holy triangle. I mean, not entirely. There are those little cut-outs at each angle which I guess makes it an awkwardly-shaped hexagon. Let's not lie to ourselves, though. This is a triangular computer.

I can hear you now: "Are you insane, Alienware? A triangle computer? What, are you too good for rectangles? Four sides just not aerodynamic for you to reach top speed on the Information Superhighway?"

After the initial shock wears off, however, it actually seems like a really cool design. Maybe.

There's a ritual in my apartment. It happens every day. Some USB device (I'm not even going to bother trying to pick one) needs to be plugged in, but my two front ports are occupied. I need to crawl under my desk, wonder why I don't sweep under my desk more often, pull my computer away from the wall, search for an open port, find the cable again, and then plug my clearly-made-up-for-this-example device in.

 

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