Further reading: Hands-on with Alienware's Alpha: PC gaming in the living room just got serious
No, but seriously, getting to a normal PC's rear I/O panel is a nightmare. The Area-51, by contrast, just tilts away from the wall. You grab onto the top handle and pull forward, rotating it up onto one of its corners and allowing easy access to the rear. As an added benefit, the sloped front panel is also easier to plug into than a traditional vertical panel.
Fans pull in air from the front-bottom of the machine and jet up and out the rear-top. Due to the triangular shape you can place the machine up against the wall and still have it vent out adequately. There's no need to jockey it an inch or two away from the wall to ensure heat dissipation
Is anyone considering heat dissipation or access to their computer's rear panel when purchasing a case? Probably not, because big rectangular boxes are the standard. But it's things like the reborn Area-51 and Razer's audacious Project Christine concept that make me think we're just complacent. Maybe there are things we could be doing better, even after approximately three decades of computer hardware looking somewhat the same.
And what better to accompany this oddly-shaped computer than the first-ever 34-inch curved monitor — another new product from Dell, Alienware's parent company, featuring a 21x9 aspect ratio and a 3440x1440 resolution.
The Area-51 is certainly one of the oddest computer designs in recent memory, and befitting of its name. Whether the thing packs the performance you'd expect from its (undoubtedly expensive) price tag, we'll have to wait until units start shipping in October to know. If you're in Seattle for PAX this weekend, however, you can swing by Alienware's booth and check it out.
We'll let you know more details (price, shipping date, et cetera) when we have them.
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