In the recent years a number of PC makers have introduced desktop replacement-class notebooks with processors originally developed for desktops. Meanwhile, large OEMs tend to be more conservative and kept using mobile CPUs for their high-end laptops. However, there is a first time for everything and this month Dell’s Alienware announced its first DTR notebook featuring Intel’s desktop six-core and eight-core processors. In fact, the Area-51m was specifically designed to offer high-end performance with few (if any) compromises.

Being a DTR machine, the Alienware Area-51m does away with any notion of "small." This starts with the screen, which is based around a 17.3-inch IPS display panel featuring a Full-HD resolution, 300 nits max brightness, as well as a 60 Hz or 144 Hz refresh rates. Dell is even offering models with G-Sync variable refresh functionality, depending on the exact SKU (see the table below for details), and higher-end versions of the Area-51m displays also feature Tobii eye-tracking. Past that, since many DTRs are used with external monitors, Dell did not necessarily need to equip its flagship gaming notebook with an Ultra HD LCD, especially given the challenges in driving that kind of a resolution in many games.

 

As noted, Dell’s Alienware Area-51m R1 is based on Intel’s LGA1151 Core i7/i9 processor with six or eight cores as well as Intel’s Z390 chipset. On the graphics hardware side of things, the system is equipped with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060/2070/2080 graphics adapters in Dell’s proprietary form-factor, so while the graphics adapter can technically be upgraded, right now at least it can only be switched by the manufacturer itself.

To cool down the CPU and GPU, Dell uses its proprietary Cryo-Tech v2.0 cooling systems comprising of two fans featuring two intake and two exhausts as well as eight thick copper-composite heat pipes (four for the CPU and four for the GPU).

The system has four DDR4 SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory. As for storage, the Area-51m can work with up to three M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 drives as well as a 2.5-inch HDD/SSD. So, depending on the exact model, the notebook can use one, two, or three storage devices.

As for connectivity, the Alienware Area-51m offers similar options as other notebooks from the brand. The laptop is equipped with a Killer Wireless 1550 2x2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 controller, a Realtek-enabled 2.5 GbE jack, one Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C port, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two display outputs (mini DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0), 3.5-mm audio jacks, and an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port for proprietary external graphics solutions. The notebook also features an RGB-backlit keyboard with a numpad and a 2.2 mm travel distance, a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, and a microphone array.

Traditionally for Alienware laptops, they come in a very stylized chassis featuring a futuristic design. The Area-51m will come in Lunar Light as well as Dark Side of the Moon colors schemes, with both enclosures outfitted with an AlienFX customizable RGB lighting (power button, alien head, infinite loop in the back).

Being a DTR laptop, the Area-51m is not intended be lightweight and portable, so Dell comes in heavy at 3.87 kilograms (8.54 pounds), which despite the weight is actually lighter than some other machines of this class. The laptop is also up to 42 mm thick, considerably thinner than some of its rivals. And despite the (relatively) thin profile, the Area-51m still packs a 90 Wh battery; though Dell isn't specifying just how long the laptop will actually last on a charge. Also of note: due to the sheer power requirements of the high-end laptop, Dell is actually splitting up its power consumption over two power adapters. Modest models will come with two 180 W PSUs, whereas high-end configurations will come with a 180 W PSU and a 330 W PSU.

General Specifications of Dell's Alienware Area-51m
  Area-51m
1080p 60 Hz
Area-51m
1080p 60 Hz G-Sync
Area-51m
1080p 144 Hz Tobii
Area-51m
1080p 144 Hz G-Sync + Tobii
Display Type  IPS
Resolution 1920×1080
Brightness 300 cd/m²
Color Gamut 72% NTSC (?)
Refresh Rate 60 Hz 144 Hz
CPU Intel Core i7-8700 - 6C/12T, 3.2 - 3.6 GHz, 12 MB cache, 65 W
Intel Core i7-9700K - 8C/8T, 3.6 - 4.9 GHz, 12 MB cache, 95 W
Intel Core i9-9900K - 8C/16T, 3.6 - 5.0 GHz, 16 MB cache, 95 W
Graphics Integrated UHD Graphics 620 (24 EUs)
Discrete NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 with 8 GB GDDR6
RAM 8 GB single-channel DDR4-2400
16 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400
32 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400
64 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400
Storage Single Drive 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD
512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD
1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD
1 TB HDD with 8 GB NAND cache
Dual Drive 128 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive
256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive
512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive
1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive
116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive
256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD
512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD
116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 116 GB Intel Optane SSD
  Triple Drive 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive
512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive
1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive
116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive
Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Killer Wireless 1550 2x2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0
Thunderbolt 1 × USB Type-C TB3 port
USB 3 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × Mini DisplayPort 1.4
1 × HDMI 2.0
GbE Realtek 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller
Webcam 720p webcam
Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, audio jacks, trackpad, Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, etc.
Battery 90 Wh
PSU 180 W + 180 W
180 W + 240 W
180 W + 330 W
Dimensions Thickness 27.65 mm | 1.09 inch ~ 42 mm | 1.7 inch
Width 410 mm | 16.1 inch
Depth 402.6 mm | 15.85 inch
Weight (average) 3.87 kilograms | 8.54 lbs
Operating System Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro

The Alienware Area-51m DTR laptops are now available for pre-order and will ship later this month. The standard configurations cost from $2,520 to $4,220, but builds with all the bells and whistles will cost well beyond $5,000.

Related Reading:

Source: Dell

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  • DanNeely - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Lucky for you, an 8-10 year old used dell latitude can be had for under $200. You'll have to settle for upgrading to SATA SSDs; but you can probably find an adapter to put a second in the CDROM bay. Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    There actually is a Latitude with a SATA drive bay in the CD-ROM slot sitting around my place. It's got a mechanical drive in it at the moment as the capacity I wanted wasn't cost-effective to acquire at the time I was out shopping for parts to partly turn it into a file repository. If SATA SSDs around 1TB land close to $50 before I get bored with that laptop and buy some other used toy, I might get around to doing a drive swap, though at that point I'd probably just replace the primary 250GB SSD and consolidate on a single drive so I can unplug the USB ROM that I'm currently using to rip my movie collection. Reply
  • HStewart - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    I purchase a adapter for ssd on my ThinkPad for work- I did so the Virtual Machine(s) would be on - works quite well. Reply
  • npz - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    I bet any lengthy benchmark shows it performing less than the desktop counterparts. We already saw Anandtech's test of the 9900k when it's limited to the rated TDP--a very different result than the default settings enthusiasts mobos let loose with by default.

    And it's going to be limited since there's no way a 4 heatpipe with less fin area and less airflow per cpu and per gpu can dissipate as much heat as desktops
    Reply
  • Opencg - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Yes you are probably right. These systems almost always end up being below their desktop counterparts. At least the power system seems to be up to par though this time. In the past hardcore users have done liquid metal mods and had good success with cooling. If you spend the time and have the skill you might be better off for the work they did with the socketed cpu and power system this time around. But I wouldn't expect that to be the case until people confirm it on forums. Reply
  • tygrus - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    The 180w + 330w, would be like a hairdryer with a ball&chain attached. Reply
  • nerd1 - Friday, January 18, 2019 - link

    Alienware laptops are pretty terrible in terms of cooling.. how will this compare to more mature Clevo offerings? Reply
  • shatteredx - Saturday, January 19, 2019 - link

    Yeah, a head-to-head review vs. Clevo would be great. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Monday, January 21, 2019 - link

    Well they at least they finally went to a 4 screw cpu cooler mount instead of the horrible 3 screw version that applies uneven pressure on the cpu that caused cores to run at different temps... Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Monday, January 21, 2019 - link

    When they offer a screen greater than 1080p, I reckon I'm sold. Reply

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