Alienware Reveals New Area-51 Designby Brett Howse on August 29, 2014 6:30 PM EST
In what has to be one of the most unique designs ever, Alienware announced the revamped Area-51 model which features a triad-designed chassis. True to their name, Alienware has always had a desktop case that appeared to be from another world, but the new triad version is the most interesting yet in my opinion.
According to Alienware, the design of the case is for both thermal management, and ergonomics. Though we will need to wait for reviews to see how they accomplished both, looking at the angled front of the case does make it seem easier to use if the tower is on the floor like my own PC, but with a case so unique, you may want to keep it on your desk just to admire it. Another ergonomic improvement is the case is designed to be pivoted forward to allow easier access to the rear connections, which might work quite well. The case is also designed to be easy to get into for system upgrades in the future.
The second goal, according to Alieware, is thermal management, and here we will just have to wait and see how it performs. The claim is that the larger area at the rear makes it easier for hot air to escape. Internal cable management is also claimed to not impede airflow any more than necessary, but any system with the cost of an Alienware should have good cable management anyway.
The unique shape of the case also does not get in the way when it comes to graphics card installation, with the new Area-51 supporting up to three full-length double-wide GPUs, or up to quad-GPUs assuming smaller cards are obtained. According to the manufacturer, this new Area-51 can then support up to three Ultra HD (4K) monitors for a very immersive experience and an overall resolution of 11520x2160.
The announcement today of the Area-51 was no accident, with the new model featuring the Haswell-E processor with up to 8 cores, and the X99 chipset, both which were just revealed today. Other notable features is support for up to 32 GB of RAM, a 1500 watt power supply, both SSD and HDD, plus 802.11ac wireless.
Finally, on the software end, the Area-51 comes with Command Center 4.0 which allows both overclocking and customization of the case lighting with up to twenty colors in nine zones to make the device your own. I used to own an Alienware M11x R2, and I have to admit one of the coolest things about it was being able to customize the color layout of the keyboard and other lights, and you can also have per-user customizations so that everyone has their own.
Pricing and availability are not yet known, with the system only as “Coming Soon” so if you are in the market for an OEM gaming system, be sure to check this one out.
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coburn_c - Friday, August 29, 2014 - linkLooks like a lot of wasted space, in the case and on the desk.
Iconoclysm - Friday, August 29, 2014 - linkAgreed. After all the shit Apple gets for their "trash can", it's really funny what passes as case design "innovation" in the traditional desktop world.
SleepyFE - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkThe word innovation is not used in this article. They improved ergonomics and thermal management. No innovation, just improvement. And you can still play with the insides.
curtwagner - Monday, December 8, 2014 - linkThere are a number of higher rated desktop, I recommend seeing http://www.topreport.org/desktop/ among others.
ddriver - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkThe layout is actually surprisingly good, apple's trash can requires custom components whereas this works with stock gear. And I can only assume the "wasted space" can actually host several HDDs, so it is all good.
akdj - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkMac Pro isn't using 'custom components'. Other than re branded GPUs ...arguably also able to be changed out, RAM, storage and even the CPU is possible to change out. For it's very unique design, the new MP surprisingly at ifixit is well 'customizable' post purchase. 7 or 8/10 the score, when compared the the new OSx laptops or iOS tabs and phones, as well as the latest iMac I think the new MP is about as customizable as we've seen since it's original. m2 storage is becoming more ubiquitous. Thunderbolt kicks ass, and I'm able to do much more with my '13 MP than our '09 $ '10 towers with it's extensive I/O options and the ability to toy with it when those FirePro cards continue to evolve, the CPU is unadapted or faster, higher density storage is necessary. With USB 3 and TBolt 2, hard to see the advantage other than specific to gaming ...and expense wise, I'll bet we get pretty close $/$. Wasted space is more likely due to thermal management. Not filling with HDDs
lmcd - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkYou're telling me the Mac Pro accepts any aftermarket motherboard, or any aftermarket GPU, or any height RAM, or any CPU cooler within tolerance, or...
See? Custom components.
Samus - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkIt just looks like wasted space because the hard disk cage is removed from behind the video cards. It's actually a very compact case when you consider it can do triple SLI and properly cool all of that. It's also very clever how they designed the front "face" to mount a 360mm radiator behind, excellent if liquid cooling 3 video cards.
The whole case is reminiscent of the Silverstone FT03 with its angled fans, right-side-up motherboard (although not completely up, this is 30') and liquid-cooling-oriented layout. Even the stock radiator is 38mm thick, not the more common 27mm.
I don't really get why people are 'trashing' this thing. How would you design it better? In case you all haven't noticed, typical box cases are terrible at cooling. You need positive pressure, baffles, directed airflow, and a "heat rises" design; all simple thermodynamic concepts that about 95% of all PC cases STILL ignore.
SleepyFE - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - linkThey tried positive pressure in the old days (can't remember where i read that) and it didn't work. Too much hot air remained inside the case. What should be done is an external fan and cooler with only tubes for water cooling piercing the closed case where all the electronics are.
Samus - Monday, September 1, 2014 - linkI tried a "sealed" case once with an old Enlight chassis. Used an external tower radiator and cooled the northbridge, CPU and video card with waterblocks.
The problem was the VRM's, hard disks, and various other components (such as the passive-cooled 450-watt PSU) still got too hot under load, especially when gaming. The hard disks would easily hit 50c over time.
There needs to be an air exchange in a performance PC, even if water cooled. I tried everything, even moving the pump outside of the case. I couldn't do anything to get the hard disks cool, and water cooling them was out of the question because there were 3 of them.
Single-chip PC's like those in kiosks can be passively cooled because of their inherent design (only 1 or 2 components generate heat (CPU and VRM's) since there is no discrete GPU, the PSU is external, and the storage is usually a low power or low RPM SSD/HDD.
I don't think we'll ever see a reliable passively cooled PC with a powerful GPU.