Wondering about the Alienware X51, thoughts and suggestions?

#1 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

I'm in the market for a new PC because sim city, plus I have some extra cash. I really want to avoid a huge custom case and noise.

According to this review is decent but a little weak on the performance side: Alienware X51 review, The verge.

Is there any users of the X51, would you recommend it?

#2 Posted by Mirado (993 posts) -

I'm going to be the first one to say: build your own PC. You can make it tiny, quiet, more powerful and cheaper. You can customize and modify all the parameters to your needs. I built this:

Which holds 18TB of HDDs, runs whisper quiet and is about the size of a shoebox. If I can come up with that, you can easily make a quieter, better running and cheaper version of that Alienware PC.

#4 Posted by RawknRo11a (564 posts) -

yea, you can build something just as quiet and powerful as an Alienware for ALOT less than the cost of an Alienware.

#5 Posted by Poppduder (460 posts) -

I really think you can do better. Give me a little while, when I'm not so preoccupied I'll do a bit of research for you. Is the small form very important, are you completely against putting it together yourself?

#6 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@mirado: Thats a pretty sleek case duder, mind If I ask you the model? also what about the noise?

@poppduder: Hey thanks! I have done the job of putting my own PC together a couple of times before.. last time was 3-4 years ago, It was around the time i7 was a brand new thing.

Its kind of confusing because apparently you don't need more than a current i5 for a gaming PC, which seems weird to me, so after 4 years i7 is still like "the high end processor" are x86 really that stagnated? Also apparently AMD is no longer a thing, is that it?

I'm having the same issue with Nvidia vid cards, they all seem to be in the range of the GT700 something and GT600 something, which last time I built my own PC were about the same.

Sorry If I'm being to lazy, I don't mind doing my own research, I just want like general bullet points and which direction to take. My budgets is $1000, I have a screen and peripherals already.

#7 Posted by Mirado (993 posts) -

@donpixel: Node 304 from Fractal. Whisper quiet, as in "I don't hear it and it's two feet away from me, on top of my desk." Keep in mind that it's a small form factor case; you cannot fit your standard ATX boards in there (I'm running a mini-ITX mobo). It'll accommodate standard graphics cards but I wouldn't expect to shove a GTX 690 in there or anything like that; I don't have one in there at all as it's just a NASbox mini-server thing.

You don't need more than an i5 for gaming because i7s just bring Hyper Threading to the party, which gaming rigs don't have much use for. Sure, their clockspeeds are higher but in the end a nice quad core i5 won't bottleneck you at all. The new generation of Intel CPUs run faster and cooler than the older i-series that you are used to; they changed the model numbers (2xxx or 3xxx vs 8/9xx) but not the branding (so still i3, i5, etc). AMD is indeed totally out of the race; their parts don't have the price/performance ratio that they used to and as such there isn't any reason to avoid buying Intel anymore.

I'm out at the moment so I can't put a whole build together, but here's my recommendations; grab an i5 from intel, a mobo that supports it (nothing more than $200 as the super high end boards don't really bring much extra performance to the table), your choice of GPU (GTX 670 or so from nVidia or 7xxx from AMD), 8-16GB of RAM, and about a 700W PSU rated 80 PLUS Bronze or better. If you slap a list together and post it here, we'll gloss over it and make suggestions.

#8 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@mirado: 10-FOUR, thank dude! I can work with that info now.

#9 Posted by Ben_H (3366 posts) -

@mirado: I am seriously considering that form factor for my next build in a year or so. My current machine seems so needlessly large.

#10 Posted by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

I own one. Got an i7, 660 GTX, and 8 gigs ram.

I love it. In the military I can't have a crazy tower case and this is way more easier to take around. You travel a lot?

It's well worth it.

#11 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@kaosangel: That looks pretty badass! I don't travel a lot but my desk look pretty sleek as it is right now, I bought a McBook Air which is good enough for my daily computing, I've been spoiled: I don't want to have a huge noisy case ever again.

#12 Edited by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

@donpixel: Lucky for you the X51 is dead quiet even with fans on. It's not loud at all.

EDIT: It's 100% silent when I have headphones on, but without headphones you do hear a fan like you would on the new 360 models or PS3 models.

#13 Posted by Mirado (993 posts) -

@ben_h: It works well. There are some limitations, of course; you are limited by the size of certain GPUs and components (make sure absolutely everything will fit beforehand! It seems so obvious but I've never built on a form factor this small and while I was aware about the constraints, some parts fit by mere millimeters), most boards don't have more than a few SATA ports (my mobo was a rare standout with six) and a max of one or two PCI slots total hamper the upgrade potential. Plus, cable routing is a bit of a nightmare (get a modular PSU or you will regret it).

But, depending on your needs, it's a still a great idea. I wanted loads of HDD space so I tailored the build to that, but you could slap a SSD in there, replace the remaining five HDDs with a decent GPU, and have a full fledged rig without the size. Believe me, I know about needless size; my main system has a HAF X case, which is nearly two feet tall/deep and weighs almost 50 pounds when fully loaded. Lugging that thing anywhere is an absolute nightmare.

By contrast, I now have my entire Steam library along with thousands of hours of movies, TV shows and music in something that I can put on a car seat. It only takes two cables to get up and running (power and Ethernet, it's a headless box) and that's such a simplification from my main rig....it's a joy to travel with it.

So, my advice is to make sure your needs support that kind of build, and if they line up then absolutely go for it.

#14 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@kaosangel: nice, I need to think well about this both options are tempting. Speaking of performance what do you think? Good enough for BF3?

#15 Edited by KaosAngel (13765 posts) -

@donpixel: If price is an option I say build your own. I'm not going to lie, without military discounts my PC was over 1k. I did compare how much to build and X51 but they ended up similar price points.

Plus self-building as a sense of ownership.

#16 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

Call me crazy duders, but I'm kinda liking the Dell XPS8500 sleek form factor, good performance and Dell payment options.

#17 Posted by VACkillers (1063 posts) -

I know your trying to avoid the huge bulky and noisy desktops, but http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/ is still worth taking a look at... the price/performance ratio of their systems is way better then dell and alienware machines, and you "can" get small cases that dont produce a lot of noisy either... when it comes to gaming you really need to get the performance you'll want, the alienware you choose is pretty nice for what it is, but it does lack some power for gaming... just take a look at cyberpower and see if there is anything there you like before commiting to anything... Of course building your own pc is far the better solution but if you cant then whats suggested will be fine for you I think... hope that helps

#18 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@vackillers: Thanks for the suggestion dude, I'll gonna look into that.

#19 Posted by Kidable (127 posts) -

Get the XPS 8500 off Dell instead. It's not Alienware, but it has way better stuff inside it for around the same price. I don't know why Dell are selling two computers for around the same price range, and one being better than the other. Maybe it's just the brand recognition, I don't know, but I'd go for that one instead.

#20 Posted by mooncheese114 (15 posts) -

when looking at pre-built desktops, I've found that many don't have a few options that building your own from scratch have (mainly ssd options and enough power to upgrade). My main complaint with the alienware desktop specifically is that you only have about 250 watts of power, meaning upgrading a new GPU could be dificult.

#21 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@kidable said:

Get the XPS 8500 off Dell instead. It's not Alienware, but it has way better stuff inside it for around the same price. I don't know why Dell are selling two computers for around the same price range, and one being better than the other. Maybe it's just the brand recognition, I don't know, but I'd go for that one instead.

Dell is a weird company, they have relative good costumer support, great financial options and some good stuff.. but then they do the weirdest dumbest decisions and products. Have you seen the spinning tablet/laptop thing .. like in what world!?

Anyway, I ended up buying the XPS8500 s.e.

#22 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

@mooncheese114 said:

when looking at pre-built desktops, I've found that many don't have a few options that building your own from scratch have (mainly ssd options and enough power to upgrade). My main complaint with the alienware desktop specifically is that you only have about 250 watts of power, meaning upgrading a new GPU could be dificult.

Fair argument, and I suppose it works for some people. I used to go for a huge case/power supply to make my builds "future proof", just to find out that after 2/3 years purchasing a new PC was a better option.

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