Alienware X51 (late 2012) review:

Alienware X51 (late 2012)

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Typical Price: $1,699.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Space conscious gaming PC is small enough to go most places, but still packs a punch.

The Bad No SSD options means people will have to go aftermarket.

The Bottom Line While we fervently await the day when physics allows Alienware to cram in a more powerful GPU, the X51 stands tall as a great, space conscious gaming rig that would work well at either your desk or in the lounge room.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.5 Overall

The original X51 showed just how tightly a gaming PC can be built. Sure, you could always put together your own BitFenix Prodigy housed beastie if you need ultimate power, but for those short on time or needing something smaller, the X51 is an excellent solution.

Since nothing's changed externally between revisions, you've still got a console-sized box, glowing sides and the trademark alien head logo. The case is happy to be laid down or upright, and expandability is good; two USB 2.0 at the front with another four at the back, two USB 3.0 ports, 5.1 analog sound, Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet, analog and optical SPDIF and either a DVD or Blu-ray drive, depending on what model you get.

What is new is the third generation Core processor inside, along with a GeForce GTX 660 in the top tier models. Alienware provided us with its second highest SKU — a Core i7 3770 with 8GB RAM, a GeForce GTX 660 and a 1TB hard drive. Frustratingly, Alienware doesn't provide the option to upgrade to SSD; you'll have to find somewhere to shove in your own after-market drive if you want to go down that route.

You do get a keyboard and mouse included, but these are functional at best and let down the package; gamers are going to want to shell out for something with a bit more class.

So is the new upgrade noticeable?

Application performance

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

  • 147
    Alienware X51 late 2012 (Core i7 3770, 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 660)
  • 153
    HP Touchsmart Envy 23 (Core i7 3770S, 2TB HDD, 16GB RAM, GeForce GT 630M)
  • 166
    Alienware X51 (Core i7 2600, 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 555)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

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