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Desktops

Alienware Area-51 7500: A true gaming predator

Christmas isn't about giving, it's about blowing a fortune on Alienware's latest gaming killer: the Predator 2

Alienware makes some of the best gaming PCs in the world, but it's about time the brand had an injection of freshness -- particularly after the whole Dell business. Hearing our prayers, the good people at Alienware have sent us its new Area-51 7500 desktop, and we've fallen in love with it.

It uses the brand new Predator 2 chassis, which is undoubtedly the most spiteful-looking PC box we've come across. Available in black, blue, silver or green, it looks like a cross between a '50s muscle car, the LG Chocolate phone and Darth bloody Vader. Oh, and best of all it doesn't feel as if it's going to fall apart in your hands.

One of the coolest things about the chassis is the AlienFX lighting system -- a series of LEDs that can make the desktop look extremely eerie. There are lights shining down on the DVD drive, a light around the Alienware logos at the front (the power button) and at the side, and four beside the front-facing USB, Firewire and Audio ports. Alienware lets you choose the colour of each light at the time of purchase so you can customise it exactly as you wish.

It wouldn't be a real Alienware if it didn't have some stupidly fast components inside, and the Area-51 7500 doesn't disappoint. It doesn't have the full turbo-nutter status of the machines in the ALX series, but it's no slouch, thanks to its Intel Core 2 Duo 6700 CPU, 2GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS -- a graphics card that bears similarity to the Xbox 360's Xenos graphics chip due to its use of a unified architecture. It's really rather quick.

In the (massive) box you get a funky Alienware t-shirt with 'player' written on the front and a Logitech G15 gaming keyboard. This has blue backlit keys, 18 user-definable buttons and an auxiliary LED display that shows you "crucial" game information like how much ammo you have left.

The Alienware Area-51 7500 range starts at £1,400 for the entry-level system and you get a £200 rebate if you buy before 6 December. We'll review it as soon as it lets us out of the headlock. -RR