Top critical review
45 people found this helpful
For the price - you can probably get better
on July 25, 2013
I picked up the alienware X-51 because I wanted a slim desktop computer that I can tuck away into a corner, but still have enough power to play the latest games. I saw this on sale after the new haswell processors came out, and while it's got solid CPU performance, the GPU performance is definitely lacking and you can probably buy something better for the money.
For general tasks: The computer itself will be more than enough for general productivity tasks - though it could benefit from the addition of an SSD at this pricepoint. It's kind of a pain to get into because of the small working space, but opens up easy enough for upgrades after the fact. If you aren't looking to play games though at 1080p then you can buy better/different/cheaper products for the price.
For gaming: This computer is a competent gaming machine and will handle some of the older and current titles at decent framerates and settings at 1920x1200/1920x1080. I tested this with a Dell U2410 monitor and it did well enough in about the 30's for framerates on games like Battlefield 3 and Starcraft 2. Though keep in mind that the Nvidia 660 GTX they offer is a cut-down version of the real-full powered GTX 660 because this Alienware has a 330W external power supply. What this means is that if you want to upgrade the GPU in the future, you'll need to make sure that it a) fits in the case (which the bigger cards do not), and b) is within the power-envelope the alienware can handle (which again, the bigger cards do not do). This means that your future upgrade potential is severely limited, which is why I would NOT recommend buying this alienware. There are better alternatives from other boutique companies that give you room to grow and better performance for the price.
If size is not an issue, then you can always buy some other dell like the 8700 and buy your own GPU to slot into it. That'll definitely be the better solution over something like this alienware which for the price is just not giving enough performance. I expect a 1k+ desktop to put out some fairly high framerates on today's games, and this Alienware can't do that.