Alienware X51 R2 Desktop Gaming System Review

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Final Thoughts & conclusion

Alienware X51 R2 External Images

Alienware didn’t disappoint with the X51 R2 today. The X51 R2 is a small form factor system that is geared for those looking to save some space without sacrificing performance, I’m confident that they hit the mark! There are always a few features that I would like to see added and tweaked in the configuration options, but we’ll get to those shortly. Overall I was extremely happy with the build as we got it, and I didn’t have any issues using the X51 R2 today which is always a plus!

The only aspect about the Alienware X51 R2 that kinda drove me up a wall was the boot time. I’ll admit that it has been quite a while since I have used a traditional platter style hard drive for the primary drive. SSD’s are insanely fast compared to a hard drive like the Seagate Barracuda 2TB drive in the Alienware X51 R2, using an SSD would likely cut the boot time in half. Though SSD’s do add some cost, but with the availability to configure the system you can pick and choose where to spend your hard earned money. The problem is, it’s not an option from Alienware for the X51 R2 with the Intel Core i5-4430 like we had. It’s an option for the i7-4770 version, but the only choice is a 256Gb SSD + 1TB HD which addes $350 to the cost. In my not so subtle opinion they need to offer a smaller SSD, say 120GB, or even a 20GB-32GB SSD to use with Intel Smart Response Technology (SSD Caching). Either way it would dramatically improve the responsiveness of the system.

Alienware X51 R2 Size Comparison

When you’re looking to save some space, a small form factor PC is great for that. The Alienware X51 R2 measures only 12.52″ x 3.74″ x 13.504″(318mm x 95mm x 343mm) (LxWxH) with a starting weight of 12.1 Lbs. Setting the Alienware X51 R2 up next to the soda can we can get a pretty good feel for the size of the system. It doesn’t take up much room on the desk, which of course is the point of a small form factor PC like the X51.

Having a fourth generation Intel Core i5-4430 processor and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670under the hood there was no shortage of power. All of the benchmarks that we threw at the Alienware X51 R2 ran flawlessly. Obviously an Intel Core i7 processor would be a step up, but the Intel Core i5-4430 was able to run everything great, as well as shave a few bucks of the cost of the system.

The Alienware X51 R2 systems start as low as $699 for the basic model with an Intel Core i3 processor and can be configured to as much as $1800+ for the Intel Core i7-4770 processor and all the bells and whistles. The biggest advantage to configuring the system to your needs is that you can pick what you want to spend more money on, like storage or an SSD, or on the graphics capabilities with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670! It’s entirely up to your needs and budget.

The entire X51 series is covered by a one year Alienware Basic support plan. The basic support plan gives you access to one year of In-home service after a remote diagnosis from an Alienware expert technician. For an added cost though, you can extend the coverage for as much as four years of Alienware enhanced support. In addition to the basic plan details above, the enhanced support includes 24/7 access to dedicated Alienware advanced support technicians.

  • 1 Year Alienware Basic Support – Included in Price
  • 1 Year Alienware Enhanced Support – $69.00
  • 2 Year Alienware Enhanced Support – $149.00
  • 3 Year Alienware Enhanced Support – $219.00
  • 4 Year Alienware Enhanced Support – $279.00

If you’re not the kind of person who wants to open up the system and tinker with it if something should fail, or you just want the peace of mind that the warranty and extra support can give you you’re covered for up to four years.

Legit Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a small form factor PC the Alienware X51 R2 is a great choice. It offers the speed and performance that your looking for in a gaming system, with a foot print of an office PC.

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  • John

    I’d like to address that the Windows Experience Index score and review on the bottom of the first page can be misleading information. First of all, It’s on a scale of 1.0 – 7.9, so most of them components reach or are close to MAXIMUM score, which is awesome. Also, Windows 7 has a problem, in which Primary Hard Disk ratings are generally 5.9 the highest, even for most of the high-end hard disks, so that part can be ignored. WIth an ACTUAL average base score of 7.75 / 7.9, this is easily one amazing high-end computer.

  • joey

    Does the keyboard on this light up??

    • ihd1234567890

      Judging by the keyboard image I saw on their website, I don’t believe so.

  • Kevin

    I have the AW 14 (2 years old now) and just picked up the basic AW X51 connected to a 24 inch Dell HD display and I’m in heaven. I mainly enjoy shooters but would like to see a Forza racing game for PC someday. Guess that’s why I keep my XBOX :-)

  • Randome Guy

    How do i know if I have R2 or R1? Im not sure what i got…

    • ihd1234567890

      They don’t have R1 model products at their website. The R1 model is mainly noticeable by its graphics card, since that’s the part that gamers want. R1 has GTX 540 and 545. R2 goes up to GTX 740 Ti

  • Jess B. Balatbat

    Was thinking about my purchasing experience with Dell/Alienware. To Dell’s credit, it was very easy to buy. I actually had someone on chat while I was surfing the website (on a Sunday as well). I kinda new that the specs were good from my research, and asked a few technical questions. They also offered a discount. 

    From PC build perspective, I have no complaints. Runs BF4 with max settings with no lag, runs quiet, small footprint and nice case. Would benefit from SSD definitely. If all things being equal in terms of comparing builds between different pc’s, one of the key differences is to be able to get a pc built to these specs and build quality (don’t forget with warranty). It did take 10 days so not exactly off the shelf. 

    Having built my own pc before and things don’t quite go right, it can be hard to troubleshoot. It’s also nice to have dedicated forums as Alienware is quite mainstream (versus trawling hardware sites for issues/questions if you had to build yourself). 

    Ultimately you need to think about usage. For small form factor that will be able to handle latest gen with ‘some’ potential upgradeability then this is pretty good and can be purchased conveniently.

  • Sam

    I’ve been wanting this for awhile now but my boyfriend tells me it’s a bad choice and I’ll be wasting my money. I don’t want to mess anything up by building my own and I don’t want a huge computer taking up space so I thought this was the perfect choice but now I’m not so sure

    • crAB

      Hey, if you’d like some advice regarding building an ITX system, head over to http://hardforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=102

      Everyone there is pretty knowledgeable and helpful.

    • AgentDeep

      This is quite late reply but you could build ITX system as what crAB is suggesting. A Bitfenix Prodigy case as an example.

    • http://www.youtube.com/PoeTheGamer PoeTheGamer

      Your boyfriends a lair this is the best computer youll ever have in your life.
      Well maybe not the best but a pretty DAMN good one.

  • fenix144

    Man the inside of that pc is ugly. I know why they don’t put a panel on there.

  • Jess B. Balatbat

    Hi Thanks for the review. I’ve had the x51 r2 for about 2 months now and agree about the boot time. Have had an ssd on my old laptop and was wondering if you think there would be space to slot in an ssd as boot up disk with the original as slave. From the photos looks like a snug fit plus not sure if extra cables are available. Was it easy to dissemble?

    Everything else is pretty awesome but just need some spare time so asking the question first.

    • Dan Stoltz

      Sorry about the delay, but there should be room to pop in a SSD inside the chassis. The i7 edition of the X51 has the option for a 256GB SSD as well as a hard drive. It’s only a couple of screws to remove the Graphics card carrier. If memory serves, there are only 2 screws to do that.

      • Jess B. Balatbat

        I know it has been awhile but thanks for responding. Haven’t quite had the time to add an SSD at the moment as machine is running well. Am curious if anyone has added an SSD?

        • Obiwabkenewby

          I have, there are no screw mounts for the ssd. I used some foam tape to mount the ssd over the DVD drive.