The Bottom Line
- Very High Performance
- Extremely Customizable
- Customizable LED Lighting
- Early Versions Had Heat Issues
- Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 Memory
- 200GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.4" WXGA+ (1440x900) Wide LCD with 2.0MP Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT Graphics with 256MB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 2.0
- Three USB 2.0, FireWire 800, ExpressCard/54, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.6" x 10.7" x 1.3" @ 7 lbs.
- Vista Home Premium
Guide Review - Alienware Area-51 m15x Thin and Light Gaming Notebook
5/29/08 - Alienware's Area-51 m15x has a variety of LED backlit features that can be adjusted between eight different colors for each feature. This gives it a very unique look that can be changed at any time by the user through a control panel.
Alienware is one of the few companies to offer the Core 2 Duo T9300 mobile processor. This high clock rate processor with extra cache allows it to power through almost any task thrown at it. Of course, you want at least 2GB of DDR2 memory to prevent the system from being hampered by Vista's high memory requirements.
A good balance between performance and storage space can be found in the 200GB 7200rpm hard drive. Large capacity drives or a variety of traditional 5400rpm drives are available. A modular optical drive slot is standard and comes with a dual layer DVD burner. A Blu-ray combo drive or Blu-ray burner are also available options but add a large amount to the price.
Base graphics for the m51x are provided by the GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB graphics. This is alright for base gaming, but those serious about gaming will upgrade to the 8800M GTX but this adds a lot to the price. The 1440x900 base panel is perfectly fine for all applications, but those opting for Blu-ray will want the 1920x1200 version for true high definition.
The biggest drawback to the system is its overall cost. Configuring it for high performance and gaming will have it cost more than the average. The system with all its performance also tends to run very hot. This has caused some cases in early adopters to crack next to the keyboard. Alienware has apparently worked out this issue with BIOS fixes but only time will tell if it really prevents any further cracks.