After Hours

Cracking open the Alienware Area-51 7500

By Mark W. Kaelin

The good folks at Alienware recently sent TechRepublic one of their Area-51 7500 gaming desktops for review. The configuration of this system includes the overclocked Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 quad CPU and the 768MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra video card. Both the CPU and the GPU are liquid cooled -- believe us when we say, this is not your office PC. We take a look inside this super-performing premium gaming system and drool over the components.

This system was supposed to be overclocked, that is what I asked for, but I'm not certain that it is. I'll investigate.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

32 comments
TheCoyoteDreams
TheCoyoteDreams

I'm new here and am perusing some of the pictures such as the new Alienware Area-51 7500 machine...and a lot of the pictures are crap...too dark to see anything let alone the detail they are drooling about. Here's a tip...try using the flash on the camera...I know it may be new to you but the instructions for the camera should cover it...you'll be amazed at how much more detail you'll be able to see in your pictures.

rahuman
rahuman

Thats rig is smoking. Lucky Son of a Gun.

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

"In three years, we'll all wonder how we ever thought such a dog was fast." I'm already getting impatient with my Athlon 64 FX-55 San Diego, which is barely two years old and was mind-bogglingly fast at the time of its release. This thought is followed closely by a vision of myself on eBay three years from now, hoping to get $50 for its parts so I can buy one of AMD's Barcelona chips, which should finally be on the market sometime around then.

wildwasser
wildwasser

so, you opened the case... and? disassemble the graphix cooling, more detail about the water cooling system itself, make the thing look naked! : c)

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

Nice machine very impressive but windows Vista hmm for gaming I don't think so! I like to take a much use of my processor as it will give with out the OS taking up so much of it. Sheeesh a step backwards Signed Just an opinion

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

---for that liquid cooling system to turn on and you would never hear it turn on.Liquid cooling for 3 ghz?There might be a diagnostic section at boot up.Run the FAN TEST to hear the cooling system run.I think that this would be classified as a game writing computer.

bdash
bdash

I would be curious to know what type of motherboard they are using.

kevin.pawsey
kevin.pawsey

I am curious as to what Vista gave it as a score... presumably a little higher than 1.0 ;)

kbk_75
kbk_75

Your system could well be overclocked. The Vista Welcome Centre lists your CPU's factory spec, not the actual speed at which it is running.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Believe me, I would really love to start pulling this thing apart, but we'd have to buy the PC, which I personally signed for, at a cost of $5000.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I have seen this sentiment about Vista not being game friendly mentioned before. I am running Half Life 2 on this Alienware right now - I see no problem with Vista. As with all new operating systems, it will take awhile for all the kinks to get worked out, but that certainly won't keep from buying a new PC. In the next year or so, games for DirectX 10 will be the norm and you will need to have the right PC to handle it. The same principle applies to the CPU, at some point games will recognize and use the 4 cores in this system. Vista is the future in PC gaming - you might as well embrace it early and be ready when that killer game you simply must play comes along. The Alienware Area-51 7500 is an investment in the future.

bnwy1
bnwy1

But not quite for the same reason. Vist unlike XP Pro hasn't had time to mature XP pro is a solid gaming OS and I would "downgrade" to it in a sec or at least dual boot he machine to play around with Vista especially with a wopping 1 DX 10 game around the corner.

george.hickey
george.hickey

I was curious as to how much one of these beasts would cost and the motherboard is listed on the customisation page... they're great machines but they are bloody expensive when tricked out..

bpolo
bpolo

it appears to be a 680i, but I can't be sure

eNetTech
eNetTech

I believe he stated the Power Supply was at 1000 Watts...must have been a typo on the 100.

kevin.pawsey
kevin.pawsey

May be a slight typo there :) in a previous slide it did say it had a 1000W power supply.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Yes, more galleries and articles are forthcoming as I run some benchmarks and play some games on the system. The Vista score was 5.4 - limited by the RAM speed. All the other scores were 5.9.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

it has 3Gb of RAM, a 512Mb ATI 1600X graphics card and RAID1 SATA disks.

t.rohner
t.rohner

Will a PC ever be a investment in the future? Even now, when the clock screw isn't turning as fast as it used, say 6 years ago, a PC is a expensive piece of scrap metal as soon as you take it out of the box. This is especially true in a gaming enviroment. In a "normal" office, home or production enviroment, it will be sufficent for maybe 5-8 years.(even longer, if you can stand the temptation of a OS upgrade)

bossom69
bossom69

Mmm thats an intersting comment.. it'd be nice to see benchmark differences.. because delving into the code of the different os's vista and old faithfull xp i belive the fact your running quad core should mean it's actually vista that would give you more cpu then xp which can't properly address the 3rd and 4th core... having said that... most games can't handle more then one thread at a time anyway. so on that theroe it doesn't matter how much cpu vista uses and there will be 3 spare cores... hence some benchmarks would be intersting.. but i'm almost swaying on vista being faster....

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Alienware is teaming with nVidia to make the Area-51 boxes. No ATI cards available in the 7500 series.

{nyquist} phreeqwhenCB
{nyquist} phreeqwhenCB

As you were speaking about the power cable, in order to allow for peak consumption, that cable would have to be capable of handling possible peak current.. 100W @ 12V is the same as 1000W @ 120V.. both come to 8.3 amps current.. so in a manner of speaking.. you were actually correct, just on the wrong side of the conversion.. :)

Cely
Cely

Now you all look very silly. :)

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

he should invest in yellowcake stocks or a local power plant.

Crash84
Crash84

Dell 820, Sata Drive, Nvidia 256 Video, 2gb ram and a Core Duo 2 1.66

johnm
johnm

So, is external cooling water used? If so, how hard is it to hook up? Can the return be used to power an optional coffee warmer?

bnwy1
bnwy1

acording to benchmark postings of MaximumPc mag and Extremetech.com. Vista is more of a resource hog. In essence Vista preformed slower in most game bench marks. Not much mind you just a little.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

is like an air conditioner, the coolant is self contained, a heat exchanger where the condenser would be blows external air over a heat sink to cool the liquid to flow back to the CPU heat sink. And before anyone goes 'wow, it would be a mess if liquid leaked into my system', yes it would, tho unless you have rats chewing on your system or are extremely careless, that is unlikely. But it would also be a mess if you use a puny fan (puny earthlings, your planet will soon be dominated by..) and the CPU overheats or if the fan stops and it overheats, destroying your CPU.