Alienware’s Powerful Gaming Laptop Allows Swappable Parts

At CES 2019, Alienware debuted its Area-51m 17-inch gaming laptop, touting its power and swappable hardware. Co-founder Frank Azor said the Area-51m counters the current trend of less powerful, more portable gaming laptops with built-in obsolescence. Instead, the Area-51m is basically a desktop PC with built-in battery, screen and keyboard and swappable hard drive, RAM, battery, CPU and GPU. Alienware aids the user in taking it apart with labeled guides in the laptop framework and easily removable screws.

The Verge reports that the Area-51m also provides “specs for each screw should you lose track of one along the way,” as well as “pull tabs to help you remove the laptop’s delicate cables by hand, without damaging them,” and instructions on “the exact order you need to turn the screws for the massive CPU/GPU cooler to properly torque it down.”

In terms of power, Area-51m has lots of it: Intel’s 9th Gen i7-8700, i7-9700K, or i9-9900K and GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, as well as “a full-fat version [graphics card] that’s overclockable, too, with frame rates within roughly 5 to 10 percent of a desktop graphics card.” “This is absolutely not a mass-market machine,” Azor said.

On the downside, the Area-51m has a 90Wh battery that needs two power adapters to run at full speed, with battery life lasting only for “45 minutes, maybe” while actively gaming.

Alternatively, the laptop can use a smaller, more portable 180W adapter with less power, “and a choice of either a second 180W charger, a 240W charger, or a 330W charger depending on your choice of graphics card.” Both need to be used “in tandem to get the full experience because … a desktop-class laptop needs desktop-class power, one way or the other.”

Options for the 17.3-inch 1080p display range “from a basic 60Hz panel to a 144Hz option with Nvidia G-Sync and an integrated Tobii eye-tracking rig.” Storage is made up of “two PCIe M.2 SSD slots and a hard drive bay offering plenty of options for configuring your storage setup,” as well as “four RAM slots, with support for up to 64GB of 2400MHz memory.”

Ports include “two DC power jacks, a Thunderbolt 3 port, three USB 3.1 ports, HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier port.”

Area-51m weighs 8.54 pounds fully configured, “slightly lighter than its predecessor, the Alienware 17.” It also features “a wholly new ‘Legend’ industrial design language, which is meant to lead the way forward for the brand with a cleaner, more focused style that cuts down on the aggressive look of older Alienware products.”

The Area-51m is priced starting at $2,549 with an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, RTX 2070 GPU, 1TB hard drive, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and a 1080p 60Hz screen, and begins shipping on January 29.

At CES, Dell and Alienware Show Off New and Improved PC, Software and Gaming Innovations, Windows Blog, 1/8/19

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