LOS ANGELES — The Alienware Area-51 is one of our favorite gaming desktops. And why not? The rig is highly configurable, offers great performance and, with its customizable glowing lights, looks like it might be part of some alien hive mind.
So we expected that Alienware would refresh the system, but weren't expecting the Threadripper. That's AMD's new Ryzen liquid-cooled processor, which will be featured exclusively in the Area-51 until the end of 2017.
As the name suggest, n0obz and casual gamers should sit this one out. Targeting the discerning, high-performance consumer, the 16-core chip comes factory overclocked out of the box. The Area-51 unique chassis will also help keep temperatures within an acceptable range, thanks to its airflow system.
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During my demo, I watched as the desktop ran a game and streamed some video simultaneously with several other tasks. The Area-51 hummed quietly, maintaining everything without the slightest hint of stutter. The chip is designed specifically to multitask and handle the load of 4K gaming, or 8K if you have a couple of monitors handy.
Holding the chip in my hand revealed it had some significant weight. It kinda felt like I was holding some all-powerful MacGuffin that held the answer to everything. Okay, that's a bit much, but still, it was pretty cool.
Just like other Alienware products, the Threadripper Edition can be configured with a number of specs, including dual or triple Nvidia GPUs, or several AMD GPUs if you want to keep things in the brand family. Pricing has yet to be released on this bad boy, but I'm looking forward to getting it in the lab for testing and some serious gaming sessions.