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Review: Alienware Area51-m Extreme

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 22 April 2004, 00:00

Tags: Alienware (NASDAQ:DELL)

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Pentium 4 Extreme Edition in a laptop? Hell yes.

Alienware Logo

Alienware have something of an aloof reputation in the PC industry. Proud of their high end consumer hardware, some of which is being used to develop your favourite games, they'll more often than not sit at the top of a discerning gamer's wishlist of PC systems.

With revenues of over $100M a year, more than 500 employees worldwide and close ties with some of Taiwan's biggest ODMs, it's maybe their laptops, more so than their impressive desktops, that amaze people the most.

It never gets boring seeing what companies can cram into a small, flat form factor. Alienware do both ends of the spectrum, with thin, light and immensely portable notebooks, through to the bigger, but insanely power-packed, desktop replacement (DTR) systems.

DTR notebooks are seemingly in the ascendancy. With ever faster processors that have decent mobile characteristics (or not!) and more powerful graphics processors from NVIDIA and ATI to enable competent 3D on the move, people don't seem to care about how heavy or big they are, they just want speed, speed and more speed.

Given that market, Alienware take the idea and have a lot of fun with it. Working closely with their ODM partners, their engineers help develop the technology needed for arguably the most powerful laptops on the planet. With our recent look at a very high-end DTR laptop powered by AMD's Athlon 64 processor, and supplied by Alienware's most high profile nemesis, VoodooPC, it was rude not to ask Alienware what they could supply in reply.

I nervously laughed out loud when I heard what they'd be sending, thinking it slightly mad to come up with what they did. You'll soon see why.

With the review title giving the heart of the game away, onwards to model specifics to paint the rest of the picture.