When it was first released almost 4 years ago, the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper was one of the most advanced pieces of gaming machinery available to the mass market.
At the time of its release, the base version cost $2,699, with prices still playing around that range. But 4 years later, is it still worth it? We got ours 4 years ago, and we’ve put it through the ringer, both with normal wear-and-tear and because of constant gaming. And honestly, in those 4 years, not a single warning sign that it needed repair.
- Alienware Area-51 Threadripper: 4 Years Later
- Alienware Area-51 Threadripper: Still a Beast
- Alienware Area-51 Threadripper: Quick Specs
- Know Everything About Alienware’s Area-51 Threadripper
- Bottom Line
Alienware Area-51 Threadripper: 4 Years Later
In 2017, the Area-51 Threadripper was both awed and ridiculed: yes, it’s one of the most powerful machines ever, but what’s the point? When were you ever going to use all of that computing power? Well, 4 years later, and we can safely say that the rig stands up to both the test of time and the progress of technology.
To say that this Threadripper-powered rig was ahead of its time is an understatement: Alienware’s Area-51 might be too powerful even for 2021: as a performance test, we hooked it up to a number of our best monitors, fired up Metro Exodus and set its legendary realtime ray tracing tech to 11, and just for good measure, rendered a couple of animation videos in the background.
The result? Our writers wasted 4 hours of their time playing Metro Exodus lag-free and FPS-drop-free, and completely forgot about the rendering animation. Officially, it was a successful test of Area-51’s capabilities. Our boss wasn’t exactly happy, but hey, at least we got a benchmark (because, as we all know, UserBenchmark is pretty shit).
Alienware Area-51 Threadripper: Still a Beast
In an industry where being obsolete is a very real, and often very quick, reality, Area-51 manages to exceed expectations and its own lifetime. Sure, people are going to say it’s expensive and that there are more powerful rigs out there, and granted, this is all true, but I would counter with: you’re comparing those rigs to a 4-year old machine, and the latter is holding its own. Uh, YEAH, I’ll pay the extra moolah.
Area-51 is not a budget rig: it is expensive, it is powerful, but honestly, after COVID-19 and lockdowns, powerful gaming rigs are just one of those tech trends that are here to stay.
Alienware Area-51 Threadripper: Quick Specs
Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16-Core/32-Thread,Overclocked on all cores (1920X also available)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti w/ 11GB GDDR5X, lower-end GPU options mGPU – SLI/CrossFire compatible
Memory: 32GB Dual Channel DDR4 at 2667MHz; up to 64GB, DDR4 XMP 2933MHz options
Storage: 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (64MB Cache, 7,200 RPM)
Cooling System: Alienware Premium socketTR4 CPU Liquid Cooling
Connectivity: Dual Killer™ E2500 Intelligent Networking (Gigabit Ethernet NIC)
Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
Front Panel Ports: (2x) SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
(1x) Headphone 1/8″ Port
(1x) Microphone 1/8″ Port
(1x) Media Card Reader
Rear Panel Ports: (2x) RJ-45 Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Port
(2x) Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (6x) SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
(1x) SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
(1x) SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C w/ 15W PowerShare technology
(1x) SPDIF Digital Output (TOSLINK)
(1x) Line-In (blue port)
(1x) Front L/R / Headphone (green port)
(1x) Center Channel / Subwoofer (orange port)
(1x) L/R Rear Surround (black port)
(1x) L/R Side Surround (white port)
Power Supply: Alienware™ 1500 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply with modular cabling
Know Everything About Alienware’s Area-51 Threadripper
The Alienware Area51 Threadripper is designed to be compatible with a range of operating systems, allowing users to choose the environment that best suits their needs. It seamlessly supports popular operating systems such as Windows, including Windows 10 and Windows 11, ensuring a smooth and optimized experience.
- Windows: With Windows as the primary operating system choice, users can enjoy a vast software library, extensive driver support, and seamless integration with Microsoft products. The Windows OS provides a user-friendly interface and widespread compatibility with gaming software and peripherals. But although it is considered the best gaming PC, it may be subject to occasional updates and compatibility issues.
- Linux: The Alienware Area51 Threadripper also supports Linux-based distributions, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. Linux offers exceptional customization, stability, and enhanced security. It is particularly favored by developers and power users who prefer open-source software. Linux may have a steeper learning curve for beginners and may not support certain gaming titles or proprietary software.
- macOS: While not the native OS for Alienware systems, some users choose to install macOS on the Area51 Threadripper through workarounds. macOS is known for its sleek interface, seamless ecosystem integration, and optimized performance for creative applications. This requires technical expertise, and compatibility can be limited due to hardware and driver constraints.
The Alienware Area51 Threadripper is equipped with AMD’s powerful Threadripper processor, specifically designed for high-performance computing. The Threadripper series stands out as a top-tier choice for gamers, content creators, and professionals seeking unmatched processing power.
The Threadripper processor boasts an impressive core count, often ranging from 16 to 64 cores, providing exceptional multi-threaded performance. This enables users to tackle demanding tasks like video editing, 3D rendering, and complex simulations with ease. The processor’s high clock speeds, advanced architecture, and efficient multi-level caching further enhance its performance, resulting in faster and smoother overall system responsiveness.
When comparing the Threadripper processor with other offerings in the market, it showcases its superiority in certain areas. For instance, compared to mainstream consumer processors, Threadripper excels in multi-threaded workloads, thanks to its higher core count and simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) technology. This makes it an ideal choice for professionals requiring heavy multitasking capabilities.
Graphics play a pivotal role in gaming and multimedia applications. In gaming, the graphics card is responsible for rendering lifelike environments, detailed character models, and special effects. A powerful graphics card ensures smooth gameplay, eliminates screen tearing, and enhances visual quality through anti-aliasing and higher resolution support. It brings virtual worlds to life, intensifying the gaming experience and allowing players to fully immerse themselves in their favorite titles.
The Alienware Area51 Threadripper offers a range of graphics card options, ensuring stunning visuals and immersive experiences for gaming and multimedia applications. These graphics cards, meticulously selected for their performance and capabilities, enhance the overall computing prowess of the system.
The graphics card options available for the Alienware Area51 Threadripper include top-tier offerings from NVIDIA and AMD. These cards are equipped with cutting-edge technologies, massive VRAM, and efficient cooling systems to deliver exceptional performance and visual fidelity.
These graphics cards excel in rendering complex scenes, realistic textures, and lighting effects, elevating the gaming experience to new heights. They provide high frame rates and smooth gameplay, reducing stuttering and input lag for an immersive gaming experience. Additionally, these cards empower content creators by accelerating rendering times, enabling faster video editing, 3D modeling, and animation tasks.
The Alienware Area51 Threadripper offers various memory options, allowing users to tailor their system’s performance to their specific needs. The available memory options provide a crucial role in enhancing system responsiveness, multitasking capabilities, and overall user experience.
Memory, often referred to as RAM (Random Access Memory), plays a vital role in the performance of a system. It acts as a temporary storage space for data that the CPU actively uses, allowing for quick access and retrieval. The more memory available, the more data the system can store and access rapidly, resulting in smoother multitasking, faster application launches, and seamless data handling.
Adequate memory is particularly essential for demanding tasks like gaming, video editing, and running resource-intensive software. Insufficient memory can lead to performance bottlenecks, causing applications to slow down, lag, or even crash when the system runs out of available memory.
Users should consider upgrading or expanding the memory of their Alienware Area51 Threadripper system based on their specific requirements. Here are a few considerations:
- System Requirements: Check the memory requirements of the software and applications you use regularly. If you frequently engage in memory-intensive tasks or work with large files, upgrading the memory can significantly enhance your system’s performance.
- Multitasking Needs: Evaluate your multitasking habits. If you often have multiple applications, browser tabs, or virtual machines running simultaneously, more memory will help maintain smooth performance and responsiveness.
- Future-Proofing: Consider future software and application updates, as they tend to require more memory over time. Investing in additional memory now can ensure your system remains capable of handling upcoming software advancements.
- Compatibility: Ensure compatibility with your system’s architecture, such as memory type (e.g., DDR4) and supported memory speeds. Consult your system’s documentation or manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended memory configurations.
SSDs are the go-to choice for users seeking fast and responsive storage. With no moving parts, SSDs offer exceptional read and write speeds, resulting in snappy system boot times, swift application launches, and reduced loading times in games. They are available in various form factors, such as M.2 NVMe SSDs, which provide high-speed storage directly connected to the motherboard, and SATA SSDs, which offer a balance between performance and affordability.
HDDs, on the other hand, provide larger storage capacities at a lower cost per gigabyte. They are well-suited for storing large files, such as media libraries or archival data. While they may not match the speed of SSDs, HDDs still offer decent performance for tasks that do not require frequent data access or high-speed operations.
The Alienware Area51 Threadripper offers a range of storage capacities to meet different user needs. SSDs typically come in capacities ranging from 256GB to several terabytes, allowing users to store their operating system, frequently used applications, and games for quick access. HDDs offer larger capacities, often starting from 1TB and going up to multiple terabytes, providing ample space for media files, documents, and backups.
Users can expand storage options or add additional drives to the Alienware Area51 Threadripper based on their storage requirements. Here are a few considerations:
- Storage Needs: Assess your storage needs and the types of data you frequently work with. If you require fast access to large files or desire a snappy overall system performance, consider adding an SSD. If you need vast storage space at an affordable cost, adding an HDD or opting for a hybrid storage setup (combining SSD and HDD) might be a suitable choice.
- Storage Expansion Slots: Determine the available storage expansion slots in your system. The Alienware Area51 Threadripper usually provides multiple slots for adding additional drives, including M.2 slots, SATA ports, or PCIe slots. Check your system’s specifications or documentation for compatibility and available slots.
- Data Backup: Ensure you have a proper backup strategy to safeguard your data. Adding an additional drive solely dedicated to backups or considering external storage options can provide an extra layer of data protection.
The Alienware Area-51 Threadripper is equipped with an advanced cooling system designed to keep the system running at optimal temperatures, ensuring maximum performance and longevity. Effective cooling plays a crucial role in preventing overheating, reducing thermal throttling, and maintaining system stability during demanding tasks.
The cooling system of the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper employs various technologies and features to dissipate heat efficiently:
- Liquid Cooling: Liquid cooling solutions, such as all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers or custom liquid cooling loops, provide excellent thermal management. These systems use a combination of liquid coolant and a radiator to transfer heat away from the CPU or other components. Liquid cooling offers superior heat dissipation, often resulting in lower temperatures and quieter operation.
- Large Fans and Heat Sinks: The system may feature large fans and heat sinks strategically placed to dissipate heat from critical components, such as the CPU and GPU. These fans circulate air, while heat sinks with extended surface areas help dissipate the heat generated by the components.
- Airflow Optimization: The system’s chassis design may include optimized airflow pathways and intake/exhaust vents to facilitate efficient cooling. This ensures a constant supply of cool air while expelling hot air generated by the components, maintaining a well-regulated temperature inside the system.
- Fan Speed Control: Intelligent fan speed control mechanisms adjust fan speeds based on temperature, ensuring optimal cooling performance while minimizing noise levels. This allows for quieter operation during light workloads and ramps up fan speeds when the system requires increased cooling during heavy loads.
The Alienware Area-51 Threadripper offers a wide range of connectivity options, ensuring seamless integration with peripheral devices and external displays. These connectivity features play a crucial role in expanding functionality, enabling data transfer, and enhancing multimedia experiences.
- USB Ports: The system is equipped with multiple USB ports, including USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2, and USB Type-C ports. USB ports provide versatile connectivity for a wide range of devices such as razer keyboards, mice, external storage, printers, and audio devices.
- HDMI and DisplayPort: The Area-51 Threadripper features HDMI and DisplayPort connections, enabling high-definition video and audio output. These ports are essential for connecting external displays, monitors, projectors, or home theater systems, providing immersive visual experiences.
- Audio Ports: The system includes audio ports for headphones, microphones, and line-in/out connections. These ports allow users to connect audio devices, speakers, headsets, or external microphones, enhancing audio quality for gaming, multimedia, or communication purposes.
- Ethernet and Wi-Fi: The Area-51 Threadripper supports wired and wireless connectivity. The Ethernet port offers stable and fast network connections, ideal for online gaming, streaming, or data-intensive tasks. Additionally, built-in Wi-Fi capabilities provide wireless connectivity, enabling flexibility in accessing networks and online services.
The Alienware Area-51 Threadripper offers various pricing options, influenced by its specifications, customization choices, and the overall value it provides to users. Understanding the factors that impact pricing and comparing it with other similar systems can help assess its value for money.
- Processor and Components: The chosen Threadripper processor, RAM capacity, storage type (SSD/HDD), graphics card, and other components significantly influence the system’s price. Higher-end configurations with more powerful processors, larger memory capacities, and advanced graphics cards tend to come at a higher cost.
- Customization Options: The ability to customize the system according to individual preferences can impact the price. Additional features, upgrades, or premium options selected during the customization process can increase the overall cost of the system.
- Build Quality and Design: The build quality, materials used, and design aesthetics of the Area-51 Threadripper can also contribute to its pricing. Premium materials, intricate designs, and attention to detail may result in a higher price point.
When evaluating the Area-51 Threadripper’s value for money, it’s important to compare it with other similar systems in terms of performance, features, and pricing. Consider the following:
- Performance: Assess the Threadripper’s performance capabilities compared to other systems in the same price range. Look for benchmarks, reviews, and user experiences to determine if the system offers competitive performance for its price.
- Features and Customization: Evaluate the available features and customization options offered by the Area-51 Threadripper in comparison to other systems. Determine if the system provides the desired level of customization and flexibility at a competitive price point.
- Customer Support and Warranty: Consider the quality of customer support and warranty coverage provided by Alienware. A reliable warranty and accessible customer service can add value and peace of mind to the overall ownership experience.
- Market Competitors: Research similar systems from other reputable brands to compare their specifications, pricing, and overall value for money. Look for systems with similar performance and features to make an informed decision.
Alienware typically offers a standard limited warranty for their products, including the Area-51 Threadripper. The specific terms and duration of the warranty may vary based on the region and the model purchased. It is advisable to review the warranty documentation provided by Alienware or contact their customer support for detailed information regarding coverage. Below are some of the common reasons why customers may require warranty support:
- Support and Assistance: The warranty provides access to technical support and assistance from Alienware’s customer service team. In case of any hardware or software issues, users can rely on the manufacturer’s support to help troubleshoot and resolve problems.
- Parts and Repairs: The warranty often covers the cost of replacement parts and labor for repairs within the specified warranty period. If any component or part of the system fails due to manufacturing defects or malfunctions, Alienware will typically cover the associated costs.
- Peace of Mind: The warranty offers peace of mind, providing users with confidence in their purchase. Knowing that the system is protected and backed by the manufacturer can alleviate concerns about potential issues and provide assurance of support if any problems arise.
Alienware may offer extended warranty options that users can consider for additional coverage beyond the standard warranty period. These extended warranties typically extend the duration of support and provide further protection against potential hardware failures or issues. The availability and specific details of extended warranty options may vary, so it’s advisable to check with Alienware for the available options and associated costs.
Online User Ratings
Customer reviews and ratings for the Area-51 Threadripper can be found on various online platforms, including retail websites, forums, and technology review websites. These reviews offer firsthand accounts of users’ experiences with the system, covering aspects such as performance, build quality, customer support, and overall satisfaction.
- Performance and Features: Pay attention to user comments regarding the system’s performance in tasks like gaming, multimedia editing, or other resource-intensive activities. Assess the feedback related to the processor, graphics card, memory, and storage performance, as these are crucial components that impact overall system performance.
- Build Quality and Design: User reviews often mention the build quality, durability, and overall design aesthetics of the Area-51 Threadripper. Look for feedback regarding the sturdiness of the chassis, the quality of materials used, and the overall fit and finish of the system.
- Customer Support: Consider user experiences related to customer support and warranty services. Look for feedback on the responsiveness, helpfulness, and efficiency of Alienware’s customer support team in addressing any issues or concerns.
- Reliability and Stability: User feedback on system reliability, stability, and any recurring issues can provide insights into the long-term performance and durability of the Area-51 Threadripper. Look for comments regarding system crashes, hardware failures, or other stability-related concerns.
- Overall Satisfaction: Assess the overall satisfaction levels expressed by users. Look for trends in positive or negative experiences to gauge the general sentiment surrounding the system.
While user reviews can provide valuable insights, it is important to consider the overall consensus rather than relying on individual opinions. Look for patterns or common themes across multiple reviews to get a more comprehensive understanding of user experiences.
However, it is crucial to remember that user reviews are subjective and can vary based on individual expectations and preferences. Consider aligning the feedback with your own requirements and priorities to make a decision that suits your specific needs.
In conclusion, the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper is a high-performance system that boasts impressive features such as a powerful Threadripper processor, advanced graphics options, ample memory and storage capacities, and a robust cooling system. Before making a purchase, it’s essential to consider factors like pricing, warranty coverage, connectivity options, and user feedback to ensure it aligns with individual needs and preferences. With its exceptional performance and premium features, the Area-51 Threadripper comes highly recommended for those seeking a top-tier gaming or multimedia experience.