Alienware's Area 51m is a powerful gaming laptop with upgradeable desktop parts

The Alienware Area 51m offers a gaming laptop with desktop-grade components.

Gamers will never be happy no matter how much gaming laptop manufacturers can cram into slim and portable gaming machines these days. Because unlike gaming desktops, gaming laptops are barely upgradeable and of course, do not pack in as much power being portable machines. Alienware is out to change all of this with its brand new Area 51m gaming monstrosity.

Despite launching slimmer models of their popular M15 and M17 laptops (complete with the latest GeForce RTX graphics), Alienware saved the best for last and announced a brand new product that defies the current trend of slimmer gaming laptops.

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The Area 51m definitely looks like a full-sized gaming laptop that comes with desktop components. While it features a large footprint (410 mm x 402.6 mm x 31.2mm @ 4.4 Kgs), the design is something new from Alienware and completely different from the brand's current laptop lineup with more curved surfaces than straight lines.

Alienware wanted to build a laptop that would appeal to gamers, who simply needed more power and the latest hardware at all times. And the Area 51m does just that from a starting price of $2,549 (approximately Rs 1,79,400).

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The key here is that most of the core components are desktop-grade and can be upgraded. Those who love tinkering with their PCs will love how convenient and user-friendly, the Area 51m is. According to The Verge that got a proper hands-on with a pre-production unit, it barely took about 15 minutes to put the components back together and start up the system after accessing the CPU and GPU, thanks to the various caution labels and indicators that Alienware has clearly marked inside on the back.

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

Users can upgrade not just the RAM and storage, but the CPU and the GPU as well. While the CPU is configurable up to an i9 9900K, you can place any one of your choice in there, provided it fits into the socket. The GPU (which again is a desktop class RTX unit) can also be upgraded from an RTX 2060, 2070 or to a 2080.

The RAM is also upgradeable (from 8 GB to up to 64 GB) and so is the internal storage that is available in 256GB SSD, to 2 TB of SSD storage or a 1TB hybrid drive.

What cannot be upgraded is that 17.3-inch FHD display (available in 60 Hz or 144 Hz options).

As for the ports you get a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port, 3 USB-A 3.1 ports, an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, 2.5 Gbps Ethernet and Alienware’s custom Graphics Amplifier port.

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

However, there is a catch when it comes to graphics, as these are Dell's versions of the desktop GPUs with smaller boards. This currently is the elephant in the room as only Alienware (Dell) can provide these custom-made GPUs that fit into the Area 51m. Again, there's also a question about how far can the system be upgraded.

Will owners only be able to upgrade up to a RTX 2080 or beyond, is something that Alienware has yet to confirm. Still then, the Alienware Area 51m is still far more future proof compared to any desktop-laptop out there thanks to its user-replaceable components.

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

The Alienware 17 Area-51m. Image: Dell

Of course, while the desktop CPU and GPU bring plenty of power to run games at the highest settings, it will also drain that 90 Wh laptop battery pretty quickly. You will also need to haul around two power bricks (or maybe just one) depending on your computing requirements.

CES 2019: To catch up with all the announcements from the world's largest consumer electronics show, head here.

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