Alienware Area 51 X-58 PC Second Review

Posted: March 4, 2009
Alienware Area 51 X-58 PC Second Review

Sometimes companies send us performance benchmarks for their PCs and we review and score it based on those numbers, but Alienware recently sent us the wrong numbers and we're going to rescore one of their machines.

What You Need to Know

  • The case is immediately recognizable and definitely looks cool
  • On the other hand, it might be a little too big, and we feel like it is time for a case re-design
  • We liked the minimal design of the M17X laptop, so maybe they can apply to this their desktops soon
  • There's a quick release on the back so you won't have to unscrew anything
  • This rig has two giant ATI video cards and four hard drives, but the cable management and clean design give you plenty of room to work
  • There's even things like power contacts on the side of the case so the fan's wires don't get in your way when you pop off the side
  • The main difference between Intel Core i7 and old Core 2 Duos is hyper-threading; each of the four cores can process two threads at a time, providing eight virtual cores
  • It also has a faster front side bus (called quick path interconnect) and on-die memory controller
  • The revised, final 3DMark Vantage score was about 6,617 points


  • The base configuration for this is about $1,650, but the one we reviewed is $6,380
  • The Cyberpower PC we reviewed last year was $800 less and had superior performance

Overall Rating

  • We're lowering it to 3 Seals of Approval from 3.5 (how do we rate gadgets?)
  • This doesn't mean it's a bad rig, but it may not be worth the price as much as we once thought

About a month ago, we reviewed three gaming PC’s, all in the 1800 dollar price range. Each one was from a different company that customizes and builds a machine for you, the consumer, and we benchmarked all three against each other using the 3DMarkVantage software.

- Digital Storm came in first place with 12,618 points

- Alienware sent us a beefed-up machine that scored 21,632 points which is why the original review was so high. In order to compare all three in the same price range, we asked them what their base configuration score would be for that same machine (the Area-51 X58), and they reported 12,198 points. This puts them squarely in second place.

- AVADirect is in the third place with 8,501 points

So to re-cap, Digital Storm is first, Alienware is second, and AVADirect is third. The problem is, Alienware's base configuration score seemed too high because its video card is only an nVidia 9800GT.

We did a little investigating, and it turns out that Alienware was testing with another video card in the base system. Even though they disabled SLI, the second video card picked up some physics processing and raised the 3DMark score!

Alienware ran the test again and sent us a screen shot of the actual score, which is cut almost in half at 6,617 points.

So now, Digital Storm is in first, AVADirect is in second, and Alienware is in third!





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