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Alienware X51 compared to Mini ITX SBM

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June 21, 2013 3:57:10 AM

I'm thinking about getting myself a nice little yet powerful Gaming PC. First of all I'm by no means a hardcore gamer but I can't stand spending time with games running at low details or not fluently at all. On the other hand I'm quite a power user, doing video encoding, programming and so on, so I really want something with lot's of CPU power and enough memory (having 4GB laptop and 12GB in my current tower). The main reason why I wan't something small is my limited living situation right now as I moved from home in another city to go to university.

Now I really like that the current SBM is about the Mini ITX form factor, but I think it kind of missed the point of a true mini ITX system with those huge cases. Meanwhile I looked for small (and still graphics card compatible) mini ITX cases and couldn't find a lot either.

I have found the Alienware X51 really interesting as it's a really powerful yet affordable gaming rig that's not much bigger than the Xbox and other consoles. How would you say does the new version (with the i7-4770 and the GTX 670) compare to the 1300$ build. CPU wise I think it should be better but what about graphics performance? I'm running a 1920x1080 monitor atm.

Does anybody own an X51 and could tell me about noise and heat. All tests and benchmarks I could find were about very old versions of the X51. Also I have a 320 GB SSD lying around, is there enough space to fit it into the case, that would reduce the price alot and certainly improve perfomance.

Are there comparable products too? Do you think a self built system with the same components could be cheaper / more powerful (and not a whole lot bigger?).

Budget wise I'm not really that much limited, but as I've said, I wouldn't spend my money on a Titan or something like that which wouldn't give me that much extra power compared to the extra price. So it should be somewhat balanced between costs / value.

Thanks for feedback!
June 21, 2013 6:30:42 AM

I have an alienware x51 and I would not recommend it. Alienware often overprices their products so your wasting your money. My x51 broke twice and took weeks to get repaired and it's extremely loud. There's only one feature that I can remember that really makes this rig special is that the leds inside the case sync with some games, but other than that it was a big disappointment.
June 21, 2013 6:41:08 AM

Bitfenix prodigy
Cooler master elite 120


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($204.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock B85M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($86.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($88.00 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $776.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-21 09:44 EDT-0400)
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June 21, 2013 7:57:59 AM

Thanks for your answers. It's a shame that most off-the-shelve machines are badly built, I thought that Alienware (or Dell) would be different, though.

Thanks for that build suggestion. There is nothing wrong with it, except that I find those cases awefully large... Why aren't there any that ship with riser cards and the ability to mount the graphics card "on top" of the motherboard...?

I also thought about building a little "Steambox" with an AMD APU but second thought, even though it would allow much smaller cases, graphics performance is not what I'm looking for.
June 21, 2013 8:05:50 AM

The Alienware X51 is actually pretty good.
June 21, 2013 8:21:27 AM

@Marcopolo123: that doesn't fit a fully fleged graphics card does it??

@ShardTheOwl: could you be a tiny little bit more specific. Why do you say it's actually pretty good. What about noise?

BTW: The X51 does seem to be a little overpriced. I looked up the components and got "something more or less alike" for 1000€ and the X51 would cost me ~1450€. But my solution of course doesn't have such a small enclosure...
June 21, 2013 9:02:13 AM

No, no space for gpu but good for apu-build
June 21, 2013 10:18:55 AM

Ok the Alienware is not an option anymore. Looked a lot of (although quite old reviews) and nearly everybody says the same thing, build it your own or buy a an alienware laptop. So I guess I'm going to build my own.

@Marcopolo123's build suggestion from above:

* Why did you choose the i5-4570 as opposed to an i5-4670 (afaik only ~20$ more). What about going high and a i7-4770 (probably not the k version)
* What about an alternate gpu? Something like a GTX680 or a GTX770?
* Is water cooling a sound option for non overclocked machines? Can I expect it to be more quiet? As I've said, I have not much space, so that machine should also work for watching movies and therfore be more or less quiet at least when ideling...

Thanks for help!
June 21, 2013 4:02:26 PM

Want to overclock?

Stock fan is ok, wont be that loud


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock B85M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($86.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($88.00 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1060.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-21 19:04 EDT-0400)
June 22, 2013 1:57:25 AM

Thanks for that update! I'm not so much into overclocking, although I've got a friend that would be very happy to push any system to its limits, but I'm not sure if those extra 40$ or something for the i7-4770K are really that important....

You're sure that stock cooler is a good idea? I mean I haven't had an intel stock CPU for a long time, but the AMD one I've got right now (I think it's a AMD Phenom X3, is loud like hell when doing some encoding....). I would happily spend some bucks on like some good aftermarket air cooler or maybe even get one of those pre assembled liquid coolers, although reviews are kind of ambiguous, some saying those are great, some say exactly the opposite.

One more question: Those parts that you've picked, are they kind of "random" or did you have something special in mind. I mean there are dozens of motherboard priced similarly and a multitude of gpus from different vendors. I certainly can't judge wether those components work good together or not, I can read reviews and so on, but matching components...

Thanks for your ongoing help, very much appreciated!!
June 22, 2013 2:30:51 AM

There is a newegg promotion
http://promotions.newegg.com/intel/13-2602/index.html
Need to buy a atx board...

Atx build...

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($349.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: MSI Z87-G45 Gaming ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($88.00 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi Tower ATX Mid Tower Case ($84.14 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($45.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1154.07
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-22 05:31 EDT-0400)
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