Talk me out of Alienware

Hey everyone. I built my main gaming rig myself. Lately, however, I have been toying with the idea of getting a 2nd one that I could hook up to my 50" HDTV in the living room. Its primary use would be to play emulators for games I own. This way, I don't have to move the consoles every time I want to play a game between multiple rooms.

On my main rig, I can play PS2 games on my Dell U2711 without any issue at all. In the living room though, I wanted something that would be somewhat compact but won't leave me wishing for more power. Outside of emulation and maybe some video streaming - this rig would not be used for anything else.

Since I am looking for something compact, I was looking at the Alienware X51 - but I am sure I can build something that will be more powerful, meet my needs and come out cheaper in the end. The caveat however, is that I was hoping to keep a small form factor. I am trying to appease the wife by not adding another huge "gadget" to our living room setup. What do you guys recommend?

Approximate Purchase Date: The sooner the better IMO

Budget Range: Preferably no more than $1,000 (less is better)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Console emulation, occasional video streaming, bluetooth preferred for a mouse/keyboard

Parts Not Required: Do NOT need HDD or RAM

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg has always been my choice in the past

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Would like to stick with Intel CPU

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Doubtful

Monitor Resolution: 50" LG HDTV

Additional Comments: Just trying to meet the gaming requirements for cheap + a slim profile machine.
14 answers Last reply
More about talk alienware
  1. Well you can have a huge tower case and have nothing in it or you can have a Slim tower and alot of hardware in it. Balance=. For a tower i recommend http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163173

    Its a sleek case and it has a sort of look like the Alienware X51 has. far as the rest of the hardware. It's already obvious you can spend the same amount getting far better hardware than you can for a GTX 555 and a I7 bluh bluh. Now you may can't get a I7 3930k for the same but....You can afford a I7 2600k or I5 2500k and that be all you need. If your gonna be playing on the big screen, video ram is gonna play key. If your a NVIDIA player, then a GTX 570. perhaps a SSD and whatever else etc
  2. For what you are getting and small form factor that dell/alienware isn't actually a bad deal. Was pricing out on new-egg a comparable machine with a purchased OS and I can just hit the $1000 price point.
  3. Rockdpm said:
    Well you can have a huge tower case and have nothing in it or you can have a Slim tower and alot of hardware in it. Balance=. For a tower i recommend http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163173

    Its a sleek case and it has a sort of look like the Alienware X51 has. far as the rest of the hardware. It's already obvious you can spend the same amount getting far better hardware than you can for a GTX 555 and a I7 bluh bluh. Now you may can't get a I7 3930k for the same but....You can afford a I7 2600k or I5 2500k and that be all you need. If your gonna be playing on the big screen, video ram is gonna play key. If your a NVIDIA player, then a GTX 570. perhaps a SSD and whatever else etc


    You completely missed the mark here. The Raven RV02 is a full tower case that is quite large (I would know because I own one). Also the OP's only looking for a build that can handle emulation and video (1080p), which numerous lower power hardware setups can handle - this isn't a full blown gaming setup.


    Back on topic - I'd take a look at something like the i3-2120 and a solid HTPC GPU. There are numerous GPUs that can handle HD video quite well without costing a fortune. As far as the CPU goes, I currently game on my i3-2120 and it pairs well with my 560Ti.

    I'd pair those with a Mini ITX motherboard and a Silverstone Sugo or Thermaltake Element Q. That way it looks good and performs well without taking up a ton of space.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133093

    On your budget, you could easily go with a SSD or two rather than physical HDDs, since hard drives are still very expensive. It'd be noticeably faster as well.

    RAM is, well, RAM. You'll need at most 4GB I'd guess, and 4GB kits are quite cheap.

    Depending on what you decide to get, I'd be surprised if you couldn't build something for under $500 (excluding storage drives)
  4. Also another option is AMD's APUs + 6XXX series GPU. The graphics performance is well-touted, and it may cost less than an Intel-based system.
  5. Finally had the time to look at the Alienware X51, and the base model ($700) is just about what I was suggesting, and about the same price. Plus you get a smaller good-looking case and some tech support (if you really want to deal with that).

    TBH it's a great deal for what you're looking for...
  6. Thanks for the feedback guys. My big concern with the Alienware is the CPU and the GPU. I have a buddy with an Alienware M11x R3 which sports a 1.4-GHz i5 and 540M GPU - and sure it can play PS2 emulated games - but is far from running without considerable lag (unless you want to play at the lowest specs) and thats just on the 11" screen.

    Now I know this is apples to oranges since we are talking a mobile cpu vs a desktop cpu... and the gpu in the X51 is more powerful as well... I just don't want to get it an have to send it back.

    I have two 250GB WD Scorpio Black drives that I was going to run in a Raid. I also have 4x1GB sticks of 1333MHz RAM, but a 2x2GB kit can be had cheap. So, to revise what I really need, and I have gone back and changed my OP... it looks like Case, PSU, CPU, GPU and MoBo (needs 4 memory slots if I use my memory...).

    The problem I see going with something like the element q would be the psu. By the time I get a cpu and gpu in there thats capable of pushing what I want to a 50" display - its going to need a lot more than 200W I would think?
  7. y2hbk said:
    Talk me out of Alienware


    If you buy Alienware... somewhere... a little cute kitten will die a horrible painful death... :cry:

    Do you want to be responsible for that? Dont do it!!!! :fou:

    HTH
    Cheers :pt1cable:
  8. boiler1990 said:
    You completely missed the mark here. The Raven RV02 is a full tower case that is quite large (I would know because I own one). Also the OP's only looking for a build that can handle emulation and video (1080p), which numerous lower power hardware setups can handle - this isn't a full blown gaming setup.


    Back on topic - I'd take a look at something like the i3-2120 and a solid HTPC GPU. There are numerous GPUs that can handle HD video quite well without costing a fortune. As far as the CPU goes, I currently game on my i3-2120 and it pairs well with my 560Ti.

    I'd pair those with a Mini ITX motherboard and a Silverstone Sugo or Thermaltake Element Q. That way it looks good and performs well without taking up a ton of space.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133093

    On your budget, you could easily go with a SSD or two rather than physical HDDs, since hard drives are still very expensive. It'd be noticeably faster as well.

    RAM is, well, RAM. You'll need at most 4GB I'd guess, and 4GB kits are quite cheap.

    Depending on what you decide to get, I'd be surprised if you couldn't build something for under $500 (excluding storage drives)

    Yea i did make a Mis Calculation. my fault. i went my measurements and not the auctual class its in. Plus the architecture of the case is designed cool but strange. I should have picked a better example case
  9. build it your own for 1/2 the price
  10. maxinexus said:
    build it your own for 1/2 the price


    Thanks for your wisdom and insight. :sarcastic:
  11. well if you wanna save 40$ (dont we all???) buy an i5 2550k from microcenter get the rest of your parts from newegg

    three hundred illusion case 70$
    asrock z68 extreme3 gen3 mobo 122$
    intel i5 2550k cpu (from microcenter) 200$
    cooler master hyper 212 plus evo cpu cooler 30$
    amd radeon hd 7950 (will be out in a few weeks) 450$
    corsair professional gold series ax650w psu 150$
    sony 24x optical drive 21$

    im not an expert on keyboards or mice im getting a g19 keyboard (170$) and a cyborg 7 mouse (78$) and i think that might be too expensive 4 u since ur total price without it is 1043$
  12. So for $700 you are getting i3-2120, 4gb RAM and GT 545 from Alienware...

    Or you get...
    i3-2100 $125
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078
    or
    i3-2120 $130 same as alienware
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115077
    ASUS P8H61-M $70
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131724
    G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 $23
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231394
    VisionTek 900276 Radeon HD 4650 1GB $125
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129145
    LITE-ON DVD Burner $18
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289
    SILVERSTONE ML03B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case $60
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163174
    CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 $35
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026

    Total: $456 or $461

    You can always spend more towards a GPU, it just needs to be a low profile card for the HTPC case.
    Also you can spend more towards RAM or CPU if you want.
    Don't have a bluray player? Spend ~$40 more and get a BluRay drive instead of a dvd burner.
    It is in a nice slim HPTC case, so it wont be "another gadget".

    Its roughly the same PC as the alienware except in the gpu department, but again that can be solved with just spending more money. And its ~$250 less.
  13. Delirious788 said:


    Get the 2120 bundled with a Optical Drive. $5 for 300MHz extra, plus a reputable drive.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.822348
  14. ltdan said:
    Get the 2120 bundled with a Optical Drive. $5 for 300MHz extra, plus a reputable drive.


    Thats a pretty good deal, just now that it is a little slower drive...reputable? so it is samsung(which has more name recognition due to advertisement and does all kinds of consumer electronics, not just ODDs)...lite-on is a very good, well known company in the optical drive business...plus the liteon got all 5 eggs and has 1200+ reviews...IMO thats reputable. The main point to really take away is that for $5 you are getting an ODD which AGAIN is a really good deal for a decent drive.

    But also know that you can go to a Microcenter(find a store here -> http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/index.html) and get the i5-2500k for $180($50 more than i3-2120)
    Spend $20 more for 8gb(2x4gb) of ram
    Spend the $40 more for a bluray drive(if dont need then just put it towards the GPU)
    Spend $130 and get a better GPU than the GT 545(You can also split up the $130 towards a better GPU and motherboard.)
    New total: $700 and a MUCH more powerful pc than the alienware and in basically the same size case. More RAM makes for better emulations and more powerful cpu makes for better video streaming...win-win...
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