Alienware Area-51m Teardown Reveals Impressive Upgradeability

Dell touts its powerful new gaming laptop, the Area-51m, as a desktop replacement because of its uniquely upgradable chassis. Now we know what hides beneath the belly of this beast thanks to our friends at Tom's Hardware, who dissected the machine and got a look at its CPU, GPU, hard drive and RAM.

Tom's Hardware editor Andrew Freedman pried the bottom cover off the machine using a screwdriver, a spudger and some tweezers.

MORE: Alienware Area-51m - Full Review

That relatively simple step revealed four slots that support up to 64GB of RAM. Next to the memory modules was a 2.5-inch hard drive, the battery and a wireless card.

What makes the Area-51m truly unique is the ability to upgrade its processor and graphics card. However, that requires a bit more elbow grease; There are a number of delicate components you need to remove to get to the CPU and GPU after taking off the spaceship-like rear I/O cover and a plastic shell that protects the motherboard.

For a step-by-step guide, you can check out Tom's Hardware's teardown. We'll skip right on to the good stuff: The CPU and GPU, which were hiding underneath a massive heatsink. You'll probably be surprised to see the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 module, which a fraction the size of the desktop version (see above photo).

Next to the GPU is the heart of this machine: a Core i9-9900K CPU that provided outstanding performance on our benchmark tests. Like the rest of the components, the CPU is easy to replace: simply press down on a lever to open the cover and lift the CPU out of a socket.

The Alienware Area-51m ultimately lives up to the billing as one of the most upgradable laptops on the market. Best of all, Alienware promises that taking apart the laptop won't void the warranty — that is, as long as you follow their instructions.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.