The king is back and even more powerful. Alienware has just announced version 2 of the Area-51m, the company’s solution for hardcore enthusiasts and DIYers. Set to launch in early June, the laptop starts at a wallet-draining $3,049. It’s cost-prohibitive to most gamers, but those who can afford it are in for a treat as the laptop comes laden with overclockable specs and the ability to upgrade when needed.
Outfitted with Intel’s new 10th Gen Comet Lake H-series processors and Nvidia’s new Super GPUs, the Alienware Area 51m R2 is looking to take the original’s place on our Best Laptops and Best Gaming Laptops pages.
Alienware Area 51m R2 design
Like its predecessor, the 51m R2 uses the company’s new Legend design. Available in Lunar Light and Dark Side of the Moon, the Legend design still serves up plenty of intergalactic, sci-fi aesthetics. However, unlike the old Epic design, Legend offers more rounded edges and a more sophisticated take on Alienware’s RGB customizable light show.
Opening the laptop, you get more of that soft-touch paint covering the palm rest, helping to make a more comfortable typing experience. Speaking of typing, the notebook still rocks Alienware’s traditional keyboard with its super bouncy 1.7 millimeters of key travel.
Weighing a hefty 9 pounds and measuring 15.9 x 12.6 x 1.3~1.7-inches, the m51 R2 is a bonafide desktop replacement. It’s just a tad lighter than the MSI GT76 Titan (9.9 pounds, 15.6 x 12.9 x 1.3~1.7 inches) and the Origin Eon-17X (9.5 pounds, 16.4 x 11.6 x 1.6 inches).
Alienware Area 51m R2 display
Alienware’s stepping its game up when it comes to displays. Consumers will be flush with choices as the company is offering four options. You’ve got two 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 panels, both of which have a 144Hz refresh rate. The only difference is one panel is Nvidia G-Sync compatible and the other is not. The third option is also 1080p, but with a 300Hz refresh rate. And if you want to game in super high-res, there’s a 4K model with a 60Hz refresh rate.
I’m definitely looking forward to getting the 300Hz panel in as the lack of latency and stuttering should make for more accurate shots while playing shooters.
Alienware Area 51m R2 specs
The 51m R2’s base configuration is off to a good start with an 8-core Intel Core i7 10700 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6GB of VRAM. But I really want to see how this baby will operate all maxed out.
I’m talking decked out with all the fixings with an overclockable 10-core Intel Core i9 10900K CPU, 64GB of RAM, a pair of 1TB PCIe M.2 SSDs in RAID 0 configuration with another pair, because at this point why the hell not? And I definitely want to take the GeForce RTX 2080 Super with 8GB of VRAM for a spin. But, I’m also curious to see how AMD’s Radeon RX 5700M with 8GB of VRAM will perform.
Alienware Area 51m R2 upgradability
One of the biggest selling points about the Area 51m is the ability to swap out nearly all the components. You can do it yourself, or if you’re feeling nervous about potentially bricking an upwards of $3,500 laptop, have one of Dell’s service technicians come out and do it for you. According to Vivien Lien, Vice President of Alienware and Dell Gaming, the service is currently suspended out of the interest of safety during the ongoing pandemic. However, the service will be reinstated when it's deemed safe.
And before you get your hopes up about swapping out your old 20-series Nvidia graphics card for a Super GPU, there’s a bit of a hitch. Both versions of Area-51m can only accommodate components of the same series. So while you can switch from an RTX 2060 to 2080, you can’t go from am RTX 2070 to a 2070 Super.
The king is back...with improvements. Thanks to Intel’s H-series CPUs and Nvidia Super GPUs, the laptop is more powerful than its predecessor. And that 300Hz screen should make landing that headshot even more satisfying. And with so much power, you can bet the battery life isn’t going to be much. But either way, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this baby when it debuts.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.