One of the issues with laptops is the very limited upgrade options, at best you can typically upgrade the RAM and storage. This is particularly off-putting for high-end gaming laptops which can cost thousands. Then there is the fact that a laptop can never achieve quite the same performance as a desktop.

Dell aims to solve this issue with a true desktop replacement the Alienware Area-51m gaming laptop which has been announced at CES and uses the Intel Z390 desktop chipset as the basis for the system.

Being based on desktop components, you would think this would be extraordinarily heavy however the max weight is listed as 3.87 Kg. (8.54 Lbs). Which is still very heavy but only slightly more than some top of the range 17-inch laptops such as the AORUS X7 DT V8. It is also lighter than custom built Clevo chassis-based laptops such as the Scan 3XS LG17 Carbon Extreme.

Thanks to the desktop components, the specification options are extensive with processor options including:

  • 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8700 (6-Core, 12MB Cache, up to 4.6GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
  • 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9700K (8-Core, 12MB Cache, up to 4.9GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
  • 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i9-9900K (8-Core, 16MB Cache, up to 5.0Ghz w/Turbo Boost)

Similarly, the GPU options are equally impressive with:

The Area-51m also has 4 DIMM slots giving you up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM.

Storage options are even more diverse with up to three possible drives including 2 M.2 slots and a 2.5-inch slot. This allows the specification to go up to 236GB RAID0 (2x 116GB Intel Optane SSDs) + 1TB (+8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive. Strangely the 2.5 drive options only appear to include a hybrid drive rather than large SSD drives.

There are no 4K display options though with options starting with a  17.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz Anti-Glare IPS Display and going all the way up to 17.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz Anti-Glare IPS Display w/NVIDIA G-SYNC + Tobii eye-tracking technology.

This laptop could also be the first (that I am aware of) to feature 2.5Gbps RJ-45 Ethernet network this is then combined with a Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 AC and Bluetooth 5.0 card.

The laptop will also be overclockable via the Alienware Command Center to accelerate the performance of its graphics and processors independently allowing gamers to unleash even higher levels of performance.

As you would expect of a gaming laptop of this calibre, the Area-51m will feature fully customizable lighting available across various zones including the power button, LCD cover Alien head, and a new infinite loop.

The Alienware TactX keyboard features 2.2mm of travel, anti-ghosting technology, per-key RGB LED lighting, N-Key rollover technology, and a steel backplane for rigidity and uniform feedback.

It will also include the Alienware Graphics Amplifier allowing you to use a dedicated external GPU just in case there was not enough power inside the laptop itself.

This promises to be a monster of a laptop and one of the most exciting laptops of the year. In reality, though I am not too sure how practical it is but I hope to review one just to experience it.

There is no word on UK pricing or availability but it will be available for the 29th of January starting at starting at $2,549 in the US.