Alienware's revamped product line lands at E3

Alienware is on the ground at E3 once again this year with new models of its Area-51 tower, Aurora mid-tower, and Alpha small-form-factor PC, as well as the Alienware 13 laptop. Alienware says the new products are intended to commemorate the company's 20-year anniversary. All of the new machines have been refreshed with the latest CPUs and GPUs, naturally, but Alienware has made some more changes that are worth discussing.

The Alpha SFF is very small: just 2.7 inches tall with a square footprint of 7.9 inches on a side. Despite the size, the new Alpha looks legitimately fast, with processor options ranging up to the Core i7-6700T, a quad-core Skylake chip that hits 3.6GHz with Intel's Turbo Boost. Paired with a Radeon R9 M470X or GeForce GTX 960, gaming performance should be adequate for living-room duty, but Alienware's "Graphics Amplifier" external GPU dock is also supported. The Alpha can be equipped with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory, and storage is provided by either a 2.5" hard drive or PCIe M.2 SSD, up to 1TB. WiFi-AC and Bluetooth are standard. In more unusual features, the Alpha has an HDMI input to allow users to pass through signals from another HDMI device.

The Aurora mid-tower is the next step up in Alienware's product line. Alienware says the Aurora offers "full-scale power and performance" despite having a smaller footprint than its predecessor. Available CPU configurations span the range of Intel's desktop offerings, from the Core i3-6100 to the Core i7-6700K (with optional liquid cooling), while GPU options range from the lowly GTX 950 all the way up to a pair of GTX 1080s. RAM configurations up to 32GB are supported, as well as a 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD. The tool-free chassis—which Alienware calls its first ever—has five drive bays for "multi-terabyte" disk expansion, while Alienware's AlienFX customizable lighting dots the exterior. USB 3.1 Type-C makes its first appearance on Alienware hardware here.

Alienware's latest Area 51 desktop carries over the peculiar triangular design of last year's model. This year, the machine has been updated for Broadwell-E, including the top-end Core i7-6950X. Alienware will sell those chips running at stock speeds or pre-overclocked. Up to three graphics cards are supported, including the Radeon R9 Fury X and the GTX Titan X—no word on Pascal here. Memory options scale up to 64GB of DDR4-2400, and Alienware says the Area-51 supports "a host of storage options going beyond 6TB." A 1500-watt power supply is available to drive all that multi-GPU madness. Of course, the new Area-51 has AlienFX lighting.

Probably the most interesting thing Alienware is showing off at E3 is the refreshed Alienware 13 laptop. The company actually debuted this model at CES, but now we have specifics. The big deal is the available 2560x1440 OLED screen, which is a first on a gaming laptop. Alienware is claiming a 100,000:1 contrast ratio along with a 1ms response time for this screen, although neither of those are particularly surprising for an OLED display. Other specifications include Skylake Core i5 and i7 CPUs, GeForce GTX 960M and 965M GPUs, up to 16GB DDR3L memory, and 128GB to 512GB PCIe SSDs. The Alienware 13 supports the aforementioned Alienware Graphics Amplifier, too.

While we suspect most TR readers will prefer to build their own rigs, it's hard to deny that Alienware makes some flashy-looking yet reasonably tasteful gear these days. If you're itching to get your hands on said gear, all of the models above should now be available through Alienware or Best Buy.

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