Alienware's Area-51 7500
desktop has certainly been on the chopping block
before, but the inquisitive folks over at Bit-Tech were able to land a refreshed unit that not only featured dual NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
graphics card and a 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
processor, but a built-in (unbranded Matshita) Blu-ray
drive to boot. Instantly, reviewers expected the snazzy looking machine to spin right on through every benchmark laid in front of it, and for the coin you'd be paying, we can't say that's such an unrealistic request. During 2D / 3D testing, the SLI-equipped system simply dominated in terms of FPS, image quality, and smoothness, as reviewers actually stated that current games couldn't even take full advantage of all that horsepower just yet. Also of note was the Blu-ray playback, which ended up being practically flawless after the review crew had their (understandable) doubts about how well the unit itself and HDCP films would operate within a PC environment. After trying out both analog and digital monitor connections, the player streamed out films in crisp 1,920 x 1,080 resolution without a hitch after PowerDVD
6.5 was loaded up, officially allowing for a collective sigh of relief. With a system this pricey, however, criticisms come easier, and they were quick to note that the included Patriot RAM was likely hindering performance somewhat due to "faulty memory timings," and also stated that the lackluster audio card should have been spruced up given the lofty cost. Overall, Bit-Tech was quite pleased with Alienware
's latest, but while the machine itself landed an 8 out of 10 rating, the £3,434 ($6,780) pricetag resulted in a paltry 5 out of 10 in the "Value" department, which is about par for the course for these guys.