If you liked the looks of Alienware’s new thin-and-light 13-inch laptop or its bigass, futuristic-looking Area-51 desktop, then listen up: Both are on sale beginning tomorrow, with shipments starting in November, and we finally know the full specs. Starting with the Alienware 13, it goes from $999 (£949 in the UK) with a dual-core Core i5-4210U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 860M GPU, 1TB 5,400RPM disk and a fairly low-res 1,366 x 768, non-touch matte display. If you like, you can step up to 16GB of RAM, either a hybrid hard drive or up to a 512GB SSD, and either a 1080p non-touch display or a 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen. It would seem, though, that despite those various upgrade options, there’s only one choice for the CPU and graphics card. Regardless of the configuration you get, the whole thing comes wrapped in a slimmed-down package that weighs about four and a half pounds and measures an inch thick.
Meanwhile, the Area-51 starts at $1,699 (£1,299 in the UK) with a six-core Intel Core i7-5820K processor, a 2GB AMD RadeonTM R9 270 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 2TB 7,200RPM hard drive and a slot-loading DVD burner. From there, you’ve got lots of upgrade options — way more than on the Alienware 13 laptop. On the CPU side, there’s a slightly faster six-core Intel Core i7-5930K processor (clocked at 3.5GHz instead of 3.3GHz), as well as an eight-core Intel Core i7-5960X chip. In total, there are four memory slots; Dell will ship the machine with eight, 16 or 32GB. When it comes to storage, you can step up to a 128GB SSD plus a 2TB 7,200RPM drive; a 256GB SSD with a 4TB HDD; or a 512GB solid-state drive, also with a 4TB disk.
As for graphics, well, this might take a few sentences: The Area-51 is available in single-, double- and triple-GPU configs. If all you can afford is one graphics card, your upgrade options include a 2GB NVIDIA GTX 770, a 3GB GTX 780, a 4GB GTX 980 or the GTX Titan Z with 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Ready to hear the dual-card options? You can get the GTX 770 with 4GB (2 x 2GB), the GTX 780 with 6GB (2 x 3GB), the GTX 980 with 8GB (2 x 4GB) or the Titan Z with 24GB (2 x 12GB). Across the board, NVIDIA’s SLI technology is enabled. Finally, the three-GPU options include a mix of both NVIDIA and AMD cards (but mostly NVIDIA). There’s the GTX 770 with 6GB (3 x 2GB), the GTX 780 with 9GB (3 x 3GB) and the GTX 980 with 12GB (3 x 4GB). If you’re an AMD fan, meanwhile, you an score the Radeon R9 290X with 12 gigs (again, 3 x 4GB). Depending on which brand of graphics card you choose, you’ll get either NVIDIA’s SLI technology or AMD Crossfire. Lastly, there’s a Blu-ray drive option, in case you haven’t quite ditched physical media.
We know what you’re thinking: What the hell is a “graphics amplifier”? (Some of you smartasses are probably also wondering if it goes to eleven.) In fact, it is what it sounds like: The Amplifier, a new accessory from Alienware, is a big ol’ shell that lives on your desk, with room for nearly any desktop-grade GPU (anything up to 375 watts). Once you get that set up, you plug the thing into your gaming laptop via a cable and boom, your notebook is suddenly running off a desktop-grade GPU, not the mobile one that came built inside the chassis. As a bonus, the Amplifier also has four powered USB ports, so you can also use this as a docking station for your keyboard, mouse, monitor, et cetera. And yes, that glowing Alienware head on the front has customizable lighting. Of course it does.
Sounds kinda rad, right? Right. Well, except for one teeny detail: This requires a proprietary, PCI-Express-based cable, one that only works on the new Alienware 13. According to a Dell spokesperson, future models will use the same connection port but for now, even if you have an older Alienware machine you’re outta luck. Of course, too, if you own a notebook from another brand, like Razer or ASUS, this will be of absolutely no use to you. Which makes sense: Dell wants to give people an incentive to buy Alienware laptops. This is, at the end of the day, just an Alienware add-on and little more. But come on, imagine how many of these Dell would sell if it could make the thing work using a common standard.
Assuming we haven’t taken the winds out of your sails, this is up for preorder today for $299 in the US and £199 in the UK (GPU not included), and is expected to ship sometime in November. As for the rest of you, well, we’ll always have Spinal Tap, right?
Apple is historically a small player in the PC world compared to many of its peers, but it may have just entered the big leagues. IDC estimates that the company jumped to 6.3 percent market share in the third quarter of the year, making it the fifth-largest PC builder worldwide — a feat it hasn’t managed in decades. It’s still no major threat to heavy-hitters such as Lenovo (20 percent), HP (18.8 percent) and Dell (13.3 percent), but IDC believes that a combination of slight price cuts and improved demand in “mature” markets like North America have helped it grow in a computer market that’s still shrinking.
With that said, the crew in Cupertino probably isn’t breaking out the party streamers right away. Gartner contends that ASUS claimed the fifth-place spot with 7.3 percent, and that Apple only sits in the top five in its native US. So what gives? In short, it’s a difference in methodology; Gartner and IDC don’t have official shipping numbers from everyone, and there’s enough wiggle room in their estimates that it wouldn’t take much for the rankings to change. As precise as these figures may be, you’ll get a better sense of how Apple fared when it posts its fiscal results (and real shipping numbers) in a couple of weeks.
It’s safe to say that Steve Jobs was off the mark when he declared that no one would buy big smartphones — they’ve become popular enough that Apple itself is now making large iPhones. But how did these supersized devices escape their niche status to become the must-haves they are today? The transformation didn’t happen overnight. It took a succession of ever-bigger phones to spark the public imagination and prove that huge screens were here to stay. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most important examples — head on over to our gallery see how enormous became the new normal.
If you happen to own one of Dell’s Venue tablets, you now have an easy way to put its content on a bigger screen. Dell has just launched the Cast, a simple stick that lets you link your slate to any HDMI-equipped display. You can either mirror your screen directly (much like Chromecast) or use the larger panel as a makeshift desktop, including multiple web browser windows. Shades of Motorola’s Webtop, anyone? The add-on is available now for $80, although you may need to be patient depending on your choice of platform. Only Android-based Venue tablets can use the Cast right away. You’ll have to wait until later this year to pair it with Windows-based models like the Venue 8 Pro.
So, even aside from the bevy of news that came out of Apple’s iPhone 6 and Watch event today, there was still a ton of pretty interesting reads from the past 24 hours: Destiny developer Bungie spilled on what truly separates the game from its previous work, Stephen Hawking made a plea for a connected wheelchair and much, much more — it’s all in the gallery below!
4K is so last week. Most of us haven’t added one of those displays as part of our daily workflow yet, and Dell’s 5K option is on the way. The UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K monitor claims a world’s first with said resolution. In terms of dimensions, that’s 5,120 x 2,880 which clocks in at four times the resolution of QHD and seven times that of full HD. The panel itself is 218 PPI, putting it just shy of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and features the company’s PremierColor tech and anti-smudge/anti-reflection edge-to-edge glass across its 27-inch facade. There are built-in “immersive acoustics” thanks to a pair of Harmon Kardon 16W speakers with six USB ports, on-board card reader and adjustable base for sorting tasks. If you’re already wanting one for your office, you should probably start saving now. The UltraSharp model is set to arrive in Q4 with a $2,500 price tag.
What good is having an ultra-powerful PC if you’re still connecting it to a dusty old monitor? We reckon doing so would be pretty silly. Good thing that alongside the new Alienware Area 51, Dell’s pulled the curtain back on its 34-inch Ultrasharp U3415W display then. It boasts a wider-than-widescreen 21:9 aspect ratio that’s paired with 3,440 x 1,440 lines of resolution (just under 4K’s 3,840 x 2,160) and a curved screen. Dell says that the monitor’s wide field of view mated with its curves will give gamers a leg up on the competition because, compared to flat monitors, less eye movement is needed to take advantage of the player’s peripheral vision. Intrigued to test that claim? You can do so come this December. We’re hoping that regardless of size, though, a curved screen doesn’t necessarily equate to an expensive screen — Dell hasn’t announced pricing for these displays just yet.
A few years ago, tablets were poised to replace laptops as the computing device of choice. That never happened, as we’ve largely stuck with laptops and phones as our daily drivers, with tablets relegated to a secondary role. If you don’t use a tablet that much, it certainly seems wise to avoid dropping a lot of cash on one. But a lower price often means compromises, and too many compromises means you won’t be using the tablet at all. To figure out how many corners you can cut when it comes to purchasing a sub-$200 tablet, we’ve gathered opinions from across the web, from our own reviews to the opinions of other trusted critics. Which cheap tablets balance performance and price to still deliver a good experience? When is it worth spending just a little bit more money? And which deals are too good to be true?
After a few years finding itself/getting a heavy-duty industrial makeover, Alienware’s well-respected (and, importantly, customizable) desktop gaming PC has returned. The Area-51 isn’t small, but it now has a new triangular… hexagonal… something-between-the-two design, intentionally hewn that way to maintain airflow and keep it cool, even when positioned against a wall. It’s certainly come a long way since the tower desktop days of 2011. Given its size, two of the corners have handles to lug it around with — we hope you can bicep-curl 45 pounds though, because that’s how much it weights. It also looks nothing like Alienware’s incoming Steam Machine. (Ironically, the new Area-51 chassis looks far more “Valve,” in a lot of ways.)
Inside that space-age shell, there’s support for up to three full-length graphics cards, Intel’s best and brightest Core i7 six- and eight-core Haswell-E CPUs — all overclockable and liquid-cooled. All the above is backed up with DDR4 RAM support. The early announcement unfortunately didn’t cover pricing or release dates, but expect to see the machine later this year. Oh, and the new model also has nine separate light-up zones for customization. Because customization is key to victory in Counter-Strike. (It isn’t).