Interior DesignNow lets open up the side panel and take a look inside.
In all the years I’ve been building computers on my own, I’ve never been able to create such a clean interior like what I see inside the Area 51 7500. All the cables are nicely tucked away and bundled up — besides giving a nice professional and clean look, it helps with airflow which is important for the two screaming 8800s inside.
Inside there are multiple fans cooling the components. on the left side panel, there is a 92mm fan which blows over the dual Western Digital Raptor drives which is good design since those 10,000 RPM drives get very warm. On the right panel, there is another 120mm fan which is aimed over the video cards. There is a small 40mm fan which cools the waterblock (which is a bit unusual) and a final 120mm fan blowing hot air off the radiator out the rear of the case.
If you’re keeping count, that three 120mm fans, one 92mm, one 40mm, and the two fans on the video cards.
The watercooler is effective, but does little to quiet down this noisy system with 4 case fans.
The watercooler is not a typical watercooling system because it does not have a reservoir and it has a fan on the waterblock itself. The pump is integrated into the radiator which gives the system a clean and uncluttered look. Despite the watercooler, the Alienware Area 51 7500 is a noisy beast with four case fans and two video card coolers. I would have to say that the system noise will put off many users, but the cooling is needed when you put the best performing components inside the case.
There is a heatpipe connecting the south bridge to the large passive cooler on the north bridge.
RAM is supplied by Patriot
The system we have here has two Western Digital Raptors (model WD1500ADFD) for the RAID option, but you can get it in single drives from 250GB to 750GB when ordering online. The Alienware website does not tell you what drives come with the RAID option nor can you specify the RAID capacity. If this is something that concerns you, then I recommend contacting Alienware and ask about the RAID options.
When configured to use RAID 1, the dual Raptors make a good amount of noise when reading and writing. This is typical of RAID 1 arrays since reading and writing occurs across all disks at exactly the same time.
There are four extra SATA connections, all capable of RAID, which you can use for upgrading. In total there are 6 SATA connections, but only 4 hard drive mounts.
The media reader/writer uses a standard USB 2.0 B connection, so you can always remove it and use it externally if you ever need to free up a drive bay.
All the drives are quick-release for convenient maintenance and upgrading.
In the configuration we received we has two EVGA NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX 768MB videocards for SLI, but you can get it with a single 8800GTX or a 7950GT. The video cards are held in place using a Card Keepers to ensure they don’t shift around when moving.
To power these video cards you have a choice of either a 700W or a 1000W power supply. The one we have in our review sample is a 1000W model which may be a bit overkill, but it will ensure the best flexibility if you ever upgrade to faster and more powerful CPUs or video cards.
Sandwiched between the two video cards is a SoundBlaster X-Fi soundcard installed in the PCI slot. This presents with the only problem with the Area 51 – if you have two video cards with large coolers, you only get a single usable PCI slot. This means you can’t have a PhysX PPU, and an add-on sound card co-existing if you have SLI in the Area 51.
Finally, the coup-de-gras is the AlienFX lighting which is an extra feature that adds multi-colored LEDs to the case which can be changed via a Windows application. There are 5 LED zones (sides, front door, front ports, drive bay, and fan vents) and each can be changed to 1 of 24 colours. It’s a cool feature which gives you the ability to customize the look whenever you like. All of this is controlled by a special circuit found inside the case and plugged into one of the USB headers on the motherboard.