BIOS and Software
The Alienware Area 51 7500 BIOS has all the features and power an enthusiast would want — perhaps more features than what some of you would expect.
Under the Advanced BIOS menu, you can configure the drives that are connected to the system and the order in which they will boot.
On the Advanced Chipset screen, you will find all the features a tweaker would want. In this menu you can adjust:
the frequency and multipliers for the CPU and the HyperTransport link, and multipliers for HT and the CPU
voltages for the CPU, chipset, and memory
timings for the memory
The Advanced Chipset menu offers a massive amount of adjustments all of which can be saved into one of three timing/voltage profiles which can be saved and restored whenever you want. When doing through the sub-menus, sometimes it seems that the number of selectable voltages never ends. Definitely there’s enough here to keep a tweaker playing for a very long time.
In the Integrated Peripherals screen, you can enable and disable all the onboard device features like RAID, USB, eSATA, and the onboard audio.
Under Power Management, you will get a detailed summary of all the thermal and voltage activities of the Area 51 7500. Unlike some motherboards you buy on the market, the Area 51 7500 allows you to control for all the fans connected via the pins on the motherboard. Fan controls are a great feature since the Area 51 7500 is fairly loud.
The Alienware Area 51 7500 we received came preloaded with Windows XP Media Center Edition with a free upgrade to Vista Home Premium. If you go to Alienware right now, you will find that Vista Home Premium is the default OS for this system.
Alienware understands that the high-end consumer doesn’t want a lot of junk loaded onto their computers when they first turn it on. As such, the company installs a total of two applications and two Alienware utilities. First are copies of Nero and PowerDVD so you can burn discs and watch movies which is something you’d want to be able to do out of the box.
The first Alienware utility is the AlienFX Editor which lets you configure the colours of the Area 51’s LEDs. By using this tool, you can change the five LED zones to a choice of 24 colours!
The last Alienware utility is their exclusive AlienwareGUIse desktop skins and widgets which completely change the way the way Windows looks and behaves. Aside from the obvious cosmetic changes, you get the dock bar which shows you the current load of the system, date information, and the applications you are currently running. Oddly, this skinning/theme utility was not found anywhere on the desktop or in the Start Menu, but buried inside the Program Files folder.