Alienware’s Area-51M gaming laptop is bringing full desktop customization to portable scene.

The 17-inch laptop comes with a full desktop Intel i9-9900K CPU, an impressive and powerful piece of technology to place in a powerful machine. Graphically, the system is also powered with an impressive RTX 20-series GPU – all the way up to the 2080. Both of these are upgradable as well alongside the obviously swappable memory and storage.

For screens, the 51-M boasts a 17.3-inch display. You can choose between various 1080p screens: 60Hz, 60Hz G-SYNC, 144Hz with Tobias eye tracking support; 144Hz standard or even 144Hz G-Sync.

The internal storage does take a considerable size up from contemporary competitors. Unlike other laptops, there are two M.2 ports for SSDs and a single 2.5-inch HDD slot.

IO is also impressive: three USB 3.1 ports, USB-C Thunderbolt 3, 2.5Gbps Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, mini Display Port, and an Alienware Amplifier Port for the additional enhancement of a desktop GPU. Although, with a swappable internal GPU this shouldn’t hopefully be needed. Interestingly, the Area 51-M does require two power adapters to power the RTX internal GPU.

Is this form of customisability useful? Well, in the past it has been interesting but not very well supported. Lenovo once introduced the world to the Y510p, a laptop with Ultrabays which allowed for the introduction of swappable components.

Lenovo’s offering allowed for some interesting swap and play features. You could SLI two GPUs if you needed to or you could take one out and insert a disc tray. Unfortunately, the Ultrabays weren’t upgraded after the company decided the laptop’s life cycle was over. With laptops, that goes by very fast.

Lenovo y510p Ultrabay designed for upgrades. Source: Hardware Zone

Another sticking point is the price. Alienware’s Arena-15M is starting at $2549 on January 29th. Their recently announced m15 and m17 refreshes are in a similarly powerful range, albeit with laptop variant internals instead of full desktop models. However, if Alienware continues to support this machine, it could be a valuable investment for PC gamers.

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