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Alienware has announced a small form-factor PC designed to give consumers gaming power in a compact box that will fit nicely the living room. The X51 is about a third of the size of Alienware's Aurora desktop, measuring just 14.5 x 12.52 x 3.74 inches and weighing a mere 12 pounds. It's reminiscent of an Xbox 360 gaming console, but with Alienware's trademark customizable lighting zones to add a little flair, and can also orient itself either vertically or horizontally – with a logo that rotates accordingly so it's always the right way up.
The base model comes in at $699 and includes a 3.3GHz Intel Core i3 2120, Nvidia Geforce GT545 graphics card, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 1TB hard drive. According to the company, this setup is enough to deliver an average frame rate of 34fps in Battlefield 3 with high settings and HD 1080p resolution.
Those specs are upgradeable to an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, an Nvidia Geforce GTX555 graphics card, up to 8GB of RAM and a slot-loading Blu-ray player to replace the standard DVD optical drive. The smallish desktop is supplied with an external 240W power supply but there's an optional 330W version as well.
Other specifications include Windows 7 Home Premium, on-board Wi-Fi, six USB 2.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4 output to hook it up to a HDTV and high definition 7.1 audio. You also get Steam and Portal pre-installed to get you started, but mouse and keyboard peripherals are not included in the base model.
There's no support for multiple video cards or fancy cooling options, but unlike with many small form factor PCs, Alienware says the X51 will offer easy access to its internals for upgrades and general tinkering.
The Alienware X51 is available direct from Dell's website. Besides the $699 base model, $899, $949, and $1,149 configurations are also available.