updated 02:45 pm EDT, Tue March 18, 2008
Alienware Area-51 9800 GX2
Alienware this afternoon upgraded its Area-51 gaming tower to take advantage of NVIDIA's latest speed boosts. The new system uses NVIDIA's just-introduced nForce 790i Ultra SLI mainboard and now has the option of the GeForce 9800 GX2 for video. The combination not only provides the fastest gaming performance from a single card, according to Alienware, but also adds more breathing room for expanded performance: the new nForce platform freely allows more CPU overclocking in its BIOS than earlier Area-51 models and also provides extra bandwidth for peripherals through PCI Express 2.0 as well as DDR3 memory.
A stock system starts at $2,099 with a more modest but overclocked GeForce 9600 GT for video as well as a 2.66GHz Penryn-based Core 2 Duo, 2GB of low-latency RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and a 750-watt power supply capable of handling any single-slot video card. Adding the GeForce 9800 GX2 boosts the price by $600 and matches the cost of buying the card from a third-party store. Current predictions have new systems shipping on April 10th.