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Dell's New Alienware Case Goes to Extremes To Prevent Overheating 149

Posted by timothy
from the pvc-and-tape-would-cost-less dept.
MojoKid writes Dell's enthusiast Alienware brand has always stood out for its unique, other-worldly looks (sometimes good, sometimes, not so good) and there's such a thing as taking things to the next level, this might be it. However, there's more to this refresh than just shock value. It's actually a futuristic aesthetic with a rather purposeful design behind it. Today Alienware gave a sneak peek at their completely redesigned Alienware Area 51 desktop system. This refreshed system is unlike any previous Alienware rig you've seen. With a trapezoidal shape to its chassis, Dell-Alienware says you can place the Area-51 against a wall and not have to worry about thermals getting out of the control. That's because there's a controlled gap and a sharp angle to the chassis that ensures only a small part of the system actually rests near the wall, leaving extra room for hot air to escape up and away. This design also offers users easy access to rear IO ports. Despite the unique design, there's plenty of room for high end components inside. The retooled chassis can swallow up to three 300W double-wide full-length graphics cards. It also brings to the table Intel's latest and greatest Haswell-E in six-core or eight-core options, liquid cooled and nestled into Intel's X99 chipset. No word from Dell on the price but the new Area-51 is slated to start shipping in October.
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Dell's New Alienware Case Goes to Extremes To Prevent Overheating

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  • by rebelwarlock (1319465) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @06:50AM (#47790197)
    The only way this could have been more blatant of an advertisement is if they had put in a preorder link. Even if it wasn't, their "controlled gap" is just a corner that juts out so you can't push it up against the wall properly. It's just not very impressive in terms of, well, anything.

    Besides, I'm pretty sure the slashdot crowd builds their own rigs anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)

      The only way this could have been more blatant of an advertisement is if they had put in a preorder link. Even if it wasn't, their "controlled gap" is just a corner that juts out so you can't push it up against the wall properly. It's just not very impressive in terms of, well, anything.

      Besides, I'm pretty sure the slashdot crowd builds their own rigs anyway.

      So lets tare it apparent instead:
      1. It's hideously ugly
      2. That vent design will make removing dust and pethair from the vents nearly impossible.
      3. It's a non-standard form fact, a lot of hardware will not fit in it at all.
      4. The PSU is at the bottom, heat rises, and directly above it they have the SLI video cards. This is a terrible design.
      5. It's small and cramped... which I'd expect from a portable design for lan parties... but it's too awkward to carry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by goarilla (908067)

        4. The PSU is at the bottom, heat rises, and directly above it they have the SLI video cards. This is a terrible design.

        The PSU at the bottom is pretty much the standard these days.
        It makes room for top vents or a radiator that way. And the heath output of the PSU is so minimal
        compared to other parts that it's probably the best place for the PSU.

      • by iggymanz (596061)

        Wow, festooning a computer case with weeds harmful to grains, to bring it apart. That's very novel compared to something as mundane as tearing one apart.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        1. I disagree.
        2. No more then it is now. Pop open the top, and blow it out.
        3. As nears as I can tell, the motherboard isn't standard, but everything else is.
        4. Clearly you didn't pay attention to how it removes heat. Having the weight at the bottom is better.
        5. lan parties. Cute.

      • If the PSU is wasting more power than the rest of the system is actually using, then you've got bigger problems.

        The PSU should be >90% efficient, which means it's producing 10% of the total heat output of the system.

    • by asylumx (881307) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:21AM (#47790251)
      I'm anything BUT an Apple fan, but I think their new design for the Mac Pro [apple.com] is better looking and probably more functional from a shape perspective than this idea from Alienware. Glad to see manufacturers trying new things, but I hope they keep looking.
      • by LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:36AM (#47790297)

        I'm anything BUT an Apple fan, but I think their new design for the Mac Pro [apple.com] is better looking and probably more functional from a shape perspective than this idea from Alienware. Glad to see manufacturers trying new things, but I hope they keep looking.

        That thing makes me want to start smoking again so I could ash in it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Overrated? Come on, it totally looks like an ash tray.
          • by X0563511 (793323)

            Or a trash bin.

            It's certainly.. unique looking.

          • by Misagon (1135)

            Funny how everyone called it a "trash can" ... until they saw how small it was. Then they started calling it an "ash tray".

            I thought the unified thermal core was genius... until I heard that it actually runs pretty hot.
            The graphics card have to be custom-made for the Mac Pro, and you can't put a mechanical drive inside, which limits performance for video editing. Yet again Apple's own overpriced accessories are the only ones that fit.
            I'm not saying that the Alienware trapezoid/pentagon isn't more ridiculous

            • Our graphics designer who does a lot of video work got a Mac Pro here at work, they are pretty expensive, but it seems fast and reliable so far. Time will tell for sure.

              > you can't put a mechanical drive inside, which limits performance for video editing

              I think the designers made the correct decisions for video editing. SSDs are faster than mechanical drives and go inside. Most video editors also need large repositories in addition to their working set (the working set goes on internal SSD) and
              • but only 1 inside slot? with no choice for raid? also no E-sata

              • by geekoid (135745)

                For that price, you can get far more powerful PCs.
                In fact, you could get several PC and create a mini farm.

                OTOH, it's for a graphic designer, so pretty of substance.

            • by stg (43177)

              Yet again Apple's own overpriced accessories are the only ones that fit.

              AFAIK it is all standard stuff - USB, Thunderbolt, HDMI, etc. None of those require you to use Apple accessories.

        • by asylumx (881307)
          I *do* think the mac pro looks like a trash can, and I worry about things being set on top of it and causing worse heating problems. Just saying, the alienware doesn't have those problems but it is going to be hard to fit the alienware design in with most decor.
      • by fa2k (881632) <pmbjornstadNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:08AM (#47790535)

        So we should compare this announcement with the Mac Pro one. Apple had to share a slashdot article between the MacBook and the Mac Pro [slashdot.org]. There's not many complaints about slashvertisement on the mac post.

        The post about the Mac appears just as positive, but it packs a lot more facts in fewer sentences, so it's arguably better. Both have their share of marketing language and fluff, but the Alienware has a lot more of it.

      • by sudon't (580652)

        I am an Apple fan, and the new Mac Pro is the first design in a long time that I haven't liked. The old aluminum enclosure looked a lot nicer. This one looks PCish to me, in spite of being round. Maybe it's the color of the plastic? I prefer my ashtrays in amber glass on a brass pedestal.

      • more functional this thing has room for 3 video cars and 5 HDD's maybe even SATA express.

        mac pro 2 video cards that only fit in the mac pro. 1 pci-e SSD slot and no pci-e slots.

      • by enjar (249223)

        I thought of the Mac Pro when I saw this design, and thought "this is more what the Mac Pro should have been". Maybe not from the aesthetic perspective (maybe a bigger trash can than the current model?), but the things this system can do are far more akin to what the old cheese grater Mac Pros could do:

        - accept GPU cards of the maker you choose, and upgrade them as new models come out. Or, more accurately, more PCI devices.
        - accept more storage devices in the bays, or a mix of SSD and disk technologies to g

    • Mind commenting about TFA and saving your useless criticism for yourself?

      Besides, I'm pretty sure the slashdot crowd builds their own rigs anyway.

      So what? Because you're not interested it means everyone shouldn't be? Find something/somewhere else to hate.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      The only way this could have been more blatant of an advertisement is if they had put in a preorder link.

      Allow me to introduce to you the concept of a product press release. This is something given to news outlets and then they run stories on it. There are other sites that exist to aggregate the news into a common place for a common interest. I believe one of the most popular ones is called Slashdot and they aggregate articles on the likes of news in the tech industry.

      If you would like more information I can continue stating the obvious for a small bitcoin donation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    1. Buy the same components that would be in any high spec PC
    2. Invent the ugliest, least practical case you find. Preferably one which glows blue, and has a perspex cum-proof window so owner can wank over their expensive purchase.
    3. Throw in a stupidly heavy keyboard and mouse, each styled to be ugly too. Preferably they glow red.
    4. Throw a 2 or 3x markup on what it cost to shit out this abomination.
    5. Laugh at the morons who sustain this business model.
  • "Against a wall" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:21AM (#47790253) Homepage

    In other words, it's ok to place this directly agains the wall, because the shape ensures it cannot be placed agains the wall. Well done.

    • by v1 (525388) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:55AM (#47790357) Homepage Journal

      In other words, it's ok to place this directly agains the wall, because the shape ensures it cannot be placed agains the wall. Well done.

      That's actually completely accurate. Towers do tend to get placed under desks, or more commonly, in a corner where the desk meets the wall. Ventillatoin back there is crap, and the system overheats. So rather than make another case that will just generate a lot more support calls and broken harware in warranty, they just made it physically impossible to keep installing it like retard.

      y'know... for their retarded customers ;)

      Knowing your customer is key to a successful business.

      But all sarcasm aside, I do like the new design. I'm a mac fan but I can see some thought went into this both for functionality and for original and interesting design. Even if they fail at both, at least they're trying. It's not just another boring beige / black box.

      I think the biggest concern for me though would be how much floor space this is going to take up, plus how little or zero space there is to set anything on it. I don't even think you could set the keyboard aside on it without risking it falling over. And imagine the users setting drinks on top of it! At least with a box, if you knock your drink over, it's on the floor. HERE.... it can drain your entire soda into the mobo ports (back) or fan intake. (front) I think that will be the biggest problem this case has, getting users out of the habbit of setting things on top of their case.

      • by Morpf (2683099)

        There are already things hindering the customers to place their PC directly with their back to the walls. One is called cables, the other one is called convenience. Who wants to crawl under their desk to turn the PC on or to attach / detach an USB flash drive? Thus a PC is more often then not aligned with the front of the desk, with more than enough space towards the wall.

        So I call BS on the "regular PCs heat up because of walls and thus we introduced this case design".

        • by TeknoHog (164938)

          There are already things hindering the customers to place their PC directly with their back to the walls. One is called cables, the other one is called convenience.

          But then you also have people who just like to shove things against the wall. I mean who cares about a broken cable now and then, you can always buy more >.<

        • by tompaulco (629533)

          So I call BS on the "regular PCs heat up because of walls and thus we introduced this case design".

          Regular PCs don't heat up because regular PCs don't produce a great deal of heat. Enthusiast PCs do, but Enthusiast PC owners know better, and if they don't then they are the perfect target market for a replacement PC.

      • by Mal-2 (675116)

        I don't know about you, but I prefer to have my desktop machine as far away from my ears as the cables will allow. This also means putting it out of reach to set anything like drinks on top of it. I do have an 8-channel mixer and a USB3-SATA drive dock on top of it, but I have to stand up and take a couple steps to reach either of those.

        If I could do it without knocking a hole in the wall, I'd put the whole machine in a different room so I don't have to hear it or feel its heat.

      • Monsieur Ventillatoin disagrees.

      • And imagine the users setting drinks on top of it! At least with a box, if you knock your drink over, it's on the floor. HERE.... it can drain your entire soda into the mobo ports (back) or fan intake. (front) I think that will be the biggest problem this case has, getting users out of the habbit of setting things on top of their case.

        What kind of moron gets in the habit of putting liquids on top of their case in the first place?

      • by TeknoHog (164938)

        imagine the users setting drinks on top of it! At least with a box, if you knock your drink over, it's on the floor. HERE.... it can drain your entire soda into the mobo ports (back) or fan intake. (front)

        Moreover, I imagine this feature will increase dust buildup. Of course you get plenty of dust along the airstream, no matter what direction, but in this case (pun intended) there's a constant buildup from above, even when the machine is off. Then when you turn the machine on again, you get this nice layer of dust sucked in at once.

        To avoid these types of problem, I'd rather have an indentation on the back, leaving room for air even when the top is pushed against the wall. It will be somewhat worse for na

        • by Reziac (43301) *

          A great deal of a PC's heat exchange happens through the case. Plastic shells are therefore not a good idea. (If you don't believe me, wrap your machine in a towel, leaving the front and back open, and watch the temperature go up.) And this one has less surface area. My guess is it will actually run hotter than the same equipment in a standard case.

          As to Dell's engineering for temperature mitigation -- a few years ago someone gift me a top-of-the-line Dell that had a chronic overheating issue. It had the ho

    • Please. I'm having a contractor come in to move my walls so that they hug this case the way they are supposed to. Trapezoidal rooms .. here I come!

  • by Ecuador (740021) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @07:27AM (#47790267) Homepage
    Before clicking the link I was trying to imagine how a trapezoidal shape could help and I could not. Well, that's because it is a hexagon. Sure, not a regular one, as the article says "like a triangle but with twice as many sides", and even more complicated than that (half the sides are hexagonal themselves, the other half rectangular), but I would not call it "trapezoidal" unless I did not know what that meant.
    That said, yes, you can push it to the wall, but due to its shape it is actually longer (at its lower part) than a rectangular case would be, so you would be able to leave enough space behind with a rectangular case if you set it so that its front is at the same place where this hexagon reaches when it is all the way back to the wall. If they wanted to actually save space perhaps they could get air from the sides and out from the top on a rectangular shape (along with ports etc)? I don't know, I'm just saying.
    • by NoMaster (142776)

      Before clicking the link I was trying to imagine how a trapezoidal shape could help and I could not. Well, that's because it is a hexagon.

      Doesn't matter. You clicked on the link. Dice's job is done...

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Looks like an extruded triangle with bevels. Don't make it more complicated :P

    • What irked me is the totally useless video. Instead of exhibiting the case, using the benefit of multiple angles provided by a video cam, etc.. we just get a bunch of bullshit seizure inducing game screens and other pointless alien metaphor type stuff. The video could have been used to give us a much better grasp of the design than the picture or two on the webpage. They have definitely chosen flashy sensationalism over substance, and for that I cannot trust anything they claim.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cooling doesn't have to be complicated.

  • Does someone know a trapezoid?
  • The Alienware "Trapezoidal" Area 51 Case.


    Jesus... That thing is ugly.
  • It's a hexagonal prism, albeit not regular. So it may be called a plesiohedron?
  • by Mistakill (965922) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @08:39AM (#47790485)
    I bought one of these, and between it and the Corsair H110, i don't even have any case fans on... the case has good ventilation at the top, and front... the case will be a fair bit cheaper than the premium alienware would be charging too
    • How do you like it? I was pretty intrigued when I saw one of these at a Fry's, but I went with the Carbide 300R (which is the best case I've had the pleasure of using). The 540, aside from being gigantic, seemed like overkill at the time.

      • It's my favorite case ever. I think the GP has inspired me to try turning off the three case fans. I'm giddy.
      • I love it. Very easy to route cables, great cooling, and it is shorter than a normal case (wider, but shorter). It is a great, great choice in my opinion.

  • Chill out - I dig it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by water-and-sewer (612923) on Saturday August 30, 2014 @09:05AM (#47790529) Homepage

    I don't know why there's so much hatred about this being a slashvertisement. I actually like articles about new hardware - it's one of the reasons I still visit sites like this.

    I dig the new machine, and totally support people looking into alternative and hopefully improved/innovative designs. This thing looks cool.

    You guys will figure that out when you calm down a bit.

  • There were reasons which I cannot seem to remember right now. Fan noise maybe? But why dont cases blow air up?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Anecdote: I knew a student who had a self-built computer, with a top fan exhaust (and a very high CFM fan, a Delta I think!). He had a bit too much to drink one night, and threw up in exactly the wrong direction, straight on top of his PC...

      Extra comedy: His PC survived, because the Delta threw the vomit right back in his face.

      Perhaps this is why.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Because when it isn't on you'd have a nice opening for dust, hair, and anything else to rain down into the case.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Some do. But mostly, it's to prevent damage from spillage.

      Frankly, we need to go back to desk tops.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      I have a cooler master haf-x. It breathes out the top. Works great, and I can put it right up against a wall, because the intlet fan is on the other side, unless I am an idiot and put the fan side against the wall. Even then there are two other fans, one in front and one in back to try to limit the damage if I am an idiot.
      I can't speak enough praise about this case. From the access points, to cable grommets, to incredible airflow, to built in sdata and usb frontside.
      I priced an alienware to a homebuilt w
    • A lot of gamer cases vent out the top. For example; http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/... [thermaltakeusa.com] I think its to deal with the PSU being on the bottom of the case or to have space for the liquid cooling radiator inside the case.
    • There were reasons which I cannot seem to remember right now. Fan noise maybe? But why dont cases blow air up?

      Actually modern PC cases such as Bitfenix's Prodigy/Phenom [bitfenix.com], Fractal Design Define R [fractal-design.com], and specially made for air cooling Corsair Carbide Air [corsair.com] provide vent and filter on top. You can install apair of large fans on them but most of the time, they are used for watercooling kit.

    • I have a self-built server in an Antec tower case. It breathes out of the top ( the main inlets are front, behind the RAID controller, and one of the sides ). It stands on a table, and never has any problem with hair from the three dogs who regularly stalk around here, insects, etc. Only some dust, but that is normal.
  • That's what I'd call it.
  • by lucm (889690)

    The RAM on this thing is limited to 32GB. Pretty soon there will probably be laptops at Best Buy that support more than that.

    Q: How much RAM do you really need?
    A: It doesn't matter. GIVE ME MORE RAM!

    • by geekoid (135745)

      False. Very few Application use more then a few gigs.
      Some do, and that's great, but for 95+% of users, it would just be wasted.
      This isn't 1993

      It's math.

  • but when I am, I buy Alienware.

  • Why not trapezoid?

    I'm not hearing a no....

  • Does the thing still weigh 200 fucking pounds? That's always been my beef with Alienware computers. You need a fucking forklift just to move them around.

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