Feeds
70%
Alienware Area 51 m5500

Alienware Area-51 m5500 notebook

Lacking that special Alienware 'something'?

Business security measures using SSL

A microphone is built into the top left of the screen, while running below the screen are speakers and, according to Alienware, a built-in sub-woofer. The m5500 did a good job of pumping out MP3s but it's no replacement for a decent set of speakers or headphones. Microphone, headphone and line-out ports are located at the front of the unit, with one socket doubling up as an optical SP/DIF output. If you're going to connect it up to an amp, a rear connector would have been better.

Alienware Area 51 m5500

The keys are mostly full size, with the enter key the only major one shrunk down. The keyboard is comfortable to type on but there was some sponginess under the F keys at the top left. The trackpad and buttons work well enough and on the right-hand side there's an area to scroll up and down in web pages easily, which is genuinely useful. There are shortcut buttons for the web browser, media player and the built-in Wi-Fi, though Bluetooth is notable by its absence. The power button has the de-rigueur blue lighting underneath.

Aside from this the look is fairly generic, which has to be said is a touch disappointing for an Alienware machine. I was also a bit put off by a quiet but distinct whining noise from the area where the power was connected - though possibly this was a pre-production glitch.

Inside the machine there's a Pentium M 760 processor. This runs at 2.0GHz, which is slightly less than the 2.13GHz 770, used in the Rock Pegasus 650. Oddly our review sample was fitted with only 512MB of RAM, limiting it to single-channel mode. There is a second slot free for use, however, so you could specify a second 512MB module on ordering as less than 1GB isn't ideal these days and will provide a boost thanks to dual-channel support. It'll cost an extra £113 though, which is steep.

There's 60GB of hard disk storage, which isn't humungous by today's standards. At least it's a decently fast Hitachi TravelStar drive with a spindle rotation speed of 7200rpm. Removable storage isn't so impressive. There's no DVD burner, only a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive – very passé. A DVD burner is available as a cost option.

External connectivity includes three USB 2.0 ports, a four-pin Firewire port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a modem socket. There's also a PC card slot, useful for 3G data cards, and a four-in-one memory card reader at the front. D-Sub VGA output and an S-Video TV out are also present.

Alienware includes a set of recovery CDs called AlienRespawn, which is cutely named, though it’s not standard and you can choose to do without if you wish to save 30 quid. Kaspersky Anti-virus is another cost option included with our review sample.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.