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Dell intros Alienware X51, a console-sized gaming desktop starting at $699

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As much as we love our home-built gaming rigs, it sometimes feels like huge gaming towers are on the outs — shoved aside in favor of the leanback experience you can get with a game console. What if your gaming PC comfortably fit alongside those game consoles, though? That's what it sounds like Dell's banking on with the Alienware X51.

Alienware X51 small
Alienware X51 small

As much as we love our home-built gaming rigs, it sometimes feels like huge gaming towers are on the outs — shoved aside in favor of the leanback experience you can get with a game console. What if your gaming PC comfortably fit alongside those game consoles, though? That's what it sounds like Dell's banking on with the Alienware X51, launching today starting at $699. At 13.5 inches high, 12.5 inches deep and 3.7 inches wide, it's not much bigger than an original Xbox 360, and yet the company says it can manage 30+FPS in Battlefield 3 at 1080p resolution with high detail. We don't know which particular CPUs are on tap yet, but you're looking at a dual-core Intel Core i3 processor, backed up by a Nvidia GeForce GT 545 graphics card, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, a dual-layer DVD burner, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and loads of ports to start, and upgrades include Core i5 and Core i7 processors, a GeForce GTX 555 GPU, and a slot-loading Blu-ray drive. It seems to be upgradable, but we're not sure by how much: the system comes with a 240W power supply, with a 330W option. Product links should be up later today with final details.

Compare this: X51 vs. Digital Storm's Ode Level 1 vs. HP's h9 Phoenix vs. Maingear's Vybe-S — and more!

Update: The X51 starts with a 3.3GHz Core i3-2120, gains a 3.0GHz Core i5-2320 at the $899 mark, and ranges up to a Core i7-2600 at $1149.