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Alienware's gaming laptops and X51 desktop get faster specs and extra features

Over recent years, Alienware computers have become increasingly reasonable options for anyone who's looking to get into PC gaming but is unable or unwilling to build a rig from scratch (which will, of course, usually be cheaper for those with the time and ability). Today, ahead of the PAX Prime event in Seattle, the Dell-owned brand is launching a range of new products that should serve as solid out-of-the-box gaming solutions.

First up is the X51, Alienware's mid-range desktop PC that offers impressive power in a package roughly the size of an Xbox One — previous models have won a lot of fans (myself included) for providing a strong PC gaming experience in a single, simple box. The R3 revision is the third major version of the X51, and although it keeps the same chassis, it's all changed on the inside. The first new models include Intel Skylake i5k or i7k processors, DDR4 RAM, and optional liquid cooling support, which is quieter and more efficient than a traditional fan system and allows for safer overclocking.

On the graphics side, the base GPU is an Nvidia GTX 745, but depending on configuration, you can go for an AMD Radeon R9 370 or an Nvidia GTX 960. The R3 is the first X51 model to support Alienware's external Graphics Amplifier, too (seen above), meaning you could also hook up a card as powerful as a GTX Titan X. The new models are available today from $1,099.

Alienware's laptop line is also getting a big refresh across the board. The Alienware 13 (below), 15, and 17 now feature USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3, faster PCIe SSD storage, and what Alienware calls "dynamic overclocking" — software that balances out high performance and acceptable heat levels. The 17-inch (and later, 15-inch) models can be fitted with 4K IGZO displays, and the 13-inch goes up to QHD+ (3200 x 1800).

The Alienware 13 is billed as being able to achieve "all-day" battery life, which the company rates at over eight hours. At the other end of the power scale, Alienware is also introducing an special edition 18-inch model featuring dual Nvidia 980M graphics totaling 16GB of fast GDDR5 memory, along with an overclocked Intel Extreme Edition processor that's socket-mounted for future upgradeability.

All of these laptops are available today, but they run on Haswell processors for now, as Intel hasn't fully rolled out Skylake beyond desktops just yet. And as you'd expect, all the new Alienware products can be ordered with Windows 10 preloaded.