Hearing the term "gaming desktop" always brings to mind large hardware boxes with huge cooling systems that occupy a considerable slice of your desk. I guess that notion is soooo 2011 as Dell is showing with the Alienware X51, a proper gaming computer that looks about the size of a PS3 Slim.
While not exactly as small as a nettop, it's a considerable reduction compared to the gaming rigs we're used to. I mean, I can actually bring this along to a LAN party without breaking my back. And, no, I'm just kidding -- LAN parties are sooooo decades ago. I go to beer parties now. We just happen to play games while we're doing it.
The Alienware X51 is a compact-sized gaming PC that can be oriented vertically or horizontally on your cardboard desk, complete with the alien head logo rotating to follow your preferred position. Chassis comes with a matte black finish and dark chrome accents, along with three lighted zones whose LED colors can be changed via an included software. It uses a mini-ITX motherboard with an accessible layout that makes it easy to upgrade hardware components just like a standard-sized machine.
As for the specs, you get options in CPU (Core 3, Core 5 and Core 7), graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce GT 545 or GTX 555), RAM (up to 8GB) and storage (up to 1TB). Other details include a slot-loading optical drive (either DVD or Blu-ray), HDMI 1.4, on-board WiFi, 8 USB ports, digital 7.1 surround sound, multiple speaker ports (front, side and rear) and an external power supply.
Pricing for the Alienware X51 starts at $699.