The History of Alienware: The Most Famous Gaming Computer

Alienware laptop

The History of Alienware: The Most Famous Gaming Computer

Alienware is a name you may come across when shopping for gaming computers. The brand has become synonymous with striking designs, cutting-edge tech, and high price tags. But are Alienware computers worth all the hype? 

With the price of graphics cards and PC hardware declining, gaming computer prices have never looked more attractive. If you’re taking advantage of the price drop, you may be tempted by the latest Alienware models. But how do you know if they are right for you?

Let’s dive deep into the history of Alienware and see how a couple of friends went from building PCs to creating a successful brand. We’ll also look at each of the current models and their pros and cons and tell you whether Alienware is right for you.

Dell Alienware m15 R7

Alienware is an American computer hardware subsidiary of Dell.

Alienware: Best Deal Today

Alienware is an excellent choice if you are looking for the most solid gaming laptop or desktop. However, with so many different models available, it is easy to get confused. We’ve taken some of the guesswork out of finding the perfect Alienware and compiled the best deals for you here.

Alienware: History

Like every brand to claim supremacy as the “ultimate gaming computer,” Alienware has an illustrious and storied past. While the company initially started in 1996 when a few childhood friends got together to build PCs, it quickly grew into something much more. 

Let’s dive into the fantastic history of Alienware.


Childhood friends Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila got together to enjoy their hobby of building PCs. Initially, the pair focused on assembling desktops for businesses, but before long, they had switched to building primarily gaming PCs. As the 1990s advanced, PC gaming heated up, and the time was perfect for a new PC gaming brand to open for business.

While Nelson and Alex only built PCs for friends and family in the early days, they quickly started taking on more business they could handle, and in 1996, they officially formed the company named Sakai. The company continued to grow rapidly throughout the following year, with the popularity of home PC gaming only growing.

Working with different versions of MS-DOS and early versions of Windows were some of the company’s earliest challenges. Getting all the most popular games to work well with the 2D and 3D video card drivers of the time proved quite a tough nut to crack. Other brands of the time, like Gateway and Compaq, were terrible for PC gaming as their PCs weren’t preconfigured. This gap in the market left a perfect opening for a new company to grow.

By 1997, growth was unstoppable, and the company officially changed its name to Alienware. Inspired by the “X-Files,” a popular sci-fi show of the time, the new name gave the company a mystique and appeal to its buyers, making the tech seem like it was from an Alien world. The earliest gaming desktops reflected this theme, with the “Area 51 PC” becoming Alienware’s first official gaming desktop release.


Alienware continued to grow throughout the rest of the 1990s and 2000s. The company’s early desktops included Intel processors with built-in discrete graphics cards. Running the latest 2D and 3D expansion cards, these early Alienware desktops were ideal for running popular games like Doom and Quake.

Alienware introduced a wide variety of desktops, with the early Aurora systems coming in 1999. Around 2000, the company started producing its signature color selection, including Nova Yellow, Plasma Purple, and Saucer Silver. Other colors like Conspiracy Blue, Cyborg Green, and Martian Red added to the “Alien” mystique of the company. 

Alienware introduced the Area 51-M in 2002, the company’s first-ever gaming laptop. The Specs included an Intel Pentium 4 processor paired with AMD Radeon 7500 graphics and a 15-inch display. Features like an integrated floppy drive, DVD drive, and modem made this laptop ideal for a desktop replacement. Like any machine from this era, it had shortcomings, such as disappointing battery life. The system weighed over nine pounds, even without a fan-cooled power supply. Moreover, the $2,700 price tag made it prohibitively expensive for buyers. Even today, pricing is not considered competitive.

Alienware introduced the Area 51 Predator 1 in 2003, the first machine with the iconic Alien head design and space-age aesthetics. The company continued to produce similar designs, drawing inspiration from the 1950s “flying saucers.” The Predator 1 was incredibly powerful for the time, with a 3GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor and Nvidia Geforce 5900 graphics. 

Dell Acquisition

All of this came at a hefty price tag, though, and Alienware systems were some of the most expensive on the market. Alienware catered to a niche audience of discerning gamers. With a smaller target market, the company focused strictly on quality. The result is some of the best gaming computers ever created.

Alienware’s reputation for greatness would attract the attention of Dell, one of the largest PC brands in the world. While Dell initially considered an acquisition in 2002, it wasn’t until 2006 that their plans became a reality. Alienware lacked the resources to continue expansion, and a company like Dell could fund the continued growth its founders imagined.

As a fundamental element of the deal, Alienware would retain complete control over its product lineup’s marketing and design aspects. Dell would offer increased purchasing power, supply chain, infrastructure, and economies of scale. Dell agreed that the company’s original founders knew exactly what they were doing regarding their target audience. As a result, Alienware was on a path to continue growing.

After the acquisition, the company redesigned its most iconic products and released new innovations. 2010 saw the release of the world’s smallest laptop, the M11x, which rocked an 11-inch display. Soon after that, the company set another first, releasing the M18x. Featuring a massive 18.4-inch display, this was the largest gaming laptop ever made.

Alienwaree is known as a high-performance gaming system and a premium brand.

Alienware: Release Date and Price

Alienware’s current model release of laptops spans five different price points. Each model has a competitive starting price, adding additional upgrades to the final figure.

Currently, the Alienware x14, released earlier this year, starts at $1499. This is a reasonably competitive price, especially considering the 12th-generation Intel processor and RTX 3060 graphics. The next step up is the x14 R2 and the X17 R2, priced at $2149 and $2249, respectively.

Alienware’s desktop offers are similar. Both the Aurora R13 and R14, released in October of 2021, start at $1249.

Alienware: Different Models

Alienware has continually evolved over the generations to become one of the most popular gaming systems in the world. Additionally, the company has always had an eye for design, creating expansive series of desktops and laptops. 

Each model Alienware currently offers has its own features and hardware. Let’s look at each series in the current lineup in more detail and review some pros and cons.

Alienware X14

Starting Price$1499
ProcessorIntel Core i7-12700H
Operating SystemWindows 11 Pro
GraphicsNvidia RTX 3060

One of the world’s thinnest gaming laptops, the Alienware X14 is ideal for gamers who care about portability. This system is perfect if you like to take your gaming PC everywhere. With an 80Whr battery and a weight of only 4 pounds, this is one of the most portable gaming laptops on the market.

Coupled with a 12th-generation Intel processor and Nvidia RTX graphics, the Alienware X14 is also a potent gamer. You won’t be waiting for your PC to load up, especially considering the massive amount of RAM and speedy SSD in the default configuration. Additionally, the display is the ideal mix of small and powerful, with a high refresh rate to please the most discerning gamers.

Alienware X15 R2

Alienware m15 R7 Gaming Laptop - Black
  • 15.6-inch QHD 240Hz display
  • Exceptional performance for uninterrupted gameplay
  • Delivers stunning visuals
  • Smooth, high-speed gaming action
  • Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, HDM, USB connectivity
  • Advanced cooling system
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03/10/2024 03:27 pm GMT
Starting Price$2149
ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900H
Operating SystemWindows 11 Pro
GraphicsNvidia RTX 3080-Ti

With well-placed RGB lighting, Alienware’s X-series laptops straddle the line between subtle and stylish. For those who prefer a more mature, muted design, you’ll want to start with the Alienware X15 R2. The most noticeable feature of this laptop is the 15.6-inch display, running at 2560 by 1440 resolution and a 240hz refresh rate

The only downside to its thin and lightweight design is that this laptop is known to run a little hot. Despite this, the laptop’s quad-fan cooling system keeps things at a relatively safe temperature for gaming. Considering the specs, we can forgive this shortcoming. The X15 R2 is a potent laptop with Nvidia RTX graphics and a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor.

Alienware X17 R2

Starting Price$2249
ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900HK
Operating SystemWindows 11
GraphicsNvidia RTX 3080-Ti

While Alienware has gained a reputation for its steep price, the X17 R2 is a competitive value for a 17-inch gaming laptop. With the latest generation of Intel Core i9 processors, this laptop is ideal for gaming, streaming, and competitive esports.

Alienware M15 R7

Starting Price$1449
ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900H
Operating SystemWindows 11
GraphicsNvidia RTX 3080

With its plastic body and heavier profile, the Alienware M15 R7 follows the design language of its predecessors. Due to Dell’s emphasis on component value, these machines are less striking in design but durable than the X-series models. As a result, the R7 won’t feel quite as solid as Alienware’s more premium devices. 

M15 R7 is a little heavy for a laptop, weighing around six pounds. But you might not mind its excessive weight if you aren’t planning on taking it anywhere. The system makes up for its shortcomings by providing incredible specs and a fantastic 360hz display. All of this is included for a relatively competitive price.

Alienware M17 R5

Starting Price$1399
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 9 6900HX
Operating SystemWindows 11
GraphicsAMD Radeon RX 6850m XT

Alienware’s m17 R5 gaming laptop is the latest in the M series of high-end gaming laptops. Featuring an eight-core Ryzen 9 6900HX processor and Radeon 6850M XT GPU, this system offers some very impressive performance. Gaming is effortless, with the beautiful 4K display adding to the experience.

While the M17 R5 is a heavy laptop (at over seven pounds), its powerful specs provide a reasonable tradeoff. This laptop is a gaming powerhouse with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX and Radeon RX 6850m XT graphics card. If you don’t mind keeping your laptop at the desk most of the time, this is an ideal choice for the discerning gamer. With such an attractive price, it is also highly competitive as far as gaming laptops go.

Alienware Aurora R13

Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop
  • 12th Gen Intel Core i9 12900KF (16-Core, 30MB Cache, 3.2GHz to 5.2GHz w/Turbo Boost Max 3.0)
  • 32GB Dual Channel DDR5 at 4800MHz up to 128GB (additional memory sold separately); 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti 8GB GDDR6
  • Windows 11 Pro, English
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Starting Price$1249
ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900KF
Operating SystemWindows 11
GraphicsNvidia RTX 3090

(Please note that as of July 19th, 2023, the Alienware Aurora R13 Gaming Desktop is currently unavailable on Amazon. Please check back later.)

If you prefer a gaming desktop instead of a laptop, then the Alienware Aurora series is your best choice. Alienware designed the Aurora R13 with a unique new aesthetic and powerful hardware. This gaming beast has a 12th-generation Intel Core i9 processor and RTX 3090 graphics. Additionally, thanks to the massive cooling system, it runs quietly, even while gaming.

The only drawback to this design is that upgrades are limited. Since Dell has chosen to use a variety of proprietary components and connectors, upgrading parts like your motherboard or power supply might be tricky. Nonetheless, this unique design offers plenty of ports and connectivity in a stylish case.

Alienware Aurora R14

Starting Price$1249
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Operating SystemWindows 11
GraphicsNvidia RTX 3090

If you like the Aurora design but prefer an AMD-based system, then the Aurora R14 is ideal for you. Undoubtedly, the Aurora R14 “Ryzen Edition” still bears the Alienware signature look and offers a good blend of eye-catching design while retaining a subtle edge.

As with most Dell systems, there are many proprietary components, making this system less than ideal if you enjoy doing your own upgrades. It features many custom connectors, component placements, and a specially designed motherboard. Still, the Aurora R14 offers plenty of powerful hardware to satisfy the demanding gamer. 

Alienware: Review

Few companies in the PC gaming industry have garnered as much attention as Alienware. Despite this success, the company still has plenty of critics. Most of it comes down to price. There is no arguing that Alienware systems are more expensive than other brands. But there are a few factors that make Alienware worth the premium.

Alienware has always stood out by offering the most unique and eye-catching designs. Keeping to the company’s roots of “Alien-focused” design elements, every computer from Alienware maintains a futuristic appearance. Combining magnesium, aluminum, and plastic allows Alienware to craft stylish and durable computers.

Additionally, Alienware’s reputation is backed up by Dell. Since the acquisition of Alienware in 2006, Dell has continued to fund improvements and research into the brand. The result is some of the most powerful gaming systems on the market. Despite this, Alienware systems often present drawbacks like proprietary hardware and insufficient cooling systems.

Those who enjoy upgrading their own PCs will be disappointed to find Alienware computers bottlenecked with proprietary connectors and formats. Fortunately, almost every Alienware system is powerful enough to satisfy most gamers, even in default configurations.

Alienware: Pros and Cons


  • Stylish design
  • Good brand reputation
  • Great specs


  • Very pricey
  • Not as expandable

Alienware: Is it a buy?

If the latest Alienware models tempt you, you may wonder if the brand overall is worth buying or if it should be avoided. There are a few reasons you may want to avoid Alienware, despite the numerous advantages.

Buy it if…

You want a high-performance gaming system from a premium brand. Since Alienware is backed up by the reliability of the Dell brand, and the gaming expertise of the Alienware name itself, these computers come with a premium price tag. Alienware may be a good option if you are prepared to stretch your budget to get the best gaming computer possible.

While Alienware systems don’t give you the best bang for your buck compared to cheaper brands or custom builds, they offer a level of finish and quality unparalleled in similar systems. 

Don’t buy it if…

You want a simple computer for business or use at the office. If you’re looking for a basic laptop for college or a basic laptop for programming and crunching numbers, Alienware is the wrong choice. 

While you can get away with using Alienware for basic tasks, you will get the most bang for your buck if you use your system for gaming. You can save money if you only need a cheap gaming laptop. Due to Alienware’s premium brand identity, they come with a higher price tag than most computers.

Check out the Alienware on Amazon.

Up Next…

Want some more info on Alienware? We have plenty more articles for you right below!

  • Alienware vs. Razer: Full Comparison.
  • Alienware M17 R5: Full Review with Specs, Features, and Pricing.
  • Alienware 17in Laptop Review: Specs, Pros and Cons, Price and More.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was Alienware founded? 

Alienware was founded in 1996 under the name Sakai. A year later, they changed their name to Alienware.

What is so special about Alienware? 

Alienware computers are purpose-built for gaming, featuring unique and innovative styles and designs.

What are the models of Alienware? 

For desktops, Alienware offers the Aurora R13 and R14. For laptops, Alienware offers the M15 and M17, and the more premium X15 R2 and X14.

Is Alienware just Dell?

The Alienware brand is a computer hardware subsidiary of Dell. They specialize in gaming computers with alien-themed designs.

What is comparable to Alienware?

Comparable gaming brands include the Asus ROG series, MSI, Gigabyte, and the Acer Nitro series.

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