Alienware adds Intel's behemoth 18-core CPU its Area-51 desktop

Intel recently tackled the high-end of the CPU market with its monstrous 18-core Core i9 CPU, and now Dell's gaming branch, Alienware, is looking to harness that power in its flagship Area-51 desktop. (opens in new tab) Dell has announced (opens in new tab) that the Intel Core i9-7980XE (Extreme Edition) will soon be added as a configuration option, but, as you might expect, it won't come cheap.

The Core i9-7980XE packs a total of 18 cores and 36 threads, with a clock speed of up to 4.4GHz. That represents the very top-end of what Intel currently offers, and Alienware is hoping it'll appeal to gamers looking to eke out the most performance possible in a desktop. Otherwise, the Area-51's configuration options remain the same, including up to 64GB of RAM, up to 1TB of SSD storage, along with dual and triple graphics cards options from AMD and NVIDIA.

Of course, all of this comes at quite the cost. Dell says that configurations with the new Intel Core i9-7980XE will start at $3,999. You'll also have to wait to get your hands on one; Dell says the configuration will be available starting on September 27. However, if you're not quite up for dropping that much cash, there are plenty of other configuration options available now that come with a much more affordable price tag.

See at Dell (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Who's buying this desktop? I'm not hating but I cannot fathom the need for this. At these prices, is be streaming my desktop to some cheap tablet for there on out
  • Probably won't have major main stream use for a while. I'm not sure if it's overkill or not, but if you wanted to stream a 4k game in HD you might look into something like this. There's also 3d modeling and video editing, and other content creation. That's where I see this currently being needed. 
  • People that want and/or need a lot of power and don't want to build something themselves.
  • As a programmer, if you ever work on a massive project, and I mean MASSIVE, then yes we need this. I don't need it, I am waiting for the top end main stream ice lake processors with volta GPUs.
  • What field of coding does profit from such power? I thought it was generally pretty light weight?
  • Yea, these i9 and Threadripper systems are not really for gaming, they are dev systems for sure. My Ryzen 7 will not run shy of cores for a long time to come. By the time 18 cores would benefit the home gamer, these chips will be so old no-one will be using them. NB. Intel so need to get a better name for their chips. i9? Really? AMD's alternative sounds like a Bond film!
  • Benchmarks on the new 10-core i9-7900X show a big increase in gaming. We are at a point where the minimum framerate is what causes the most problems for gamers. These chips help a lot. In fact, the higher core chips help big time with DX12. So yes, it is likely the 18 cores will benefit the gamer where there are dips in performance. These chips will help with minimizing these dips. Are they worth it? That's another story. The chips also use quite a bit of power no doubt.
  • 18 cores for gaming facepalm.jpg