More details: Threadripper is a Dell OEM exclusive, will have Vega option
First, Area 51 will be an OEM exclusive for AMD's ThreadRipper for 2017. You’ll be able to build your own of course, or buy made-to-order PCs from builders or systems integrators, but among the primary system manufacturers--Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, etc.--Alienware will stand alone for this year. If it’s a feather in the cap of Dell to have this exclusively, it’s certainly a good sign for AMD, getting the whole-hearted support of a prominent OEM so early in the life of its new CPU.
Area 51 is ultimately configurable. We saw a version with three AMD Radeon 580 GPUs, and we saw a version with AMD’s yet-to-be-released Vega GPU inside. A Dell representative opened the Area 51 so we could see, but we couldn’t touch, and we couldn’t take pictures. An AMD representative was on hand to condone the viewing.
We also pressed Alienware about cooling, given these new high-end desktop processors. The chassis hasn’t changed (it’s still that same trapezoid-ish shape, with no alterations for air intake or exhaust), but the system’s liquid cooling required for ThreadRipper and Skylake-X demanded fans spinning at higher RPM, a bigger radiator, and changes to the hoses. An Alienware representative at E3 couldn’t recite the exact details.