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---Alienware---

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by California Love, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Winged Monkey

    Winged Monkey Chieftain

    Joined:
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    A couple of points...

    I've been browsing around the Alienware site to see what kind of gear they're offering for gamers. Sure, they might look cool if you're into that kind of thing, but once you get to technical specs there are some things one should take note of.

    Their top-of-the-line model for gamers, the Area 51 7500 ships for $1869 without further configuration (you can choose to customize the computer to your needs, adding more expensive components as you see fit.)

    Lets take a look at the problems..

    • The default CPU is an Intel Pentium D 830 dual core processor (not to be confused with the "Extreme Edition" dual core processors from Intel, which Alienware misleadingly lists in the technical specs overview. You can get an EE processor in the rig, but then you'll have to fork out an additional $934 :eek: ).

    Now, the 830 is a decent processor for many uses, but gaming is currently not one of them. In the future, you'll see games that will benefit from dual core processing and will be coded to run several threads simultaneously, but it might be several years before such games hit the market. As of now, the 830 is a very mediocre processor when it comes to gaming.

    Take a look at these benchmarks. (Note - these benchmarks are for the Pentium D 820 but the difference between the 820 and 830 in gaming performance is negligible.)

    • The motherboard in this computer is an "Nvidia Nforce4 for Intel" motherboard, probably custom-made for Alienware. This is a problem. The golden rule when it comes to buying motherboards for Intel platforms is to buy Intel's own motherboards. Even though Nvidia is a very competent company, it seems the rule holds true in this case too. I've been hearing nothing but complaints about the Nforce4 for Intel motherboards on the net since they started coming out about half a year ago. The only conceivable reason they've chosen to ship the rig with this board is that you need it for running SLI on an Intel platform, which ties in to my next point...

    • SLI is an Nvidia invention that allows you to run with two Nvidia cards (of the same type and brand) on a computer simultaneously. Now, one would think a Rolls Royce gaming PC would have two cards featured, especially since the motherboard facilitates this, right?

    Well, not quite.. The computer comes with one single Nvidia 6800GT graphics card, which is still a very decent card, and runs most games on max settings (I know, I used to own one before i bought my 7800GTX :D ). But to get a full SLI setup you've got to shell out at least another $347.

    • A minor point compared to those above, but I thought I should also mention that the computer ships with only 160GB HD space. In my opinion 200GB is the absolute minimum one should expect in a new computer these days. Preferably even more. Also, you actually have to pay extra to get a DVD±R/W Drive! You don't get anything for free with this rig..

    • A last note about the memory. The computer comes with 1 gig of DDR2 667Mhz memory, which sounds alluringly good, but it only tells half the story. When it comes to gaming, the timings on the memory is just as important as the "raw speed" (667 Mhz). Most stock DDR2 memory suffers from so much latency (due to poor timings) that the speed bonus you get from running DDR2 is negated. Since Alienware won't say anything about either brand or technical details for the memory, I assume the worst...

    OK, this is getting a bit longwinded.. I'll just summarize with a brief comparison with a computer I found at Newegg.com, the "ABS ULTIMATE M5-64 Pro" (Computer manufacterers just love them acronyms and superlatives don't they?). This computer ships for $1429 and has in my opinion better specifications for gaming. It's got the powerful AMD Athlon A64 3500+ CPU, Nvidia 6800GT Graphics Card (same as in the Alienware rig), high performance memory from a well known quality brand, 200GB HD, DVD-ROM and DVD±R/±RW drive, nice big 550W Power Supply, good chipset. All in all a better computer than the Alienware "Rolls Royce" for gaming, and it's over $400 cheaper!

    In my opinion, Alienware is just about glitz and bragging rights. :)
     
  2. ritterpa

    ritterpa Warlord

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    Hmmm, I payed under 2000 for my Alienware 2 years ago, and it wasn't the bargain basement one either. There were the aformentioned deals, but holy crap--are they all twice as much now?
     
  3. Eyemaze

    Eyemaze Warlord

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    nice post winged monkey.
     
  4. KymeraTX

    KymeraTX Warlord

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  5. apatheist

    apatheist Emperor

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    I don't know what the Sims II requires, but Civ4 is not a high performance game. A $500 BYO machine is plenty for Civ4, so I'm sure you can get something plenty good from whoever for $700 or less. I mean, if you want to spend that much money, go for it, but you'd probably be better off buying one $1000 PC every year instead of a single $4000 computer every 4 years. The former will keep you about 6-12 months behind the bleeding edge for 4 years, while the first will have you at the bleeding edge for 1 year, mainstream for 1 year, and waiting for the 4 years to be up for the remaining 2, plus you can get a bit of money reselling the $1000 PC when it's only a year old, as opposed to the almost nothing you'd get reselling a 4-year old PC (even one originally $4000).

    Dell's options aren't very good. They either give you the crippled ATI SE Hypermemory cards or the GeForce 6800, with nothing in between. You also have to pay extra because Dell doesn't do AMD. A friend of mine bought a machine from Monarch Computers that he's pleased with; I would have gone with them had I not built my own. I customized a machine with:

    Athlon64 3500+ CPU
    2GB PC3200 RAM (mfg OCZ)
    MSI K8N Neo-4F motherboard (nForce4)
    160 GB Seagate hard drive
    Antec SLK1650 case
    Sapphire ATI X550 PCI-Express video card
    Windows XP Pro
    3 year onsite parts + labor warranty + 24/7 tech support

    Assembled without shipping, that was $1100. Those are all quality parts; I have half of them in a machine I built in July (this is higher spec than what I built). That's more than enough to play Civilization 4 and I'd be surprised if the Sims II came anywhere near its limits.
     
  6. fallofman

    fallofman Chieftain

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    Ok I don't know about the desktops, but the laptops suck. Big time overheating problems. My friends has a big burn mark on his from a overheating processor, they didn't put the paste on it. They didn't screw in his harddrive. His keyboard fell apart. They have terrible support. They cost waaaay to much. I have one that's a little older than a year, got it in July of '04 and I only have a small bit of overheating now and then, mostly on world of warcraft. Plays Halflife2 fine and Doom 3. No civ 4 though. They also quit supporting the older version when a new one comes out. Like mine is the area 51m 5500/766 and the new one is like the 7700 and they haven't ever updated the video card nvida fx Go5700 and nvidia doesn't support the Go cards. :(.
     
  7. Padma

    Padma the Inbond Administrator Supporter

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    Moderator Action: Thread moved to Computer Talk.

    I know it started out as sort of a Civ4 question, but the discussion is clearly computers, and not Civ4-specific. ;)
     
  8. scritchy

    scritchy Chieftain

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    I have two Alienware laptops (that I purchased for work, through work - high-end requirements), I would never recommend Alienware to anybody. They were expensive and definately not worth the money. The customer service is miserable, they shipped wrong products and what I did get was incredibly weak. If you think their quality level is unmatched, I feel sorry for you.

    My laptops are anything but cheap. I went top of the line for almost everything. I believe they were about $4800 each. Hardly skimping on them. I stand by my (and other's) opinion that they suck. One of my friends was so unimpressed with the company as a whole that he reported them to the BBB after having to return his video card for the fourth time to get a replacement that worked.

    Some of the problems I've had with them:

    Ordered the normal 4:3 screen because they would look better with my application. Without telling me, they shipped 16:9 screens instead. The 4:3s were discontinued and out of stock. They didn't bother to tell me that, they just shipped different units.

    They claim they test everything to make sure it is compatable, which is either incorrect or they don't know how to test. I got SB Audigy NX external sound cards for the laptops, and Klipsch 2.1 speakers (THX, 500watt, definately not skimping on the speakers, either). The speakers include a built-in amplifier and need a simple line-out to work properly. Neither the laptop nor the sound cards have a simple line-out. Because it is coming through pre-amped, the sub isn't firing. Several calls to tech support have ended with them saying 'it should work'.

    One of the power bricks lasted one week before it just went bad. It was louder than two laptops, my desktop and a deskside fan. It was also running so hot, I'm amazed it didn't spontaneously combust. That only took me three hours on hold and talking to customer service to get replaced.
    One of the laptop bags (ordered two) didn't show up with the shipment. It took over two weeks to get it.

    One of the laptops has had to have its video card (GeForce FX Go5700 - highest available when I bought them just over a year ago) replaced twice. Once, they tried to charge me for a new card, even though they signed for the one I sent back according to FedEX.

    I purchased the 3 year, next-day onsite service when I ordered the laptops (definately not skimping). After the video card on one of the laptops started acting up (again), they said they wanted to replace the mainboard to see if that fixed it. I said sure, they said to send it back and I'd get it back in roughly 10 days, could take up to 3 weeks. I told them I had the onsite service agreement and they replied 'Mainboard replacements is one of the things we don't do onsite'. So, I was leaving for a business trip in less than four days, one of the laptops I purchased for specifically that reason was broken, and they wanted to take two to three weeks to fix it.

    When they are healthy, they are decent machines. When I don't have to talk to their tech support or customer service, they are ok also. Other than that, I can unequivocally say... Alienware sucks an amazing amount of ass. Its not because I'm clueless, or because I skimped when I bought the machines (hell, they each came with two remote controls :p). Its because they just suck.

    Edit: Something I forgot :p I guess this problem wasn't something about Alienware sucking, but more like being clueless about their customer. You would think they'd have a clue and kinda watch what they send to defense companies. Their documentation had 'Top Secret' and 'Classified' (that isn't a real label, so not much of a problem) and 'Confidential' all over them. WTF were they thinking? So my specs/bookmark sheets were shredded because of their ignorant marketing practices. I still have the electronic version, but had to find where they had the image hidden and manually edit it to block out the markings. Again, a total pain in the ass that should not have been necessary.

    God, that company pisses me off :mad:
    :p
     
  9. Speedo

    Speedo Esse Quam Videri

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    If you are willing to drop a bit of money on it, take a look at Falcon Northwest. They are the top company for performance PCs, and have that reputation for a reason. They tweak the machines for top performance, and actually give you some documentation about your PC. Their customer service is top-notch as well; IIRC the first year after purchase they will pay for overnight shipping both ways if you need to send the PC back to them for any reason. Just read some reviews of their PCs and look at the pictures. It's ungodly how much detail they put into even small things like cable management... their PCs that I've seen are so clean on the inside that you could eat off of them.

    Anyway, I've never owned one and probably won't (just becuase I enjoy building my own), but they're the best, hands down.

    Actually with the new 81.85 drivers you only need the GPU cores to be identical (ie, 7800GT, 7800GTX, etc)... you can even have different core clocks, memory clocks, etc and can of course use cards from different vendors :)

    Let's be honest and just say that Intel sucks right now, especially for gaming ;) Dual-core doesn't have much to do with it. Take the Athlon64 x2 4800 for example... the only CPU which can beat it in most tests is an FX-57. Need we also mention that the top-end Pentium dual-core model performs about on par with AMDs lower-end 4200? ;)

    I've had my 4400 for a couple of months now, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else... except maybe a 4800 :D
     
  10. Maniacal

    Maniacal the green Napoleon

    Joined:
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    NEVER BUY A COMPUTER FOR NON-OFFICE USE FROM DELL.

    It's easier if you want to upgrade to buy one somewhere else. Normal office use is what dells are better for, IMO.

    I am wondering if anyone has a link to a good CANADIAN site that sells computers.

    EDIT: Cyber power seems to insist you MUST buy a keyboard + mouse, but you don't have to get a monitor.. :crazyeye:

    ANd:
    " We only ship to the 50 US states and APO/FPO addresses as listed in the selection box above. We do not ship internationally or to Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands."

    THat screws your big neighbour to the north off. :mad:
     
  11. archer75

    archer75 Chieftain

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    Not true. There was a time when Dells used alot of propriatary components making it difficult to upgrade. Not anymore. You can now upgrade anything in a dell.
     
  12. cidknee

    cidknee Emperor

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    I have an alienware laptop. Best PC ive ever had. mines a p4. 3.8 with a gig of ram and the best ideo card they had. Im sure it will run Civ4.....damn wife wont let me have it till xmas....

    As far as Dell goes. RUN, very very very far away. Most of the laptops that other ppl i know who have dell laptops wont even run Civ3.

    Yes you do pay more for alienware, I would know, mine was a lilttle over $4000. but i didnt pay for it. YAY for write offs!!

    Most problems ive ever seen from alienware are when ppl skimp out and get the cheap krap. Every "computer nerd" that I know, usually drools when they git thier paws on my laptop. And yes I know alot of em. They all tell me that yes they could have made a similar one for me for cheaper but then A. no warranty, ( without it getting complicated) B. no support. I had a problem with mine, and they overnighted me another one. I swapped HDD's and sent it back they paid for it all.

    I think they get a bad rap.

    Bottom line, if u can afford it. GET ONE. but DONT get a cheap one. Remember, you get what you pay for
     
  13. Speedo

    Speedo Esse Quam Videri

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    I don't deal with Dells that much, but I have an uncle who bought a new one this spring (don't recall the model, but it's a P4 3.2) and he has been unable to upgrade it because of proprietary components. Every single HP desktop we get at work uses them also.
     
  14. DeadFish

    DeadFish Warlord

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    Cidknee Wrote:


    I have an alienware laptop. Best PC ive ever had. mines a p4. 3.8 with a gig of ram and the best ideo card they had. Im sure it will run Civ4.....damn wife wont let me have it till xmas....

    As far as Dell goes. RUN, very very very far away. Most of the laptops that other ppl i know who have dell laptops wont even run Civ3.

    Yes you do pay more for alienware, I would know, mine was a lilttle over $4000. but i didnt pay for it. YAY for write offs!!

    Most problems ive ever seen from alienware are when ppl skimp out and get the cheap krap. Every "computer nerd" that I know, usually drools when they git thier paws on my laptop. And yes I know alot of em. They all tell me that yes they could have made a similar one for me for cheaper but then A. no warranty, ( without it getting complicated) B. no support. I had a problem with mine, and they overnighted me another one. I swapped HDD's and sent it back they paid for it all.

    I think they get a bad rap.

    Bottom line, if u can afford it. GET ONE. but DONT get a cheap one. Remember, you get what you pay for





    Exactly! alienware replaced my motherboard within 2 weeks! They had to have my PC tower to check what was the problem. I live in England and Alienware HQ for Europe is in Ireland - They paid for picking it up, etc. I had bad experiences with my previous PCs andf I had had enough and decided to buy Alienware.

    Dunno why people are dissing Alienware - IMO I find Alienware is the best thing for purchasing powerful PCs IF you can afford it. I could not afford, admittedly but thank to my credit card lol i can manage but I find having alienware is a lot worth it !
     
  15. CruddyLeper

    CruddyLeper Unworshipped Deity

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  16. scritchy

    scritchy Chieftain

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    If you think two weeks is acceptable for getting something fixed that shouldn't have gone bad in the first place, maybe you are right. I feel that the components I paid top dollar for shouldn't fail within weeks of delivery. I also feel that if I paid extra for next-day onsite repair, the stuff should be repaired onsite the next day, no matter what the problem is.

    Different standards is what it sounds like to me. I still say avoid them like the plague.
     
  17. DeadFish

    DeadFish Warlord

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    motherboard is hard to be replaced - I told alienware that if they could send me the new motherboard so I'd replace it by myself, it'd be quicker but alienware said it might not the motherboard that was faulty, that is why they wanted to have my pc tower. . That day I rang to alienware about my pc - the DHL picked my pc up on same day!


    how'd they tell when the motherboard is faulty or not - it is not alienware's fault, it is the ASUS. I think two weeks is excellent - one of my friends who bought PC from mesh and he has not still got his pc back for 2 months. If you bought ASUS from small pc shop - you might have to waited for months to get a replacement!

    Im sorry if u guys dissing alienware, it is a pity. I played doom 3 few minutes ago and the performance was breathtaking and the temperature of GPU and CPU were low. I am strongly sure that my CIV4 (hopefully tomorrow as i preordered one from play.com) will run smoothly at max resolution.
     
  18. Speedo

    Speedo Esse Quam Videri

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    ...Not really... on my home PC, with wires running everywhere and a ton of things to change out, I can switch a mobo in under an hour. On one of the HP's at work with everything easy-access, quick release stuff, it takes about 10 min.

    2 weeks isn't really good, almost bordering on bad, considering how close they are to you. 2 months is just horrible. I had a friend who's Dell laptop had the mobo go bad... Dell actually sent someone out to his house in 2 days to replace the board. Surprised the heck out of me. The few times that I've had to send parts back to Newegg for replacement, I usually had the new piece in my hands in just about a week.
     
  19. cidknee

    cidknee Emperor

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    do you or have you owned an alienware laptop or desktop? Cause if you havent, then you dont have a fair base for that accusation. Ive owned almost every laptop, (I get a new one every year.) Ive had compaq, dell shudder HP and yes i had a ferrari one from Acer..... it was cool becasue it was red. WOOO. It worked nicely, but the alienware one is much better. The alienware one im using now is the best so far, and no none of them were cheapos.... The company i do work for, our purchaser says go buy what u want and give me the recipt. His philosiphy ( and considering he owns the company) is if you dont like it, u arent gonna use it.

    Also, he has since banished dells from the premisis. Smart man.
     
  20. DeadFish

    DeadFish Warlord

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    2 weeks isn't really good, almost bordering on bad, considering how close they are to you. 2 months is just horrible. I had a friend who's Dell laptop had the mobo go bad... Dell actually sent someone out to his house in 2 days to replace the board. Surprised the heck out of me. The few times that I've had to send parts back to Newegg for replacement, I usually had the new piece in my hands in just about a week.

    I live in North Yorkshire, England and HQ (repairing facility) of Alienware is in Ireland - that is why it is 2 weeks. DHL picking up my PC, dropping PC off at airport, flying to Dublin, taking PC to Alienware, in queue, being inspected and repaired. Everything is paid for.

    2 weeks is surely good enough, considering how far between here and Ireland.

    If RAM or 3D card that are broken they'd usually send it to me but faulty motherboard - Alienware staff were not sure what was the problem so I had to send my PC to them.
     

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