Tobold's Blog
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Buying from Alienware

My last desktop and both notebooks I bought over the last couple of years were from Dell. I had my fair share of troubles with Dell logistics, but the machines itself were solid enough. But apart of having not much "street cred" among gamers, Dell now annoyed me by not offering gaming computers that are 100% Vista compatible. Their gaming models still come with Windows XP installed, and some of the hardware just doesn't work with Vista. But what I want is a computer that runs for the next 4 years, and I assume that in 4 years there will be only DirectX 10 games around. So I need a 100% Vista compatible computer, with Vista already installed and everything.

If I would live in the US, I'd have a much larger choice of suppliers of gaming PCs, for example Falcon Northwest, but these don't deliver to Europe. But one of them, Alienware, opened operations in Europe. So I spent some time building virtual computers in my browser, both at Dell and Alienware, and found the prices to be pretty much identical. Only that Alienware computers look better, have better "street cred", come with Windows Vista Home Premium preinstalled, and are guaranteed 100% Vista compatible (as long as you don't order one with two SLI graphics cards, as the technician explained me on the phone when I verified this). And comparing the websites it seems clear that while Dell is specialized in business PCs, Alienware only builds computers for gamers.

So here is what I just ordered for just under 3,000 Euro:A solid machine, that in all likelyhood will still be able to play games in 2011. For now it's even a bit overpowered for what I'm playing. Hey, even Vanguard would run on this. And the 3,000 Euro budget is pretty much what I'm always shooting for. You can get a perfectly good computer able to run WoW just fine for 1,000 Euro, or you can get the meanest Alienware monster PC with water cooling, 4 processors, and 2 video cards, for 6,000 Euro. If I would live in the US, I could get the same system for the same amount of dollars instead of euros, but this is one of the cases where you have to think 1 euro = 1 dollar, even if the exchange rate currently favors the Euro.

So now I'll have to wait until the machine is built and shipped, two to three weeks, and then I'll see if the Alienware logistics is as bad as the Dell one. :)
The power supply's there to keep your computer from conking out, right?

Not a UPS but a voltage regulator of sorts?

Otherwise, I bow down to the might of your computer.
I was just checking the new Commodore computer models and man those look nice <3. Unfortunatelly students don't make that much in Finland so it'll stay a distant dream in my world. A beautiful beautiful dream.
Why only PC-2400 memory?
Isn't that a bit too slow compared to the rest of your system?

Or is it a typo and you did mean PC-6400?
Congratulations, you just got a Dell Computer.,1895,1941376,00.asp
Dell owns Alienware, but their development, tech support and everything is still separate, as far as I can remember.

I looked at an Alienware Notebook for quite a long while, but going back to school requires a little bit lighter Notebook, unfortunately.
Alienware looks better. wtf?

Alienware Computers are the designed evil. Ultimate evil.
Dude, you bought a Dell! As others have pointed out. No doubt that's why Dell no longer offers computers near the cutting edge of performance. It would hurt their premium brand's sales.

Alienware lost what street cred it had left when Dell bought it, as you might imagine. Who cares though? It looks like a solid machine. Twice the price of building the same thing yourself, but that's about the normal markup for adding a "name", assembly, and a service plan.

I hope it works well for many years.
I just bought a g15 also, but I'm having a problem finding a good use for it in WoW. Other than just making a jump macro so that I don't get booted when I AFK :)

Have any suggestions or websites with more info?
Why only PC-2400 memory?
Isn't that a bit too slow compared to the rest of your system?

Or is it a typo and you did mean PC-6400?

Yes, typo, thank you for pointing it out. Fixed.

Dude, you bought a Dell!

Matter of definition. When Mercedes bought Chrysler, that unfortunately didn't turn all Chryslers into Mercedes. So when Dell bought Alienware, the Alienware computers still are Alienware computers, just the profits go somewhere else.
Dell still makes cutting edge machines, their XPS series is damn good machines, look at XPS 710 or why not the beast XPS 710 H2O with quad CPU and water cooling

Real men assemble their own computers.

(ps. You mentioned you hope you will get a silent opitcal drive, but I think most noise comes from chasis and CPU fans. Let us know how your ears fare when you get your new toy. :)
Matter of definition. When Mercedes bought Chrysler, that unfortunately didn't turn all Chryslers into Mercedes. So when Dell bought Alienware, the Alienware computers still are Alienware computers, just the profits go somewhere else.

A better analogy would be Renault and Nissan. The Nissan Sentra is really a Renault Megane, the Nissan Tiida (Versa) is really a Renault Clio. They look completely different, but they share the same mechanic.

You will have a great computer, period. But it's a Dell, don't be fooled by marketing.
> Real men assemble their own computers.

Well, either that or out cattle rustling.
Not a bad build Tobold. A buddy of mine just built almost the same thing. Except he's running to 7800GTX's in SLI as well as Raid 0 on 2 Raptor HD's. He's now getting 280-310 FPS while running WOW.
I recently went with an Alienware Laptop running Vista myself, and I've been quite happy with it. Probably my favorite feature was that it came preinstalled with... Windows, DVD player software, and CD burning software. It's been a LONG time since I've seen a stock machine come without dozens of co-branded media players and the like preinstalled. Customer service was helpful, and the ordering process went smoothly.

OK, and the case is shiny.
Bah, not as nice as my new box...but then its half the cost :P

I used to self build, but I've had one too many problems recently and decided to get a pc that has a warranty on the whole, rather than the individual components...its nice to ring someone up and make it THEIR problem to solve. :)

Have fun with it!
"Bah, not as nice as my new box..."

Thats a tad bit supercilious don't you think?

Grats on your new computer Tobold!
Supercilious? Naaaah, bragging about your computer is just the modern version of bragging about your car. It's part of a male bonding ritual among the kind of guys who can appreciate the beauty of playing WoW at 300 frames per second. It creates a we-against-them feeling versus the kind of reasonable people who'd tell you that WoW runs very well on a computer for less than 1000 dollars, and your brain can't capture 300 frames per second anyway. :)

What did you get for twice the cost? Quad-core and dual 8800 GTX with water-cooling?
@Ben - nah, I was being cheeky hence the ':P' emote. I think Tobold knows me well enough to know I wouldn't brag. I think his PC will be perfect for what he needs to use if for and give him a great performance boost :)

@Tobold - yes, exactly that spec. Overkill for WoW, but perfect for the flight sims I also play. It was custom built by a small outfit in London run by some nice Eastern European gentlemen and ladies that could teach many British companies a thing or two about customer service! They did a top job, and when I had a problem with the Southbridge overheating they got the machine collected on a Friday, worked the weekend on it, and got it back to me fixed and working a treat on the following Tuesday.
I'm a big fan of buying refurbished dell computers (dell outpost or something like that). They're just as good as new, half the price (well, used to be, seems to be less of a savings now), and don't come with the piles of stupid crap most pre-built computers come with. I bought a refurbished XPS system 2 years ago for $1050. Other than replacing the graphics card with a 7800 I haven't had to do anything to keep playing current games, and the system has never crashed or had any problems. Ever.

I used to build my own, but after an incident in which I upgraded my computer, couldn't get it to work, gradually replaced every component, couldn't get it to work, i ebayed off all the parts and bought a dell :b Every part I ebayed worked perfectly, they just wouldn't work together . . . I gave up on building my own computers at that point -- too much stress.
Must be that time of the year for new computer purchases. Unfortunately Tobold, you did just buy a Dell as others have pointed out but at least you got a case that looks awesome.

I took the build your own option as the Newegg price I came up with vs going with Dell or Alienware saved me almost 300 USD. I went with the E6600 2.4 C2Duo as well with the 8800 GTS graphics card.

The Dell laptop that I had lasted 4 years before the Graphics Card burned out which is about 2 years longer than some of my friends predictions at the point of purchase. I can't complain when it comes to Dells products as they do work reliably, I just couldn't resist building my own this time around.
I recently built myself a new PC

Asus M2N-SLI deluxe motherboard
AMD 5200 (2.6ghz x2)
2GB DDR2 6400 RAM
80Gb HD
and a GeForce 7950 GT

Parts cost me £540 + £80 for an Xaser III gaming case made by thermaltake (you migth want to have look at that)

sadly though the case i bought came with a 400w PSU which isn't enough to run the GPU at max. so whilst WoW is running perfectly with no lag at all which is great compared to my old pc, i can't help but wonder how it will look when i upgradethe PSU. may not be doing that for a while as i went sightly over budget with my PC anyway and won't have the money to upgrade for a whileas there other important things i need to buy first, like a dam mobile phone :P

anyway Awesome PC tobold you'll be gaming on that for several years to come at least. i look forward to hearing how it runs when ya get it! :D
"Vista doesn't do surround sound anyway"

This is not true, if your motherboard audio supports 5.1, you can configure it to use the speakers.

Also, if you get a X-FI card, you can get Hardware audio just like XP in OpenAL games and many EAX games using Creative's ALchemy wrapper. This works well in WoW and LotRO supports OpenAL in Vista.

Also, 32bit Vista doesn't really support 4gig of ram, I hope you got the 64 bit version.
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