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Any of you guys have an Alienware?


Derrik Draven
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After 7 long years, I'm finally on the doorstep of moving up from my venerable Dell Pentium II 300mhz, 3DFX machine.

 

I'll admit that I was sucked in by Alienware's awesome "looking" machine. I can afford to spend about $2000 so, I can get a decent setup. Not a killer but, decent. No monitor needed.

 

So...I config my Alienware the way I want it, get ready to hit the purchase button and, something stops my left clicking finger.

 

Head over the Cnet and Epinions and, hole-e-shit! There is some SERIOUSLY bad reviews of Alienware. Not really about their hardware as most, even complainers, say it's a kick ass computer but, if you dare have any problems, God help you when dealing with their support.

 

Supposedly it's among the worst. Everything from their support being manned by foreigners that hardly speak english to ridiculous wait times for replacement parts to the wrong system components being installed and the purchasers being out of luck.

 

All the good reviews were pretty much from people that seemed to have gotten lucky and didn't need any customer support.

 

So, I figure maybe I'll just stick Dell since I had really good luck with the one I have. The company is huge, they don't chage your card until the system ships, unlike Alienware that sucks you dry of your cash the moment they get authorization, whether your system is done or not, the few time I've used Dell's customer support in the past, it was decent, and their new XPS series is a pretty damn decent gaming machine.

 

So I check out their reviews. Same damn thing as Alienware except Dell's bad reviews seemed to be more problems with the PC than with customer support.

 

Anyhoo...not being an idiot, for the most part ;) , I sat back and tried to use my noggin' to sort through the mess because, after reading all this, I'm terrified to buy ANY computer.

 

So...Alienware...they once were a very small, boutique pc maker, that probably had killer quality service and a killer machine. But, I think they've probably grown too big, too fast and as a result, quality is WAY down, the people there are overworked and, there probably isn't enough support to go around. Reason I figure this is true is due to a couple of posts I read while surfing. Someone mentioned that Best Buy has dropped Alienware from their stores. 2 ways to look at it. One, Alienware definitely had it's work cut out for it when the went to such a large retail store as BB. They probably got swamped with orders. Alienware couldn't deliver worth a shit due to it's overambitious plans. Which lead me to point 2, BB dropped them. I know personally I haven't seen one of their machines at BB in a while. I get the feeling that BB did, in fact, drop them due to all the static BB was probably getting due to people not receiving their orders. So, if BB dropped them, it certainly give real weight to my belief the Alienware is overextended.

 

Dell, on the other hand, while not a maker of such custom work as the small guys, ie Alienware, VoodooPC, ViciousPC, FalconNW, they do make a nice computer and, they have won awards for their customer support. I haven't read that of Alienware anywhere. They only win for their hardware.

 

On a last note, I realize that most satisfied customers don't go online to post their praises of a particular company. Some take the time; most don't. However, if you're pissed off, YOU WILL POST IT!!! Anger is one hell of a motivator. :) But, when you read some of the horror stories, some of them very detailed and very well written, it's pretty frickin hard to believe they're lying about their experience. All the while I just sit there, mouth open, wondering how the hell any company could treat it's customers so badly...and what if I'm one of the unlucky bastards that get a lemon?

 

I guess I'd like to hear from you guys that have been into pc gaming all these years. I've dropped out and I'm just now returning and it's kind of overwhelming trying to educate myself quickly! Damn near every single custom pc maker, and even Dell, had a virtual plethora of bad reviews.

 

...I'm now too scard to buy jack shit...maybe I'll just stick with my Xbox. :?

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Originally posted by Whooter@Sep 16 2003, 01:24 PM

Dude, I don't know how you spec'ed that rig out, but I'd be willing to bet that I could put something similar together for you for a good chunk of change less...

 

PM me if you're interested...

And he will promise that the machine comes pre-loaded with lots of pr0n.

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Well, someone I work with ordered an Alienware PC sometime last year. Basically it was the top of the line for everything they offered at the time, processor, memory, HDD, video card, everything.

 

Well, he got a reply from them stating it would be roughly a week before he would receive his PC. We were all pretty interested to see how it would turn out and how good the system would be since it was pretty much top of the line in everything, so we all followed along as we waited for it to come in. One week went by... no trace of the PC. Two weeks went by... no trace of the PC. In those weeks he happen to notice that there were new options available, so he called them and told them that they should be giving him those options for what he paid, seeing as how he still hadn't seen his PC. They agreed to upgrade his processor for no cost, but it was going to put his PC in the back of the line for all of the PC's that they had going out.

 

Now, I've been building PC's for quite some time. I know for a fact that removing a processor from a PC that hasn't even been built, doesn't take any time at all.

 

Long story short, it took 4 weeks for him to get his Alienware PC. Never once did they offer a good explanation of why it took four weeks for the PC to get here, or offer him anything for being so patient. This guy couldn't have been nicer to Alienware in the whole process, he could have just cancelled his whole order and moved it to Dell or someone else, but he didn't.

 

In the end, I thought the process went so badly with this guy that I wouldn't ever even think of ordering a PC through Alienware. I'll just keep building my own at this point. I know I don't receive as good of a warranty, but I'm just happy knowing who to blame if something goes wrong.

 

Glen

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Originally posted by gigapower+Sep 16 2003, 02:28 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (gigapower @ Sep 16 2003, 02:28 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Whooter@Sep 16 2003, 01:24 PM

Dude, I don't know how you spec'ed that rig out, but I'd be willing to bet that I could put something similar together for you for a good chunk of change less...

 

PM me if you're interested...

And he will promise that the machine comes pre-loaded with lots of pr0n. [/b]

I figured that went without saying.

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I have a DEll Dimension 8200 that I bought just over a year ago. Its a great machine but now that I have taken up PC Gaming in the last year I'm finding myself limited with what I can do with it.

 

For one, I looked at overclocking my pc to get a little extra juice. Well, with a DEll, forget it. The motherboards that come with these machines are not very good and it can be a pain to try to change them out apparently. Check out Dell's forums and you'll see what I mean. I'm not sure of all the details but from what I gather these are not the best machines out there for "tweaking" because of some of these things they do. Yeah, the customer support is good and thats important but as a gamer I want to tweak my pc for better in game performance and I find myself limited. Otherwise, mine would already be overclocked.

 

So, I can upgrade my processor but can't tweak it. Its really not a big deal but still. I know, now that I know more about pc's, that my next one will not be a Dell, only because of their limitations with some things.

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Overclocking is one area in which Alienware is superior over the Dells of the world. Any time you buy from a Dell, Gateway, HP, Compaq, etc you're getting a good deal of proprietary hardware. Chief among the proprietary hardware is the motherboard. That means they control exactly how it runs -they control the Bios settins and refuse to offer options beyond the stock set-up.

 

Alienware, on the other hand, uses "off the shelf" parts to build their systems. The motherboards used by Alienware are exactly the same as those you can buy. Therefore the level of tweaking possible is limited by the mobo manufacturer and not the PC vendor.

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I have a couple of friends with Alienware pc's of which one of them brings his pc to our lan parties. No problems and in his words its a fine pc but he wouldn't buy another. Now being he is a tech guy, he has no problems fixing his pc but if I were not so tech savvy I wouldn't recommend building your own nor would I recommend having a friend/buddy build one for you and the reasoning is support.

 

This is the primary reason why I won't build one for my friends/family now.

 

As an alternative to Alienware/Dell etc, I'd recommend These guys

 

I play Everquest and with 100 other people usually at once. These guys are highly recommended.

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Nick - I was surfing their site for awhile after Exile posted it. Looks pretty good. I was able to configure a pretty nasty beast for only $1500-$1600. Substantially less than an equal from the Aliens.

 

I'm thinking about buying some power... ;)

 

Any problems with yours at all, Nick? Read a bunch of posts/reviews and any negative comments were usually due to hardware not being properly installed or receiving dented/cracked cases. A number of people recommened that this NOT be your 1st computer because of tech glitches that needed to be taken care of while setting it up.

 

No sweat; my 1st pc was back in '82. If it's just simple shit like making sure everything is secured seated and all wires plugged in, I'm there.

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The only problems that I had were the power to the hard drive was undone, and the two cd-drives moved into the case during shipping, besides that I havent had any problems, yes my computer did crash once, a total windows error and I had to reformat the hard drive, but no hardware problems, I even put in an audigy 2 and 2 more case fans, still running strong....

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Similar BAD story from a good friend of mine who tried to order an Alienware machine just recently (about 2-3 months ago) ---

 

She ordered the machine, waited a week or so, checked status online, called them up, got an excuse, waited another week, checked the status, called again, got another excuse, lather, rinse, repeat. Basically after about 7 (yes SEVEN) weeks, the thing was still on step 10 of 14 (they have a 14 step order-->build-->delivery process). Most of the customer support reps she spoke to had little or conflicting information about the state of her machine. Overall, she had a horrible experience with them and now recommends that people (and I quote) "run far far away" when considering an Alienware computer.

 

Just thought I'd pass along the warning...

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