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??ALIENWARE??

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February 24, 2002 11:31:03 PM

OK I know most people here say they suck, and then I read CNET reviews and see some awesome reviews along with bad ones. One thing is clear though, their support sucks. I'm just wondering, since I'm about to buy a new comp. (AMD), if anyone has problems with the Aurora DDR? Besides support.

My computer is slower than molasses.

More about : alienware

February 25, 2002 7:16:55 PM

CNET doesn't buy a computer, take it home, and have to deal with the other aspects of purchasing a machine, such as support. But the people you'll find discussing the issues on this forum do just that.

When Alienware sends out a system for a review, they do their best work. That doesn't necessarily translate into an excellent experience for the typical consumer.

There is one basic fact you should come to terms with, <i>without</i> mentioning Alienware's support (which is horrible beyond belief) ... and that is the price. You will be paying a great deal more money for a system that could easily be assembled much cheaper by yourself, or in many cases, a local tech. Every component that Alienware uses can be ordered over the Internet, or through a distributor (in the case of the technician). You aren't paying for a markup on the wholesale prices, but a markup + labor on the <i>retail</i> prices.

I can't say whether the Aurora DDR system might have problems. That would be a vague statement, as each system is configured according to the user preferences ... and so, no two systems are alike.

I <i>can</i> tell you that the different sections of the company have had serious communication problems in the past. This means that when you make a order with the customer service rep, he may promise you to make custom changes that will never end up on the work order slip. Or the builder will ignore what is on the slip, and build something completely different. That the inspector who supposedly will check out the system and do the burn-in really won't bother with any of that ... he may not even turn the computer on to see if it will boot. The company is often sloppy when it comes to the "little" details, which could be anything from the name that is supposed to be printed on the included manual, to actually jumpering the hard drives correctly. And then, there is the shipping department, who appears to employ people who are incapable of filling out a correct shipping address on a label. You may be in California, for example, but that doesn't mean the system won't end up on Alabama ... at which point, someone may accuse you of asking to have the system shipped to the other State.

None of these different divisions are able to communicate effectively with each other ... and they won't give a damn if this ends up being a problem for you. They will have already charged your credit card for the system, long before you actually receive anything ...unlike other companies who don't charge for the system until the day it ships. (Ask ... it's company policy.) They know if you send the system back, at the very least they will get a restocking fee out of you.

In the midst of all of this, you'll encounter an endless array of people who seem to gravitate from one area to another, answering the phone, and whose biggest talent is a penchant for lying at the drop of a hat to cover up any mistakes.

These are the reasons why ordering a system from Alienware is not only expensive, but will end up being a lesson in futility you won't soon forget. This means, with all the contributing factors, that the possibility that you will receive a functional machine, with the correct configuration, is much lower than any online review you may read.

I have dealt with Alienware for over three years, off and on. I know people who work at the company by name, and have their phone numbers and email addresses ... including the owner of the company. All of that was needed in order to replace several parts, <i>in every order that was ever made</i>. I have never had a single experience with Alienware that was satisfactory ... meaning the order was made, everything was correctly configured, delivered on time, and functional after being set up and turned on. That was with four different systems in my family, and with close friends.

That's the reality, regardless of what CNET might say.

You might be interested in knowing that the last computer I got from Alienware <i>was</i> a review system, which only needed the mainboard, one of the hard drives, the video card, and the modem replaced to be completely functional. Only two components were missing, which I took to be a sign that the company was finally starting to improve their quality control.

You can ignore me if you wish, but it's your wallet, your frustration, and your funeral. You can't say you didn't walk in with your eyes wide open ... you were warned.

I wish you luck, and hope your experience with them is pleasant. Give my regards to Gerald, and ask him how many systems he has managed to send to unmanned guard shacks in other parts of the country since last May? I hope he is improving on the statistical anomalies experienced by the company this year. Anyone who lies that well should certainly be the head of the sales department by now.

I walked away from the company with one constant thought. I didn't know who was the bigger idiot. Them, for being classless, evasive, incompetent fools ... or me, for being stupid enough to order a system from them and spend hundreds (literally) of hours on the phone arguing with someone who should have been branded with the words <i>incorrigible asswipe</i> on his forehead on the instant of his birth. Flip a coin. Either way, you'd be right.

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
February 25, 2002 10:39:00 PM

Wow man appreciate the reply. I don't have much experience custom building a comp so I would rather rely on an online builder. Any suggestions? I have an EPP discount from DELL, but I prefer AMD (for now at least, let's see if Intel has anything up their sleeves that can compete with the Hammer.)

My computer is slower than molasses.
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February 26, 2002 2:55:44 AM

There are other online builders for gaming machines with better reputations than Alienware, such as <A HREF="http://www.voodoocomputers.com" target="_new">Voodoo</A>, <A HREF="http://www.falcon-nw.com/" target="_new">Falcon Northwest</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.hypersonic-pc.com/2001/index.asp" target="_new">Hypersonic PC</A>. Other custom builders include <A HREF="http://www.advanceddesignky.com/index.cfm" target="_new">Advanced Design</A>, <A HREF="http://www.polywell.com/prod-132g.html" target="_new">Polywell Computers</A>, <A HREF="http://www.buyabs.com/index5.shtml" target="_new">ABS Computer,</A> and <A HREF="http://www.micronpc.com/" target="_new">MicronPC</A>. But you will still pay a premium for allowing them to assemble the system for you. And you should be aware that companies like this often rely on a third-party ASP for warranty work, which may not be available in every area ... or effective if really needed.

Note: I've listed these companies for your benefit ... but I have no actual hands-on knowledge of the companies, in terms of reliability, customer satisfaction, etc. Finding this information will be up to you. It's out there, if you'll just look for it.

IMO ... the best (and cheapest route) to owning a hot gaming rig is to take the time to learn how to build it yourself. That includes investigating the hardware; checking user comments, opinions and reviews ... and reading a multitude of articles on the subject. This might be much more time-consuming than filling out an online form, but the possibility that you will end up with the system you've always wanted, within a reasonable budget, is much greater if you choose this method.

All the information you'll ever need is on the Web. One good search engine can keep you in reading material for days. All you'll need after that is a dose of confidence and a dab of common sense.

When dealing with computers ... patience is definitely a virtue. The more you try to learn, and put into acquiring the knowledge to assemble a system, the better off you'll be.

Everyone who has ever taken the time to build their own computer will tell you the same thing. But don't take my word for it ... ask around, and see what people have to say on the subject.

For example, I decided to throw together a little rig a couple of weeks ago. Not the hottest thing on castors, but certainly good enough to run any modern game, with a minimum of expense. This is the backup Duron system, listed in my signature. The entire system ran to exactly $820.58 (with tax and shipping), (not counting the monitor, which I already owned.) My budget was a thousand, and you can see I had no difficulty with sticking to the limit. Ordering the components and getting them delivered took about a week.

If I had intended to spend a little more, I could have added a larger power supply, doubled the amount of RAM, slipped in a GeForce3 Ti 500 (or a ATI 8500 Radeon) and upped the processor speed to the fastest AMD on the market. Even at that, I could have kept the price under $1300.00 to $1400.00 without any problems at all.

In other words, I could have easily built a system just as hot than anything currently offered by Alienware, without breaking the bank. Not that the computer in it's current configuration is slow ... not at all. And if I had wanted an Alienware case ... Antec and Chieftec sell an identical model. If I had wanted a Voodoo case, I could have ordered that, and nothing more. If I wanted a specific color, well ... sandpaper, primer and automotive paint are easily acquired.

Later this spring, I intend to mod the case ... repaint it, add a blowhole, cut out the side and put a Lexan window, perhaps add some lights and a fan control. The possibilities are endless. Eventually, Ill do some more upgrading, when the prices are even lower than they are now. This backup system will eventually be my main system. When that happens, I'll just build another backup! Maybe this time with water-cooling ...

Building the computer took about half a day. It took a couple of days to configure the operating system and all my programs to my satisfaction, from a clean hard drive to a perfect image of the active partition. Hey ... and it was Free Labor. And no arguing with anyone over the phone about a missing component, or attempting to get technical support because the system won't boot, or because a device is damaged.

I'm much more relaxed these days! I wonder why? LOL!

It's worth thinking about, before you crack open your wallet, and hand someone else your hard-earned cash.

Have a good one ...

Toejam31

<font color=red>My Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=6847" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Tantalizing Tantric Toy</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
____________________________________________________________

<font color=purple>"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."</font color=purple>
February 28, 2002 11:01:45 PM

You if I really wanted an awesome computer and not have to sell my first born to do it, I would find one of the guys on this board to build it for me. That is, if I didn't feel comfortable doing it myself. I'm sure that if you ask one of the regular posters here to do it, they would be more than happy to do it. And I wouldn't worry about them ripping me off either. The tech support here is better than any tech support from an online system builder. I suggest you try that, instead of paying falcon NW or Voodoo to sell you a way overpriced computer.
March 4, 2002 6:51:51 AM

For reviews of computer retailers go to http://www.resellerratings.com
I would highly recommend Envision Computer Solutions :smile: . They custom build computers for their customers and pay very special attention to customer service. I bought a computer from them in January and have been happy at every step of the way with them. If you do, ask for Todd and tell him Wade sent you. If you would like help, let me know, I spent many hours of research before deciding on my current config. I went with AMD and DDR.
Anonymous
March 9, 2002 3:34:28 PM

Well IMO if you want a performance gaming machine -- you need to stick with performance minded builders. I kinda made mention of this on another post. Alienware USED to be performance minded, but you have to understand that they have grown tremendously over the past 2 years... hell they are selling pre-fabs at bestbuy.com now! LOL. With size usually comes less and less performance and less and less customer support -- that's almost universal.

I say go with one of the smaller establishments. Element PC (www.elementpc.com) and Thunderbox PC (www.thunderboxpc.com) are just 2 examples of these types of companies. A friend of mine bought from Thunderbox and he was very happy with what he got. They even let him choose any part he wanted -- even if they didn't stock it. So I guess you could pretty much design it yourself and have them build it. I thought that was cool.

But anyway, don't give up the search. There are tons and tons of builders out there who need your business alot more than Alienware does -- and they will make sure they do the job right.
March 9, 2002 9:24:05 PM

Performance minded? WTF is that supposed to mean. Dude, the components are the same- it's just a bs marketing scheme. I'd go w/ Buy ABS cause they have low prices, and 2 of my freinds have bought from them and the comps are great.

Sig of the week.
Anonymous
March 9, 2002 10:06:39 PM

Like I said -- the components are the same, but the components themselves do not make the system... it's HOW the system is built and configured that make or break the overall potential the system has. Haven't you ever seen a computer showdown where a site or magazine compares 10 to 12 different computers? Ever notice how 2 or 3 are way up on top performance wise and another 2 or 3 are waaay on the bottom? But gee they had the same parts. What does that tell you?

An experienced performance builder can maximize the potential of the hardware through the bios, operating system, registry and then tweak all the settings and standard defaults that would normally hold the hardware back. That's the most difficult part of system building -- and where the real winners come out. If you honestly believe that a computer is only the sum of its parts, you are not only gravely misinformed, but also a fool. BS marketing scheme? In some cases, sure... but on the whole, no.

But hey, how would you know right? The real BS marketting scheme lies in the part dealer's "Computer System" that they build for you for $29. LOL... I'm sure they really took their time and did a good job for $29. Get real. You may THINK you got a good sytem... but how do you know? You ever bought from one of the places I mentioned? I guarantee what they ship is 15-20% faster than what you got with the same parts.
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