We know that there was a lot of monkey business happening in this test system that should never occur with a customer. Overclocking the system to a point that does not run 3DMark 2003, a haphazard installation of the graphics processor water blocks and other issues should have never happened. Why else would we get NVIDIA reference cards when they have a SKU for brand name cards on their Website ? We already have a pair and used them as a reference point for the systems in these reviews.
Does anyone really care how well a fictitious system will run ? If you cannot ever buy it from Alienware configured this way, what is the point of the review ? It reminds me of the scores of paper launches of reference and engineering graphics cards. If this system had not been built for THG, would the end user get the same treatment ? We think not.
The ALX come in at a hefty price tag of over $5,500 and was not up to all of the standards we were hoping for the price, but it is still a solid gaming system. Overall what do we think about the Alienware ALX ? We like it. But at the end of this series of articles on high-end systems, it will be the last of this type you will see.
We are changing our system acquisition methodology so we no longer get this preferential treatment. Please welcome THG as we join the world of the Secret Shopper. If it takes the end user three weeks to get their system after charging the bill to their credit card, we want to feel that burden. If there are features that exist as an owner, we want to test them out too. Are these extra features worth the premium price tag ? Are they worth the extra money for the system ? Only under a new acquisition methodology can we fully test the custom systems through the purchasing and owning experience.
There was one note we made perfectly clear with each of the system builders, "it must be a system that you would deliver to a customer." We felt that this did not happen with Alienware. We are confident that the next Alienware in our lab, that we order direct, will be put together with more care, with all of the trimmings and none of the malarkey of trying to get killer scores on THG. "The truth is out there," but not in this review.
"The truth is out there," and we will find it.
You have now seen the All American Computers Liquid XS and the Alienware Aurora ALX systems. There remains the following in this series that we will review :
The CyberPower Gamer Ultra XLC, the Falcon Northwest Mach V and the Totally Awesome Computers Ridiculously Insane.
Meanwhile, the next time we get a set of systems in for review, there will be no more Mr. Nice Guy. In fact, we will not be a reviewer, but a consumer with certain expectations from a real system. We plan to document for our readers what happens when they walk down the bleeding edge gaming isle of their local super computer store and spend the money on these systems - unlike our previous reviews in this series. Why will we do that ? Because our readers deserve nothing less, especially when pouring $4,000 plus into a high-end gaming machine.