Our Gripes And Woes
When we asked for systems that a regular every day customer would receive, why did we get systems with NVIDIA reference cards ? As five out of the six systems we reviewed came with reference cards, we were disappointed. From this date forward, THG will no longer play reviewer. We will go out on the big mean Internet and telephone and buy systems, be customers, have problems and see how these companies really treat their customers - not what THG receives for a review system. Not only will we test their machines for performance, but we will test the entire process as a customer.
We found that both the Falcon and the Alienware were overclocked too far. This made the systems unstable in certain tests. The Cyberpower system originally crashed when running tests, but all we had to do was turn up the fans. Yes, this was simple but the configuration required the fans to be set to an annoying sound level. Some of these systems should have been tested and put through the paces first before shipping. Such problems are thus flagged ahead of time before the customer takes possession. Then some of the others could have decreased their clock speeds a little to finish the test suite. As the saying goes, "No guts no glory," but when you can’t compete, what is the point ?
Although this is more characteristic of the industry, the warranties offered varied somewhat. Warranty coverage varied from one to three years. In some cases, only one-way shipping for repairs was covered. While we have noticed that across the industry there are always options for upgrading your warranty, we feel that when you are spending several thousands of dollars on a new high performance gaming rig, we hope that a system builder follows you with it.
We received a t-shirt from nearly every system builder. However, we question this practice : would you actually wear it ? Would you give it as a gift to your friend/girlfriend/wife ? If the cost of a $10 shirt were built into the price of your system - would you rather have the option not pay for it ? - It is just a thought.
We were looking for systems exhibiting a "wow" factor in performance as well as for the system itself. Falcon delivers this, as does AAC, and their cases impress us. We really were hoping that Alienware would have done the same, but that system just left the smell of radiator fluid in our lab and sickness in our stomachs (literally, not figuratively). The Cyberpower, ABS and Totally Awesome are not bleeding edge, while the price differential can be measured in the thousands of dollars.