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Fall Extreme Gamer System Shootout Part 3: Alienware's ALX

Test Summary

This is where all of the shenanigans begin. >From the time we received the ALX boxes at our door, to opening them up, and peering into the systems’ guts, it has been fishy. When we turned the system on we found more of the same. The system came to us with an 8% overclock set in the Asus A.I. BIOS feature.

Now it is not uncommon for high end system builders to send out units that are overclocked. You saw what Falcon Northwest did in our last SLI roundup, and what All American Computers did in the first review of this series. However, we could not get every benchmark to run, which we tried to correct by going back into the BIOS. Even when we dropped the system clock to 211 MHz there was still one benchmark that would not run (This will be addressed in more detail in the 3DMark 2003 section). When the system remains unstable and a benchmark does not run even when we get the system to a point where all the other benchmarks run flawlessly, there is something askew as to why they shipped it like this.

Our Test System

Test System
CPUAMD FX-55 (2.6 GHz)
FSB200 MHz
MotherboardGigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI (939 nForce4 SLI)
Memory1 GB - 2x Corsair PC4400 at 200 MHz 512 MB
HDDWestern Digital 10,000rpm 74 GB Raptor S-ATA (8 MB)
Power SupplyEnermax EG851AX 660W
CPU Cooling SolutionZalman CU-CNPS 7700-CU
Drivers & Configuration
GraphicsATI Catalyst v5.8NVIDIA v77.77
ChipsetnForce4 SLI
OSWindows XP Prof. SP2
DirectXDirectX 9.0c
Graphic cards used in this article
ATIRadeon X850 XT PE (ATI)
NVIDIAGeForce 6800 Ultra OC (BFG Tech)GeForce 7800 GTX (NVIDIA Reference)