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Anyone have any personal experience with Alienware laptops?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by Clarity, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Clarity

    Clarity Will Bryant Staff Member

    I just found out that (3 months later) USAA is going to write off my laptop as a total loss from the lightning strike. The holding pattern I've been in has been the repair shop being unable to fully evaluate the damage because the AC adapter was shot, the battery lost the ability to maintain a charge, and they haven't been able to get the thing fired up. Between (a) Dell support STILL being at least partially in India, and (b) the AC adapter (unique to my model, smart engineering there, Dell) has an indefinite backorder, the decision was made to call it a lost cause as they know either the motherboard and/or the processor were shot as well.

    Anyway, I've been eyeballing laptops from different vendors. I like Dell quite a bit, but I don't like where I call when I need information or support. So I'm at least open to the possibility of going with someone else, although I don't find myself entirely opposed to going back to Dell. Either way, Alienware laptops are actually of comparable price ranges with the features I want, and they are just now rolling out a new model with some nice bells and whistles.

    Alienware Area-51m 7700

    I'm going to run the normal epinions and other 'review' website circuit, but thought I'd ask here first if anyone has any personal experience with the laptops Alienware makes, their customer support, other relevant experiences, etc.
  2. DaytonBuck

    DaytonBuck I've always liked them

    I can't speak to their laptops but my old roomate had a desktop from them and really liked their customer service. It's 24/7/365 out of their place in Miami.
  3. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    As a Computer Tech for life.. lol.. my feelings have always been like this..


    AlienWare is something me and all my friends have ALWAYS wanted. If you can hook yourself up with a good AlienWare system, go for it. They use quality performance parts. That's why they are generally a little more expensive. They don't use shit for parts.

    EDIT: Just looked at that page.. and holy shit.. PCI Express nVidia GeForce 6800 card... DDR2 RAM.. kick ass bragging stuff, best on the market..

    Also.. just wanted to note.. that unlike the pre-mentioned ass of companies, AlienWare doesn't use generic piece of crap motherboards. They also use good cooling solutions.. it increases performance instead of lowering prices. That's another reason they are generally a little more pricey. Definately worth it though.
  4. Clarity

    Clarity Will Bryant Staff Member

    This is going to sound awful, but honestly, I just don't know that I can go with anyone who has me calling India when I have a problem. It's not because it's India, it's because the customer service/tech support process is already a frustrating one under normal circumstances. Add in difficulties communicating effectively, and it compounds the headache.

    Dell owes me $50 for a part I sent back to them, that they recognize they got, recognize they need to reimburse me, but never have. Somewhere on this site I have a "I've been to Dell and back" thread that documents a related issue. Anyway, I'm breaking off on a tangent here, but suffice it to say that as happy I've been with my Dell laptops, I've been entirely unhappy with the service. You get great, helpful, intelligent people when you want to buy one. And then a total disaster when you need help. I understand why they're set up that way, but doesn't make me appreciate it. So yeah, I'd be entirely comfortable owning another Dell (and would have already ordered one had I managed to take advantage of that $750 off deal), but since I'm not restricted in any way (USAA is just going to cut a check for all the damaged stuff, and send us on our way), I'm considering all the possibilities.

    I don't know what makes PCI-Express and DDR2 RAM great, but I recognize that something does given the enthusiasm of clued people I ask about it all. I really really like that the 7700 has a full sized (standard) keyboard, complete with numpad. Means the thing is going to be large, but I'm looking for a a desktop that can conform to my limited mobility, and that's exactly what this seems to be. 17" widescreen, given what I'm being credited from the dead Dell, I figure to go 2gb RAM, 120gb (60x2 @ 7200rpm) RAID-0 on the drives, 3.4ghz P4 (can't see the hefty markup to go up to 3.6). I think that more or less does it, nothing else too crazy from there.

    So far, everything I've heard is glowingly positive about Alienware except their prices. But that's less a concern for me this time because of the insurance settlement, and the possibility I might be able to leverage an old contact to try and get a better deal than what's listed on this system.
  5. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    PCI-Express is the next great development. It will be the norm, replacing AGP and PCI. DDR2 is the next stage in development of DDR Ram.. While right now it's not to much faster than normal DDR Ram, it will be able to handle replacements of newer DDR Ram that will be MUCH faster.

    BTW, your thoughts about India tech support was the main reason people goto Best Buy and buy a system other than Dell. You have NO IDEA how many people came to me to buy a system. And I had to hold my tongue-in-cheek when selling them an HP or Gateway, etc... If I could, I would have custom built every single one of those people a PC.
  6. Thump

    Thump Hating the environment since 1994

    Better not say that too loud or Tibor will be all over you!
  7. BrutusMaximus

    BrutusMaximus I Heart Boobs

    Clarity - get used to the Indian tech support, every single major computer manufacturer is doin it now. In fact, Microsoft just opened 2 offices in India......ugh.

    In regards to Alienware.......I agree with Lloyd....good stuff. It is a bit expensive. In other words, I would never buy a desktop off them, cause I could build it for $500 cheaper, but their laptops are sweet.
  8. wadc45

    wadc45 Bourbon, Bow Ties and Baseball Hats Staff Member BP Recruiting Team

    My brother has an Alienware laptop and loves it...not sure which model but I can try and find out for you...
  9. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence

    One of my customers has one.

    It is expensive and heavy, I also think it is ugly.
    But the performance is kick ass.

    Why a laptop instead of a desktop?
  10. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    That's the same as asking "Why a cell phone instead of a cordless phone?"
  11. DA-Bucks

    DA-Bucks Trick shot artist Former FF The Deuce Champ

    There's nothing wrong with Dell Laptops, in fact they're pretty good. I personally have a pretty high quality Toshiba laptop which I'm happy with.

    Alienware is waaaay overpriced for what you get. Only buy one if you absolutely have to have the best (but way overpiced) gaming laptop. Frankly there are several other competitors on the market that are great gaming laptops for a much better value.

    Forget Epinions, not a great website. You have to factor in that you probably know more about computers than most the people giving their opinions on something they just spent money on.

    For the best values on computers check out:

    Also check out <---- the best place to buy anything computer related online. I've used Newegg for all my purchases and for all the computers I build for other people in my spare time. I've spent well over $10 grand there without one hiccup.

    Honestly an Alienware "laptop" is really just a fancy desktop computer. I WOULD NOT recommend lugging that heavy thing around too much. My laptop is 7 pounds with the battery and that is a pain to haul around (mostly because of the 15" screensize).

    Sony, toshiba, Dell are all pretty good laptops imo
  12. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence


    The question begs, do you need the higher price and lower upgradability for the job your doing? To me computers equal cell phones and odds are you will be getting rid of them faster and faster which brings me back to why.

    Based on the information Clarity has provided I doubt he will will be working on the BP site in an airplane or at a Holiday Inn Express in Ann Arbor. Now surfing the web while reclined in a chair is always cool.

    As for brands I have a Dell server I turned into a desktop and I travel with IBM laptops. Seems that all customer service is out sourced to India but Dell was supposed to be bringing some of it back to the US. It has been awhile but all my calls for IBM customer service were answered by someone in the US. I know they, IBM, went big on development in India. I am a big no go on Compaq/HP.
    I just bought the NEC 3500 from Newegg. Good site for parts and sales.
  13. LloydSev

    LloydSev DreamWeaver

    I have my own desktop at home. Why wouldn't I want a laptop ALSO?

    AlienWare is SUPERIOR product to other laptops on the market, making them the logical choice.
  14. NorthShoreBuck

    NorthShoreBuck True Madness Requires Significant Intelligence

    Weren't you just laid off?
    That is one reason you shouldn't get a laptop.
    The second is opportunity cost.

    Buy the tool that does the job.
    Alienware is great for the gamers that like to geek off and show each other the customized paint jobs.:roll2:
  15. Clarity

    Clarity Will Bryant Staff Member

    Stuck in bed more or less year 'round these days. 3-4 years ago it was just a week or two here and there. 2-3 years ago it was up to a month or so at a time. 1-2 years ago it was a few months at a time. This year I haven't left the house once, and haven't left my room more than a handful of times. So just can't sit down at my desk the way I used to.

    All fun for a formerly ultra-active former Marine. Lol. But I shrugged off cabin fever some time ago.

    So my circumstances are somewhat unique. I really want a desktop. But it's not really practical to set one up and tear it down every time I want access. So given my needs, a big bulky laptop, which is no more than a one-piece desktop (as I think the Alienware is) fits the bill. I have no concern for mobility at all, I just need the biggest bang in something I can quickly and easily have on or take off the bed.

    I agree with the first sentence. I do require a lot of processing power and memory. Beyond Photoshop I've been getting into some heavier graphics and rendering programs, and on top of that, the tools I use to connect to and work with BP's server can stack up quickly when I'm trying to get something new online. I'm not much of a PC gamer, so that aspect isn't as much a drive, but I definitely want a machine that is still going to be respectable in 3, 4, even 5 years in terms of the things I want to do with it. Get just PhotoShop and Illustrator going, also have UltraEdit (text editor great for PHP and HTML), SecureCRT (to connect to the server's console), SecureFX (transfer files), and a couple browser windows going, and that's already a pretty serious load. Toss in an MP3 or something else playing in the background, and you're taxing the machine. Which is a bit why I'm considering going overboard on the RAM.

    I agree with the perception that Alienware = gamers. I've always seen them that way, and I think that's still their primary niche. It's also why I've never before really considered them. But when it comes down to it, I load up the same (roughly) box at Dell, Gateway, Alienware, and IBM, and they all come in around the same price, while Alienware has some better features.

    I don't need an Alienware machine. I could buy a laptop from anyone that will do what I need it to now. I'm thinking more about that 4 year mark, and the ability to still be doing what I want then. But honestly, the thing that still appeals the most to me about the 7700 is that full sized keyboard with numpad. Seems like a minor issue, but given my situation, it's entirely appealing. Slap a real mouse on, and I really do have a portable desktop.

    Since getting out of the Corps, I've gone from ZEOS (who became Micron), to Gateway to Dell. I've been happy with all for the most part, at the times I had their products. I'm still *entirely* happy with Dell. In fact, I'm typing on a Dell right now. My only complaint is the outsourcing. And that's not enough of a complaint to keep me from them. But it keeps coming back to that full-sized keyboard. If I can have that, *and* more modern powerful bells and whistles elsewhere to boot, all for the same price as a similarly loaded Dell. Then that seems to be the way to go. Maybe, lol.

    Really, I'd kill just to have my old laptop back. I liked it, everything was the way I wanted it. It wasn't the most powerful box in the world, but it did everything I needed.

    I still have some time before I make a decision. But my old laptop isn't coming back, so I will need something.

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