So I bought a new computer. Who cares? Somewhere out there, I'm sure there's a guy in the same boat I was in for several years - wanting a high end name brand machine. When I first discovered the Alienware brand nearly 7 years ago, I had already owned nearly 10 different PCs throughout my life. Of those, only one of them was a pre-built (Compaq). I was in the middle of earning a programming degree and when my DIY machine took a surge. I didn't have the money to rebuild a new machine and even if I had the money, I didn't have the time to wait on the parts to arrive. I had class the following day and I needed a machine right then. The only store in that town that sold PCs at that time was Cowboy Maloney. Even worse, they only sold Compaqs. I financed a decent machine but had trouble with it right out of the gate. Without going into any detail, we'll just say that I hated my Compaq and swore I'd never buy a fabbed machine again. That was until I was introduced to Alienware. For years I've wanted one. I've done an amazing amount of research on this company over the years. I kept getting mixed reviews. Well folks, for those of you who have been waiting, wait no more. This is my personal story about a purchase of an Alienware Aurora 7500 desktop PC. This story may help you make a decision if you're stuck in limbo.
Well, you already know why I chose the brand, but why now? Why after all these years did I finally decide to take the plunge? It was late, I was tired, and I got finger happy at the Alienware website. That's why. A few minutes after I confirmed my purchase, I walked my dog. My knees were shaking and I kept asking myself, "What did I just do?" I couldn't believe I had just dropped $2000 on a PC. When I showed up for work the next day, I told my IT buddies about my purchase. And that's when I remembered why I ordered such an uber system - bragging rights!! All of my buddies drooled and begged me to tell them all about the system. Of all the people I knew, I had the most amazing PC of all!
So, how easy was it to order the machine? This process was quite simple. I simply navigated to the alienware website and chose the type of system I wanted - Desktop. From there, I chose the cheapest AMD machine I could find and clicked "Configure". Inside, I upgraded the RAM, the processor, OS, and video card. I also added the restore DVD for another $50. For those of you who don't know what certain components do, you can simply click "More Info" above each section.
What kind of communication did I receive before the system arrived? I received a standard confirmation e-mail at first. Within that e-mail, however, a link was provided to a page where I could track my system's progress. Each step was listed as a phase. There were 8 phases in all. The first phase, was the confirmation of the order, the second phase was the confirmation of payment received, the third phase was the gathering of the hardware components, the fourth phase was the assembly of the machine, etc., etc., until you get to phase eight where the machine is actually being delivered. The message stated that my machine would arrive on January 8th of this year. I twas a day late coming in on Wednesday morning instead.
According to the box, she weighed 70 lbs. It wasn't until I hoisted it up to my dinning room table that I believed the lable. The box was flat black with the alien head on 5 sides of the box (all but the bottom...yes, I looked). I only mention this because the box was so cool. Inside was the system housed in styrefoam on the bottom and another box with more goodies on top. In that top box, I had a cheesy mouse (didn't upgrade because I have a fantastic mouse already), a cheesy keyboard (same situation as the mouse), big mouse pad, an Alienware hat (I don't wear hats), and a notebook. The notebook houses your software, an instruction manual, a purchase order, account card (used to access special alienware sights and to contact technical support). The foam padding around the boxes an the tower itself is really good and thick.
The inside of the PC was amazing. I couldn't believe it was finally here. I hooked it up on my dinning room table temporarily for testing (it's sense been moved back to the office). When you first turn it own, it sounds like a jet engine. Then, after 2 or 3 seconds, all calms down and the machine is amazingly quiet. POST took only 8 seconds or so. It's amazingly fast!!
I soon found two flaws with my system. First, all picutres displayed with an orange tint. Secondly, the DVD movies I was trying to play kept skipping. I contacted technical support. A guy remoted into my system and fixed my orange photos. There was a strange setting that is particular to my model number monitor (Samsung 204t). After he made the changes, the photos looked great again. On the second issue, I only needed to reinstall POWER DVD which is the program that provides the DVD codec. After the reinstall, the movies are playing just fine. Technical support was great because the guy just remoted in and took care of the problem. In addition, I didn't have to go through 100 automated prompts to get to a human being.
After getting the machine working again, I quickly moved on to the next project - moving my data from one machine to another. I had earlier made a list of all the hardware components. When I looked them up online, I realized that I could have built the system for about $300 less. But then I wouldn't have that Alienware logo on my new cap or that super cool computer case, right?
At any rate, I'd say the ordering process is very easy, the packaging of the system is nicely done, tech support was great, and it's just as fast as I had hoped it would be.
I hope this helps some of you make a decision. If you're stuck that is.