Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Alienware Experience - Part 1

So, I recently came to the conclusion that I need to buy a pre-built computer. The PC that I have been rebuilding over and over since the year 2000 is giving me major issues with just about everything that you can think of. I solve one issue only to be vexed by another. Hey, no problem, right? I used to work in tech support, I should be able to fix these things.

Yeah, no problem. Except that now I have a little girl, a wife, a dog, and a cat who all want some sort of attention at least once a day. I also attend college full time. I also practice the drums for a couple of hours a day. So, when I sit down at my PC, I want to check Facebook and then jump right into a game. (Or, you know, do my homework/ term paper/ online courses) I don't have the extra time I used to have to figure out why the hell my PC is freaking out again.

So, with all that in mind, I started looking at pre-built PCs capable of doing high end gaming stuff as well as my papers. Alienware has been around for a long time, and I was aware of them, but I was also aware that they are expensive. So, believe me when I say I did my homework. I looked at every custom gaming PC shop online. I looked up parts prices to make sure I knew what things should cost compared to what I was being charged.

In the end, I came back to Alienware.

There were a few reasons for my choice. First, they are owned by Dell. This is a big one, as I have dealt with Dell professionally for close to a decade through different jobs. I know what kind of tech support I can expect from them, and I know how to work them to get what I want. This is the biggest reason for me to buy a pre-built. I want someone else to work out the issue while I move on to something else. Dell can connect remotely and solve issues, and my coverage will let them send someone to work on it if they have to, or replace the whole thing if need be. Hell, I even have coverage for accidental spills and drops.

Secondly, was price. I know, I know, all the Internet ragers claim Alienware is ridiculously overpriced and horrible. The fact is, when you look at what you get for what you pay, they are about the cheapest custom gaming PC you can get, bar Cyberpower PC and their ilk. This is true even after looking at local shops. It helps that I got a huge discount for being a student as well.

For a little over $2000 US, I got a PC with CPU liquid cooling, an Intel i7 Sandy Bridge clocked at 3.9 GHz, 8 Gigs of DDR3 RAM, a Geforce 590 card, 1 Tb HDD, 875W PSU, Blu Ray drive, and a custom case. Because of my student status, I also got access to a package (which they pulled the day after I ordered) that included free 2 year warranty status (which I upgraded to advanced for $30), a 23" Dell HD monitor, and a free $100 Alienware headset. (TactX) I also had a coupon for $50 off, so I used it to upgrade to overnight shipping.

All in all, I am theoretically happy with my purchase. When it ships next week (The PC, I already have the headset) I will start my evaluation period and decide if it is really worth it.