So what is the consensus here on Alienware? How is the build quality/noise levels/cooling?
Because I have been adding up the components for the new Area 51
and it actually seems quite reasonably priced. It still costs about $400 - $200 more then building it yourself, but in the past the alienware builds I looked at where alot more expensive.
Here is a rough list of the stock parts/what they probably go for on new egg, rough estimate
- Intel® Core™ i7-920 2.66 GHz 8MB Cache -- $300
- Case -- no real equivalent, assuming it is a high end case ~ $150
- Cooling -- I have no idea if they are using stock coolers or high end stuff ~ $100 - $0
- 750w Power supply -- varies alot depending on quality the pricest one on newegg is $300 ~ $300 - $100
- Single 512MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 9800 GT ~ $175 - $114
- 3GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 3 x 1024MB ~ $125 - $90
- Alienware® Approved Intel® X-58 Motherboard- Socket 1366 Core i7 Ready -- not sure what the i7 mobo are going to go for, probably ~ $400 - $220
- Windows Vista® Home Premium (64-bit Edition) with Service Pack 1 -- oem ~ $200 - $100
- 250GB SATA 3Gb/s 7,200RPM 16MB Cache -- ~ $75 - $50
- Dvd writer drive -- $20
Not bad for 1,650.00. Again more expensive then DIY, but maybe the warranty/ build quality might be worth it?
I am torn about the DIY build versus pre-built. On one hand I think building it myself might be alittle fun, but on the other hand I remember what a disaster my last custom built PC was (celeron 450mhz). The thing was a rat's nest, with heating issues, lots of fan noise, giant case that was still a pain to work in, and hardware that would be become unseated. While it is cool to hand pick components yourself, I am starting to think it may be worth it to get a warranty / professionally built machine.
Also, any good deals/coupons out there for Alienware? I know they are selling some of their older systems for about $200 less on black friday, but those systems are overpriced to begin with, so after the $200 they just become reasonable.
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. (Or don't, your call)
So you should probably think long and hard about that. I dunno how much Dell has leaked into Alienware yet, and by that I mean requiring non-standard drivers for everything, and incredibly shitty tech support.
Less the case, and the alienware hat, and whatever other scraps 400$ of markup buys your customers these days.
I got 6GB of ram, 1TB hard drive, and a Radeon 4870 with my core i7 920 build and came out under $1400. Nicer components for cheaper.
edit: Also, I got my Antec P182 case for $135.
There is no hype about them that they have not created.
Build. Build build build build build.
Get a general idea of what you want your new rig to do and then research the available components until you can make informed choices each step of the way. The research takes time and it gets boring sifting through a dozen motherboard options hunting up reviews and benchmarks (for example) or finding quality PSUs that are also affordable, but the time invested pays off and you end up with a machine that will do exactly what you like. If you've settled on the core i7 then you've already narrowed your choices down considerably and your important research will basically come down to choosing a good motherboard (asus/gigabyte/evga at least already have core i7 boards out so you've got some choices but not a huge variety yet... I personally avoid intel boards given the limited performance tweaking available to them), video card, RAM and PSU.
PA forumers can provide shortcuts for the above (the PC build thread is a good thing to check out if you haven't already.) Just be careful with what parts you pick, and you'll end up with a good machine. Don't hesitate to ask around for advice and opinions, and remember that people here will almost always be happy to look over what parts you've settled on before you actually go out and order them.