Reviewing products can be a privilege.
Car reviewers get to drive new Ferrariís even before they
are displayed in the showroom. Test pilots get to crank up
the afterburners on the latest jet fighters, technology that
most of us wonít hear about for another 10 years. Eatery
reviewers have to opportunity to sample some of the best
food on the planet, with no regards to price. Movie
reviewers encounter films like the final Star Wars saga
before us maniacs can fulfill our destiny. Vacation
reviewers travel the world, as part of their occupation, and
sip on exotic drinks while their feet become trenched in
warm, Caribbean waters.
So, you ask, whatís so great about
reviewing computer products? Luckily we also manage to get
our hands on unreleased parts many times. But when it comes
to whole systems, how about Alienware? Yes, I said
Alienware. I was blessed with one of the most powerful
gaming computers in the world. The Lamborghini of computers.
A computer that was built with only one thing in mindÖ Doom
3. I guess you could fill that void with your personal
favorite, visually stunning, performance-starving game, as
this machine can drive it all. There is not a game on the
shelves that can challenge such a work horse. Gone are the
days of looking at minimum requirements. Gone are the days
of turning off high quality graphical features. Gone are the
days of turning your graphics card up by one more MHz to try
and cram out that extra FPS in 3Dmark, so you can post your
results online with some dignity. Gone are the days of
connecting duct work from your window AC unit to thrust cold
air onto your overclocked processor that is stable for about
20 minutes. Those days are gone!
The Alienware ALX system that has graced
my home is a spectacular machine. From its intimidating
look, to its stealth sound, this computer has everything.
Picture yourself online at Newegg.com, with an unlimited
budget. This is probably similar to the computer you would
want to build. This is the computer that you would want to
buy. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the read. Hopefully you have
enough equity in your home to buy one once youíre done.
Some Company background
Alienware is a PC company which
specializes in custom made, high performance machines.
Founded in 1996 by avid gamers, Alienware currently inhabits
offices in Miami and Washington D.C. Alienware is a
privately owned company, wholly owned by its founder and
employees. Currently, they offer computers for a wide range
of applications, from desktop to Media Center PCs, and
performance gaming laptops. The company started on the
premise that it builds the most powerful gaming machines in
the world, and still stands by it.
Inside the box, Setup and Installation
Alienware made sure we received their
flagship Aurora ALX system for review, as you will see below
an indeed very, very powerful system. Now, because we take
no less than a month to review any kind of product, certain
parts you can choose to build your system could have been
changed slightly, or new ones added, for example you can
currently pick a Creative X-Fi instead of the Audigy 2 ZS
our system came equipped with.
Here are the system specifications for
the Aurora system we received:
Samsung SyncMaster 930bf
(not included with system, used for testing)
Setting up the Alienware system is a bit
of a chore. You will need a strong pair of arms and legs, or
at least a friend, in order to even carry it around the
house. The boxes are enormous (something we just couldnít
overlook, see the pics below), and the system itself is very
heavy. Inside, the boxes are very organized, and the
components are well protected by custom foam surrounds.
The setup instructions are adequate, but
not very descriptive. Because the system is customized, the
included instructions are generic, and do not pertain to
your actual system. An example would be that the system I
set up has two soundcards (Creative Audigy, plus the one
built-in), and two sets of inputs and outputs on the rear of
the system, the instructions completely overlooked this kind
of thing. The average computer user may find some difficulty
to completely setup the system, but how many average users
are going to buy a system of this caliber? Good news is that
there is a toll-free number you can call that will assist
you in the setup procedure.
Included with the computer are all the
cords and connectors you should need. The only one that was
missing was a RJ45 cable for your network. For the money, I
would have liked to see this cable included. It doesnít make
much sense to include the amount of items they bundled with
the system without a simple RJ45 cable. Alienware was also
kind enough to include a black Alienware ALX t-shirt, along
with a gaming mouse pad.
From my perspective, this system needs
to be installed on the floor, either next to or under your
desk, unless itís made of ĺ inch plywood, with beams set up
every 6 inches apart. The unit is heavy, and the outside
dimensions are big. The case is 2 feet high and almost 2
feet long. In use terms this means that although the system
looks really good you wonít be able to move it around too
much, definitely not made for carrying to a LAN party.
Everything ready to go, it was about
time we let the system run. The power button is located
behind a silver, push button panel. Once depressed, the
system begins to breath. There is a temperature gauge built
into the case above the drives which also contains a switch
to control the internal fans. There are three exhaust fans,
and you can choose which operate at any given time by
depressing a button next to the temperature display. During
normal use, I found the temperature to ride around 90
degrees with all three fans running. When only one fan is
on, the temps ride around 98 degrees or so. Obviously, this
will change depending on the environment the computer is in,
and what you are asking to computer to do. With only 1 fan
enabled, the system is very quiet. You can barely tell the
thing is even on. Obviously, the more fans you add, the
louder it gets. When all three are on, you can defiantly
hear it hum, but itís still not too bad. I wouldnít be happy
if it was this loud at all times, but thankfully, you can
turn them off.
The case has a few lights which
illuminate when the computer is turned on. On top of the
case there are blue lights, illuminating through the fans.
The side of the case has green lights, as does the front
alien emblem. The iridescent green lights glimmer past the
bottom gills of the case, which look very shark like, and
almost giving it the appearance that itís hovering above the
floor when dark. I personally donít mind the lights, but I
think it would look slicker if they were all the same color.
It almost looks like a cheap Christmas tree at night because
of all the different colors.