Computer Geeks - Alienware


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Can anyone tell me anything about Alienware laptops? Keep in mind that I'm technologically challenged. Please feel free to dumb it down for me - I wont be offended. I am looking for a laptop for my almost 14 yr old son's birthday/Christmas present.
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New member
Hi Darcie,
I just did a quick google search and a bit of reading and it sounds like Alienware laptops are kind of specialized for people who play a lot of video games on them. Is this what your son would be looking to do with it?

While I know quite a bit about computers and work in IT, I'm a long way from a computer geek and knowing everything there is to know, which is why I did the search.

One thing I read said " If you're not going to game on this notebook, don't waste your money on Alienware. Good gaming platform when they work and the service is well, not that good. Yes, Dell bought them out but, Dell's reputation as far the service goes, isn't any better. The same could probably be said for other builders but, more often than not, we see Dell buyers on here complaining of their bad service. The ones I haven't come across too often are :

IF you will be doing only normal stuff on your notebook, I would suggest looking at
one of those I mentioned above."

Another commenter said "Alienware is an expensive series for the hardware you're getting. The base cost of the M15x is $1349 and that includes a 15.6" screen, 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM, 250GB SATA2 7.2k RPM hard disk drive, and no Office 2010 software. It doesn't really impress me. It would be fine for games with that 1GB DDR3 ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5730 graphics card, so it would be fine for streaming Internet movies too. It also comes with a Wireless 1520 802.11n Half Mini-Card but I don't see mention anywhere about a wired-NIC (a good fall back option).

If you're not going to be playing the latest games on your laptop, you should look into Dell's Studio or Inspiron series' instead. The Studio series is aimed at media enthusiasts and the base cost of the Studio 1749 is $650 cheaper than that of the Alienware M15x. "

I don't know if that is any help or not but I thought it was worth posting quick. There are always tons of opinions on different brands of computers, but I read in several places that Alienware seems to be expensive unless it really is being purchased for PC gaming.


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Thanks, Melissa. I'm thinking it's not worth the extra money for him yet. He does want it mostly for games but I'm not sure how big the difference is between a 'gamer' and a kids who plays games, kwim? I think a regular laptop would probably be good enough.


Staff member
Alienware is owned by Dell now - not that it's necessarily a bad thing. If you're not planning to use the laptop for portability, you would get "more bang for your buck" buying a desktop computer. Desktops are much more customizable and the components are cheaper and generally better just because you have more space in the desktop than you do in the laptop. You would also know where junior is using the computer if it was a desktop as opposed to a laptop that he can bring around the house, into his room, etc. with him. My personal preference is to buy a medium-end laptop every couple of years rather than a high end laptop, hoping that it "lasts." You can get a very nice laptop for around $500 (US) these days and then whenever you're ready, purchase another $500 laptop and you would probably end up with two systems that would function better than one $1000 laptop, if that makes sense. Should anything happen to the $500 laptop, it's not quite as devastating as something happening to the $1,000 machine either.

I would keep an eye on though I'm not sure if there is a comparable site for Canadian users or how those deals line up "abroad." If you're looking for games, you might also do better purchasing something like an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. With that sort of thing you don't need to upgrade the hardware until a new system comes out. With the computer, new games are always requiring higher end systems to get the most out of them. And when you have a laptop, you generally don't have the higher end graphics cards in the first place or they're much more expensive.


does anybody know how to change this?
Get specific about what games he plays on the computer. If he typically plays console games, but occasionally switches to the computer for a few titles, paying top dollar for a gaming laptop just to play a few games isn't cost-effective in my opinion.

Like Josh said, it's much cheaper to game on a desktop than a laptop. Miniaturization of components for use in a laptop increases cost as the demands on the computer increase. A good basic laptop has a decent 3-D card and enough memory to play most video games, but when you get into games like Crysis, those are really pushing the envelope of laptop technology.

Another thing to think about is heat. Computing generates heat. The more your computer works at processes, the hotter it gets. A laptop will always have a tougher time dissipating that heat than a desktop. One complaint you hear often about really robust laptop computers is that they can really heat up. If your son usually uses a laptop with it sitting in his lap - this is not comfortable or very healthy.

I have always had a hankering for an Alienware computer - I LOVE their looks, and just really would love something that could play any game or create 3-d graphics and do video processing without slowing down. That said, I've always ended up buying something else. Mainly because I just couldn't justify the cost when compared to the increased benefits (marginal).

If your son has asked for a specific model, dig a little deeper and see why he wants that particular laptop - if it has more to do with cool factor, you might be able to make him happy with a different model. If he's really done his homework and has found that this particular setup is perfect for his needs, then I think that's valid.

If he has a list of what he wants from a laptop, post it here and we can all give our opinions of different laptops that would meet those needs.


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Thank you both for the info, it really helps. So, I've decided on a desktop instead of a laptop. He hasn't really asked for anything specific. I'm the one who brought up the alienware to him because I thought they looked really cool. :RpS_tongue: I've decided he can wait until he's 20 & living in my basement gaming full-time to get that one. :RpS_laugh:

Any advice on where to start looking/what to look for or feel free to just tell me what to buy! I've always ordered my computers directly from Dell but I'm open to anything. I hate shopping for something that I don't know enough about to make an informed decision. :RpS_crying:


Staff member is my favorite website on the internet. On their front page there, they list the "best" of the deals that day. Obviously not all of them will be desktop computers, but there are usually a couple desktops each week. Do you guys theoretically know how to install a graphics card or ram? Usually, the best deal is one where you buy the basic desktop and then purchase a graphics card and potentially a second hard drive or something separately. Something like this would be a beast -


Staff member
I'm not sure if there is a Canadian equivalent or how that would work. You can always have it shipped here and pick it up in January :RpS_laugh:


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So slickdeals tells you where a good price is, right? So it would tell me that Dell has a good price? The computer you linked to was the exact one I was looking at - both at Costco &

Costco - Limited Time Online Price Reduction:
Valid for orders placed November 17, 2011 through December 4, 2011.
Online price before and after promotion $1,349.99
Price Reduction from November 17, 2011 to December 4, 2011 - $200.00
YOUR COST $1,149.99

Processor and Memory:
Intel® Core™ i7-2600 quad-core processor, 3.4 GHz

1 TB SATA II, 7200 rpm (2 x 500 GB)
Blu-Ray ROM/CD-RW\DVD±RW dual-layer drive
19-in-1 media card reader
Display and Graphics:

Dell™ 23-in. ST2320L full HD widescreen monitor (1920 x 1080)
1 GB AMD Radeon HD 6670 graphics
THX® TruStudio PC™

External ports: Line-out, microphone, speakers, headphone
Dell™ AX210 speakers

10/100/1000 integrated Ethernet LAN

Keyboard and Mouse:
Dell™ USB laser mouse
Dell™ USB keyboard

8 USB 2.0 ports
S/PDIF connector

Operating System:
Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit version

Additional Software:
Microsoft® Office 2010 Home and Student
McAfee® 11 (30-day subscription)
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader

Dimensions (W x D x H):
18.5 cm x 45.5 cm x 40.9 cm
(7.3 in. x 17.9 in. x 16.1 in.)
Weight (approximate): 10.2 kg (22.4 Ib.)

Warranty and Returns:
For Costco members only, Costco extends manufacturer warranty to 2 years.

From Dell (remember that I have no idea what I'm choosing when there are options)
PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ i5-2320 processor (6MB Cache, 3.0GHz) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English edit
MCAFEE SECURITYCENTER McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months edit
OFFICE SOFTWARE Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2010 edit
MEMORY 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs edit
HARD DRIVE 500GB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache edit
MONITOR ST2320L 23-inch Full HD Widescreen Monitor edit
GRAPHICS CARD AMD Radeon™ HD 6450 1GB DDR3 edit
OPTICAL DRIVE Dual Drive:Blu-ray 6X Combo Drive and 16X DVD+/-RW w/double layer write capability edit
WIRELESS CARD Dell 1501 WLAN PCIe card edit
KEYBOARD Dell USB Entry Keyboard English edit
MOUSE Dell Laser Mouse edit
SPEAKERS No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system) edit
NETWORK CARD Standard USB 2.0 + 10/100/1000 Ethernet edit
SUPPORT 1 Year Basic Support edit
Dell Recommends

Keep your investment protected for as long as you'll own it with a 4 year Service Plan
Upgrade to 4 Year Basic Support [add $189.00 or $5.00/month1]

INTERNET OFFERS 3 Months FREE AOL Dial-Up Internet Access v9.0 edit
Modem No Dial Up Modem Option
Sound THX® TruStudio PC™
XPS 8300 XPS8300
ADOBE SOFTWARE Adobe® Acrobat® Reader


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I'm not sure if there is a Canadian equivalent or how that would work. You can always have it shipped here and pick it up in January :RpS_laugh:
You read my mind. I was going to put a note under the tree that Josh was buying Liam's computer & we'd pick it up in January. :RpS_laugh:

And, no, I can't buy things separately & put them together. :RpS_crying: No skills, I'm tellin' ya.


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I didn't add the price when I posted the - it was just over $1000. Not bad or not good?


Staff member
That's two different systems? Depending on price, the first one you have listed would be superior in most every way. The thing about is that the price would be (ideally) "slick" or in other words, low. For this one: the price is $730. The difference between that one and the one I think you have listed as the first one in your post is that yours comes with a monitor, speakers, and blu-ray drive.


does anybody know how to change this?
I agree, have Josh buy it!

If you can't talk him into that deal, then I think you'll probably be best purchasing from Costco (usually the best bang for the buck and great return policy) - from our limited forays into Costco up North, your prices seem more expensive than ours for the same items, especially electronics.

I used to always buy direct through Dell, but had a couple of real frustrating issues with their customer service department a few years ago, so now although I love their computers, I would rather buy through Amazon or Costco.

Whatever you do, I'd really recommend not purchasing any additional software or peripherals with the system - they usually cost way less if you buy them separately from Amazon. Check to see if Costco has their Logitec Mouse/keyboard set, or check Amazon - they run a ton of Logitec products for their holiday deals. My personal opinion of Dell peripherals is they are junk - although we have a couple of mice at work that came with Dell computers about 10 years ago and they still work, they're not very accurate and just feel like Chinese crud.

Does your son really need Windows Office? LibriOffice does everything that Windows Office does, for free (and its documents open just fine in Windows Office). If he does need it, be sure the price isn't cheaper through Amazon than what you pay with it pre-loaded on the system.

Don't buy any add-on antivirus program - there are so many wonderful free programs (like Avast!, Trend Micro, etc) that don't slow a system down at all.

I guess what I'm trying to say is spend the bulk of your cash on memory, a sturdy hard drive, a good video card, that kind of thing (like that first system you listed) - the software and peripherals can be added later.


New member
I know I'm late jumping on the bandwagon here but thought I'd throw my 2 cents in just in case :)

I'm a gamer. So is my husband. He is a System Admin so we haven't bought a prepackaged pc in years. He builds all of them - usually a few components at a time. We just did an upgrade as a matter of fact. Hehe, its the reason we're going to WDW in January as a matter of fact - never tell you Disney obsessed wife you want to save money instead of going away with her then spend just as much the trip would have cost on electronics :RpS_cool:

First, find out what games you're son wants to play. Most games are going to have system requirements listed somewhere on their website. Usually a required and a recommended. You're goal is for components that meet the recommended listing. Video cards are one of the things I know very little about and one of the things that is going to be the difference between a decent and a good gaming system.

Pam's right - spend the money on a motherboard, good processor, good ram, good video card, good hard drive. Software and periperals can be added later. Plus depending on the games there may be a certain mouse or keyboard that would just rock his gaming world. Trust me. My husband drooled over his mouse when he got it :RpS_unsure: Plus you can find awesome deals on monitors on Amazon. Spend the $$ on the system not the extras. Ideally, try to find a deal that is just the "box" - with the stuff inside of course.


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Thank you Pam & Tracy! That all helped a lot. I ended up ordering a computer directly from Dell. I did what you suggested & just got the basics (I think I upgraded the video card) without software or monitor/speakers, etc. We have extra monitors at the office as well as multi-user Office packages. I will let him shop for the mouse/keyboard he wants. I wanted to order from Costco but our costco online (or instore) didn't have a lot of selection & they all came with speakers & microsoft office. It worked out much cheaper to go directly through Dell.

I am so glad that's done & really appreciate all of the advice. Honestly, buying a computer was like shopping in a foreign country. :RpS_blushing: I don't understand the language. :confused:


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Haha, not likely & I'm sure I paid more than I needed to. Since you wouldn't do my Christmas shopping for me I had to wing it. :RpS_glare:

This is what I got. :darcie:

XPS8300, Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
Processors Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor (8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)
Memory 8GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
Keyboard Dell USB Entry Keyboard English
Monitor No Monitor
Video Card AMD Radeon™ HD 6670 1GB DDR5
Hard Drive 1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache
Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
Mouse Dell Laser Mouse
Network Card Standard USB 2.0 + 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader
Optical Drive Blu-ray Combo Drive (8X BD-R, DVD+/-RW) with DVD+R double layer write capability
Sound THX® TruStudio PC™
Speakers No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
Wireless Dell 1501 WLAN PCIe card
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Security Software McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months
Hardware Support Services 1 Year Basic Support

Offer Expires 25/11/2011 at 5 am EST. - $407.00
$25 in savings with eligible online purchase. - $25.00
Subtotal: $849.99
Shipping and Handling: $0.00
Environmental Disposal Fee: $15.00
PST: $42.50
GST/HST: $42.50
Total: $934.99

The couple things in bold were things I upgraded.

I had a much easier time shopping for the girls. American Girl & Lululemon are much easier to understand.


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Electronics in Canada are so much more expensive than in the US. We've ordered from there before & end up getting dinged with duty & taxes anyway so it's not usually worth it.

Liam will be happy when I tell him Josh said his computer is a beast. :RpS_laugh: