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Dell's Quest For Gaming Cool 126

Posted by Zonk
from the not-even-if-they-were-real-aliens dept.
Slate is running a piece looking at Dell's attempt to grab gamer customers via their acquisition of the Alienware brand. From the article: "Gamers want powerful computers, of course, but they also want stylish systems made by a company that they believe understands them. Dell's XPS line of machines certainly provides the requisite power. The PC giant's market clout earns it premium relationships with component-makers like ATI, Intel, and nVidia, often allowing it to be first to market with the hottest technologies. But devoted gamers have still stayed away from Dell. Halo obsessives are not IT managers: They ogle expensive, flashy machines ... and they buy expensive, flashy machines. That's where Alienware comes in."
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Dell's Quest For Gaming Cool

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  • by aapold (753705) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:23PM (#15109016) Homepage Journal
    The fact that the article doesn't even mention the AMD/Intel issue costs it considerable credibility in my opinion. I think it is definitely one of the primary obstacles facing Dell in this regard. Alienware had already gone outside the coolradar for many (including me) when Dell bought them, but its acquisition was like the final straw. "but you are the man". Exactly.
    • by XenoRyet (824514) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:56PM (#15109265)
      Alienware had already gone outside the coolradar for many (including me) when Dell bought them, but its acquisition was like the final straw. "but you are the man".

      For me as well. They were really starting to slip in terms of reliability and support before the aquisition. The slogan "Build it like it was your own" hasn't been true over at Alienware for quite a while now. I don't think being under the Dell flag is going to help those issues any, at least not from a gamer point of view.

    • The thing that Dell needs to do to sell themselves to gamers, is include NO bundled software in it. Gaming systems don't need AOL For Broadband, and RealPlayer, and Quicktime, and Adobe Reader 7.0, and Microsoft Office, etc.

      Dell is avoided because their computers almost need to be formatted right after they are bought. No computer will run games well with that much bloatware installed.
    • The last time I ogled and bought an expensive flashy machine was back in 1998 and it was a Dell high end machine. Since that machine, I haven't bought another machine; instead I opted to build my own systems. Why? Because 1) I wanted to kill some weekend time with DIY projects, 2) The whole "AMD is not good enough" stance of Dell soured me on them, 3) It's morally reprehensible to pay $2000+ for a computer nowadays, and 4) I've out grown video games.

      The moral of the story? Dell should stick to it's cash-cow
  • I have a dell precision m70 laptop, 2gb RAM, 256mb video, 7200rpm hd....

    It works great for games. and as long as I buy dell, it will generally be approved by my workplace, so the Alienware aquisition is probably going to net me that much nicer of a (gaming) machine next time around.

    • I got a Dell XPS laptop myself. A bit pricey, and a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be (not exactly a notebook, more a portable desktop machine) but I'm impressed by what it can do. It runs Oblivion at the highest settings with no framerate problems--not even many desktop machines can do that. And with the built in wireless, I can put it on a lap trap and play online games while watching TV.

      But a desktop machine? If you want a gaming machine, you build it yourself. As long as I don't get a bad com
  • This gamer doesn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snuf23 (182335) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:29PM (#15109065)
    "They ogle expensive, flashy machines ... and they buy expensive, flashy machines."

    Uh yeah whatever. I think a lot of hardcore gamers are more concerned about the performance then the flashy looks. They like quality parts, they like to be able to upgrade without worrying about proprietary parts (Dell I'm looking at you).
    Alienware just seems overpriced to me. But then I'm not the type that would by a Falcon Northwest computer either. I'm looking for performance for the price. While I may spend more than average on a video card and extra RAM, I'm not seeking that last 10% performance boost that doubles the cost.
    Who really does pay for those $5000 showcase computers that get raved at in magazines like Maximum PC? I always get the feeling that they are put out there more as advertising than actual product. The big rigs get exposure and the fan boys drool over them, but odds are they are buying something a couple notches below.
    • by ClamIAm (926466)
      I think a lot of hardcore gamers are more concerned about the performance then the flashy looks.

      And here we reach a distinction. True hardcore gamers don't care as much about "pimp my case" type stuff as some others do. I'll call these other guys "pseudo-hardcore" gamers. These are the same people Microsoft is preaching to with the Xbox/360. They're also a lot more profitable than the hardcore set, as the pseudo-hardcore generally will spend far more than what something is worth.

    • by The-Bus (138060) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:40PM (#15109892)
      "Who really does pay for those $5000 showcase computers that get raved at in magazines like Maximum PC? I always get the feeling that they are put out there more as advertising than actual product. The big rigs get exposure and the fan boys drool over them, but odds are they are buying something a couple notches below."


      It's the same reason you'll see advertisements for impossinly expensive products (say, a $25,000 watch) in magazines. It is put there to elevate the brand, so if someone sees the $400 version at their mall, they will be impressed. The same reason Hermes (or any other brand) makes a mint on severely overpriced accessories. Sure, you can't afford (or don't want to buy) the $970 blanket or the $570 enamel bracelet, but, hey, why not get the $90 scarf? Sure, it's a lot for a scarf, but it's a $BRAND scarf and that counts for something.

      So what does Dell do? It makes a limited edition XPS 600 Renegade [dell.com] and sells it for $10,000. How many sold? Only about 31 [kotaku.com]. And what does it get them? Tons of press [google.com]. And lots of attention [google.com], much of it by people who've never heard of Falcon Northwest and maybe heard of Alienware one time they were at Best Buy.

      So, in Dell's mind, it goes something like this.

      Dad is picking out a computer for the family. He's getting it for his kid's homework and because Mom needs it. He'd like to play some games on it, but he's not sure Dell, the same brand he uses in his office, would work so well. After all, those work PCs are always so slow. So now Dad sees a comment about this Dell system in his local paper's technology section and he says, "You know, maybe Dell isn't so bad after all. I'll be OK with getting that."

      Whether or not that thought process is actually carried out I don't think is a question. Whether it will be carried out by thousands of people, that's for Dell to find out.
      • To keep on you point and maybe bring it a littel closer to familararity to an ardinary layperson. It is like wendy's and burgerking having a tripple chese burger on the menu, It is only there ot make the double cheasburger seem reasonable. Thats were they price thier profit at. They probably lose money on the triple but more then make up for it with the increased sales in the now more acceptable double.

        I forget the name of this type of marketing but evedently it is a common stratigy. It is effective at taki
  • The real question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jacks smirking reven (909048) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:29PM (#15109066)
    Is if Dell offers truly customized machines. AMD is big in the gaming/enthusiast market and thats only in its infancy if that much. Another aspect is the fact that most boutique vendors like Alienware was didnt have the capacity to manufacture their own OEM parts like Dell does and was composed of more off-the shelf stuff just assembled and tweak meticulously. Basically, if i want an Athlon FX Dual Core SLI rig with an Asus/Gigabyte motherboard, WD Raptor etc etc machine, will dell provide that, or will i get (high end for what it is, it may be) Intel based mobo and whatever compnents dell usually provides. The whole success of boutique is that they can offer custom stuff of any configuration for the mere fact that they are boutique, small and can handle it as part of their business, not a disruption of.
  • Main Distinction (Score:5, Informative)

    by skwirlmaster (555307) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:29PM (#15109068)
    The main difference between an XPS and an Alienware machine with the same specs is not how finely the hardware is tuned, it is the software. Dell ships everymachine out with a bunch of crap software bundled, some of which trips off populare anti-spyware software.

    Here at work we purchase Dell laptops for our sales force and the first thing we always do after receiving the machine is to reload the windows disk, but not the auxillary software.

    Crufty software doesn't belong on work machines let alone a gaming system. Some of the software bundled could even be considered offensive to gamers looking for high performance computers. Why not bundle software that is relevant to your target customers (i.e. quickbooks isn't it).
    • Dell ships everymachine out with a bunch of crap software bundled...

      Hey! That's all value-added!

      Although in this case it's negative values but then that explains the lower prices.
      • It is all clear to me now! Dell couldn't sell a $3000 gaming machine for those rock bottom prices of $2995 if they didn't remove value from the transaction. Haha, good call.
    • I'd take the opposite stance. Alienware would ship with 'best of breed' components that were off the shelf stuff. One of the first bits of cursing I heard from our IT guys was when they replaced a PSU, only to find that the Dell connector *looks and fit* like a standard ATX power, but was pinned in such a way to let the magic/smoke out of the board when they plugged in something else. Most gamers at least think they might upgrade components... Dell positioned itself as someone who could give you kit that
    • I think you need to buy from Dell business and not home. My Dell laptops come preloaded with no crap software...but I work for a huge company.

      Anyway...I agree with your point but differ a bit.

      These users aren't buying software or even high end hardware. When I spend (and I never would) my $10k with Alienware I'm buying SUPPORT.

      Does Dell offer better phone support on these models than the regular crap, because if not they aren't worth a dollar. Not saying Dell support is terrible, but for the money

      • Every machine we get from Dell is pre-loaded with an image *we* created and handed over to Dell. So all our desktops & notebooks come preloaded with our own software and nothing of Dell's (except for maybe the Dell Quickset software on the notebooks).
      • I buy Dells through my work's discount, so it offsets the cost and I'm not forced to buy ALL the "value" junk. It's still there, however. As with any preloaded system I immediatly wiped the HDD. I was pissed off to find out that the Windows CD they supplied me with automatically tried to install most of their junkware (trial games and other usless crap). Fortunately it wasn't dirctely bundled on the Windows CD and was a seperate install. Just went into the registry and deleted it's undying urge to inst
    • Re:Main Distinction (Score:2, Informative)

      by SyncNine (532248)
      While I agree with your point, you neglect to mention the subsidies that companies like Dell get for including software like Quickbooks Home or TurboTax or the Office trial. They make much larger deals on the whole with software vendors who are willing to subsidize a small percentage of the cost of the machine for the rights to have their software installed on it.

      Not that I'm saying I agree with it, and yes, the first thing I do when I get a new machine is wipe it completely and re-install the OS -- jus
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah when I don't have to buy a special power supply just so it will fit in the case.

    Dell is a waste of money.
  • by Sir Unimaginative (967464) <sir_unimaginative&sbcglobal,net> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:31PM (#15109074)
    Gamers don't buy expensive flashy stuff because they want expensive flashy stuff. Gamers buy the stuff that can crank out the best graphics and smoothest gameplay; this TENDS to be the expensive flashy stuff, especially if you're going to whip it out at a LAN party... but then Dell bling won't help you get any "street cred" anyway.
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:57PM (#15109271)
    Gamers want (in roughly this order of priority):

    High-end gear; top notch performance
    Upgradeable, industry standard components for easy upgrading
    Reliability
    Tuned software as well as tuned hardware. (No Adware, OEM "partner" software, etc...)
    Durability (for lugging to LAN parties)
    Flashy case design

    Dell can handle the first one, but they're notoriously bad at all the rest. If any of the last five of those things change about Alienware, every Alienware customer is going to know. Even if none of those things change, gamers all know that Alienware *is* Dell now. These people all read internet forums and tech news. They're not going to be fooled by a Dell with a different sticker on the front.

    Here's an idea for Dell: instead of trying to buy somebody else's reputation, how about you start making PCs that don't suck for gaming. Then, perhaps, gamers will consider buying your PCs.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I understand that your list of priorities is set up like that, but Alienware built a successful business selling monstrously overpriced systems to gamers (and, oddly enough, businessmen who should really know better) with the primary lure of fancy cases, nice paint jobs and eXXXtreme marketing.

      You are not the target market, and you probably don't even know anyone in the target market.
    • To me, it's all about technical specs, and forget the flashy case.

      I'd put that money towards a larger/more reliable power supply instead.

      Of course, AMD CPU all the way. .
    • It's highly possible this is exactly why Dell bought Alienware. Dell (I hope) isn't so dumb as to simply buy another company for their brand. They also knew that what they were really buying was the expertise behind that brand.
  • by MrTester (860336) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:09PM (#15109358)
    I suspect a lot of the folks that buy Alienware are comparable to those rich brothers-in-law who go on the family Canadian fishing trip and show up with all of the most expensive gear (tags still on) and need help from Grampa Joe (with his 30 year old fly rod, dental floss and bent paper clip) to set the tension on the reel.
    • Yeap, spot on! Most people who know what they're doing will save a lot of cash by investing time into researching their gear! Yeah you can drop $5,000 on Dalienware, believing if you pay a lot it must be good! Talk about stupid. 3,000 will buy you an uberkick ass system that will spank Delianware's a$$.
    • As far as desktops go - I agree. There's no reason to shell out $7k for a high-end gaming desktop. I built my last gaming desktop, and am still pleased with it. However, the need arose to own a laptop - and I went with alienware. I'll admit, the thought went through my head "I remember the days when alienware was hot shit."
      So am I the gamer who doesn't know nVidia from ATI? My apartment contains 6 working computers, all homebuilt, serving different purposes, and built to serve their purpose. I work
  • Halo!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OK PC (857190) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:11PM (#15109372)
    "Halo obsessives"

    On the PC? I know its available on the PC but it hardly spawned obessive PC fans. Nor is it a game associated with high end performance
    • Halo is a Microsoft game. Slate is a Microsoft website. That is why they said Halo obsessives.
    • Actually, despite the fact that it was released on PC several years after its Xbox release, and despite the fact that it looks as dated as it is, it surprisingly runs like molasses on today's beefiest machines. Many PC game review magazines used Halo as a benchmark for new PCs since it really put them to the test.
  • Proprietary == Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:15PM (#15109395) Journal
    At work, we buy Dell systems. For a work environment, they work quite well. When I go home, I wouldn't buy a Dell system at a 50% discount (unless it was just for parts). Dell systems use a shitty proprietary motherboard, with a horrible BIOS, and way too many limitations. When I build a gaming system I want quality parts with a good upgrade path, not vendor lock-in.
    I actually have a friend who has been screwed by this sort of thing more than once. He bought an HP computer back before the Compaq/HP merge. As he discovered gaming he also discovered that the system lacked an AGP port (the built in graphics card was, technically, AGP). So, he went out and bought a Dell (against my recommendations). It had a better built in graphics card, and the price was right (Dude, you're getting a cheap piece of junk). Once again, no AGP slot. He runs a fairly high end (as such things go) video card on PCI. Unsuprisingly, his video performance sucks.
    Give me a beige box, which I built myself, any day of the week. I might run across a few hardware incompatabilities here and there, but that beats the hell out of finding myself without an upgrade path, because the vendor used cheap parts.

    • In my naive and trusting youth I bought an AGP video card for my Dell P3 600 just to get home and find no AGP port! So I traded my card in for a PCI version and plugged 'er in. The thing wouldn't boot, made no telltale POST beeps, nothing. I unplugged the video card and everything worked fine again. So I gave Dell a ring and asked them how to install a PCI video card in my model. After listening to 5 minutes of page flipping the tech told me nobody had ever asked that question and he was unable to help
      • If you ever get masochistic, get a couple of slightly older Dimension systems (not the same number, with RAMBUS) and try swapping memory. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it will tell you to go to hell. Different levels of the same model use different speed memory, and if the memory you put in is slower than what the BIOS likes, your dead in the water. Normally this is fine, but when you have a couple of systems which have been designated to be canibalized to keep others running, this can create a real
        • I expect that Dell will always remain a workplace brand, with dreams of gaming. They know how to treat businesses, but they don't have the first clue when it comes to gamers. And with Alienware now a Dell brand, I'm expecting it to slowly die as a gaming brand.

          Worse yet, I expect Dell to be one of the main reasons why casual users switch to Mac. Proprietary hardware plus all that bloatware that tries to sell you stuff every time you run it gives a terrible impression of the PC world. I see many noobs
      • Alienware has their problems, too.

        Two and a half years ago I bought an Alienware Area 51 at Thanksgiving. It had what was the then top-of-the-line Radeon 9800XT (I think that's the model number, anyway.) A year and a half later it started going haywire showing giant triangles, green garbagey rectangles, and pink lines everywhere. Reinstalling everything didn't work.

        Going to the Alienware live chat room, the tech asked me for my customer order number. They looked it up and said, "We're sorry, your machin
        • You're lucky ATI helped you at all. I bought an OEM Sound Blaster Audigy (standalone, not with a PC) and Creative refuses to give me the time of day even though it's supposed to be under warranty! They told me that OEM products don't match Creative's specifications so they can't be sure that their advice will adversely affect me. Beware of products that don't come in a pretty cardboard box!
          • Don't feel too bad. The help wouldn't have been any better if you had bought the retail-bxed one.

            I just wish there was someone else out there who made decent mid-range sound cards.
            • I think my next card will be an M-Audio Revolution. I bought one of their USB MIDI DJ controllers and I'm very pleased with the product, extensive manuals, and software. The Revolution is primarily a sound production card but it supports EAX, A3D, and Directsound.

              http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.list & ID=pciinterfaces

              I've been using Sound Blaster products since the get go - the Sound Blaster 1.0 - and I was VERY dissatisfied with the customer service they gave me. Time to give my d
  • Don't forget to register for the Dell XPS 600 Renegade [dell.com] contest. It's Fueled by Fire!
  • geek flavors (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 7grain (583823)
    "Halo obsessives are not IT managers..."

    Except, of course, for the gamers who are IT managers. Duh? It's not so cut 'n' dried.
    • Except, of course, for PC gamers who play better games than Halo on their PC. Duh.
      • I never got what was so great about Halo, anyway. So you can run around and shoot stuff, and ride in a vehicle too and shoot stuff. Aside from the vehicle, it isn't any different from Quake or Doom or any other online shooter. And even the vehicles were done before by Tribes, where you also got to basically be a small mech in the heavy armor.

        I forgot what their big gun was the heavy carried, but you could rocket-jump with it to get your heavy with resupply station and launch yourself way up top somewhere
    • The gamers who ARE IT managers such as myself have way to much experience with Dell to buy one to use for gaming.
      Unfortunately for Dell, we also know that Alienware is overpriced.
  • They ogle expensive, flashy machines ... and they buy expensive, flashy machines.

    I'll take a beige case anyday! It's like how people think they're cars are flashier and better by placing stickers and adding snap-on car parts.

    It's what's under the hood that counts!
    • Slapping a VTEC sticker on to my laptop has given me an additional 20 hp. I still haven't figured out how to put those spinning rims on this thing, or a spoiler, but when I do, my laptop will leave yours in the dust!
  • by Eideewt (603267) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @06:53PM (#15109631)
    I don't think I've ever met a gamer who hadn't built their own computer.
    • Serious gamers, yes. But there's a whole segment of gamers with too much money and no taste who do buy PCs from Alienware, Falcon Northwest, etc.
      • > But there's a whole segment of gamers with too much money and no taste who do buy PCs from Alienware

        Guilty!

        I made sure I got the Alien Blue with the green glowing eyes for "alien ice" cooling system. Don't get the cable management system thing, though. It's just a plastic grating that forces all cables through a 4x5" opening, where they all spread out again.

        I wonder what the point of the cooling system was given the Radeon went on the fritz 1.5 years later...

        Actually, I ran the numbers, and I'd have
    • I don't think I've ever met a gamer who hadn't built their own computer.

      I haven't. I love gaming especially on the PC, but PC gaming is expensive as hell. Even those nice guides like the $500 "modern" gaming machine from Toms Hardware. Put it this way; if a person can't afford to buy a 360 and 1 game, they can't afford the $500+ PC system built for games either.

      That begs the question do you think gamers who don't or can't build their own systems, are "gamers" at all? Rent, food, bills come first. After

      • I don't think anything at all about gamers who haven't built their own systems. I'm just relating what I have experienced.
      • "Rent, food, bills come first."

        Not an avid PC gamer then :P

        The real order is Rent (a place to put your pc), bills (need the power and interweb), PC hardware, Games (not free, but get in enough betas, and you can lower the costs a lil) then food.

        As for the transport thing, walking is my prefered method, with the cost of fuel, vehicals are more expensive to run and maintain than my pc, and i know what i prefer to spend time with :)
        • The serious gamer doesn't have much rent since they're living in a single-wide trailer park, saving every penny they have so they can retire at age 40 to play games the rest of their life.
      • In that case, you're probably not the sort of person likely to go out to meet other gamers. I think it's important to note that he said meet, because that implies LAN parties, which means hardcore, and usually plenty of hardware geeks.

        Mixing in those circles, his claim is perfectly plausible, and the underlying idea that gamers aren't the clueless morons that Slate (read: Dell) makes them out to be, is certainly correct.

        • Assuming I had a PC that could handle at least one decent modern game that was LAN-able, I'd enjoy a nice LAN party. But as it is I don't, nor do I wish to spend money to "rent" one, at one of the few parties that rent machines. Sure I could technically take this machine, all I need is my power strip, the network cabling etc But there would be no games for me to play there.

          Not to mention ya know, the public humiliation factor. Who wants to be the guy rolling in with a Celeron pc (made by Compaq) to a LAN

          • No no, relax. Not a personal thing, just a probability thing. I wasn't saying anything about you, just that the other guy sounded like the kind of gamer who'd be hanging around lots of other fairly hardcore gamers at LAN parties, and you didn't. If anything you should be flattered!
    • I would guess the majority of the 6 million folks playing WoW didn't build their computer. If "Gamer" means playing shooters, then maybe yes. If Gamer means someone playing WoW 40 hours a week, I'm not sure your hypothesis holds.

      That being said, there's no reason that Alienware has to integrate fully with Dell. If they're able to leverage Dell's purchasing & supply management folks, it could be huge for Alienware. Companies have brands that don't fully integrate all the time. Ford owns Volvo, Jagua
    • My cousin's company built me my first one (well, technically my first one was an Atari 800, but I digress...). I wanted to support them because they were family (small outfit in Northern VA). The next one I built myself, because part of the fun was building it myself. (Oh and in between I bought an Apple Powerbook laptop.)
  • Alienware is cool? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Meest (714734)
    Now i'm not so sure about the rest of the gaming community.... But instead of oogling over an Alienware at a LAN we usualy make fun of the person who bought it.

    I even help run a LAN that has a secret prize we give away to one of the few that brings an alienware to the LAN.... a trashbag to cover the ugly stupid thing up with so he stops getting made fun of..... :P
  • by argle2bargle (794789) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:41PM (#15110199)
    You can't play games on them.

    From a harocp article a few months ago, the Dell XPS 400 gamers rig wont run Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Quake 4, or The Sims 2 because of conflicts with the bloatware.

    After reading their out of the box experiences, and add in their additional customer support ordeal trying to remove the bloat, I think I will be staying away from dell and alienware for gaming purposes.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=OTI0LDEsLG hlbnRodXNpYXN0/ [hardocp.com]


    • That's a software problem. Dell bundles crap software. You know what, though? Get a copy of the windows XP OEM disk and use the product key on the sticker outside the case. Reinstall. Blammo.

      ~Will
      • Way back when, when your choices were hideously expensive IBM PCs, or an almost hideously expensive Compaq, Gateway came along and took over as the premier 3rd party seller of PCs.

        We bought one, and tried to install Doom on it (to paraphrase Scotty, "No I, II, III, or Magnificent Gold Super Duper Everything Pack".) It wouldn't run. We called Gateway and they said... ...wait for it... ..."We don't consider 'Doom' to be an application we need to support to not be considered defective."

        So back it went. I'm
      • If you are buying a machine from any of these guys and it comes with xp installed you should get the full xp install cd's. There is no reason if I buy a pc from dell that I can't get the xp install cds in the box. Either give me the cd's or let me spec the same exact machine without an os installed.
        • Nice rant, but, uh, Dell *does* give you the plain jane Windows XP install CD (separate from the bloatware Restore CD), at least on all their Dimension machines. I can't guarantee it does on the XPS machines, though.
          • Every dell desktop machine (and laptop) I've seen has come with the rescue cd and then all the other crap. I've never seen a MS XP install cd in a dell box. From looking on their website you have to pay extra to get a ms reinstall cd. Its only 8 bucks, but still, you are already paying for the OS and cd's cost pennies.
      • Doesn't that somewhat negate the point of buying a pre-built machine? Installing the software, tracking down drivers, running windows update etc take much longer than building the machine itself.

  • I would have to agree that Dell's premade machines do offer a good chunk of quality for the price, but the price starts to spiral out of controll once you reach a certain limit.

    For example, If I were to make a system that would be used for little more than web surfing/MS office, then I would be hard pressed to beat dell in it's prices.

    Once you start reaching beyond the 1k mark, where you start entering the realm of decent Comps with respectible hardware, Dell becomes less of a bargan and more of a liab
  • I'm not a "devoted" gamer, but I still build all of my own PCs to play games. When I set out to build my PCs, I want the latest & greatest that's currently available (and will pay top dollar for it) and allows for future expansion. The only Dell PCs I use are the ones my corporation provides me at the office. I have never seen a Dell computer with an Antec case and PS, Asus MOBO, Corsair RAM, WD 10K RPM SATA drives, and a pair of SLI or Crossfire cards.

    If you're that hardcore into gaming that you w
    • Or maybe there is a significant difference between the gaming geeks and us hardware / overclocker geeks. :P

      Not in terms of building computers, no. I'm definitely a gamer, but have never overclocked anything in my life as it just doesn't appeal to me. However, I still always assemble my own systems. I'm also looking forward to building my latest PC next week, dual core Athlon 4400+ with 4 gigs of RAM and a pair of 7900 GTX video cards in SLI, should be pretty sweet :)

      I honestly don't think the situatio

    • Every devoted gamer I've ever known with the knowledge to do so built their own PC, but most of them own laptops and they buy those prebuilt. To date, I've never known a gamer/overclocker who built his own laptop.
  • It works fine and all. Of course I put a dvdburner in and now everytime I startup the bios whines about the cdrom that dell sold me not being present. Oh well. Other than that it is rock solid most of the time. When I first bought it I had to completely reformat and install from scratch because the crap software that came preinstalled conflicted with my printer driver somehow and caused BSOD before startup finished.

    yay

    My next computer is an Apple.
  • I don't trust Dell for my desktops yet. =/ Sorry, I've heard great reviews and have had bad experiences, personally, and places where I've worked.

    eMachine > Dell and I can't figure out why! I'd prefer Dell, I'd like to suggest Dell, but in the end, well..

    When their Sales Rep says that we need Media Center Edition + a Remote Control for a simple workstation that will NOT DO any type of sharing, local networking, microsoft networking, etc... because it's for work-at-home person, I can't even trust their Te
  • Something tells me Dell won't be doing business with Slate again. They weren't even remotely discrete about having been paid for this:
    • "a company they believe understands them"
    • "PC Giant"
    • "market clout"
    • "premium relationships"
    • "first to market"
    • "hottest technologies"

    There are glowing reviews, there are biased reviews, there are paid ads masquerading as reviews, then there is this.

    I'm going to post a link to this story whenever Slate tries to say anything of importance from now on.

  • I almost threw up when I saw the 10k pricetag on the Dell, and Alienware's 7k quad SLI system wasn't that great either. I took it upon myself to price out all these components and show gamers that they can build a just as good system for $4500 in phases, with the core system just around $2000 if you don't get the huge processor and the 3 other video cards. This is the real way to do it!!!! http://www.destructoid.com/build-your-own-damn-qua d-sli-pc-for-60-less [destructoid.com]
    • If you have $4,500 for a computer you almost certainly have $10,000 for a computer, and part of the reason you are buying the computer is to show off your lavish and ultimately pointless expenditure of resources. If you were actually concerned just with good performance for your money, you could have gotten a $1,500 off-the-shelf Dell or put something together for somewhere in the low $1,000-1,400 range, which is the point at which the marginal-performance-improvement-per-dollar curve starts to plummet.
  • by Zebra_X (13249)
    The real issue is that Dell does not carry AMD based machines.

    For the last three years AMD's FX and AMD64 based gaming machines have blown intel out of the water.

    Dell simply failed to capitalize on this market by not shipping amd pc's.

    Alienware is a too little too late move for DELL. Alienwares machines are insanely expensive when compared to a custom built rig. Sure, you get "support" but what self respecting gaming geek is not going to be able to support his own machine? The value is in the l33tness of th
    • > Sure, you get "support" [with Alienware] but what self respecting gaming geek is not going to
      > be able to support his own machine?

      And what support you get evaporates as soon as your warranty expires, as I quickly found out when my 3D card went bad. Thank goodness Radeon supported a return and replacement, against their policy of supporting OEM-installed product directly.
  • Build your own system it is easier and cheaper to upgrade. Nuf said.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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