Alienware Area-51m 7700 / Numerous problems! Defective laptop!
For starters, I just finished reading pages upon pages of fellow AW owners complaints. I truly feel embarrassed to be writing these complaints from my AW Area-51m 7700, of which I spent $2832 on. Assuming my computer will work throughout this post, I have a few things I'd like to say.
1. Like other Area-51 owners, less than three (3) months after receiving my laptop/desktop replacement (this thing is hardly a laptop) I began experiencing problems. First of which I noticed was my optical drive. It, too, as in other cases makes a loud whining noise when reading discs. I figured this was normal. That's not my complaint, though. My complaint is that it won't burn information on to CD's. If I try to put songs or pictures on a disc, it doesn't work. So here I sit with a useless optical drive. To be honest, I thought it would break in over time...not the case. 15 months it's been and it still doesn't work.
2. I've had this computer sent in twice for mother-board replacement due to the "OS not found" screen of death. It took a month and a half for my computer to be properly diagnosed and fixed. Being a college student, I depend on my computer! The story: After numerous hours spent on the phone with AW support staff, and downloading random drivers from the webpage on friends computers, they determined it was my hard-drive and sent me a new one. After finishing installing it myself, we concluded this was indeed not the problem. So then, at my expense, I was told to ship the computer to it's Florida based repair depot. Three or so weeks went by and I finally got my computer back...only to have the same thing happen again less than a month later. This time, I called and said, "no tests, just fix it." So at my expense, again, I paid to ship it to there depot, which was apparently moved to Memphis, TN. I got it back, another three or so weeks later, and this time at least I still had all over my old information still stored on the hd. Also, I know what caused both of these crashes. Both times, I would have a program running (i.e. iTunes, or solitaire, or a webpage) and put the machine on Standby mode. Then, a couple hours later, returning from class, I would open my computer and...uh-oh...NO OPERATING SYSTEM FOUND. To date, I have never used Standby mode in fear it will happen again. And, seeing as though my warranty is completely gone, it's not worth the chance. IMPORTANT: Upon receiving my computer back the second time, it was missing the card-slot cover piece and the rubber S-Video/CATV port cover. I tried calling several times to inquire about this, but gave up after around 2 hours of waiting for an available rep.
3. Lastly, my computer has troubles starting up frequently. It will freeze in the loading phase of Windows XP Home Edition. This scares me every time. I've spent almost $3000 on a machine I was so proud to own, and now I start it everyday in fear it will crash. In my personal opinion, this computer is a glorified 12 pound hunk of junk.
4. AW support staff seems to pride in delegating questions to other representatives. I have probably talked to at least seven (7) reps in my days of owning this so called "high performance machine" Also, it's almost impossible to talk to supervisors. They take your phone number and promise a call the next day, which needless to say, never happened.
Overall, I regret purchasing this machine. Don't get me wrong, when it runs well, it's the Ferarri among Ford Taurus's, and they take more time to fix and receive, but the service and quality is lacking. The only advice I offer: Don't Purchase From Alienware Corporation. The machine is consistently unreliable and embedded with problems from the get-go. Sorry AW, you've lost a valued customer. I'm waiting for the day I have to purchase a new computer.
Timeline: Fall '05 through Spring '06
Note: During diagnostic of the first "OS not found" issue, the original USB floppy drive I received for free during purchase of my Alienware Area-51m 7700, which was required for testing, was defective. Before I could prove it, even if I had a chance, my room-mate bumped off my desk and it broke. I was told by AW support staff that I needed to have an Alienware specific floppy drive for diagnostic and was required to purchase it from AW for approximately $34 plus shipping.