Alienware / poor / no customer service and runarounds
One year, and one crap laptop later, and I have learned about Alienware first hand.
I was extremely excited to get my new duel core processor Alienware, with a nearly state of the art nVidia video card. I didn't even endure any real delays while my machine was being built. My first indication that something was wrong was when I loaded my favorite game, Rome: Total War and discovered some rather terrible graphic fracturing during the battle scenes.
I figured perhaps some problems had occurred loading the graphics drivers, or my game install was bad, so I reloaded the graphics drivers, and loaded a different game, but with the same result. This type of problem is really out of my league, so I called Alienware tech support for the first time. I eventually spoke with a tech representative that gave me a huge laundry list of things to try. He really didn't try to trouble shoot my system at all.
After reloading graphics drivers again, reloading my games, flashing my BIOS, and about step 10, reformatting my hardrive, reloading everything bit on my computer, they decided I should open up my laptop, and manually reset my video card. Having done this, with no results, they referred me to another tech, who had me load some diagnostic software from their website. The software ran correctly, with no errors, but still every time I tried to play a game with 3D rendered screens, I still had terrible graphic fractures.
This process took nearly eight months. At several points I tried to talk the tech rep into letting me return the computer for diagnosis, to no avail. Eventually, I even asked if I could just buy another video card, but they told me that model of video card is no longer available for my motherboard. ??? In fact, no other options for video cards are still available for my video card.
By the time I finished their laundry list of check items, my year warranty was up with the company. Instead of paying them now to ship my computer, I have resigned myself that I am stuck with a $3,500 pong box.
From the looks of other complaints on the internet regarding Alienware, I'm not alone. Don't let the glitzy cover fool you, these high end machines are consumer traps. A friend of mine has a great Alienware machine and hasn't had any problems with it, but it's a real dice roll if you pay top dollar for a nice gaming machine and have to settle with a PC that really won't do what you want. It's a risk I'll never take again, and would advise anyone else the same.
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