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Dell's Quest For Gaming Cool

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-even-if-they-were-real-aliens dept.

126

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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126 comments

Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits.... (5, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109016)

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.

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (4, Interesting)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (2)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109911)

It seems to me that MonarchComputer has that title. Good experience with those guys, no markup on parts, just a small assembly fee ~ 150 which is way worth it given the time it takes me to do my own assembly and risk blowing it.

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (1)

NotWorkSafe (891638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114159)

They must have reduced it, because it's only $75 now. That's a really good deal.

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (4, Insightful)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109593)

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.

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (0, Offtopic)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109687)

American Libertarian who doesn't believe in socialism.... I feel a -1 Flamebait coming....
Okay, this has annoyed me for a while(and the fact that you're acting like you're victimized when only one of your last 24 posts is moderated below the +2 you get by default for your karma bonus, and it's about Red Hat and not really economic at all). Are there any Libertarians who do believe in socialism?

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (0, Offtopic)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109730)

Are there any Libertarians who do believe in socialism?

That's the joke actually. Many people are so woefully ignorant of divergent political stances that they don't understand the differences between the two. (i.e. Libertarians are just really radical right-wing nut jobs, a la free market... or Libertarians are just really radical Socialists, a la freedom in social situations).

It's supposed to ironic.

and the fact that you're acting like you're victimized when only one of your last 24 posts is moderated below the +2 you get by default for your karma bonus, and it's about Red Hat and not really economic at all

The -1 Flamebait bit is a swipe at the fact that I often see conservative political posts market Flamebait or Offtopic, and liberal political posts amrked Insightful or Interesting. Of course its going to happen in a peer review system populated with people who are more likely to be sympathetic to a more "left" cause than a "right" cause, but I don't believe that any system is above criticism.

Re:Its hard to be cool in those mylar intel suits. (1)

saden1 (581102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111187)

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 markets (enterprises, governments, and schools).

I got no complaints (2)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109047)

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.

Re:I got no complaints (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113172)

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 component (which can take up to a week to isolate) I can usually get a new high end machine built, installed, and running games in a night, and you get to hand pick every part, and build it with future expansions in mind.

This gamer doesn't (4, Insightful)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:This gamer doesn't (3, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109602)

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.

Re:This gamer doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109867)

What proprietary parts? I work in a shop full of DELLs, servers and workstations, as well as building systems on the side. What parts does DELL use which are proprietary? Their own motherboards don't count - they use the same types of components my systems use and are not proprietary in any way.

Some stuff is Dell specific (4, Informative)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109955)

I too handle Dell servers and desktops at work. What is proprietary you ask? Ok here is my experience:

1. Power supply. The Dell (at least Optiplex and Dimensions I've used) power supply is not standard. You cannot mount an off the shelf power supply because the power cord connector will be blocked by the Dell case.
2. Case connector. The connector that attaches to the motherboard for power switch, reset, speaker etc. is in one solid block which plugs directly into the motherboard. Now the ordering of connectors on the block will not plug into an off the shelf motherboard. So you are generally out of luck if you want to use a non-Dell motherboard with a Dell case. You CAN cut the block off and rewire seperate connectors to allow connection to a different motherboard, but it's hardly worth the effort.
3. Fan. The fan connector that plugs into the motherboard is not standard. Replacing the fan with an off the shelf generic one will not let you connect the fan connector to the Dell motherboard. This means that the Dell bios will think the fan has failed.

Small things, but things that mean replacing a cheap part (power supply, fan) will not be as simple as going to the store. Also a major upgrade such as a motherboard swap is more of a pain than it should be.

You are correct in that add in boards and drives are not proprietary but you may find that Dell skimps in some ways on their motherboards. For example, the mid range Optiplex computers have no AGP slot and no PCI Express X16 slot. So no way you can add in a video card, you are stuck with onboard. Also most Dell desktops have only 2 DIMM slots compared to 3 or 4 on most standard motherboards. You also will need to pay a bit more if you want to get say 1 512MB DIMM versus 2 256MB DIMMS - in order to leave a slot open for future expansion.
I have no problem will Dell's in the business environment. At least their business sales and support is excellent. As a home gaming system, there are much better (and cheaper) options.

Re:Some stuff is Dell specific (2, Interesting)

joezakoor (967466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110328)

I agree with you on every aspect, some of Dells stuff, is Dell specific. A gamer wont buy a system that uses more specific, and non-standard parts (I could be wrong, look at the xbox lol) I think what Dell is hoping to get in this deal is a "starter system for budding gamers." Start them off with a nice generic computer? Id do that in a second, but what my point is, is that "dell" is a more recognizible brand name of computers, like HP. Doesnt mean its quality, but its the brand name. Like buying Cheetos brand Cheetos vs. buying generic Cheetos, basically the same thing, just different packaging. As parents used to say "But little [insert name here], your just buying the name."

Re:Some stuff is Dell specific (2, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111082)


1. Power supply. The Dell (at least Optiplex and Dimensions I've used) power supply is not standard. You cannot mount an off the shelf power supply because the power cord connector will be blocked by the Dell case.

For starters, http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/dellconverter. html [endpcnoise.com] fixes the pinout problem. PC Power and Cooling and a number of other manufacturers also make native dell power supplies. For space concerns, ok, you'll have to get a dell or dell-style replacement, but... it's not a blocking issue. My local tiwanese-run bars-on-the-windows PC store sells 'em.

2. Case connector. The connector that attaches to the motherboard for power switch, reset, speaker etc. is in one solid block which plugs directly into the motherboard. Now the ordering of connectors on the block will not plug into an off the shelf motherboard. So you are generally out of luck if you want to use a non-Dell motherboard with a Dell case. You CAN cut the block off and rewire seperate connectors to allow connection to a different motherboard, but it's hardly worth the effort.

Agreed. But, that means that the dell case / motherboard are mated. It's not the end of the world. If the motherboard dies, throw the case away with it - you're down what, $40 these days? If the case dies... whatever, get a real case, put the dell mobo in it, and pin it out. Read the PCB.

3. Fan. The fan connector that plugs into the motherboard is not standard. Replacing the fan with an off the shelf generic one will not let you connect the fan connector to the Dell motherboard. This means that the Dell bios will think the fan has failed.

F1 -> halt on... -> no errors. Plug fan into molex connector.

You are correct in that add in boards and drives are not proprietary but you may find that Dell skimps in some ways on their motherboards. For example, the mid range Optiplex computers have no AGP slot and no PCI Express X16 slot. So no way you can add in a video card, you are stuck with onboard. Also most Dell desktops have only 2 DIMM slots compared to 3 or 4 on most standard motherboards. You also will need to pay a bit more if you want to get say 1 512MB DIMM versus 2 256MB DIMMS - in order to leave a slot open for future expansion.

You are comparing machines with vastly different purposes. This [newegg.com] is probably better than the quality of motherboard you'd get in a standard dell cheapie business machine. Granted the one in the link has a PCI-E x16 slot, but it does only have 2 ram slots. Business people don't upgrade their graphics card. Those machines are the kind we buy for our computer labs here at VT - we need a fast processor, a good bit of ram, and then anything that will display 1280x1024 - 3D not required. And we buy 100 of them, plus monitors, at a time. Onboard graphics are great because they save money in these circumstances.

The high end motherboards you're talking about - ones with one, or even two, PCI-E slots and 4 ram slots - have you priced them lately? What's an SLI motherboard run? At least $115, and upwards of $160 to $200 if you want a good one or really good one. By comparison, that motherboard I linked to was made by intel, has onboard lan/audio/video/sata and only costs $65.

When dell makes a gaming machine (XPS or what have you), they use a motherboard with two PCI-E x16 slots and 3 or 4 ram slots. Dell is actually one of the only OEMs with advance access to motherboards which have FOUR x16 slots, and can do quad-sli.

So, in short, I'm not sure what you want them to be. You say their business support is fantastic, but then you say there are cheaper gaming PC's out there. Well... some gaming PC's suck, dell's high end ones don't. And Dell's high end gaming PC's come with the same support their shitty business PC's come with, which has to be paid from somewhere. Sure, Fly-By-Night Comptuer Shop and Screen Door Sales may be able to build you a cheaper system, but at least dell has the power and reputation to back it up, plus major player inside access to coming technologies.

~W

Re:Some stuff is Dell specific (2, Informative)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111249)


In fact, after replying to your comment, I went to spec out a system.

Dell:
Pentium 930 (Dual Core 3.0 Ghz) + motherboard
XP home
Dual GeForce 6800 in SLI
2 GB DDR-2 533
160GB HDD
DVD-Rom/CD-RW
20 inch LCD
Sound Blaster X-Fi
Keyboard/Mouse
----------
$2,379

Configured at Newegg:
Antec P-180 Case
Intel 930 Dual core 3.0
Abit Ni8-SLI mobo
2GB Corsair valuram
2x Geforce 6800
windows XP Home
CD-RW/DVD
160 GB DiamondMax HDD
Samsung 20 inch LCD
Creative X-Fi
Keyboard/Mouse
-----------------
$1,985

Total Savings: $394, or 16%. BUT, now you've got to assemble the damn thing, install the OS, and support it for a year out of your own pocket (or deal with Abit's RMA service... shudder). It's only cheaper if your time is worth nothing.

So, you're paying $400 for the name, the assembly, and the support. For a $2400 computer, that's really not that bad.

~Will

Re:Some stuff is Dell specific (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112675)


Oh, and add a $70 power supply to the newegg config, making the markup now $330.

~W

Time worth something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113266)

" It's only cheaper if your time is worth nothing."

What if your time is worth a negative amount? If you find computer assembly entertaining and enjoyable, you're saving money both on the assembly and your recreational budget.

This factor is so much bigger that even if the price of the Dell machine and the homebuilt were very nearly the same, it would be a better deal to assemble it if you like that kind of thing. If you don't like that, the Dell machine will be better. There's no point arguing numbers.

Re:This gamer doesn't (5, Insightful)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:This gamer doesn't (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111718)

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 taking somethign that already seems too over priced and making it apear reasonable. I guess you can say it moves it down the sanity scale. kind of like when gas prices get extream ($3.00+ /gallon) they always point to another country with even higher prices to make it apear more reasonable. I guess it runs into problems when you look a 10 billion in porofit for a single quarter though.

Re:This gamer doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109936)

The big rigs get exposure and the fan boys drool over them, but odds are they are buying something a couple notches below.

Sounds like Playboy.

The real question (3, Interesting)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

skwirlmaster (555307) | more than 8 years ago | (#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).

Re:Main Distinction (2, Funny)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109415)

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.

Re:Main Distinction (1)

skwirlmaster (555307) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109472)

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.

Re:Main Distinction (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109475)

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 was the same and interchangeable (within the same Dell part numbers), which is nice for office orders but not a gamer.

Re:Main Distinction (2)

PortWineBoy (587071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110265)

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 I'm spending I expect to be treated VERY well.

Ever called Alienware for support? I have...I felt like it was the old days again...when someone called me back and said he was (i forget the correct title) something like an engineer and wanted to know if i would try a new version of the bios they were testing and see if it would fix my problem. No one mentioned reinstalling Windows...no 12 step/levels of tech support. Smart folks on the phone, smart folks calling back.

Re:Main Distinction (1)

Redfrost (202676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110643)

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).

Re:Main Distinction (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113316)

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 install the junk.

I can do this as well as any good /.er who knows windows (not saying you're not a good /.er if you don't know windows). My point is the average user may know how to reinstall the OS, but they won't know anything about the registry. And no offence to their techies in India, but I won't put up with speaking to someone who's accent is so think I can slice it with a knife. I've had to call on two seperate hardware issues and the laptop is only 4months old. On both counts the support offered was excellent. I got the parts the day after I called, but I couldn't understand two of the reps and had to ask for someone who was more proficient in English.

Dell bought Alienware. Dell knows how to cut costs (I'm sure they don't put that stuff on ever computer without being paid), so don't count on the Alienware support to stay as good as you say it is. It's likely getting shipped overseas as well.

Re:Main Distinction (2, Informative)

SyncNine (532248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111186)

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 -- just a little bit more info.

Dell Cool? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109071)

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.

This reads like an ad. (4, Insightful)

Sir Unimaginative (967464) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

alienware (1)

zyte (896988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109081)

alienware is shit now cause you can't change the paint job on the cases. end of story.

Re:alienware (2, Funny)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109311)

Lol. Of all the reasons Alienware is now shit, you managed to come up with the most irrelivant one.

Congradulations.

Re:alienware (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109362)

Lol. Of all the reasons Alienware is now shit, you managed to come up with the most irrelivant one. Congradulations.

Learn to spell kthx

Re:alienware (0, Troll)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109408)

Wow, you really took the wind out of my sails there.

I've been taken down a peg, A WHOLE PEG!!!

This is going to suck (0, Troll)

creeves1982 (880009) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109083)

Well now were going to see a quality product from alienware now get infected with intel products, mcafee, and also system restore partitions that are going to destroy the great alienware products. Good Job Dell

Feh, premade machines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109144)

Only people with more money than brains buy pre-made computers, except for laptops and the extreme low-end. (laptops for obvious reasons, and low-end because they usually get good bulk discounts on their hardware)

Re:Feh, premade machines... (5, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109553)

Wrong. Pure and simple.

In the last week, Dell has been selling QUALITY machines for prices that you can't beat by putting together the components from mail-order-madness from PriceWatch. At the low end, you could spend $370 and get a "basic" machine with a 19" LCD and a licensed copy of Windows. After that, the "basic" computer is free. $1000 machines have been 40% off for weeks, with stackable coupons, free shipping, free 19" flat panels...you're paying $600 for a solid machine, great monitor, licensed software, home delivery, and A YEAR OF ON-SITE SERVICE.

The answer to most people is, in fact, Dude, you're getting a Dell. [And you're getting it at a good price, with solid features.]

Re:Feh, premade machines... (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109818)

So how are they making money if not using cheap parts assembled cheaply? Walmart-esque health policies? Chicken feather mobos?

Or is this one of those razor-thin-profit-margins-to-kill-competitors-just -like-Walmart type things?

Re:Feh, premade machines... (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109857)

Dell's specials rotate. The current round of specials is encouraged to remove old inventory. The 19" flat panels, although GREAT, aren't their current model. Some of the specials involved moving "older" processors as well.

The quality of the components is "normal," and certainly the margins are thin. Good news for the consumer.

Try hitting eBay to see the sort of Dell Coupons available as well.

Re:Feh, premade machines... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110021)

While I can agree that for standard uses they are good deals, I really don't think they are the best option for gamers or system tweakers by a long shot.
We run Dell's for all of our Windows computers at work, so I'm pretty familiar with them. Here's a few things I've noticed:

1. You may have problems replacing a power supply, fan or swapping the motherboard with a standard off the shelf PC part. They tend to have proprietary connectors.
2. Depending on the model you buy you may not have an AGP or PCI Express X16 slot, which means no video upgrade.
3. Most models (especially the cheaper ones) have limited RAM expansion. Typically this is 2 DIMM slots, both of which are usually filled when you buy it (unless you specify otherwise).
4. If you like AMD processors you are out of luck.

Lately I've found that rather than build my own, it's actually cheap to go with a system from a boutique shop such as ibuypower.com [ibuypower.com] . You can pick the specific components you want and can generally choose from a number of highly rated motherboards and cases. I did a cost compare with between buying parts from New Egg versus buying a system from ibuypower.com and it was cheaper to for me buy it built - plus you can get a warranty.

Dell is NEVER first to market with "hottest techno (0, Flamebait)

55555 Manbabies! (861806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109161)

You can always get components independantly before Dell can sell them. They are stupid douchebags. No one should ever buy a Dell anyway because they come with microsoft windows. Instead, you should build a computer and run GNU/Linux on it.

Re:Dell is NEVER first to market with "hottest tec (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109610)

Yeah, gamers just love GNU/Linux. Did you even RTFH(eadline)?

Dell doesn't understand what they don't undersand (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

yeah, you are right, Dell is wrong (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109518)

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.

Re:Dell doesn't understand what they don't undersa (2, Insightful)

DPJohnny Canuck (911646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109834)

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. .

Re:Dell doesn't understand what they don't undersa (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110313)

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.

Dell? Cool? Ooookay (0)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109343)

Here's a catchphrase I thought up that just oozes cool. The marketing wonks over at Dell might want to look into using it in a fresh new ad campaign:

"Duuuuude, yer gettin' an Alienware!"

Alienware as expensive fishing gear (5, Insightful)

MrTester (860336) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Alienware as expensive fishing gear (1)

DoChEx (558465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111950)

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$$.

Halo!? (3, Insightful)

OK PC (857190) | more than 8 years ago | (#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

Re:Halo!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112468)

He may as well said Pong obcessives want high performance, flashy pcs eh?

Re:Halo!? (1)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112907)

Halo is a Microsoft game. Slate is a Microsoft website. That is why they said Halo obsessives.

Re:Halo!? (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112982)

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 (3, Insightful)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109395)

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.

Re:Proprietary == Bad (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112884)

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 me. When I asked who could help me he said he'd have to ask his supervisor, who knew nothing as well. Luckily my neighbourhood computer store was kind enough to break policy and give me a $130 store credit for the video card.

Re:Proprietary == Bad (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113900)

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 headache. It gets even more fun when the memory just has a Dell part number, and no specs listed. Much of that type of spare memory is now sitting in static bags with post-it notes taped to the bag, listing what is in each.
Still, for a workplace, you can't beat the corporate level support (really, it's good). And since Excel doesn't take much in the way of horsepower, the systems work well, and they are cheap. 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.

Re:Proprietary == Bad (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114073)

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 paying top dollar to Mac just to be rid of Dell's adware because they don't know better.

Re:Proprietary == Bad (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113934)

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 machine is only warranted for one year. Thank you and goodbye, Smithers release the hounds..."

Radeon warranties that product for 3 years. The Radeon guys let me send it in for repair/replacement even though OEM-installed products are supposed to be covered by the OEM.

Yay, Radeon.

Boo, Alienware.

Re:Proprietary == Bad (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114094)

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!

XPS 600 Renegade Contest (0, Troll)

donutz (195717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109425)

Don't forget to register for the Dell XPS 600 Renegade [dell.com] contest. It's Fueled by Fire!

Re:XPS 600 Renegade Contest (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110150)

and what the amount of heat it puts out i bet it can start a fire..

i wonder if you have to sign a liablity waver before they will let you plug it in

geek flavors (2, Insightful)

7grain (583823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109453)

"Halo obsessives are not IT managers..."

Except, of course, for the gamers who are IT managers. Duh? It's not so cut 'n' dried.

Re:geek flavors (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109828)

Except, of course, for PC gamers who play better games than Halo on their PC. Duh.

Re:geek flavors (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113992)

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. Plant shooting turrets, control turrets, etc. etc. etc.

Too bad Tribes II was such a screwup that it killed the franchise. My machine exceeded minimum requirements, but would barely run with every display setting set to minimum -- such a minimum I couldn't see very far and everything running around was little different from a blob.

Re:geek flavors (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110137)

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.

My world is beige (1)

killermookie (708026) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109583)

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!

Re:My world is beige (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109884)

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!

Dell has not the gaming cool (3, Interesting)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109631)

I don't think I've ever met a gamer who hadn't built their own computer.

Re:Dell has not the gaming cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15110022)

100% correct

Re:Dell has not the gaming cool (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110145)

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.

Re:Dell has not the gaming cool (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114148)

> 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 saved maybe $300 rolling my own. That wasn't worth the several extra days of effort I'd have had to spend if I had difficulties getting drivers to download and so on.

Haven't done that either (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111214)

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 that I barely make any money at all for anything else. Honestly I carpool alot cause gas is insanely priced atm. If I can't spare the $30 to fill my car up, then it would take me a good year+ to save up even $500+ to build what is probably now, a bottom rung machine (comparing to more up to date hardware intense games like BF2 or Oblivion).

Would I go with a Dell? No. Sure they might be a few steps up from HP/Compaq but they still cut corners, vital corners. Would I go with an Alienware? Sure, if I could afford it. But then again if I could afford an Alienware, I could easily afford to build my own PC. Alienware builds nice machines but they exploit the consumer. It's one of those "they know that you know" ordeals; You as a gamer know you need a semi-beefy machine to at least play your games decently, Alienware knows this and they also know you're probably coming to them cause while you could afford it you might not know how to build one or don't want the hassle. So as such, as we all know, a machine that probably costs $1000 to build via Newegg or Pricewatch ends up being $1600+ from Alienware.

You'd be amazed at how good a console like the 360 or PS3 can look when they only cost around $300 (core 360 for example) while a gaming PC will run you at least $500+. I don't like consoles, sure Xbox Live is nice but hey, I already pay for broadband internet access, that right there should entitle me to free online play for many games (FPS's for example).

Re:Haven't done that either (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111591)

I don't think anything at all about gamers who haven't built their own systems. I'm just relating what I have experienced.

Correct Order (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111623)

"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 :)

Re:Haven't done that either (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112421)

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.

Re:Haven't done that either (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112657)

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 party where guys with their homemade rigs are playing current-gen titles? It's not a factor of "hardcore" it's a factor of "hey, I want to live in my apartment this month". As for a hardcore geek, while I may not be able to recite all of Linux's kernel code in my sleep, I love all things technology, I've seen just about every science fiction tv show there is and I've been gaming on the PC and consoles since Mario Bros on NES and Oregon Trail on the Apple II.

Economics doesn't always mean someone isn't "hardcore".

Re:Haven't done that either (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113986)

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!

Brand Name PCs = Bad Consumer Choice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109809)

This pretty much goes along with what most people here are saying, but IMHO any PC, from ANY distributor/seller, is garbage. They all try to lock you into their line of products, and they almost always have tons of "amazing" (read: garbage) software.

I would also take any beige-case machine that I built myself, than the most flashy Dell/HP/Compaq/etc ...

In the past, the ONLY company I'd trust would be Alienware because their machines are renowned for being some of the best.

And for those who praise Dell for having decent high-end machines... well, you're full of it! The only thing Dell is good for is making the machine that your grandmother will use to break into the amazing world of emails!

And for those who think having a flashy PC from a "decent" distributor is cool, they're SOOO wrong ... when you want your car fixed, you don't go to the guy who's got pimped out with NOS, and a spoiler bigger than the car sporting it! You always go the guy who's got the experience under his belt, someone whom you know is familiar with the territory. The flash is just for retards who want to "try" to look cool, and knowledgeable about computers, but I'm sure you're likely to find out they use AOL, and brag about their MySpace account and their bajillion friends!

Losers!!!

Dell Support Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15109821)

I don't care how cheaply dell might sell something--their service is HORRIBLE!!! Trying to talk to someone on the phone is impossible--you just get put on hold for 30 minutes or cut off and then understanding them is not easy. The online support chat function is useless because they just direct you to call the help number. One of the computers at work had a bad hard drive--it was supposed to be next day support--it took a week. My dell laptop has an NVidia 6800GO which has video drivers that haven't been updated since November(5 months). Dell sucks!!!

Re:Dell Support Sucks (3, Informative)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110160)

The gold level business support is actually quite excellent. I haven't had any problems with understanding the support staff or getting replacement parts shipped out and in the office next day. Ditto for the onsite support. And if I do have problems (has happened once in 5 years) a quick call to my acccount manager got them jumping.
From what I hear their standard support sucks ass. I guess it's a "you get what you pay for" situation.

Re:Dell Support Sucks (4, Interesting)

vga_init (589198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112090)

The gold level business support is actually quite excellent. I haven't had any problems with understanding the support staff or getting replacement parts shipped out and in the office next day. Ditto for the onsite support. And if I do have problems (has happened once in 5 years) a quick call to my acccount manager got them jumping. From what I hear their standard support sucks ass. I guess it's a "you get what you pay for" situation.

My good friend's mother bought a Dell not long ago, and when the power supply broke they called me in to take a look at it. After examining it, I called Dell tech support on her behalf (she was afraid to talk to them since she doesn't know much about computers). They had paid for gold service, but when I called the number, the very first thing the gold service tech told me was that I had called the wrong department and that he was forwarding me to the real tech support.

This got me transferred to India or thereabouts--the connection was poor, and while we understood each other fairly well, the man tried incessantly to get me off the phone. Despite his pleading for me to call back later, I refused, and I did my best to work with the guy. After I had convinced him to actually help me, he informs me that I qualify for gold service and sends me back to the assholes that transferred me there in the first place.

The third tech, however was very courteous and helpful. After verifying the problem, he put out a work order in minutes.

My experience was this: Gold support is wonderful, but Dell is going to make you fight for it.

Alienware is cool? (2, Interesting)

Meest (714734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15109952)

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

Only one problem with Dell's Gaming Computers (5, Informative)

argle2bargle (794789) | more than 8 years ago | (#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]

Re:Only one problem with Dell's Gaming Computers (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111277)


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

Re:Only one problem with Dell's Gaming Computers (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114236)

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 sure shortly after they changed their tune. Heave that comment into the bin alongside the 640K ram limit apocryphal comment and the "The planet will support a need for maybe 5 computers."

Premade Machines (1)

Drz196 (967694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110254)


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 liability. Once you go past 1.5k, It's no longer a compitition, building your own Comp will get you more bang for your buck.

People also need to understand that there are gamers out there, just as commited to thier games as any hardcore gamer, that just don't want to build thier own system. They either don't have the knowledge or just could care less about it. Instead, they would rather go to these premade places, buy a box, and be done with it.

The part that I don't understand is why they are so concerned about making "flashier" products for a customer base that is largely computer litterate and can see past the hype. I cannot picture myself, or many gamers, seeing these flashy boxes and buying them on that alone.

Then again, I do know some people who would spend 7k on an alienware pc, just to say they have it and do nothing with it but play solitare....

I thought devoted gamers BUILT their own PCs? (1)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110289)

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 will spend the thousands for an Alienware or Dell PC, why not just buy all the parts over the internet from the cheapest retailers and build it yourself? Or maybe there is a significant difference between the gaming geeks and us hardware / overclocker geeks. :P

Re:I thought devoted gamers BUILT their own PCs? (1)

Joel from Sydney (828208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111870)

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 situation is cut and dried like many people are suggesting. Some people have experience and/or enjoy tinkering with their hardware or assembling computers from components, and some people don't. Some of these people are gamers, some of them aren't. There'll always be people who buy overpriced Dellienware Northwest machines because they have no interest in building things themselves, just like there'll always be people who build their own machines because they'd rather masturbate with a cheese grater than buy an off-the-shelf PC.

I'm typing this on a Dell XPS (1)

LearningHard (612455) | more than 8 years ago | (#15110871)

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.

Erm... Dell? (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15111299)

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 Techs or Sales people.

Sorry Dell.

So where does this *really* put Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15111568)

I'm reading hundreds of comments about how Dell sucks, such as:

* They bundle trialware crap preinstalled that you don't want.
* They use nonstandard components - eg: a strange power supply and BIOS.
* They use integrated non-upgradable components - eg: video card.
* They don't offer AMD processors.

But Apple does all of the above (yes, the default install of OSX has a trial edition of Quickbooks preinstalled) - and yet it's cool for the fanboys to be complaining about Dell and saying that they're moving to Apple. I guess they'll discover it for themselves if they make the jump.

I'll stick to building my own desktop machines, but my next notebook will be neither Apple or Dell (oddly it looks like Lenovo, the folks that used to make IBM Thinkpads, have the best price/performance at the moment).

You are a retard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112244)

This is about how Dell is trying to get into the business of PCs for gamers and has nothing to do with Apple. Who in their right mind buys an Apple to play games? If Apple had bought Alienware or was all of a sudden trying to sell their computers to gamers maybe you'd have a point. But all you're doing is pointing out that a company isn't making their computers for gamers when everyone knows that Apples aren't for gamers.

And are you serious about the trialware prebundled crap that comes with Dell in comparison to Apple? Dell is ridiculous and requires a reformat. With Apple you just toss the file in the recycling bin.

Apple fanboys can be annoying but some of you Apple bashers are just as bad, if not worse.

Re:So where does this *really* put Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112978)

Not that I can afford one, yet (screw that, it may be a while), but let me tell you what I like about the Lenovos: it seems they looked at the last of theIBM product offerings, and said, You know what, these Thinkpads are perfect for the businessman, and we do have some serious hardware in them, but it needs just one more ingredient: serious video to crank up the multimedia experience on that badboy.

I was beginning to look at HP with their widescreen offerings (perfect for the widescreen edition DVD aficionado), and I was thinking, man I wish IBM built widescreen. Now those Lenovos aren't just built for Powerpoint presentations.

Lack of discretion (1)

caffeination (947825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112394)

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.

Dell + Alienware = both ripoffs. We DIY for less (1)

destructoid (967774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112628)

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]

AMD (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113695)

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 the hardware and not in the "value-added" services that are offered by the company.

Dell's Gaming Ability/Support (1)

JKSN17 (956518) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113902)

Dell's Gaming Ability may be growing with it's aquistion of Alienware, but when I was looking for a Gaming laptop about a month ago, I chose to go the route of Gateway over Dell. It has been my experience that Gateways service was much better than Dell and they didn't bundle as much "crap" with the computer itself. $1300 later I have a AMD 64 / 128 Radeon x600 / 1GB RAM / 100 GB HD. Runs all my games from WoW to F.E.A.R. and I dont have to deal with Dell's Foreign Customer support. For my money as a "semi-hardcore" gamer, Gateway was a much better value and in my opinion i got a better computer for the price.
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