I'd like to share my bad experience with the Alienawre ALX Area 51 (Intel Core i7 975, 3.33 Mhz, two nvidia GTX 295 video cards, 1.5 TB RAID 1, Win 7 Ultimate) and the Dell maintenance services.
The computer was working perfectly when I received it in the south of Belgium a few months ago, except that I saw rapidly that it shuts off randomly (like a power cord removal) when there is some hot action in games (Dawn of War II).
I thought first to video or BIOS drivers, games patches issues etc ... I updated everything and the problem was still there. Based on advices I read in some posts, I then tested the video cards with FURMARK and the system shuts off the same way after two seconds in quad SLI, no problem if multi GPU is not activated.
I contacted the DELL support and they asked me first to test the whole machine with DELL diagnostics (no better results). They then sent 4 times a technician on site and the situation was every time worse after their visit than before.
Simply, they had never seen an Alienware before in their live (they all recognized it), they had no time to perform tests and they had no support from an Alienware support Center. It would be boring to tell the painfull 2 months during which I was told to upgrade / downgrade drivers, BIOS, to fully reinstall Win7, to perform DELL diagnostics etc. The technicians (who remained nice and positive) have replaced once the PSU, 3 times the motherboard, once the I/O panel, and two times both video cards. But they have no idea what should be set in the BIOS, they do not know how to reinstall Win7 and they have anyway no time for that, they have no idea what should be run to perform CHKDSK, they have no real expert to contact in case of trouble, etc ...Today, the computer is not booting (blinking cursor on a black screen) , Win 7 cannot be reinstalled ("CHKDSK must be run"),. And for fun, running CHKDSK on the Resource DVD stops saying something like "CHKDSK should be run" .
At the last visit, the technician phoned his manager, told him this machine cannot be repaired (!) and left. I received a few days ago a mail telling me that I am "eligible for refund" ! And I hope I will !!!
Even if I am not an hardware specialist, I remain however so convinced it is a PSU capacity problem. I read some posts describing the same hardware malfunction. I even forwarded them to my DELL support center contact and I was asking for confirmation. But useless, no technical answer. How is it possible that the support center can't contact an Alienware expert to check this ??? How is it possible that DELL can't verify if the PSU is strong enough for Quad SLI with GTX 295 ??? In case it should be fine, why weren't they able to solve this ???
All of this has been very frustrating and time consumming to me but let's hope my story would at least help any of you to loose less time, energy and money !!! Joël
I had the same issues, send it back get a refund and build your own pc.
MB: GA-X99-SOC Champion
CPU: 5960x @ 4.4GHz
RAM: 16GB G.Skill @ 3400MHz
GPU's: 4x Titan X
PSU: 1600w T2
SSD: 480GB Intel 730.
OS: Windows7 SP1/Windows 10 build 10586.318.