Highlighted
trhyne
1 Copper

The death of a legend

This'll probably get deleted, but I want to at least help a few people. If you've been looking for an Alienware for years.  Stop.  The dream is over.  Don't do it.

I had, and my career's finally gotten to the point I could afford a splurge.  I bought a laptop (m-18) and desktop (Aurora).  Today, 7 months later, I recycled them rather than attempt further "support" and I'm going to share my story.  Why?  Because I'm mad.  Deal with it.

I'd been wanting an Alienware for nearly a decade.  Sadly, the warning signs were immediate.  I overlooked them and made the purchase.  Despite being in Austin, it took 40 days to deliver.  The problems started almost immediately.

The Laptop:
It's beautiful.  As a fully-functional paperweight, it's amazing.  Sadly, the hard disk had bad sectors as delivered, and within two months I had to reinstall the operating system from image and chkdsk fix it to actually get it to boot again.  It runs so hot the back is blackened and the service tag has burn marks.  It overheats and fails if left on my comforter.  Whatever ventilation and fan support is completely inadequate.  But hey, it has like 16 different colors of lights and fully configurable patterns.  It doubles as a christmas tree.  The Alienware applications might be helpful, but all fail upon booting every time with error messages like "AlienRespawn failed with unknown error: code 0".  A huge help, I've found.

Desktop:
I got a nice desktop with dual AMD 7900 cards.  As delivered, no option allowed for the monitor to be recognized and displayed, but I was able to fix this.  Sadly, nothing supports AMD Crossfire correctly, so two cards is a waste.  What it does ensure is that the thermal "controller", despite always displaying an "all things good" bill of health, fails within a couple hours of up-time.  As such, the computer spontaneously reboots every few hours and comes back in a randomized configuration in which the graphics cards and monitor may or may not be recognized.  Given the lackluster support for 64-bit Vista, this is probably not surprising.  Good thing that was my only option at the time of purchase.  Now, finally, it has locked itself into a mode where nothing I do allows the graphics cards to be enabled properly or reinstalled.  I have no viewing options beyond 640x480.

Tech "Support":
Ah, the most beautiful thing of all: Dell tech support.  Where to begin.  With this, I suppose.  I feel like I know this service intimately...  Why?  Because the entire family gets involved in the act.  Most calls I've had have screaming babies, singing children, and wonderful heartwarming family moments.  I feel loved.  Or at least the love.  Luckily, Dell cares.  I know this, because they will harp on me, threaten me, call me back, and harass me until I give them a positive feedback score.  That way everyone knows they were good and they can get their quota...  because Dell cares.

Net Result:
I paid $8500 for two computers, and just recycled them for nothing 7 months later.  Why?  Because some lessons must be learned painfully, and I can't stomach selling them to some unsuspecting victim.  The thought of dealing with India to "get support" or really even having to look at their gaudy, pointless glow masking their decaying underbelly nauseates me.

If you have the choice, stop.  Get something else that costs less, looks worse, but actually runs.  Let my frustration save you from your own.

0 Kudos
10 Replies
Tesla1856
6 Thallium

Re: The death of a legend

Both sound repairable. It will take some time and work, but due to the money you spent ... it might be worth it.

If you still have them we will be glad to help however we can.


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
- Like many of you, I can appreciate a good game-engine.
- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
- Consider giving posts you like a "thumbs-up"
- Posting models-numbers and software versions speeds trouble-shooting.
- Click "Accept as Solution" button on any post that answers your question best.
0 Kudos
trhyne
1 Copper

Re: The death of a legend

They probably are...  I'm not suggesting my approach was best, smart, or even MATURE...  I just can't handle it anymore.  It's been nonstop problems with the worst, most difficult attempts to support I've ever experienced.  It was worth it to *me* not to have to deal with the problem anymore.

Your experience may vary.  Mine was negative.

0 Kudos
kameix1
3 Argentium

Re: The death of a legend

" It overheats and fails if left on my comforter"

This right here tells me that you dont know how to use a gaming computer.

When left on your comforter, you blocked all air intake to the laptop, thus causing it to overheat badly.  A high end gaming laptop needs air to cool, you took that away from it.    Go take your comforter and put a big chunk of it in your mouth, now plug your nose and try to breath.... hard isnt it?  thats what you did to your laptop.

I hope the people at the recycler kept the computers and sold them for money to someone else.

0 Kudos
89fordprobee
4 Beryllium

Re: The death of a legend

It overheats and fails if left on my comforter <---- it pulls air from bottom of the machine and exhaust out the back.... therefore you caused it to overheat and fail...... Never place a laptop on a sheet/bed ect were it can sink and pullk the blanket/etc against the maching blocking the  air intake..

Anyway dell support has gone severly to the crops but they still eventually get through, better business bureau sometimes has to get involved and a comlaint filed ect.. but whatever works. And even the outsourced techs arent much help as again ive had both good,  knew the guy and was apple,hp,acer,ibm/etc... CERTIFIED (apple was few months training) and even said he never seen my system before  but i tried him due to background and was great, then i had another guy brick my system cause he said * I KNOW WHAT IM DOING LEAVE ME ALONE* .. apparently not  then a battle for a replacement system and blah blah blah blah .....

anyway I wish i had 8500 to burn, cause i would buy a new truck cause my 1992  is a classic and should be restored, not a daily driver 🙂

Alienware X51 R3 

M18X R2  🙂  (again)  

Inspiron 11 Flip , Studio 1535 ,Inspiron 6400

Previous Systems:

M18X R2, M17X R2 ,M17X R1, XPS M1730 & M1530, Inspiron 17R

Posting Tips:
- Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
- Click the button if we answered your question.

I answer questions here, but
I'm not a Dell employee.

0 Kudos
trhyne
1 Copper

Re: The death of a legend

Obviously learned that.  When I have it open, I tend to take greater precaution.  When I had it on standby, I expected it to run a lot cooler and have no issues, thus I left it sitting.  I had to learn to leave it upside down, even when on standby.

0 Kudos
yeaber
2 Iron

Re: The death of a legend

You sir, are my new hero.  I know I'm new here, and I haven't had any issues with my alienware yet, and this thread/post will probably be deleted, but someday I hope that I'll be as financially stable as you, to the point where I can blow $8500 to make a point.  Kudos to you sir.

Of course, if you didn't want to continue the process to try and get your 8 month old computers fixed, you could have always donated them to a school or library (I know the school where my wife teaches, where the kids are working on old pentiums and 10 year old macs that barely work, would have loved a donation of almost 10 grand worth of computer equipment, but yeah, I can see how you wouldn't have wanted to subject them to that - they're much better off with the antiquated, barely working equipment that they've been using.

0 Kudos
ausGeoff
2 Iron

Re: The death of a legend

I can't help but assume that this posting was written by the adult version of a petulant child, who's stamped his foot and taken his bat and ball and gone home after being run out.

If indeed this member has, literally, thrown away some IT gear worth $8,500 then he should hang his head in shame.  To struggle under the misapprehension that his gear was unrepairable is either a blatant disregard for others more needy (as in a charity or school donation etc) or an indicator of woeful ignorance of matters technological.

I also find the not-so-well disguised racism offensive—as in the implicit put-down of "dealing" with India.  The OP also claims to want to "at least help a few people".  Well, it hasn't worked my friend.  You've "helped" absolutely nobody.  Your only achievement has been to make yourself look totally foolish.  Well done!

0 Kudos
trhyne
1 Copper

Re: The death of a legend

It is quite so, a petulant act.  I'm not helping anyone, other than to give people a perspective on Alienware.  Please reread for intent.

If it makes you feel better to do the whaa forum troll thing, that's fine.  OMG, he said India!  He must be racist!  No, India is where their customer service is.  They say so.  Get over it.  All points from that are observations, not conclusions.  Good work, there.

I want people to have a chance to avoid my experience.  I've repaired my gear for months.  I'm sick of doing so.

0 Kudos
trhyne
1 Copper

Re: The death of a legend

I'm a moron.  I get that.  Clearly there are more productive things to do.  I'm not defending my actions.  All I wanted to do was give other potential customers a warning.  In hindsight, this is probably a pointless place to do so.

My fiance IS a fifth grade teacher in the Austin area (Pflugerville).  Most school districts don't accept donations of computer equipment.  I asked.  I ended up calling Dell technical support asking if they had suggestions of how to get rid of it.  In the end, I gave into my frustration and did something entirely impractical.  It was intensely, viscerally ingratiating, though.  It felt...  good.  If that makes me a horrible, useless, inefficient individual, I can live with that.  Much more easily than I can live with a laptop that spontaneously, and at indeterminate intervals requires being reverted to save points or having multiple cards and peripherals reinstalled.

I did remove several piecemail components for salvage and reuse.  The AMD cards I left, though, as they're well within the "more trouble than benefit" category.

Done defending myself, as that was never the point.  For me, personally, Alienware didn't turn out to be a net benefit.  Given how long I'd anticipated having one, it was a letdown.  If your experience is better, great.  I hope everyone's is.  I just want people to know that they're not some sort of "will never crash, free from the ills of lesser computers" Holy Grail I anticipated (naively, in retrospect).

0 Kudos