I’ve just finished moving to a small town near the seaside, which is the reason why during the last few days I’ve not had the chance to write any new posts or add pictures.
My “picture drought” may last a few more days while I finish unpacking and settling everything down, but before that I’d like to share my experience with Alienware, as it may help people who are planning to get a gaming laptop during the Xmas period.
Around June 2012 I was keeping my eyes open for a new laptop. I like gaming (which means Apple and Windows laptops without a discrete graphic card were out of the equation) and I use computers for photo/video editing as well, but I don’t like to spend absurd amounts of money on stuff (and Apple was even more out of the equation).
During that period the Ati 7990m had been around for a short time, and nVidia was trying to fight back with the 680. The 7990m had an amazing performance-to-bucks ratio back there, it was a bit pricier than the previous generation of graphic cards but its performance were over the roof, so I was really looking forward to get my hands on a laptop with that card.
Unfortunately, all the “gaming” laptops from Asus or Msi were packed with slightly older cards and their prices were not justified for me, so I started playing around with Clevo’s website. Now keep in mind that depending on your country, Clevo will have a different name, but it’s always the same company. They offer fully customizable laptops at a spot-on price, and their construction and assistance are very good.
One day I noticed the announcement of the new generation of Alienware laptops with the Ati 7990m, while the soon-to-be-released nVidia 680 models were not available for preorder yet. Needless to say I was not highly impressed by the regular price of the Alienware m17x R4.
Dell usually offers some small discounts on their regular laptops and the same applies on Alienware models, but they often have special offers as well. Sometimes they’re pretty weak (buy a laptop that costs a heap of $$$ -> get a free set of speakers…), sometimes they carry a lot of value (buy a laptop that costs heap of$$$ -> get a free 24″ ips monitor).
But even with a 8/10% discount and a free ips monitor the price of an Alienware was still much higher than an equally specced laptop from other companies.
And then, nVidia saved me.
As usual when nVidia and Ati releases a new graphic card their benchmarks CLEARLY SHOW that their product is better. The nVidia 680 looked better than the 7990m because nVidia overclocked its card by default and the result of that were slightly higher benchmarks compared to the 7990m. To me, nVidia was a no go: higher price for better performance with an overclocked card? No, thanx.
But apparently that did not stop a lot of tards…ehm…people from cancelling their m17x r4 preorder, just to change the graphic card.
Dell only offers brand new, fully customized laptops on their website, so when a model is refurbished or an order gets cancelled before it gets shipped out, they throw it in the outlet.
Their outlet is a magical place: you can find models with discounts between 30% and 40%, the only downside is that you cannot customize them, and you cannot benefit from other offers.
I was keeping my eyes on a Xps 17 that was ticking most of my boxes. It didn’t have the 7990m but it had a decent graphic card and the price was amazing. I decided to wait one more weekend to see if on the following monday they’d add anything new in the outlet: boom, headshot. On monday morning there were 6 different Alienware models available, all of them packed with the 7990m and at a ridiculous discount. My first option got sold minutes after it became available. The model I booked was 99% close to my ideal laptop:
2x 500gb hd
The only part that sucked were the hard disks, but I was planning to replace the hd with an ssd anyway, so it was no biggie. The final price turned out to be 80$ more expensive than an equivalent Clevo, with the difference that Alienware offers international warranty. That’s a huge bonus for me, considering that I’ve been in 3 continents within the last 8 months.
So, is Alienware overpriced? Yes, BUT if you’re planning to get a laptop don’t forget the following suggestions:
a) If you speak to a Dell commercial before pulling the trigger on your order you’ll get a nice discount.
b) Keep your eyes open for their special offers combined with the purchase of a new model
c) Never forget to check the outlet daily
If you’re not in a rush it’s very easy to get some great deals from Dell, both on their regular or Alienware models.
All that I can say is: thank you “Evilo”, the tag below my Alienware will forever remind me of you. I hope you’re enjoying your model with a 680, because the 35% discount you allowed me to get on my 17x r4 was pretty sweet. If you’ll ever read this blog, please contact me to let me know the next time you plan to upgrade, so that I can get an awesome deal again!