Alienware, Farcry, and Doom 3

My Alienware Aurora computer came in the mail last week. As someone who is overly aware of one’s own mortality, I find the key to happiness is to lower your expectations for trivial things, but ensure your standards are not subpar. That way, you always have your expectations exceeded, but never lower your ethical standard of living.

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Therefore, you can go to McDonalds for example, expect to get shot in the head and mugged, and be pleasantly surprised when you survive, your order is actually correct, and you receive 2 creamers for your coffee. Much tension is created, but also alleviated at the same.

Overall, you prevent yourself to be setup for failure; to have unrealistic expectations in life, and thus not continually being disappointed. Now, this doesn’t mean that you expect fast food workers to be all blithering idiots; remember, they make more than paramedics do down here in the south, so the bar is actually raised. Really, it’s about what can you expect, what is the range, and what are you willing to settle for. Adjusting that mental barometer before hand typically helps an overall smooth, mental transition through day to day activities where expectations come into play.

…so, I pretty much blatantly disregarded the above. I was mad stoked about my Alienware arriving. I even went to work late and got out of work early to make sure I was there with open, loving arms to the FedEx delivery guy. I even took pictures of each opening of the box, the removing of the box contents piece by piece, and the setup of wiring everything together. I was all excited, giddy, and generally extremely elated while still remaining calm and steady in making sure I was up and running smoothly.

There were portentions from day 1… er, perhaps events that foreshadowed future results is a better way of saying it. Basically, I never actually saw “what” I was buying. Like, during the web purchase with Brandy, I picked and chose every component with her on their web interface. However, after the invoice, there really isn’t a way to on their website to see what you purchased on an item by item basis. You can see the status in their process of where your box is at, but after a month, I forgot what I bought. Naturally, over time, I started getting confused on exact specs. This was brought to total fruition the day I got my box, set it up, and went to Control Panel to see how fast it really was. Turns out it was a 1 Gigahertz.

Now, I’m not a hardware guy, and I know through over clocking, registry settings, airflow, and other various physical and software settings, one can make a processor scream. But the numbers don’t lie. I bought a 1 gigahertz, floor model Sony Laptop for my trip to MXDU to Sydney, Australia back in 2002. Naturally, my first reaction was, “WTF IS THIS BS!!!?” Thinking back in an angry haze, I could of swore they advertised a 2.4 Gigahertz AMD, but if you click on it, and do a configure (where you start purchasing the box), it actually has 4 checkboxes, and the default one clicked is the processor I got, NOT the one advertised. That is some serious bs, and serious consumer misleading. There were 2 of us there, so I’m not sure we missed such a blatant detail, and a huge first step; picking the speed of your machine. …oh wait, yeah I do… they expect you know wtf a 3500 AMD is. Is it a 2 gigahertz or a 3? A 3500 doesn’t mean jack to me. Does a car do 135 miles per hour top speed or 200? “Actually, it’s a XA-300 sir, so it’s pretty fast.”

“You fuggin’ nitwit, that doesn’t mean $HIOU$!!!”

That’s why I immediately terminated my relationship with Dell because of that incompetence. They sell themselves as building your custom machine… the chick couldn’t even tell me the speed of the friggin CPU!

I’m still confused how it happened, and it’s negatively impacted my mood for the past week. It’s a seriously expensive purchase for JUST A TOWER; no monitor, no keyboard, no mouse, no speakers… there isn’t a lot to screw up. Granted, I have no clue about all the benchmarking… maybe it’s over clocked to run at a 2.4, but that’s not congruent with what the website portrays.

Gaming companies do not produce as many PC games nowadays because the experience is partially on the player’s actual pocketbook to afford the hardware to even enjoy the game. This is my due in that experience; I am paying to be a part of the elite who get to enjoy the consoles of years from now… some will never match the complexity of some of the online games as well.

Therefore, it’s either hit or miss, and I’m still on the fence on what to do. I gave her a fair test run all weekend. I played and beat Farcry, a game I previously couldn’t play, even with a $500 NVidia (got for $230). Totally different game with that computer… I then tried Doom3. Wow. The game is an experience, nothing short of one of the most engaging single player games. The only game to scare me as much was Thief 1 & 2. I had previously talked about how you couldn’t even run such a game, but frankly my new computer proves this horribly wrong; it runs great and looks unbelievable.

I’ve yet to test applications, such as Flash, but am fixing to this week. If it doesn’t work to my satisfaction, I’m calling them up and seeing if I can avoid their 15% re-stocking fee because of their misleading website, and sending the box back… or getting a new one. I’m a consumer, and I am paying a significant amount of money for something I feel passionate about. Jesse Warden does not accept anything less than his standards. I’m willing to work within the bounds of reason; so far, the box has proven itself well in the gaming world; it better not f’ up in the application/development realm, or I’m going to be one pissed off consumer.

I’m this f’n close to doing their e-commerce section in Flash just to justify how much better I know how to create their experience. As a frustrated customer, my feelings and reactions are valid, and I have the power to make it better. Maybe I could even get the “correct” machine out of the deal.

9 Responses

  1. ali

    dude.

    if u can run doom III on a 1 gigahz masheen u are smokin crak with the big boys.

    west-side my life.

    big up yerself givin it to the maximum ur prototype is solid bling ya hear.

  2. Hey Jesse. Since you have an AMD chip in your Alienware system, it could be running the Cool and Quiet Driver for the chipset. It slows down the CPU if you are not doing anything processor intensive. That could be the reason why you see 1 GHz in the general tab under system properties. I’m fairly sure you can turn this feature on and off. I have an AMD based Shuttle mini-pc and put in an Athlon64 3500+ 2.2 or 2.4GHz, can’t remember. :-)

  3. That by far has to be your funniest post yet.

    So you don’t recommend an Alienware PC again? I was going to order one from the states/uk as here in Aussie land we have DELL…and Ma/Pa’s Computer shop…limited possibilities.

    I only want the Alienware for the Facade that comes with it..call me shallow, but i have to have something the closley resembles my iPod… its a culture thing.

    hmmm…

  4. I have to agree with the prior fellow, Che Allen. Your machine is definatly more than a 1GHz box if it is running Doom 3 and FarCry. Granted, both games depend on a strong Video Card, but you already had one of those yet you couldn’t play the game.

    Don’t be too pissed off about the system yet. If it is running those games – your in good shape. I would assume the value windows is reporting to you is incorrect.

    Can you boot up into the BIOS and see what it says? I am not much of a hardware guy either bu I do know a 1Ghz machine couldn’t run those games.

    Finally, if Doom3 is running OK – I can’t imagine flash will have any problems.

  5. brandy

    Hey scott,

    Brandy here, Jesse’s wife, I am not sure I would reccomend them. I am however still considering getting my laptop from them.. but I think it’s awful how we couldn’t review what we had purchased after purchasing it. Nothing on the website when you logged in.. and it was never clear how long it would take to come, BEFORE you select BUY it should tell you an astimate. We never knew till after in the email it sent. It took over a month..

    I dunno, all I know is I hate all the other PC makers, and I can’t justify a MAC cause I can’t afford all the software I need. From the comments above it sounds like its running really well for how much it cost.. but that doesn’t make there crappy customer service justified.

  6. Scott, I’ll let you know when I try doing some Flash dev on it.

  7. Bill, I’ll try seeing what the BIOS thinks I have. I’ll see, too, if I can post the benchmark docs that come with the box; I can’t understanding anything beyond “flops” on the 6 or so pages, maybe some of you all can.

  8. Ben Densmore

    I just bought my Alienware Area-51m laptop a couple of months ago and the thing screams. I have had no problems running Flash MX 2k4 Pro, Dreamweaver simultaneously. I bought an Alienware specifically for that reason, because they are such powerful machines.

    I can’t imagine Alienware even offering a 1GHz machine for gaming. If you look on AMD’s site you can find out what speed their processors run at.

    Ben

  9. thinman

    drool..

    I’m running DWMX 2004 and Flash MX Pro 2004 on an old Toshiba Tecra 8100 laptop.

    All this talk of speed and power makes me want to get off the dime and finally by a new box or 2.

    But that might seriously bite into my billable hours since currently it takes forever to finish a gig on this old effin thigh cooker.

    – m

    drool