posted on Aug, 4 2014 @ 01:55 PM
Good....Fast....Cheap: Pick any two.
There's not a person here who could not build or buy a cheap computer and brag about it. For people whose only criteria is a cheap price, by all
means go for it. You can buy Lucerne Ice Milk or Dreyer's, too. I've built many computers with that in mind for my work early on. Some of the cases
look like they were made of pot metal sand cast on the beaches in Taiwan. You can buy cheap power supplies, cheap motherboards, cheap memory, cheap
everything. You can cheat on the operating system and software and come up with a very cheap computer. You can also buy "old," as in a previous
generation. Things like graphics cards, for example, are the "hottest thing on the market" for about 6 months before they are superceded by newer,
faster, better models.
So when you hear, "Never buy an Alienware because you are just buying the name" ask yourself this: Have you ever looked at an Alienware machine? Or
did you just read the ads? Can you tell us the difference in the laptop power cords, for example, between an Alienware and, say, a typical Toshiba or
HP? Well, the Toshiba power cord is 1/8" in diameter. The Alienware power cord is 1/4" in diameter. Of course some of you will claim such a trivial
thing makes no difference, in which case you have never dealt with one of those laptop fan coolers that fits beneath the computer and plugs into the
USB port. If you had you would know that this is a frequent point of failure. An Alienware has a robust cord that will take some abuse; the Toshiba
And how about graphics? You can buy a motherboard with "built-in" graphics that claims to support "gaming" or you can buy something like an Nvidia
700 series for $500, or a dual card for $1000, or a very high end card for $2500. Now because you are so very smart you will be able to tell that
buying the high end card won't make that much of a difference to contemporary games that only work at X resolution anyway. You may also realize that
dual cards that use Crossfire aren't that much faster than a single card, certainly not twice as fast, so that may be an unnecessary expense as well.
But you may also be bragging that you use the on-board graphics on your motherboard and that the result is a "much cheaper build."
And you'd be right: Cheap. It's so cheap you won't know what you are missing because you won't be able to compare what a good GPU even looks like.
Oh, and cooling. You DID pay attention to cooling, right? Surely you did not depend on the power supply's fan to do the job for you! Or the fan
supplied on the GPU. Because you know those cards put out a tremendous amount of heat and that there needs to be a way to channel air away from the
interior to the outside. Some people even use water-cooled components and copper piping that "stops by" the CPU, GPU, and other major chips and heat
sinks to channel away the heat. Some computers have built-in air channels that move air away from those hot components. The better ones do anyway.
The cheap ones don't. In fact, when you look closely, everywhere you look there are subtle differences. I have a Toshiba and the keyboard letters are
painted on. In fact, they keys themselves are painted. I know because the "E", "I", "O", "A", "H", "T" and "N" keys have worn through
the paint. Not only are the letters worn off; the paint on the keys themselves has worn off the expose the plastic beneath.
The Alienware shows no such signs. The keys are embossed, and backlit, and more robust than the Toshiba's. In fact, the whole build quality is far
superior. It's kind of like comparing an old VW bug to a new BMW or Mercedes. Both cars get you from Point A to Point B. But if you had the choice,
which one would you rather drive?
Now Alienware has a rep for being pricey, and, indeed, you can spend some bucks on them. But they are far cheaper than the ultimate $20,000 gamer you
could buy, and the fact is you can get a very decent Alienware for less than $1000 these days, such as the X51 and you won't be worrying about
whether it has sufficient graphics capability.
So if "CHEAP" is your most important criteria, by all means buy the cheapest gamer you can buy. Note that lots of computers that are advertised as
"gamers" *such as Best Buy, just as one example, are nowhere near robust enough to offer a quality gaming experience. They may say they are, but pay
attention to those specs. They are marginally capable. I would think graphics, speed, and sound would be your primary needs. That means a fast CPU,
good GPU, and sufficient memory to handle today's intensive games. If you short change yourself, it is only you who will suffer.
Good, fast, cheap: Pick any two. Your choice.