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This all started back in February/March when my Uni course ended for the year. Due to the house being decorated and stuff being moved around I had enough space to fit a desktop PC in my room.

I was on the train coming back from somewhere and saw a man reading a PC mag with loads of ads for different prebuild companies. I later found out that the magazine was Custom PC. I looked around at different companies and tweaked various builds. For the time being I wasn't even looking at an Alienware. The starting price of the machine I wanted was around double the price of most other companies.

I tried to get the new Custom PC issues when they came out because they were always short of stock in shops. As time went on I began to understand a bit more about what I was hoping to buy, which companies offered good value for money and so on. Each month they also review one really high spec gaming machine. There was one rig that appealed to me in particular. It used the Silverstone TJ07 case which is the only case I actually like. It's simple and stylish but has loads of possibilities. My mind was settled. Or so I thought. I suddenly realised that they were charging for the overclockig service. They had taken Intel i7 920 @ 2.66Ghz and made it 3.8, and decided to charge the price of the Extreme Edition i7. Well that didn't sit well with me at all. I'll pay for the company to build it but not another £x00 to do something that most people can do for free. I did look at other companies but nothing really grabbed my attention. I am quite picky. I'm not a big fan of side windows. It's a PC not Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I don't need to see all the fancy wiring work and LED lights all over the place. But if you don't do that then the window is pretty much useless so you go back to square one. For old times' sake I went back to Alienware and they had cut the price of the core machine from £1400 to £1119. Much better, but still greater than most companies would ask for.


It was coming close to buying time as I needed to decide what to do with all my savings in regards to where they would go come my 21st. Again, I checked AW and the price had dropped to below £900. Now we were in business. After some tweaking, finding out the companies that made the AW components and comparing I was actually paying the same price as companies like CyberPower, PC Specialist charged(please note that this was at the time and may be different now). The price did go up after opting for a dual drive with Blu Ray and a bigger HDD but it was still worth it. The machine was delayed slightly due to some out of stock parts but it only arrived two days after the expected date of arrival.
The Dell 23" screen was on sale and is very clear and sharp.

The Logitech Z4 speakers have great audio for a reasonable price (£60). Easy to set up. Has a nice volume block too which controls the volume and bass level.

Now on to Razer. I got the Lycosa keyboard and Mamba mouse from play .com (UK) and they both arrived very quickly. However the official store was not so great. I wanted the Sphex mousepad and Megalodon 7.1 headset. Both of these were new items and were selling fast. I had to constantly ask the support where my orders were as their website had a very unclear tracker with the only updates being "processing" and "complete". It took just less than a month to get two items. But it was well worth the wait and cheaper than UK prices. However after a few days of playing I found the Sphex a bit uncomfortable. It has great tracking but I felt as if I needed a bit of support for my wrist. The Sphex isn't a traditional mat, it's actually a paper thin surface that sticks to your desk. It works great and for £10 you can't really fault it but after getting the Exactmat and playing for a while I found it much better. It's made of Aluminium and has two surfaces. One is called "Speed" and is smooth, the other "Control", and the surface is slightly rougher. The wrist rest also has a soft, thin, flexible rubber pad underneath to place the mat on so my glass table won't suffer. Great value for just over £20.

Overall I'm very happy with the system, I still have my laptop from AW which I enjoy using, I'll most likely use it for things like music now as all my iTunes stuff is on there. PCs are long term investments so you may as well spend the money on something you want. There's nothing worse than the "what if...?" thoughts when things like this come up. Buyer's regret is a harsh syndrome. I'm also planning on using this as a platform to upgrade. I've had the system for a month and have had no issues.

I actually did some calculations and according to products listed in Custom PC I would have saved nothing if I had done this myself. In fact the price was over £2000 (with top quality components) and AW were doing it for £1557.

Please note that you cannot buy this system anymore as AW have recently released new machines and the new full sized desktops (Area 51) won't be out until DX11 cards come out. The new Aurora machines are out now but are smaller and not so great for hardcore users looking to fully spec out a machine as they use smaller motherboards which take less components. Eg: you can't have dual graphics and a separate sound card.

Specs:

Intel i7 920 2.66 ghz
Nvidia GTX 295
6GB RAM
500GB HDD
1TB HDD (External)
Dell 23" HD Monitor
Logitech Z4 speakers
Razer Mamba mouse
Razer Lycosa keyboard
Razer Megalodon Headset
Razer Exactmat

Other companies I looked at:
CyberPower, Dell, PC Specialist, Beast Computers, Overclockers UK, Novatech
***Nothing against any of these companies.***
Companies I used to order:
Alienware.co.uk, Dell.co.uk, Play.com, Amazon.co.uk, Razerzone.com



It's not the best image but I'll find a better one later. Heres the new Area 51 with the side panel off. I also linked a short video. Just ignore the Dell guy talking.

http://uk.gear.ign.com/dor/articles/...alkthroug.html

England is my city
I think I just silly juiced in my pants.

And I just purchased a desktop theme that would make your computer's image kick ass. Made by Hyperdesk.

Same guys that do alienware's desktop themes, but Slick as hell.

I'll give them (3 of em) to you when I get back to the UK.


Also a Final Fantasy Republic Global Moderator
Nice desktop, but well over priced for the hardware you're getting. That's the price you pay for a custom configuration setup from Dell's Alienware sector I guess.
Jesus this site's moved on! Great to see. Anyhoo I made this thread ages ago to celebrate buying my first desktop and I have a new one on the way so I'll update when it gets here.
England is my city
So the old one lasted you about 8 years? Not bad...
Originally Posted by MarvzMitts
I was reading through this thread wondering to myself why he was so excited about such a mediocre PC... then I noticed the dates... lol
Hey stranger, been a while.
Did you go pre-built again?
Hey stranger, been a while.
Did you go pre-built again?
Originally Posted by Obsidian Tides
My last two since the Alienware have been custom built by small UK companies that no longer exist. Two weeks ago my PSU exploded, wiping everything out. Due to time, I had to get prebuilt this time around. Not exactly what I wanted but I get a PC a lot sooner and without complications.
England is my city
My new desktop arrived yesterday. I'll try to keep it simple.

What did I buy?

Alienware Area 51 desktop.

Specs?

i76800K 3.8GHz
16GB Ram
GTX 1080
500GB SSD/2TB HDD/4TB HDD on the way
850W PSU

Alienware is overpriced, what about other companies or building your own?

Yeah, it's not cheap, but I needed a PC ASAP. The US has a lot of choice when it comes to custom companies. Here in the UK we don't, and the ones that are around aren't that reliable. Dell has great customer service, the ETA was accurate and I got a PC in 7 working days, 9 including the weekend. Custom companies also close down frequently as I guess they just aren't popular. The company that did my last two PCs isn't around anymore despie the amazing build quality. I'm just not into the DIY thing.

How does it perfrom?

Windows boots in mere seconds. There also isn't a lot of noise from the fans. There's a constant hum as expected but once a game, music, video is on then it's easily drowned out. Massive difference from my 2009 model that was much louder. My Wildlands save is gone so I'm going to slowly work through it again. It runs smoothly, as you'd expect from the spec list. It definitly loads quicker than my last PC and the game doesn't stutter at all, which was a small issue from before. Once I click on the game icon in Uplay, the splash screen stays up noticibly longer than my previous PC. It loads quicker once in game though. Not sure what that could be. As I mentioned, I have a new drive on the way, if I can transfer the files easily I'll see if that makes a difference. When I do the install I'll check the model, but I believe it's a WD Green. The new one is a Seagate.

I'm enjoying it so far, but it's been less than two days so there's more to install and transfer.

Feel free to ask questions.
England is my city
My new desktop arrived yesterday. I'll try to keep it simple.

What did I buy?

Alienware Area 51 desktop.

Specs?

i76800K 3.8GHz
16GB Ram
GTX 1080
500GB SSD/2TB HDD/4TB HDD on the way
850W PSU

Alienware is overpriced, what about other companies or building your own?

Yeah, it's not cheap, but I needed a PC ASAP. The US has a lot of choice when it comes to custom companies. Here in the UK we don't, and the ones that are around aren't that reliable. Dell has great customer service, the ETA was accurate and I got a PC in 7 working days, 9 including the weekend. Custom companies also close down frequently as I guess they just aren't popular. The company that did my last two PCs isn't around anymore despie the amazing build quality. I'm just not into the DIY thing.

How does it perfrom?

Windows boots in mere seconds. There also isn't a lot of noise from the fans. There's a constant hum as expected but once a game, music, video is on then it's easily drowned out. Massive difference from my 2009 model that was much louder. My Wildlands save is gone so I'm going to slowly work through it again. It runs smoothly, as you'd expect from the spec list. It definitly loads quicker than my last PC and the game doesn't stutter at all, which was a small issue from before. Once I click on the game icon in Uplay, the splash screen stays up noticibly longer than my previous PC. It loads quicker once in game though. Not sure what that could be. As I mentioned, I have a new drive on the way, if I can transfer the files easily I'll see if that makes a difference. When I do the install I'll check the model, but I believe it's a WD Green. The new one is a Seagate.

I'm enjoying it so far, but it's been less than two days so there's more to install and transfer.

Feel free to ask questions.
Originally Posted by Blank Planet
I don't blame you. Instant return is sometimes worth the extra cost. I "built" a machine last year, by finding a system with most of the components I wanted already, and then making some additional improvements. Had the machine up, running, and gaming in 4K the same day.

I also could have "saved money" by purchasing each component raw, from several vendors, shipping, and assembling. But, the hours of my time wasted would have been worth more than the money saved.
I was speaking to a friend who built his own a few years ago. He said that if anything happened to his, he'd probably go prebuilt just to save the effort and time. I know putting everything together doesn't take that long, but if you want a neat looking build with proper cable management it would take more time.
England is my city
Building your own can just be fun and satisfying, too. Then once you know how, it's easier to maintain as you make incremental upgrades over time.
When prices drop again on a couple of components I want, I'll be making another significant upgrade myself.
What's in your current one?
England is my city
Still using a 2500k, 8GB RAM, no SSD. Picked up a 380x last year though, so I'll essentially leapfrog my video card upgrades with the "everything else" upgrades. I don't run a large number of games, so the only bottleneck I've hit so far was Just Cause 3, but that was poorly optimized to begin with.
I have to say the best decission I made with my last build was an SSD. Granted the storage-to-price ratio doesn't make it that great to run a large number of games but having one just for Windows and other programs such as Steam is worth it. I had GTA5 on mine for a long time but I don't play it that much and it takes 70GB now with all the online stuff so I just uninstalled.
England is my city
I have to say the best decission I made with my last build was an SSD. Granted the storage-to-price ratio doesn't make it that great to run a large number of games but having one just for Windows and other programs such as Steam is worth it. I had GTA5 on mine for a long time but I don't play it that much and it takes 70GB now with all the online stuff so I just uninstalled.
Originally Posted by Blank Planet
Yeah, SSD is the best. My current machine, I have a few SSDs in it, one for the OS and main applications, one for steam games, one for games from all other platforms. then a 1TB HDD for data and such.
My 4TB drive arrived today. I was able to quickly get the few games I installed on the 2TB one over to it, not that there was much. Only 200-something GB. My next change will be the fans. There's nothing especially wrong with the stock ones but I know the ones in my last PC were quieter. Sadly I no longer have it, and the fans probably died with everything else but for just over £40 it's a cheap swap.
England is my city
No way to control fan speeds? There are times where you don't even need case fans running at all during idle, and a low speed handles most other regular use.
The fans are really low right now, both in single figure % usages. The low hum of fans doesn't bother me but there's a noise coming from the top fan that's a bit irritating. Once I put a game or Netflix on, it's ok. But when I'm on here or just reading other sites it's constantly there. I haven't opened the component side of the case yet so I'll see if it's just a loose screw or something but if not it would be worth changing fans just to get rid of that noise.
England is my city

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