I thought it might be helpful / of interest to people who haven't actually ordered their Alienware yet to see the phases it passes through once the order is placed - so here you go
(Note: This is from a UK order, I have no idea whether a US one is any different....)
Phase 1: (Order Received)
Your order has been received and is awaiting verification before processing. If you placed your order online, you should be receiving a call or an email from an Alienware representative shortly. All online orders must be verified before they can be processed as part of our security procedures.
Phase 2: (Order is currently processed)
Your order has been verified and is currently awaiting payment processing. While in this stage we are authenticating any credit card and/or payment information for security purposes. Please understand that this phase is necessary as it will protect you the customer from any fraudulent transactions. We observe very strict security guidelines and hope you can appreciate our efforts.
Phase 3: (Payment Received)
Your order has been processed and is currently awaiting the configuration verification phase.
Phase 4: (Configuration Verification Phase)
Your configuration is undergoing a configuration verification prior to component reservation. This means that we are checking your system configuration before we reserve all the necessary components that make up your system. Even though this process already took place when you initially placed the order, we make sure to recheck our real-time knowledgebase for any possible conflicts with drivers and/or components.
Phase 5: (Pre-Production Inventory Queue phase)
Your system is now on queue and awaiting inventory inspection and audit.
Phase 6: (Inventory Audit)
The inventory that will be used to custom build your PC has now been inspected. Please be aware that a back-order situation might or might not exist in this phase. If a back-order situation does exist, it should not impede your order’s progress. In the rare occurrence that a back-order causes a delay it would occur during phase 9 and you will be notified immediately via e-mail. The part in question will also be identified in the e-mail.
Phase 7: (Materials Inspection)
All accessories such as Manuals (if applicable), CDs, Cables that are included with your system have now been inspected.
Phase 8: (Pre Assembly)
Your system is now on queue and waiting to be assembled, integrated and inspected by quality assurance.
Phase 9: (Production: Assembly & Integration)
Your system is being hand-built by an Alienware® Assembly Technician. We take great pride in building systems as our motto reflects "build it as if it were your own". The assembly stage can take sometime as all the cabling in the machine is carefully done and the results are greater upgrade flexibility and thermal airflows. Every assembly technician has been qualified with Alienware Standards and has undergone a rigorous training program. We pride ourselves on not only giving you a high performance computer system, but a piece of art!
Phase 10: (Production: Phase #1)
Your system is undergoing the first stage of the Alienware® 200-point quality control process. This stage includes the installation of the operating system, drivers and any applications that are specific to the system you ordered. Our Alienware® Integration Technician will also install any demos, benchmark utilities, and burn-in software neccessary to correctly monitor your system’s performance. These functions are performed by AlienFactory, a proprietary software designed by Alienware for our valued customers.
Phase 11: (Production: Phase #2)
Your system is undergoing the second stage of the Alienware® 200-point quality control process. This phase is the most crucial stage. We perform a series of grueling tests that push the hardware components in your system to the very limit. This phase is especially important because it is here where the system either passes or fails. If it does fail, it will automatically go to one of our diagnostic technicians to identify any problems before we ship it to you. If the system doesn't pass our performance metrics, we will build it from scratch again. Perfection takes time!
Phase 12: (Production: Quality Control)
Your system is undergoing the final stage of the Alienware® 200-point quality control process. An Alienware® Quality Inspector is tasked with inspecting your machine for any obvious or latent defects. Our Inspectors are seasoned technicians/engineers and are well versed in the art of perfection.
Phase 13: (Production: Shipping)
Your system is being packaged carefully and being prepared for shipping.
Phase 14: (Order Shipped)
Congratulations, your order has been shipped. We only hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed building it for you.