Originally Posted by camelbackcinema
This is what I am worried most about, lying about CAS4 vs CAS5...
Though you may feel they lied to you, I hate it when I see people make that allegation. AW isn't stupid, and they know their customers tend to be more sophisticated than the average pc buyer, so they're usually very careful about their claims about the hardware they use.
With my last desktop, PC 3200 was brand new and Alienware was one of the first companies to ship with corsair xms pc3200 sticks. I'd ordered just when they were starting to offer it, and was able to get some of the first sticks they shipped.
The computer was fine and ran incredibly for a while, then I started getting reboots that would then result in the reboot giving me a checksum error on occasion, but usually it would just reboot. When dealing with Alienware on the issue, they identified a problem with the early revisions of that memory, and both sticks were replaced under warranty. I later upgraded to a full 2G of the memory while they had the machine in depot, and they found that one of the replacement sticks wasn't acting right either. Believe me I ran memtest until I was blue in the face after my original issue, and it never returned any errors, but AW identified the problem and replaced the stick. I'm now running with 2G of the corsair xms with no issues in almost two years...? Wow, has it been that long since I bought a desktop?
In the interim period when they were dealing with the corsair issues, they shipped the best memory they had that tested stable in their validation program. Some customers received Samsung memory, and though there was nothing wrong with it, a couple people screamed from the rooftops that Alienware had lied to them about the memory. The corsair memory was an option on the configurator, so you had to select it to get it. If you chose the regular memory you'd get what they were using at the time. Some thought all AW used was Corsair and said they lied about that too...
One of those guys was saying that Samsung memory was cheap crap, and he got a bunch of other people all worked up about it, but in fact Samsung makes a whole range of memories, and Alienware was using high quality dimms. AW went ahead and swapped out the memory I think for the few that felt it was a problem once they'd taken care of the issue.
I don't know if there's an issue with memory or not, but with this kind of thing the memory is most commonly the culprit. And though seeing a few people with shutdowns here might lead you to believe there is an inherent issue with the platform due to your nervousness, it's simply not common enough to conclude that it's the same issue with these systems. Even if it is, I'm confident that Alienware will get it resolved. Doesn't really help you though that I'm confident I guess...
As I said, some of these cases seemed to be resolved with a simple reinstall of the OS, others aren't so lucky.
I completely understand how this affects your perception of the machine also. My first AW desktop arrived, I plugged it in, pushed the button and the fans came on, but nothing on the screen. I'd never spent that kind of money on a computer before, and Alienware was new and very small at the time so I immediately panicked and thought I should have bought a Falcon Northwest instead... I called support and was surprised they sounded so upset the machine didn't fire up. They talked me through opening the case, removing the video card and reinstalling it, and the system fired right up.
I bought that machine in 1999 and it still runs great.
My last machine also had a boot issue when it was very cold. Most of the time it would boot fine, but sometimes it would start to boot, then either partially boot or go black. The second boot always worked. I called and dealt with their support on that issue, and AW looked into it. It turned out with the motherboard I had and the high speed processor I bought that were both new releases, the processor was too fast for the motherboard to complete the hardware ID process before trying to post. That was a difficult issue to identify, but the solution was a simple bios revision that added a fraction of a second to the boot time to allow the ID process to finish. Flashed the new bios, everything fixed.
None of these issues would have shown up in their burn in process necessarily. The memory worked for a long time before giving me issues, the video card reseat thing was likely from a jolt in shipping, and the boot issue didn't show up until it got fairly cold in the fall or winter after I'd bought the system.
In my experience, if there's an issue with the platform, AW will identify it and fix it. If these issues are being caused by individual hardware issues, they'll identify it and replace the parts under warranty. I can't tell you how many of these issues where customers were outraged with Alienware, accusing them of lying or selling systems with inherent design flaws, etc., etc., but they ended up saying they'd buy from Alienware again even though the process can be frustrating. Shazza is one example. She had a horrible time I understand with her 7500 SLI machine for a while, and the support apparently wasn't as smooth as it could be, but they got her squared away and she's now a repeat customer.
I don't blame you guys for being upset, I would be too. I just want to convey that in my experience Alienware will get these issues resolved. I don't know what to say to those of you worried about the 30 day return issue and your concern for being stuck with a lemon other than to say that in my experience with AW and on the forums, they don't abandon customers or ignore issues like these. I hate seeing people absorb the restocking fee as it's probably unnecessary and leaves the customer with a very bad taste in their mouths about Alienware.
AW wouldn't be as successful as they are, and they are very successful, if they abandoned customers, lied to customers, or sold systems with inherent design flaws.
Man, I'm writing books tonight, maybe I should go play some games...