So I'm pretty freaking excited for FF14 now that the new rig has arrived (and some other game to keep me busy until 9/22 called SCII). As my friend Dzan would say it's a hoss.
Go fast goodies:
Liquid Cooled i7 930 2.8 GHz - planning on overclocking to 3.6 GHz
ATI Radeon 5970
6GB 1600 Mhz RAM
(2) 10,000 spin 300GB Raptors in Raid 0 (600GB)
875 Watt Power supply
1TB Secondary drive
OptX AW2310 Widescreen 120 Hz with 3D capabilities
Blu-ray Reader/Writer Drive
The box it came in was absolutely massive. 71 lbs!
Leatherbound User Manual LOL
Uh.... this is bigger than I expected...
This is pretty sly, the top slides back to reveal front ports. (As if there weren't enough, there's like 6 or 7 USB ports on the back.
If you press the alienhead the front compartment slides open!
3D Monitor, but no 3D card. I kicked around going to dual 480GTX for the 3D support, but was more interested in eye-finity. Some of those articles about seizures scared me away from 3D for the time being. Additionally, I need a wireless NIC in the box since I can't get wired access to the box. Yes I know there are other alternatives, but I wanted the card. I'll reshape the box if I need/want to when I get into my new apartment. I just moved to New York a few months ago and sublet the first thing I could find that was decent and will be moving into my new diggs in a couple months.
Mmmmm... ready to play.
For anyone else considering Alienware, the ALX only adds vents to the top for a $500 premium. They open when box temperatures reach a certain threshold. Tom's Hardware and a few other places did a review and said that the flaps didn't add any extra cooling. Additionally many people on the Alienware forums commented that they are problematic and can be squeaky. The general consensus seemed to stay clear of this year's ALX machines.
The Area 51, which I also considered, is significantly larger than the Aurora; however, you get more room to fit PCI Express cards. Modern cards cover up the extra PCI Express slots in the Aurora (because they're so wide), which means if you run Dual 480s or 5870s you wont have room for any other cards. The Area 51 allows for dual cards and leaves room for another PCI Express card, at the expense of having to find a place for a MASSIVE tower.
As far as the benchmark scores goes, straight out of the box no tweaks, my first pass on high-res was 3644, second was 3656. Low-res was 5606. Keep in mind that I'm running the 5970 without using the .dll hack if you're trying to compare machine specs. Another poster on these forums with a similar base configuration using the .dll hack and overclocking his i7 930 to 4.1 Ghz ( not sure I'll ever be that bold ) was able to score over 7000 on high-res.
Yes, Alienware is expensive. However, in my scenario it makes a certain amount of sense. All I have is an XPS M1730 (laptop) at the moment so I have nothing to upgrade. Pricing out all the parts to the equivalent of this machine on newegg.com was actually more expensive than what I paid. Granted I was able to get 20% off my PC. Additionally the Alienware tech support guys seem to really know there stuff and have already said they'll help me overclock the box. I have 3 years of warranty on the entire box including my raptors in Raid 0, which we know can be temperamental. Additionally they honor warranties after overclocking.
Quite frankly the fit and finish to this PC is excellent. Getting in and out of it is a breeze and well thought out. Everything you need from HDMI cables to drivers is included. A full restore disc is included to bring you back to square one. The bios is meant for customers to overclock and tweak.
As someone that has built PCs in the past, I'm glad that I didn't this time around. Dell's sales team sucks, but their Alienware tech guys are pretty sharp. Before making my purchase I called them up to ask some real questions. They had all the info for tech specs, build, etc. I was looking for and were willing go the extra mile. I asked one of the tech's a question and he said, "I don't know, let me go in the back and open up the machine and look." He literally went to the back of wherever he was, opened up an Area 51 for me and gave me all the info I was looking for in about 5 minutes.
Edited, Aug 13th 2010 8:38am by UnusedName