Pros the STATS sound GREAT and you expect a killer machine, but the truth is I am not impressed with the 3DMARKS scores nor the performance of the general O/S and applications!
Cons HORRIBLE Technical support. You get a new reason/suggestion each time you call. Nothing is consistent. Their "ON-SITE" support really doesn't stand true since they ask you to send your machine in for pretty much anything that needs to be fixed.
Summary Their repair department is incompetent. They don't actually read the ticket for repair and just fix/replace whatever THEY fill like, which doesn't resolve the issue. Customer service is poor, if you email their feedback team all they say is Thanks for your suggestions/feedback, nothing comes of it. They don't even put DATES on their driver/software download section so you have no clue if a new driver/software is out for your machine in "MY HIVE". I've asked repeatedly and they ignore the request. My machine has general performance issues. Intermittently the system will LAG all around, mouse will get jumpy, if I'm playing music the music will stutter, sometimes it even happens right on boot when the VISTA opening sound is playing. Sent it in TWO times already in the past 3 weeks and they STILL don't even know what is causing it and even though they tell me on the phone they are going to replace this or that (for instance the CPU & MEMORY), I get it back and they decided to replace one of my two video cards. Unbelievable. When you talk to the tech support or even the supervisors, they have no clue what was done to the machine because they can't even decipher the notes from the repair group. It's just a big miss. ALIEN-B-WARE ! ! ! Not worth the $4,300 I paid, that's for SURE!
Pros Appealing case design, the ability to include a quad core processor, optional HD screen, fast system performace (with dual core processor).
Cons Poor performance (with quadcore). Once the northbridge heats up under load, all of that quadcore performance disappears. Alienware attempted to solve the problem with a BIOS release that undervolted the CPU, thereby causing even more instability.
Summary I'm writing this review with the intent of it being the most helpful review possible. If you purchase the laptop with a dual core processor, there will be no issues with the system and it will perform remarkably well. The quad core processor on the other hand causes issues with heat because of its size and power consumption.
Due to the increased size of the quad core heat sink, the Northbridge heat sink does not make good contact with the Northbridge chip. This is because the CPU heat sink and the Northbridge heat sink are one physical assembly. Consequently, the Northbridge chip cannot be cooled well and the system begins to stutter horribly once the Northbridge reaches its temperature limit (which it does routinely). Frame rates and system performance drop so drastically that games become unplayable. During some of my testing, once the Northbridge reached its limit and the system began to stutter, game frame rates in WoW and Left 4 Dead would drop to 2 - 7 FPS. During digital video encoding, frame rates fell to 3-4 fps. The stuttering I have described is the reason that many other reviewers are claiming that the system is trash and has poor performance.
To solve this problem, Alienware attempted to remove heat from the system through a BIOS update (version B14) which undervolted the CPU. Admittedly, the stuttering was reduced after installing B14; however, it does still occur. Additionally, by undervolting the CPU they caused massive instability issues. Over a 30 day period, I blue screened 68 times (I kept a log :( ).
If you call Alienware and ask for support on this issue, they will run you through the basics of trying to speed up your system or remove excess services from startup. After that fails they blame the poor performance and instability on whatever applications you are running at the time of crash. They love to blame WoW, so if you are purchasing this laptop with that game in mind, I would avoid it. These are the reasons that many of the other reviewers claim their support to be awful. Most of their support staff speak English well in my opinion.
There is a solution to the problem to be found by "copper modding" the north bridge heat sink. If you are going to attempt this, know that it does work; but, it will void the warranty. After the copper mod, the system performance is incredible.
Overall, I would not recommend purchasing this laptop with the quad core CPU unless you feel like doing the copper mod.
Pros Q9000 Quadcore chip, dual ATI graphics cards, two 250Bb 7200RPM HDD's in RAID '0' and 3Gb of memory deal with anything you throw at it.Yea, it's big and it's heavy but it's nowhere near as big and heavy as my desktop. For the $, the best out there.
Cons The power brick sucks...never seen anything like it; weighs more than the system. I usually build these things so haven't had to deal with Dell's service dept yet. I have had to in the past and I feel bout them the way I do about the brick.
Summary Q9000 Quadcore chip, dual ATI graphics cards, two 250Gb 7200RPM HDD's in RAID '0' configuration and 3Gb of DDR3 memory deal with anything you throw at it (mine has a 32 bit O/S). In addition, the connectivity hardware allows you a wide variety options for internet access and peripheral hookups. A built in fingerprint reader adds a layer of access security to the system. A built-in 2mp web cam and facial recognition software bolster this security and provide excellent communication options. The back lit keyboard is spacious, easy to see in low light and easy to use.Alienware maintains its reputation with this one and for the money (approx. 3k configuration), on a whole, I am very, very pleased with this system.
"same issues here"on by goku103101
Pros Nice looking laptop, Top/mid range hardware.
Cons Lots of things I don't like about the M17, one Alienwares tech support is BAD, The M17 has nothing but issues. Could have gotten an OCZ cheaper and its the same laptop hardware wise. Unable to play games/movies video is jerky sound gets very choppy.
Summary Bottom line is DON'T waste your money get a differnt laptop, I have sent it in with no luck and was without is for almost a month, upon getting it back the Master video card blows out, nothing but issues with this laptop I have been in the IT field for 15 years, I have tried everything modded ATI driver, OCZ drivers, reinstall of VIsta from 32 to 64bit nothing, I can't even run a game at low settings, I have watched the temp with HWMonitor and it never went over 61'c for the GPU and 68'c CPU this is just junk, I will never buy another Alienware AGAIN. Could have spent the $4K on custom parts for my Mustang and would have been more happy. The games I have tried to play are " Titan Quest, WoW w/all exp., Doom3, GuildWars, Dawn of War w/all exp., Dawn of War 2, Warcraft 3, C&C3, C&C Genreals, the list goes on even on mid settings its just bad. I know one thing I will not charge another laptop if they chose to reaplace its there fault, and im sure a Lawyer would see it my way as its a LEMON. Send me a working one and I will send the bad one back even if I have to pay shipping. Buyers Beware of the AW M17 its GARBAGE PERIOD.
Pros Amazing amount of value in a small package, I have mine fully loaded, 2 ssd's in raid 0, crossfire video card, with all the options. Competitive price spec wise vs competetors
Cons Everything. Constant crashes, jittery performance even with moderate settings in games. CSR's don't even speak english half the time. Lemons.
Summary My display driver crashes and is corrupted every 1-3 days. No reason.. no new installs. Nothing. My SSD's ended up DOA, I had to nothing short of threaten alienware to send me a replacement. They took a 1000$ hold on the drives which has yet to be refunded. Sound driver and wireless drivers (upgraded wireless intel wifi aswell) corrupt about every 1-3 days aswell right on queue. This is just a waste of time and a joke, alot of good quality components that theoretically should work well.. I don't know what alienware botched. but they simply do not work. Maybe a heating issue, maybe just some crappy drivers. Alienware releases the only working versions of drivers that doing void your warranty. Avoid buying a M17, maybe the others work ok.. this is a complete pos. with the 1000$ hold on the SSD's I haven't got back .. I'm out a total of 8,989.33$ CDN from this, 599$ laptop from walmart works more reliable. Sad. True. 13 years Enterprise IT tech experience aswell.