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Tired of that old laptop? Trade it in!

Alienware's AlienExchange program

Sometimes we wish computers were more like cars. Drive one around for a while, and then when it starts to show its age, trade it in for a newer model. Unfortunately, computers age worse than pretty much any other consumer product, losing value from the very second they roll off the assembly line.

That's why Alienware's AlienExchange Trade-in Programcaught our eye. In fact, the company will do more than simply give you a few bucks for an old PC. Like a bizarre online pawn shop, they'll take old gaming consoles, MP3 players, and mobile phones, and give you credit toward an Alienware purchase.

It's all a bit gimmicky, to be honest. We popped open the AlienExchange Web siteand went through an online tool that let us select products we wanted to trade in by category and model, then got an "instant quote." We were offered $178 for an Xbox 360 Premium system in excellent condition, and $100 for a 60GB iPod in good condition, but without the original box. That's pretty good, even considering a decent Alienware rig can run upwards of $5,000.

If you want to accept the quote, you print out a shipping label, mail your stuff in, and about a week later, you'll get an Alienware gift card (subject to the company's verification of the condition of whatever you sent in). If you've got an old Alienware computer, they'll automatically tack on an extra $200 to the trade-in value.

Alienware's press release pitches it like so: "Customers will enjoy further advantages with the AlienExchange Program that includes: gaining additional funds, getting rid of unwanted electronic devices and paving the way for more affordable Alienware purchases," said Carlos Puentes, vice president of operations of Alienware. "Anyone who participates in this invaluable new program can turn the items they no longer need into a more powerful new Alienware PC they have been dreaming about."

Of course, we haven't heard from anyone who's successfully used the system yet, and your mileage may vary, but it seems like a decent way to get a few bucks off of a new PC and keep old tech junk out of the local landfill.