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Alienware Hangar18 Premium review: Alienware Hangar18 Premium

Review Sections

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Cinebench 9.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
HP Pavilion Elite m9040n
Alienware Hangar18

Quake 4 performance (in frames per seconds)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,280 x 1,024 (4x AA, 8x AF)  

Odds and stripped ends
Despite the lack of a mouse, Alienware provides for your navigation needs with a Gyration remote and wireless keyboard set. We've expressed our admiration for this set before, and we maintain our love for the motion sensitive remote control. The keyboard is also perfect for typing, although its protective cover is amazingly difficult to remove.

For the rest of its features, the 802.11b/g wireless adapter is good, but wider bandwidth Draft N would be preferable, especially for transmitting video. Alienware says that's coming later. You can always go wired with the Gigabit Ethernet port, too. We also realize that Alienware is likely tied to corporate parent Dell's Blu-ray affiliation, but the lack of a Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo drive is a real minus here, and gives the format-agnostic Velocity Micro a significant advantage.

Velocity can't compete with Alienware as far as audio options, however. The Hangar18 not only offers digital motherboard-based 7.1 audio, it also provides a set of analog 5.1 inputs, along with digital audio out, and various other connections. The Sony XL3 has a few more video connections, but in general, Alienware provides enough ins and outs to hook the system up to your other home theater devices.

We also like Alienware's support policies, as they go a little further than its competitors. The default plan gets you a year of parts and labor coverage, as well as a year of onsite service, which is no longer a common support perk. The Web site is a bit less useful, with 15 FAQs with generally helpful answers, but a system with this many features needs more. You can chat with an Alienware tech online for more help, and also refer to the customer support forum or driver downloads page if you're a bit more self-sufficient.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Alienware Hangar18
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT graphics card; (2) 1TB 7,200rpm hard drives

HP Pavilion Elite m9040n
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 3GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS graphics card; (2) 320GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drives

Sony VAIO XL3 Digital Living System
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6400; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; (2) 250GB Seagate 7,200 rpm hard drives

Velocity Micro CineMagix Grand Theater
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 640MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS; (2) 400GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives

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