Nick's Christmas Shopping: Alienware supercomputer

With time running out and over £4,000 burning a hole in his virtual pocket, Nick's only gone and blown the lot on an Alienware desktop PC -- just so he can play <em>Battlefield 2</em> really, <em>really</em> fast

Nick Hide Managing copy editor
Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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Nick Hide
2 min read

Here's my problem: I'm a complete klutz, but I love computer games. This means consoles are a no-no, for most kinds of games, because the handheld controllers are too clunky. PCs, on the other hand, offer the greatest, most klutz-friendly interface ever devised -- the mouse. But a decent PC that'll run 3D-heavy modern games is very complicated, which is where we get to my other problem: I know nothing about computers.

Thank heavens, then, for Alienware, with its off-the-shelf approach to high-performance gaming and wacky boy-racer designs. No colour is too bombastic for these chaps, no movie tie-in too shameful. And boy, do they move polygons. As we've noted before, playing Battlefield 2 on an Alienware is the closest our fire-and-forget generation will (hopefully) come to real war. It's seat-of-the-pants stuff, jet-plane fast and wounded-tiger furious -- utterly unpredictable and seamlessly drawn.

So how far will my remaining Virtual Crave Pounds go? I've got £4,027 left after my Samsung 32-inch LCD TV. Let's head straight to the top of the line, to the Area-51 7500, which starts at a mere £1,941 from the Alienware Web site. First up is the processor, where we certainly do not want to be skimping: a 3.2GHz Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 840 with 2MB FSB cache, whatever the hell that is. Ditto the RAM -- 4GB, my good sir, if you please.

With the epic sessions I've got in mind, this thing's going to be running hot, hot, hot. So let's have the Alienware Liquid Cooling with AlienIce 2.0 Video Cooling System in Fusion Red -- it's only £150 extra and it'll clash hideously with the Plasma Purple case. It should also take care of the massively overpowered, SLI-enabled, dual 512MB Nvidia GeForce 7800 graphics card. Phwoar!

Games are getting heftier and heftier these days, so I'll take the maximum 1 terabyte hard drive -- plenty of room to, ahem, back up my DVDs. That just leaves bits and pieces: two optical drives, a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic soundcard and an extra year's warranty and Respawn Recovery Kit -- no point in taking chances with this bad boy. There's no monitor included, but I can plug it in the old Samsung. That should come to, hang on [licks pencil, furrows brow, notices handy automatic price calculator], £3,987.95! Just enough left for a copy of Battlefield 2 and a bumper pack of Red Bull to keep me soldierin' through the night. -Nick Hide

Nick has bought these items:
Samsung 32-inch LCD television
Alienware Area-51 7500 gaming desktop PC with Battlefield 2

He has nothing left to spend before Christmas Day. Click here to find out more about Crave's virtual Christmas shopping spree.