Anyone here have a voodoo,falcon nw or Alienware computer

Any suggestions
or comments about these systems?

I just got an Alienware system (an Area-51 not an ALX), fairly near the top of their price range. I love it. I can play UT2004, Rome, and Far Cry with all the graphic bells and whistles cranked up to the max at 1600x1200 with nary a hiccup in the frame rate. One caveat is that the case is HUGE, as in barely fits under the desk (with about 4" of clearance).

Here’s my question… aside from the funky case, can I not just purchase the same parts they put into one and assemble it myself for a lot less? I’ve never been happy with, nor have purchased a factory built PC - I always build my own. Is there some mystical forumla that only these guys know for tweaking a box that cannot happen in my computer room?

thumbs up

And with all the weird, wacky cases available, you can even build your own system with a weird, wacky case. You can even go to Directron ( and get a custom paint job.

I would agree with that except falcon puts some crazy mojo on there systems. They know how to get rid of all sorts of shit to make there systems run really well

Well, I’m not making a statement - I’m asking a legit question. Are they able to tweak harder than average joe, and if so how do they manage that?

I could take $2000 on NewEgg and whip together a complete dragster of a box, but would a Falcon or Alien outrun it if they had similar parts? If so, why?

I’ve never owned one, but I can’t imagine how they could fail to tweak better than the average joe. But that average joe is nowhere near on the same level as the average QT3er. How many average joes can post to get Case’s awesome advice in designing a system?

They have the advantage of being able to design a top notch system, test the crap out of it, and stick to that design. That heavy test curve generally means there are no quirky incompatibilites or issues lurking in the system.

Well they sure as hell aren’t doing a thousand dollars worth of tweaks. So I would say unless you have loads of money and/or are inept at building things like computers; build it yourself.

Oh and to answer your question; no, they will all run pretty much the same. In fact, you can control the quality of the components going into your PC, so your home built box should be able to run - and overclock - a bit better than a retail Alienware PC.

edit - That being said, you will undoubtedly have a greater chance of headaches with a home built computer than you would with an Alienware. Chances are though, if you do your homework, everything should work fine.

My in-laws bought one of Falcon’s budget Talon systems a year or two back, and it’s actually a really solid machine. Decent price, good components, assembled well, and comes with a clean install of Windows. Sure, you could probably build your own for a little less, but I’d definitely recommend this machine to casual users who aren’t into that sort of thing.

If you’re the kind of person who actually calls a support line once in a while, you can’t beat the Falcon/Alienware/etc. systems. Great support, most of these guys have upgrade plans where they’ll actually sell and install updated motherboards, CPUs, etc. at low cost down the road, etc. The systems are amazingly well-built, and they’re optimized out the wazoo. If you just want to buy a box and have it work, and know that for the next three years if anything goes kablooey you can just call and get it fixed right up, they’re a great choice.

But if you’re handy with a screwdriver and comfortable enough with PC tweaking to figure out why the computer is making weird beeps or overheating after you put it all together, you can’t beat the build-it-yourself option. You can build a faster system for less money, you can insure that only quality components go into it, and because you’re only using standard components you, you can upgrade individual pieces easily later.

When I was updating my main rig (so I could move my previous PC into the media room), I looked at Falcon NW, etc. Even going with “cheap” brands, I couldn’t match the value I got building it myself. I put together a Northwood P4 3.4, 1GB, 250GB SATA drive, DVD-R, GF 6800GT dual DVI, Audigy 2 ZS, floppy/memory card reader combo drive, top-end ASUS motherboard, Antec Sonata case setup for just about $1,600. Anything comparable from a manufacturer was over $2,000.

The only real downsides to build-it-yourself are the lack of support, the time it’ll take you to get back up and running if you have to RMA a component that blows up under warranty, and the chance that something can go wrong. (Such as, oh, breaking the retainer clip on a Socket 478 when removing a heatsink. Ooops.)

There’s a great compromise solution that offers the best of both worlds for those who don’t want to risk building a system themselves: Monarch Computer. You can choose the components you want and they’ll custom-build and test your system. It cost $50 to $100 over the cost of the components, and you can choose a 1 to 3-year warranty. I actually would have gone this route, but Monarch didn’t have the DVD drive or video card that I wanted.

If you’re gonna buy factory, buy from ABS. Prices are often as good if not better than Newegg raw components.

Ok three final questions with a statement inbetween.

Ever use a Voodoo?

I loved both my previous falcon systems they lasted me 6 years each with no upgrades needed. I mean talk about good stuff and support. I didn’t have any real problems and I was still playing games on my pc which ran and looked better than what my friends were playing on.

I know computers are always obsolete, but is there a reason to say wait a few months before building or buying a new system?

With a budget at 3000 or less what is the ultimate kick ass gaming rig I could build

  1. No

  2. Personally, the only thing that I would wait for is if either a new video card was coming out or a new processor. Only because I’d want to reap the benefits of buying the previous generation which will start to get heavily discounted (don’t ever buy bleeding edge unless you are just into that sort of thing, the $ / performance almost never justifies it)

  3. Way better than mine! :) Consider spending $1500 now on a second tier system and banking the other $1500 for a system 2 years from now (when that second tier system will start to show it’s age). In the end you will get a better system without any noticeable depreciation.

What’s ABS?