Finally, some negative aspects of the Alienware notebook computer:
- Never-ceasing Noise. Noise from cooling fans is to be expected with high-power notebook computers, but they never turn off, except when the computer is put into hibernation. Fan noise is tolerable, but when I moved the computer over to make room, the noise changed to a quiet but high-pitched whine. That's annoying. I appreciate my regular notebook computer being mostly silent.
Also, when I put it into hibernation (to shut off the fan noise) and then close the lid, the Alienware computer turns itself back on. Sigh.
- Dust Buildup. After the Alienware had been on the side table for several weeks, my daughter (who is in charge of cleaning the office) was dismayed at the amount of dust on the table. Moving the computer, we found a layer of dust underneath as well. Must be the fans that draw in the air, and expell it to the table underneath.
Turning the unit over, I see that the grills covering the fans underneath the unit are clogging up with dust. I wonder what happens when they become fully clogged?
- Proportional Speed. The previous installment of this review showed that AutoCAD ran only proportionately faster on the Alienware than a slower computer. That indicates that AutoCAD is CPU-bound, but that paying more for this Alienware might not be worth it -- over, say a notebook computer with a slightly slower CPU speed and fewer features but half the US$3,800 price.
- Illegible Markings. I noted earlier my complaint that industrial designers think that subtlety is hot; to the customer, it is annoying. Even my teenage kids, with their razor-sharp eyes, had a hard time figuring out some of the controls. Making the markings clear!
- Lousy DVD Player. With the 17" widescreen LCD, we figured this computer would make a great second DVD watching area. We put on a new copy of "Ocean's 12" and were disappointed. The image is not as crystal clear as when watching on our other computers -- it looked to me like pixel enlargement was going on. And the sound. Ouch! Hooked up to my stereo system, the sound had a constant, deep, rapid, thudding noise. Even with the bass turned right down, we could not hear portions of quieter conversation.
Speaking of industrial design, I wonder who dreamt up installing both green and blue LEDs on this computer. I'm sorry, but the hues of those colors simply clash. Green or blue, folks, not both.
Speaking of blue LEDs, some of your younger clients might consider the glowing alien eys on the cover this computer kewl, but your older and more distinguished clients might consider them childish. Especially when the computer goes to sleep, and the eye begin to flash.
I had my son uninstall all the software we'd intalled, as well as erase passwords and other sensitive information. He was impressed at how quickly software uninstalled.
When Alienware called to ask for their computer back, I was surprised they had no interest in whether a review had been written. What was the purpose of this exercise? Perhaps they thought I would fall in love and buy the beast -- marketeers sometimes foist "corporate seeding programs," where they provide hardware and software free (within limits) in hopes of having their product adopted.