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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2003, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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To Alienware or not...

that is the question. I've got some money coming to me next week.. enough money that the price of an Alienware computer (plus the 20% reimbursement I get from my company) makes it possible to purchase without me feeling guilty (and not breaking my bank that bad either).

What I'm thinking about getting is the Alienware "Entertainment" System (they call it the Area-51 Hybrid while Best Buy calls it the Pro Media Center).



It's got pretty much everything I want but it is pricey at $2K. Could something like this be replicated for considerable less? How much less?

Alienware Navigator Pro Media Center with Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 2.66GHz

PRODUCT FEATURES
  • Intel® Pentium® 4 processor 2.66GHz, with 533MHz frontside bus for a powerful CPU-to-memory connection; 512KB L2 cache memory for efficient processing
  • 512MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM for multitasking power, expandable to 2.0GB
  • 120.0GB Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Pioneer DVD-RW/CD-RW drive (4x2x12 DVD-RW, 16x8x32 CD-RW)
  • nVidia GeForce4 Ti 4200 AGP 8X graphics card with 64MB video DDR SDRAM; Emuzed Maui TV tuner PCI card
  • Support for 5.1 surround sound through built-in optical digital output; remote control with infrared blaster
  • Universal memory card reader supports CompactFlash I/II, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard and Memory Stick; integrated 10/100Base-T Ethernet controller
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports (2 front, 2 back); 3 IEEE 1394 ports (1 front, 2 back); 2 serial and 2 PS/2 ports; 1 VGA connector; 2 optical SPDIF outputs (1 front, 1 back), set of 1/8" analog audio connectors and microphone and headphone jacks
  • Compact design and small footprint; measures only 7.4"H x 7.9"W x 11.8"D
  • Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system preinstalled
  • Intel, Pentium, Celeron, Intel Inside, and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.





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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2003, 04:28 PM
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That is definately badass, if I didn't mind spending the cash on that I would buy Alienware for sure. That computer is definately perfect for media.

I'm in the middle of turning my XBox into my home entertainment center as a substitute. Soldering tiny motherboard connections is a bitch.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2003, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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One downside I'm noticing now is that there are no available slots available so if I want to go wireless (802.11b and Bluetooth) I have to use USB for it



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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2003, 09:50 PM
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i would just go buy a nice small desktop case and build your own.... that way you can make it exactly like you want it for probbly under 1000 bux ... just my 2 cents

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-02-2003, 09:55 PM
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Forgive me for not fully reading, but what's the warranty look like on one of those, Jose?

That's a damn lot. I'd assume you could build one for maybe, $500-$800 less.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-03-2003, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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OK, break it down with prices and parts and let's see how much it would cost to replicate it. Also, I noticed HP had a Gaming/Multi-Media system for sale on Best Buy's website. I'll post up specs tomorrow.

Grant, not sure about the warranty. But warranty and support are a somewhat small reason why I'm considering going with a "built" system.




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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-03-2003, 02:13 AM
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My HEC computer:

Athlon XP 1800+
256MB PC100
Shuttle AK32A
80GB Maxtor
16x DVD
52x24x52x CD-RW
ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 w/ Remote
Sound Blaster Live!
10/100 NIC

Under $600 for everything that wasn't held over from my previous computer. Held over from the old system were ram, sound card, and NIC. I need to get some PC2100 ram, debating on 256MB or 512MB, or $~30 - $~60 depending. I know a Live! 5.1 goes for well under $100 now. And 10/100 NICs are way cheap. About $20 at the most.

Definitely less than $700 by purchasing everything. And my purchases were made at retail (except the AIW), and I could kick myself for being impatient and not buying online. Could have saved myself almost $100.

If you're set on a mini box like that, the Shuttle ones look to be the same thing. Just get some ram, an AIW, a good sound card, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive (since you've only got the one slot), or maybe a DVD-RW/CD-RW, and a large hard drive, and you should be set for around $1000 depending on how expensive the box is.

As for converting an XBox, FlowJack, are you actually adding PVR functionality to it by way of audio/video / TV input? If so ... do tell I might be getting an XBox in the near future, and I want to set it up to play not just DVD, but DivX, and my mp3 collection. So I can take my stuff with me. If I can get it to capture video too, that would kick ass. I've already been looking at the mod chips, and getting a larger HDD, converting it to region X for DVD's, and the various console emulators to play all my old games on.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-03-2003, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DarkWolf

As for converting an XBox, FlowJack, are you actually adding PVR functionality to it by way of audio/video / TV input? If so ... do tell I might be getting an XBox in the near future, and I want to set it up to play not just DVD, but DivX, and my mp3 collection. So I can take my stuff with me. If I can get it to capture video too, that would kick ass. I've already been looking at the mod chips, and getting a larger HDD, converting it to region X for DVD's, and the various console emulators to play all my old games on.
I haven't gotten to the point of playing with the different OS's that have been written for the XBox yet. So far I've just gotten it to load up a different bios. OS's and software come next. I don't expect to setup PVR capabilities but it could probably be done.

There is a media player prog for it so mp3s, DVDs, etc. won't be a problem. PVR would be awesome, I'll look into it at least.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-03-2003, 08:39 PM
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i could build a computer better than that for just under a grand

tacos?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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What do you guys think of this setup for the money? Seems more bang for the buck compared to the Alienware setup.



Here are the specs.

hp media center pc 854 (DF207A#ABA)




Last edited by evil jose; 05-05-2003 at 10:08 AM.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 10:24 AM
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the best way to go is to build your own, I could make you a bad ass computer for like $800

i will never buy a pre made computer from the store,

I make what i want.


Mine is a p4 2.0 ghz, 120gig hd, dvd/cdrw, 512 meg of ram, GeForce4, and a bad ass case, all for $600

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ktulu
the best way to go is to build your own, I could make you a bad ass computer for like $800

i will never buy a pre made computer from the store,

I make what i want.


Mine is a p4 2.0 ghz, 120gig hd, dvd/cdrw, 512 meg of ram, GeForce4, and a bad ass case, all for $600
First of all, I have no problem with building it myself but I've gotten to the point where I'd rather just buy it complete and not screw around with getting all the parts together, I'm impatient and don't want to wait. Warranty has also become an issue with me so I want that. I'm also approved for like $2200 at Best Buy and I'll get 0% interest on it so I don't mind going that route.

Thanks for the offer Ktulu.

Anybody else have an opinion on the HP system other to build it myself or have them build it?




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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 11:22 AM
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also if you are going to buy a computer i would get a dell

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ktulu
also if you are going to buy a computer i would get a dell
And why's that since you never buy any store bought computers?




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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 02:08 PM
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its what we use up here at work and we never have any problems with them

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ktulu
its what we use up here at work and we never have any problems with them
We use Compaq/HP's here and get a discount on them

So let's see, discount on HP. Big bonus from company. Best Buy Instant Credit for $2200. 0% Financing until 2004 or 18 months.. can't remember which.




Last edited by evil jose; 05-05-2003 at 02:15 PM.
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 02:56 PM
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wish i got a discount

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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-05-2003, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ktulu
its what we use up here at work and we never have any problems with them
Ditto that!!
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2003, 10:51 AM
 
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We get a discount for Compaq from my work also. I still wouldnt take a compaq even if it was given to me. I have had nothing but problems with my Compaq over the few years. It has crashed on me every few months since I have owned it. Most frustrating thing I have ever owned, this coming from a dsm owner . On a sidenote - I have a Mac from the early 90's that hasnt given me the slighest problem, Mac owner for life right here....
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2003, 02:14 PM
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I can only hope that Compaq's quality improved since merging with HP. I've had nothing but bad experiences with Compaq's. I have a friend with an HP that's fairly outdated, but he's had problems with it since he got it years ago. And we used HP's at The Art Institute, and used to have lots of problems with 'em too.

But nowhere near the problems I've experienced with Compaqs.

I'd recommend learning the virtue of patience, and building your own system Most retail parts come with a year or better warranty, and if you buy from retail stores (like Best Buy) you can usually get a 2 year replacement plan. $600 - $800 for a bad ass system, and pocket the rest

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post #21 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-06-2003, 03:21 PM
 
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Save yourself from the stress and anger.. get a mac and call it a day..
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post #22 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2003, 01:31 AM
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Feh! Only thing a Mac's good for is the hardware. Dump that OS and you got a deal

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post #23 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-07-2003, 01:54 AM
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I have always built my own computers. The money that you can save is unbelievable. Remember the the computer will be obsolete before you want it to be. You could build two computers for the prices that you are tossing out there. I am talking top of line hardware as well. If you don't mind wasting 1K of your own money then go for it.
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