Frustrated with my "NEW" Alienware

nshaw

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
4
In advance, I did do searches and found there are other folks who have experienced the same symptoms I'm experiencing although, according to Dell, the issues are not the same. I even found an individual who did a YouTube video on his issues.

I'm frustrated. I received my fully loaded 18 on 12/23 (last Monday). It has the 4930 i7, 32GB of RAM, 1.5 TB of RAID 0 storage, two 780 graphics cards in SLI, etc. BTW, it cannot be overclocked to 4.3 GHz as stated on the Alienware site, 3.9 is tops. When the laptop functions, it's awesome. When you don't know if it will lock up or not, it drops the enthusiasm level down several notches.

From day 1, I've experienced constant lockups and freezes in no predictable fashion, i.e. there is no consistency in the applications that are running when the lockups/freezes occur. I've gone through msconfig and one-by-one stopped applications without any conclusion (likely due to the randomness of the occurrences). We (Alienware tech and me) ran the hardware diagnostics without issue.

The first lockup came before I even installed software. I contacted Dell the next day (Christmas eve) and they suggested I return the system to factory specs, i.e. re-image the OS. I had already installed the same software (mostly business and programming tools) that I have on my XPS 730 that runs without issue (has for 5 years). I started the re-image but encountered problems (some of the drivers on the resource disk weren't current and I didn't get the flash drive that was supposed to come with the laptop. I finally gave up and called tech support. We re-imaged the system (Win 7 Ultimate) and an Alienware technician connected to the laptop and installed the drivers; there were two drivers that didn't work - one was the storage driver that needed to be loaded during Windows install (reason for flash drive).

The technician worked on the laptop until early afternoon (several hours). Afterwards, I again installed my software (Java Netbeans, MS Office, MS Visio, EndNote (citation software for my dissertation), Adobe software (Lightroom, Photoshop, Acrobat), VMware Desktop (for Linux), Norton Internet Security, and two games (Far Cry 3 (was still downloading when laptop locked up this last time) and Crysis Warhead (awesome graphics!)).

Last night and today the laptop again froze so I contacted tech support and told them I want a new system. The supervisor last week told me I could get a new system within 30 days of shipment. So that's what I want. The frustrating part is I haven't been able to use it much during the holiday season and I will be without it when I deploy this Saturday so my wife will have to pack it up and ship it out. That sucks for me and for her!

For $4600, you would think Dell would do a better job of quality control - apparently not... I had considered buying a system (DRX) from Falcon Northwest with the same configuration; haven't found any complaints on their systems. I'll do that if the replacement system has problems. I don't expect to hear from Dell today about the replacement but was expecting (and requested) an e-mail.

My apologies for venting but thought I'd reach out to the forum and see if anyone has any recommendations.
Thanks,

Nick.
 

Sarah

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Messages
116
Firstly, welcome to the forum :) I agree with you that your experiences with the 18 are not acceptable and it's especially galling when you've bought their most expensive laptop too. I find it amazing that the 3.9 i7 is advertised as a 4.3 when Dell can't yet get it to run stable at that speed and resort to locking out the OC options in the bios. Do you have any ideas at all about the cause of the lockups? Hopefully they'll ship you a machine that works in the next week or so :) But take it from me, these laptops are fantastic when they are working :) My 17 is specced highly like yours (but only a single 780 though) and it eats everything for breakfast and then some! :D
 

nshaw

New Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2014
Messages
4
Thank you, Sarah. Yes, Dell is sending out a new system in approximately 10-14 days and, no, we were not able to determine the root cause. Basic troubleshooting such as going into msconfig and going into diagnostic mode then going through the processes, applications, and services one-by-one isn't possible because of the custom drivers, e.g. select diagnostic mode that has network drivers and that doesn't work because of the custom configurations so you actually boot up without network (one example). So standard troubleshooting methods were out. But, like you, I have seen how fast this system is when it is running and am hoping Dell burns in the next one a bit longer. :)
 

Sarah

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Messages
116
Well I'm happy to hear they're sending you a new system and hopefully you'll have it very soon :) As a buyer of their highest end laptop they should give it top priority in my opinion. To me it sounds maybe more like a hardware issue than a software one. Did the machine get very hot after prolonged use or gaming? Because the base and back edge of my 17 is barely lukewarm even after 5 or 6 hours of playing games or watching 3D blu-rays. Maybe your machine needed the CPU reseating or pasting? Maybe one of the memory modules wasn't seated right or there was a loose connection to something inside the machine? Still, you're getting a brand new replacement computer and that is exactly what you should expect from Dell :)
 
Top