My letter to ALienware's President
I recently had a similar problem with Alienware on a $6,500 Area-51 system. It started right away with video issues and here is a copy of the letter I sent to the President of Alienware which finally got some response. Anyway, I received my computer back, but now I am having issues with Windows Fatal Errors related to a 1394 port. Just buy from Dell. Hope the letter below explains my problems with Alienware well enough.
December 23, 2004
Mr. Alex Aguila
12400 Southwest 134th Court, Bay 8
Miami, FL 33186
Re: Invoice *********
Customer ID: ******
Dear Mr. Aguila:
I am writing this letter to you as a plea to help me resolve a problem I am having regarding not only a product I purchased from your company, but the customer service I received while trying to resolve this problem.
On July 19, 2004, I ordered an Area-51 Intel 3.4MHz HT Extreme Edition with 2GB RAM and fully loaded with all the best high end components. I was never informed until weeks later that the Nvidia 6800 Ultra PCI Express video card I selected was on backorder. The sales representative should know the current inventory of components, and not even let me order a system with a component that was on backorder. However, I was so excited to own an Alienware Area-51 which you describe as "The Best Custom Built Gaming PC for the Ultimate PC Gamer" that I waited three months in eager anticipation before the system was shipped on October 14, 2004.
Upon installing the system I noticed a problem, my system came with a Nvidia 6800 Ultra PCI Express video card with only a DVI port, but the NEC LCD monitor (1960NXi) did not come with a DVI video cable only an AGB cable. I called Tech Support and they told me I had to contact NEC for the cable, which I did and purchased the correct DVI cable for less than $30. On a system such as this, Alienware should have provided the proper DVI cable.
Unfortunately, within a week of installing my system, I had various issues with system crashes, lockups, garbled video images and "Blue screen" critical errors when playing games. I contacted Tech Support and was told that I needed to update my Nvidia drivers which I did, but the problems persisted. On many occasions after this, I spoke with Tech Support who had me perform various changes to my system startup and video settings which never resolved the problem.
On or around November 27, 2004, I was told that I needed to reinstall Windows XP Professional because my systems version was corrupted. So I backed up my system and with Tech Support on the phone tried several times to use the restore disc that came with my system, but the CD was bad and was unreadable. Tech Support told me that I needed a replacement XP disc and I was transferred to Customer Service and was told that a replacement disc would be shipped to me in a couple days. I never received the XP CD that was promised to be sent.
On December 12, 2004, I told Tech Support that I am still having the same video issues while playing games. The tech told me that the XP replacement CD was never shipped and that he would make sure a replacement CD was shipped immediately. At present, I still have never received the XP replacement CD and I have a $5,500 Ultimate Gaming PC which wont play games without a system crash, lockup, critical error or video glitch. I would have returned my system within the first 30 days for a full refund, had I known the extent of this issue and the lengthy and haphazard resolution process.
I know the issue I am having centers on the Nvidia 6800 Ultra PCI Express video card, but I dont know if it software or hardware related. I would like have an Onsite Service tech come to my home and resolve this issue in the near future. Like you, I am the President of a company and cannot afford to spend hours and hours talking to Tech Support endlessly without coming to a quick resolution to the problem. According to Alienware my system went thru the following phases to ensure a quality system:
Phase 10: (Production: Phase #1)
Your system is undergoing the first stage of the Alienware 200-point quality control process. This stage includes the installation of the operating system, drivers and any applications that are specific to the system you ordered. Our Alienware Integration Technician will also install any demos, benchmark utilities, and burn-in software necessary to correctly monitor your system's performance. These functions are performed by AlienFactory, proprietary software designed by Alienware for our valued customers.
Phase 11: (Production: Phase #2)
Your system is undergoing the second stage of the Alienware 200-point quality control process. This phase is the most crucial stage. We perform a series of grueling tests that push the hardware components in your system to the very limit. This phase is especially important because it is here where the system either passes or fails. If it does fail, it will automatically go to one of our diagnostic technicians to identify any problems before we ship it to you. If the system doesn't pass our performance metrics, we will build it from scratch again. Perfection takes time.
At this point, I have a system that works, but I cannot use it for what is was intended and advertised by Alienware as "The Best Custom Built Gaming PC for the Ultimate PC Gamer." And even though I purchased the best Tech Support package (3 years Onsite 24/7 parts and labor), Alienware will not let me return my system (RMA) or have Onsite service come to replace my video card. I am in a Alienware Tech Support Black Hole. I need someone at Alienware to follow through on their promises to send me a Windows XP Professional restore CD which may or may not resolve my issue. I would like to have an Onsite Service Tech come to my home to replace my Nvidia video card as soon as possible. Obviously, I want to keep this system, even after two months without a resolution to my video problems, so my family can enjoy pushing it to its gaming limits.
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