In the Forums...
Posted: May 22, 1999
Interview from: May 21, 1999
Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Everyone has questions about Alienware these days, including me. And who better to answer those questions than Alex Aguila, the V.P. of Marketing at Alienware. In this interview we tackle what sets Alienware's systems apart in the marketplace, as well as those burning questions about PGC systems.
Tweak3D: What separates your company from other custom system builders, such as Dell and Gateway? What special features/options/etc. do you offer to your customers that other companies fall short on?
Alex: I will attempt to answer the questions by listing the reasons I think Alienware separates themselves from the competition.
1. Our computers are custom made, the systems go through a 200 point quality checklist that you receive inside your personalized manual
2. If the systems do not benchmark to a certain standard we do not ship them out.
3. We create a disk on file that has your computers harddrive imaged, if you should ever need to re install the OS , we have a CD ROM that will re image your drive in 15 minutes, it is an automatic re install.
4. We have integrated cooling systems that are unique to us.
5. We have earned every major award in the computer gaming industry for excellence including a PC Gamer's Editors choice award the last two years in a row
6. Our cases come standard with a 300 Watt power supply compared to everyone's anemic 200 or 235 watt power supplies.
7. Our full tower case is more expensive and has much better quality.
8. We are in the process of implementing our own technology, including PGC, a HUGE breakthrough in gaming that allows the gamer to use two Voodoo3 cards together and even add a TNT2 to the same system ....have our competition beat that! this will be available in June.
9.. We do not integrate components on the motherboard like some less expensive system manufacturers, this saves you a few hundred dollars at first but when you go to upgrade you need a whole new system, with us the architecture is open, allowing you to upgrade at will and saving you hundreds maybe a thousand in the long run.
10. No charge for labor on upgrades.
11. We use name brand equipment , absolutely nothing generic.
12. No assembly line concept, each system is handcrafted.
13. We have one of the best reputations in the business, just check out our testimonials page or our review page.
14. We offer a comprehensive news site as well as an online playing arena for our customers.
15. Free installation and optimization of games.
16. We beat Dell and Gateway in benchmarks, they can not compete in performance, so we do not compete in price.
Tweak3D: How do you measure up to other "gamer system" specific systems?
Alex: I think that we are definitely more innovative, I believe we have set the standard the last few years whereby gaming system integrators are measured by. We really don't just make a box. We constantly strive to differentiate ourselves from the competition and feel that we truly offer what a gamer actually wants and needs. You can take our latest strides toward proprietary technology as an example.
Tweak3D: Is there anything you WOULDN'T do when customizing a system for a customer (such as maybe customizing the case to use a "Card Cooler" for sidepanel videocard cooling)?
Alex: We do offer products that we do not usually stock provided that we feel comfortable with the manufacturer's quality,support and availability So I guess the answer is there is plenty we would not do if it did not meet the high performance standard that we have set for ourselves.. We do have a Koolmaxx customization to the case BTW.
Tweak3D: How does your recent acquisition of a license to use Metabyte's "Stepsister" or PGC technology change PC building, and how will it affect the end user?
Alex: Manufacturing wise it's really not that big of a deal, you simply add some high qualified technicians to the staff and the production issues are solved. The end user will definitely benefit, What will amount to maybe a few hundred dollars more will extend the life expectancy of the computer tremendously. The gaming PC with PGC will have longer legs and the obvious advantage of absolutely ridiculous frame rates.
Tweak3D?: How does your company propose to overcome the single AGP port problem for using "Stepsister" or PGC technology with two AGP cards?
Alex: Currently PGC is being offered in Voodoo3 PCI, and it is yielding frame rates in excess of 63 FPS in Q2 at 1600X1200 resolution. I really can not comment on AGP PCG . All I can really say is that PCI based PGC is quite amazing and we will be working hard to improve it even further. We also have yet another driver that will allow you the to use your AGP slot, for example: TNT2 in the agp slot and dual Voodoo3's in PCI mode.
Tweak3D: Does your company have any plans to build K7 based systems if they measure up to comparable Intel products?
Alex: We will be evaluating the K7. Based on preliminary specs it definitely looks like a product Alienware will be interested in.
Tweak3D: It is my understanding that it is your company's plan to first implement "Stepsister" or PGC technology using 2 Voodoo3 PCI 2000's. Will this configuration be able to beat the proposed Voodoo3 3500tv config?
Alex: We have not benchmarked a 3500 in a controlled enviroment but the answer would have to be yes it will beat a single 3500 board.
Tweak3D: Will the cards have to be physically modified to use the technology?
Alex: Yes the cards do require a hardware modification . Alienware will be doing the hardware modification inhouse.
Thanks Alex! If you want more information on this subject, check out Alienware's website.
Note - if you are confused about 3Dfx's choice to not support PGC, read this article.