Miami (FL) - Given Dell’s recent product launches in the high-performance desktop PC segment, Alienware may be in the midst of an identity crisis, as Dell’s house brand was matching almost all specs of Alienware’s high-end computers - for similar money. Dell is now relaunching its flagship system to restore the distance to the Dell XPS.
Looking at what Dell is offering in its XPS 730 H2C system, it is difficult for Alienware to find real differentiators besides its brand and some may even consider the upgrades rather cosmetic. The differences come down to an overclocked Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor that runs at 4 GHz (200 MHz more than in the Dell), the option of Nvidia graphics chips (Dell only offers ATI), the option of a 2x64 GB SSD drives as well as an Ageia physics card and a network accelerator card.
In its base configuration, the QX9770 OC-equipped Alienware Area-51 ALX desktop is priced at $6119. Similarly equipped than the Dell XPS 730 H2C, which will require a few downgrades to about $5950, the system is actually about $100 cheaper than the XPS. If you tack on all the expensive options, especially a $500 premium for two Nvidia 9800GX2 cards, a $1400 2x64GB SSD configuration as well as a $350 Blu-ray drive, you will end up in the neighborhood of $9000 with the Alienware PC.
Over at Dell, you will stay below $8000, but you don’t get the Nvidia option, no SSDs, no accelerator cards and your CPU will run at 200 MHz less.
It looks like a right step into the right direction to us, but somehow we believe that Alienware will need to add more goodies to its PCs to make the differences between an XPS and an ALX much more visible.