Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Games Entertainment Hardware

Alienware Reveals 4GHz desktop 363

keeleysam writes "c|net is reporting that Alienware is going to ship a 4GHz desktop. The new Area-51 ALX, introduced on Friday, uses overclocking, or the practice of pushing a processor past its factory speed setting, to elevate a standard Intel Pentium 4 chip to 4GHz. Because overclocking a processor can cause it to overheat, the desktop also includes a special liquid-cooling system devised by Alienware. Purchasing the 4GHz Area-51 ALX desktop is an expensive proposition for most consumers, as the machine starts at about $4,200, according to pricing on Alienware's ALX Web site."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Alienware Reveals 4GHz desktop

Comments Filter:
  • by Deekin_Scalesinger ( 755062 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:35AM (#10168564)
    I have always wanted to try out liquid cooling in my gaming PCs, but am petrified of bringing the box out of the house to a friends house for gaming sessions. Alienware usually puts together a pretty good package for it's customers, but reading the site doesn't give me any insight on its portability. My geeky friends feel the same way as I do - an article or study showing that the integrity of the cooling system remains after traveling with it would go a long way towards me taking the plunge, as it were. (By normal traveling I mean putting it safely in your car, securing it, and setting it back up, not waching it into a wall or some other moronic stress test.)
  • by Nomihn0 ( 739701 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:40AM (#10168611)
    I am curious why other systems manufacturers like Dell, Compaq, or Hewlett Packard, do not overclock their products. I would expect that, with all of the setup time they already devote to their products, they would be able to click a few more times in the BIOS as well. Not to trivialize the process, but with the consistency granted by producing the same computer repeatedly, that is all that would be required.

    These systems could then be sold at slightly elevated prices. The script-kiddie crowd would lunge at them, buying into a piece of the OC'ing action. The naive would purchase them for the in-between performance levels they would have. The rest would build their own computer and do it themselves. But, in the mean time, those companies get to gouge good customers - all while making them feel that their purchase was personalized.
  • by mrgreenfur ( 685860 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:41AM (#10168620)
    it's odd to note that the 3.8ghz p4 ee with 2mb of cache is apparently $714 MORE expensive than the 4ghz p4 with 1mb of cache.

    I'm guessing that the 2mb l2 cache is faster, so why are we still following the fascination with clockspeed (other proof, like AMD, aside)?

    you know alienware has struck it rich when they include their own "ALX High Performance Network Cable".

  • by JUSTONEMORELATTE ( 584508 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:44AM (#10168637) Homepage
    By taking the CPU over Intel's rated speed, there's no warrantee from Intel. Does Alienware promise to replace 'em if they fail during a (nominal) warrantee period?

    GMail invites for iPod referrals []
  • by Brian Stretch ( 5304 ) * on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:46AM (#10168656)
    I used to overclock, but squeezing out the highest performence-per-watt is more fun these days. I read about it on and gave it a try. It turns out that Athlon 64 CPUs can usually run full speed at 1.3V (vs. 1.5V), which cuts power consumption almost in half. 1.8GHz (3000+) at 1.2V (35W max), 1.4GHz at 1V, and 1GHz at 0.85V (maybe a dozen watts) work well too. Someone with a newer CPU than I have managed 1.2GHz @ 0.875V. Use ClockGen [] to tweak the clock multiplier and core voltage under Windows. (Does anyone know of a Linux equivalent? 64-bit compatible?)

    I watched a bit over 3 hours of DVD video on my HP zv5000z with the CPU set to 1GHz @ 0.85V before the 12-cell battery ran out. Normal screen brightness and everything.

    Of course, this won't work all that well on Intel CPUs. Maybe Alienware will include a free naquada generator with their "4GHz" P4's.
  • G5 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#10168685) Homepage Journal
    Well, the surprising thing to me is that a similarly configured (but with more features) loaded 2.5 Ghz Dual G5 from Apple (with liquid cooling as well) runs about $2300 cheaper than the Alienware box.

  • by mj2k ( 726937 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:59AM (#10168731)
    OC'ing a P4 to 4 ghz isn't likely to result in any noticable difference... If you're a gamer (like me), a 2 ghz+ machine works just fine, slow-downs are generally caused by graphics card/memory issues... If you do a lot of multi-tasking you're better off spending the money on a dual processor system that has 15k rpm scsis, I assure you if you do this you will see a very noticable difference. I also noticed that alienware is using a raid 0 SATA configuration -- that's just downright stupid considering the data corruption potential.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:59AM (#10168733)
    Water-cooling, which isn't that complicated. Anyway, they're overclocking a 3.2ghz chip to 3.8, which isn't a huge increase.

    Seriously, comparing it to heat problems in a notebook is pretty silly, as there simply isn't the same amount of space available for a cooling system. I know what you're saying, but the comparison is pretty shaky ;)

  • by HawkingMattress ( 588824 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:01AM (#10168748)
    OC'ing has stability issues, heat issues for generally little real gain, and you loose the warranty on your chip... Why would they do that ?
  • by Linus Sixpack ( 709619 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:13AM (#10168821) Journal
    Interesting that the price tag is now 'expensive' for a machine assembled for extreme performance. It was not very long ago that that was a upper level standard machine.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:31AM (#10168971)
    The majority of slashdot users are fat 13-year olds sat in their bedrooms, sending "MORE 3L33T TAHN j00!!!!111" messages to each other. I think phrases like "wipe front to back" would be useful...
  • Re:wow, thanks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:50AM (#10169108) Homepage
    Well, in all seriousness, the reason they give that definition of overclocking is because the PR people who made this press release want to be sure that all the kiddies who THINK they're cool computer geeks who know computers, don't know a damn thing, but have lots of disposable income (ie. parents who spoil), will understand that "this is a good excuse to charge more for it because you get the most TOP OF THE LINE XTREME GAMING MACHINE THAT THE WORLD HAS TODAY!!!! DUDE!!!!

    And yes, I say this as I type from my brand new Alienware. The trick is, they make solid machines still (they always did, thats how they got started), but you completely overpay for the gaming case, so get a "home office" setup instead. Its a helluva lot cheaper with the same components, and a Dragon case instead of a custom one so its easier to work with.

    And before some troll posts something along the lines of "well, real computer geeks BUILD their computers", I respond, "I'd get more money than I'd save if I build my own by working, and I don't really have freetime for it. But rest assured, I've built my own before, and its not THAT exciting."

  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:56AM (#10169141)
    About the only thing that a single blindingly fast processor is good for is gaming. Now, the whole watercooling/Alienware thing strikes me as silly--instead of paying $2000 extra for an overclocked machine, just wait six months and Moore's Law will have caught up.

    But instead of debating that, it's more informative to wonder what all those bogomips would DO in today's games.

    Some people would reply: more frames per second! More varied stuff in those frames! But there's a limit to how much more graphics muscle will improve the gameplay experience in any given game (my Athlon 64 3200+/2GHz machine runs Halflife no better than my Athlon XP 1800+/1.53GHz machine), and there's also a limit to what graphics crunching can do for a game. Doom 3 may be shiny, but by all accounts you could write a game with the same gameplay as Doom 3 (but less prettiness) that would run on a P3/Geforce2.

    I'm ready to see a game that really makes use of modern computers' incredible power for gameplay/AI/physics. How about a version of Homeworld with realistic trajectory modelling of every mass-driver shot, a version of NWN with *real* intelligent AI opponents, or one of a million different ideas for games whose gameplay design, in addition to their graphics, takes into account modern computers.

    NWN did this -- sort of. But it took so long to release (which is a good thing!), and has been a while since release, that modern machines still get bored running its scripting/AI. Hopefully all this will be spiffed up in NWN2.
  • Re:wow, thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AndyChrist ( 161262 ) <andy_christ@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:27PM (#10169345) Homepage
    Also, you don't really save THAT much money. (and all of it can be eaten up by shipping if you're buying parts from multiple vendors) The only way you're going to be saving enough to make it look like a winning proposition is if you're comparing it to a vendor like Alienware, who charge a premium for at least one of two things...exotic configurations hardly anyone uses; or the name on the box.

    Go with a beige-box type retailer (who usually have boxes other than beige these days) and you'll be paying like 100 bucks over the cost of parts. More if you're not paying the microsoft tax, of course.

    Honestly, for the trouble it saves, it's worth it.

  • by freidog ( 706941 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:49PM (#10169486)
    Well it ships with the PC Power and Cooling Turbo Cool 510 (which they naturally list as a 650W supply),

    and considering a nice high end Prescott system can pull on the high side of 300W under full load at stock speeds,

    I'm guessing it isn't pretty. Maybe in the neighborhood of 400W full load; probably a bit less than half of that idle.
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @03:21PM (#10170453) Homepage Journal

    the reason they give that definition of overclocking is because the PR people who made this press release...

    Just curious, but did you notice that the description of overclocking was part of the submitter's description of the story? Supposedly this isn't a press release. But looking back at the history for the submitter, keeleysam [], it looks like the account is less than 2 weeks old. Perhaps created simply as a dummy by slashdot in order to post this paid-placement advertorial.

    On the topic of Alienware, I think they are selling a worthy product. There is a niche of gamers / users who want a tweaked machine, but don't have the time or technical prowess to do it themselves. Alienware is targetting that demand quite well.
  • Re:wow, thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GrodinTierce ( 571882 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @04:28PM (#10170913) Journal
    I can understand not wanting to go through the hassle of building one's own machine, but why buy from an overpriced joke like Alienware? iBuyPower [] makes similarly spec'd machines (well, aside from the the overclocking) for waaay better prices.

    My 0.02.

    Full Disclaimer: My only connection to IBP is that I purchased one of their E-Series laptops several monthes ago, and have been very impressed.

  • Re:wow, thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Old Telco Guy ( 622498 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @06:29PM (#10171881)
    I respect the fact that your priorities do not include building your own box, but if you bought an Alienware then you are obviously an enthusiastic user, so I'll make this observation: for enthusiastic users, I believe it is worthwhile taking the several days of research, couple hours of ordering and three hours of labor to assemble your own machine. I recently built a nice gaming rig for about $900, and the thing I like about it is that I view the entire machine as an assembly of replacable parts. It is a known quantity from top to bottom for me. I feel like I can diagnose or repair any issues it may have in the future, and I know the best ways to hop it up as time passes and I grow restless with its performance after a few years. I went through much the same process as you, eventually deciding on an Alienware or Falcon system, but I pulled out of that decision in the end and rolled my own. The money saved, the learning experience, the sense of pride and the control over the box made rolling my own an invaluable experience. This is less of a note to the parent poster and more of a note to those contemplating buy vs build.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!