Every so often, you come across something so outrageous that you just have to drool. Well, when this PC landed in our labs last week, we have to confess - we were salivating wantonly. Sporting a who's-who-and-what's-what of bleeding edge components, I don't think I'll be giving much away when I say that this is the fastest PC I've ever seen.
Alienware has a reputation for building cracking systems, and this is no exception. So new that it is not even on the site to buy yet, the system sports the usual exceptional build quality combined with the latest kit and a price tag to match. This is the kind of machine that most people will never be able to afford to buy, but that they will nonetheless lust after. If you're a film star, dot-com success story or footballer, you might be in luck. Everyone else, prepare to ogle...
For reference, you might want to read our previous review of an Alienware Aurora 7500 which featured an AMD X2 4400+ and GeForce 7800 GTX SLI. This new system raises that bar even higher.
The machine comes in the ususal Alienware case, which is esentially a Chieftec tower with a lot of added plastic. The one we're looking at today is in a fetching bluey-purple which looks kind of funky, although not particularly edgy. It feels solid, and the front door keeps things looking clean.
What's under the hood of this bad boy? Well, AMD released its FX-60 processor - one of those is included. A month or so ago, NVIDIA announced 7800 GTX cards with 512MB of memory - two of those are included. This has got to be the fastest combination of components assembled - here's the complete rundown:
AMD Athlon FX-60 processor
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard with passive northbridge cooling
Two EVGA 7800 GTX 512MB graphics cards
2GB Patriot memory
Two 250GB hard drives in RAID 0 and one 500GB backup/data drive
DVD burner and separate CD-RW drive
Creative Labs X-Fi sound card
Alienware surround headphones
Microsoft Explorer mouse, Logitech keyboard
Cables, accesories, tshirt, mousepad etc
The total cost for this machine: £4399. Without a monitor. Got that new Hollywood contract yet?
There are a couple of options that we might suggest you play with. The Alienware headphones don't really warrant much examination - they're rebadged 'surround sound' headphones that provide a vague approximation and cost a chunky £130. Buy a nice pair of stereo headphones and utilise the surround sound function provided by the Creative X-Fi card - the sound quality and surround effect will be far better. Alternatively, get a decent set of surround headphones, such as the Altec Lansing pair we have in the labs at the moment. You can also lose the CD-RW drive - who on earth needs one of those these days? Dual optical is great for disc-to-disc copying, but why not dual DVD? The 2GB RAM comes on four 512MB sticks - think about getting 4GB in 1GB sticks if you're flush and flash enough to buy this machine. It's also bizarre that for the price tag, you don't even get Windows XP Pro - only XP Home! Get Pro for the extra few quid, and we'll poke Alienware to install it as standard.