Alienware Alpha Compact Desktop i3/GTX860 = $399

Zohar78

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yeah, gaming wise it looks to be gpu limited. its also my main rig right now and probably for the next year... while I don't do anything really heavy, I do tend to run quite a few programs at a time... considering i managed it before with just 4gbs on my old pc.... ill save the 25 dollars and put it towards a 2 tb drive.. thinking wd green 2tb.. i believe newegg has it for like 79 bucks.
 

sugosugita

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received mine, spent some time trying to figure out how to swap in an SSD, abandoned my attemps at using the AlienRespawn and Windows Recovery and ended up simply cloning the HDD with third party software. Booted up like a charm.

Overall gaming experience is definitely satisfactory, even at 1080p. The SSD is a must though, with the HDD it was chugging on basic windows tasks.
 

Etherton

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Saw one of these at Best Buy. Man, that thing is tiny! Priced at $499 though.
 

Zohar78

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received mine, spent some time trying to figure out how to swap in an SSD, abandoned my attemps at using the AlienRespawn and Windows Recovery and ended up simply cloning the HDD with third party software. Booted up like a charm.

Overall gaming experience is definitely satisfactory, even at 1080p. The SSD is a must though, with the HDD it was chugging on basic windows tasks.

Hmm.. i guess because ive never used a ssd, so im not as aginst the stock drive, the drive is not that bad. A coworker is thinking about letting his son get one, and thats one of the things we discussed before i get mine. Monday, im going to tell him, for a first computer for his son, upgrading the ram is the only thing i would touch. Its useable without one, but i would say its highly recommended, but not a must have. The son is 13..

Ive heard the wifi card is shit though, has anybody used it yet?

Saw one of these at Best Buy. Man, that thing is tiny! Priced at $499 though.

Its extremely quite too. While i havent played anything more demanding then battlefield 3, crysis 1, or hard reset, it stays very quite. I did see a video where one person overclocked the gfx card, and was getting roughly 10 to 15% more frames. It did run a lot louder in his video though.
At 399 this competes very well with ps4/xbone. Offering a pretty smooth console like experience with hookup and startup. While i havent used alien ui yet, other then having to learn how windows operate, most casual to medium and console gamers should be pretty happy with this.
 
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Modred189

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FYI to anyone who picked this up and does not solder. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...HS91D59TAJ2FeCj92L9icaAp_c8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds
THe Xbox 360 wireless adapter is garbage and usually fails after about 12-18 months. These cheap chinese knockoffs are actually better and more reliable. There are specific instructions for installation, but so long as you follow them (easy), you'll be fine. NOTE: MS does NOT sell replacement adapters anymore. If you see something like this claiming to be real, DO NOT BUY.
 

Zohar78

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if people trust refurb, thats a good deal.. jsut bought 4gbs of ram so my total is now 430..
 

Zohar78

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FYI to anyone who picked this up and does not solder. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...HS91D59TAJ2FeCj92L9icaAp_c8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds
THe Xbox 360 wireless adapter is garbage and usually fails after about 12-18 months. These cheap chinese knockoffs are actually better and more reliable. There are specific instructions for installation, but so long as you follow them (easy), you'll be fine. NOTE: MS does NOT sell replacement adapters anymore. If you see something like this claiming to be real, DO NOT BUY.

between that and the xbox 360 rechargeable packs, ms really used some crappy stuff... the controllers themselves were very good except for the dpad.. xbox one dpad is awesome compared to 360
 

Modred189

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between that and the xbox 360 rechargeable packs, ms really used some crappy stuff... the controllers themselves were very good except for the dpad.. xbox one dpad is awesome compared to 360

Agreed. Though I have a white one on which the triggers have started squeaking.
They are very good controllers overall, it's just that some of the individual components were clearly cheaped out on.

Now, if you CAN solder, there is a trick out there where you can short the anti-overload circuit r something within the MS dongle, and then remove a piece off the PCB and it perma-fixes the problem. AFAIK, there really is no risk to your system, just the dongle. But for $10 at the link I shared, it's almost an issue of why bother?
 

chizow

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Agreed. Though I have a white one on which the triggers have started squeaking.
They are very good controllers overall, it's just that some of the individual components were clearly cheaped out on.

Now, if you CAN solder, there is a trick out there where you can short the anti-overload circuit r something within the MS dongle, and then remove a piece off the PCB and it perma-fixes the problem. AFAIK, there really is no risk to your system, just the dongle. But for $10 at the link I shared, it's almost an issue of why bother?

I did this fix years ago when I the receiver died and it has worked great ever since, possibly the best $30 (Dell sale) I've spent on my PC for years of usage and enjoyment. If you have a soldering iron (handy regardless, I've gone on to fix a lot more tech toys like caps on monitors, laptop power buttons, AC plugs on laptops) it is simple as can be.

Basically you want to short the F1 fuse, here's a really good guide, much better than what was available when I did this.

https://replayproject.wordpress.com...x-360™-wireless-gaming-receiver-for-windows®/

I did not even use a wire btw, I just taped around the fuse and just put a ball of solder over the entire fuse to short it.
 

Ducman69

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FYI to anyone who picked this up and does not solder. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these...
But this is an Alienware.

They are really well known for good warranty support. So if you had a XBox wireless dongle that fails, I'm sure they will rush you a replacement part and probably not even need the old one back.

THEN when you're out of warranty and it still breaks, I'd pick up a replacement.

Personally, I've had a wireless 360 dongle since I don't even know how many years and it hasn't failed yet. *knock on wood* Granted it just sits double-sided taped to the back of my case, as I don't transport it around.
 

Etherton

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Personally, I've had a wireless 360 dongle since I don't even know how many years and it hasn't failed yet. *knock on wood* Granted it just sits double-sided taped to the back of my case, as I don't transport it around.

Same here. I've had three since they were released and have never had any issues.
 

sugosugita

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I gamed on it for a few hours Saturday night and didn't hear any noise. But admittedly I was playing L4D2, not the most taxing on modern systems, especially with v-sync enabled.
 

Ducman69

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Same here. I've had three since they were released and have never had any issues.
Inaudible at idle, and in my benchmark stress test overclocked, when it finally hit 80oC you could hear it but it was reasonably quiet.

I haven't seen anyone actually review it with a decibel rating though to get scientific about it.

Its not loud like a console.
 

samops03

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I called Dell after seeing the $299 MC deal and got $108 credited to my account. The very friendly rep didn't ask for any proof either. Just said sorry, here is $108 back. :cool:
 

MrSneis

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I called Dell after seeing the $299 MC deal and got $108 credited to my account. The very friendly rep didn't ask for any proof either. Just said sorry, here is $108 back. :cool:

Hate to ask, any more details on how you successfully did this? I got shot down and just ended up cancelling the order altogether; they told me I would have to re-order and order from a phone salesperson - that phone salesperson said he wouldn't do it.

So yeah that's where I'm at :(
 

Ducman69

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Hate to ask, any more details on how you successfully did this? I got shot down and just ended up cancelling the order altogether; they told me I would have to re-order and order from a phone salesperson - that phone salesperson said he wouldn't do it.

So yeah that's where I'm at :(
I'll eat my hat, but I don't ever think you're going to see that popup on micocenter again at $299 like it did, at least not anytime soon.

That lasted for all of three hours before it sold out nation-wide, and I believe was just an accident where they had first price-matched the Dell direct sale of $399, but then also had a $100 off sale on all Dell products that day which made it $299.

I think that was a mistake that would have been below cost, as I can't imagine profit margins can be that high, as just look how much it would cost you to buy the parts individually online... its more than $399.
 

Ducman69

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I had given my parents my old gaming rig for their office PC, which is more than good enough for the task, and was curious how it stacks up to the tiny Alpha that it dwarfs.

Anyway the specs are :
620 watt Corsair PSU
Intel Q9550 Quad-Core overclocked
8GB (4x2GB DDR2)
2x ATI 6850 OC'ed in crossfire
2x 64GB Corsair SSDs in RAID0
2x 2TB hard drives
Antec P182 case

So turns out it gets about the same Heaven benchmark score as the tiny Alpha, but with half the "lowest" framerate, and noticeable chugs at times... so basically the Alpha kicks its ass... :D

I remember about five years ago I was really proud of that rig!!! LOL!
 
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SolidBladez

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To anyone that has a Micro Center near by, I was able to get Best Buy to price match them. Total came out to $314.99, free shipping too! :cool:
 

Etherton

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I tried to price match via chat and had a very interesting chat with Dell. My BS meter is going off... I think he was just trying to make a sell. Sorry for the small print. You can zoom if you click on the link (photobucket).

 

samops03

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Hate to ask, any more details on how you successfully did this? I got shot down and just ended up cancelling the order altogether; they told me I would have to re-order and order from a phone salesperson - that phone salesperson said he wouldn't do it.

So yeah that's where I'm at :(

I really didn't do anything special. I ordered through DELL EPP (1-800-695-8133)
Not sure if that made a difference but the lady gave me back $108 after i told her i saw it for $299 locally.
 

JayteeBates

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Its pretty pimp - I am looking forward to the swapout this weekend. I had no problems with the Alienware Respawn tool swapping it over to my SSD.
 

Ducman69

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wouldnt this make a great little arcade cabinet emulator?
In a cabinet though, you have virtually unlimited space, so personally as much as I think the Alpha is awesome, I'd just buy one of those pentium mobo combos you see pop up on Newegg and Microcenter from time to time and toss it in the cabinet.

You don't even need to buy a case, just screw the stuff into the cabinet shelf inside and then you can also upgrade video cards and what not down the road, and it can still be silent. *shrugs*

To me the key aspect of the Alpha is when you need something really quiet and really small, which is just about any HTPC application where its sitting on a shelf next to your receiver.
 

Cecil

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Edit: Nvm, didn't realize this takes any desktop 1150 CPU.
 
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Zohar78

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Edit: Nvm, didn't realize this takes any desktop 1150 CPU.

While it does be warned that once the processor passes a certain watts use the alpha will Downclock the processor to run within the the watts spec. Gaming wise this system is gpu limited so u will notice little to no improvement there. Some peoplet say desktop wise u will.
 
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Ducman69

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While it does be warned that once the processor passes a certain watts use the alpha will Downclock the processor to run within the the watts spec.
In other words, don't use anything higher than a S chip, preferably a T chip.
 

Cecil

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While it does be warned that once the processor passes a certain watts use the alpha will Downclock the processor to run within the the watts spec. Gaming wise this system is gpu limited so u will notice little to no improvement there. Some peoplet say desktop wise u will.

In the thread on OCN, many are saying their normal i7s work with minimal throttling and many games do gain decent frame rates. Im more interested in do so for editing video clips for youtube. Replacing my desktop with it.

Anyone know if you can undervolt? Going to try it with my 4690K as I don't see the point in selling it for a loss to get an S model i5 downgrade, even if it will be throttled slightly.
 

dan87

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While it does be warned that once the processor passes a certain watts use the alpha will Downclock the processor to run within the the watts spec. Gaming wise this system is gpu limited so u will notice little to no improvement there. Some peoplet say desktop wise u will.

I threw in an i5-4570 I had laying around. I noticed an increase in fan noise while just using the desktop. However, the Alpha was about a foot away from me so it is probably negligible when farther.
 

Zohar78

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yes there is a few instances where the processor can stretch it looks, but for the most part its gpu limited.. You can see that in numerous gtx 750ti/860m reviews that compare difference processors. Thus little to no improvement.

here is a decent video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_5PB73ZdV8

My opinion and many in that ocn thread are saying the same thing, its not worth it to spend the money on a faster chip. Now if you have that chip laying around, or find a helluva deal on chip, then yeah go for it. Other wise you are better going to a diferent system that allows you to get the full potential of the chip and a upgrade able gpu. No since in spending the money on an awesome cpu, then castrate it with a low end gpu. Unless your app/game isnt limited by the gpu. If they offer it again at 399, its worth it, At 499 its worth trying to build your own or looking at the other steam boxes that wont castrate the faster gear, unless you absolutely need that small of form factor.
 
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Zohar78

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anybody tried out the hdmi in on the alpha? I used it for a minute or so with xbone to send a message to a friend. but i got the alpha console hooked up to xbone right now snd the lag through xbone is horrible.... i can actually make a quick move with mouse, finish the hand movement, before the mouse cursor moves.. ive heard its about 120 ms lag through xbone.
 

Cecil

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yes there is a few instances where the processor can stretch it looks, but for the most part its gpu limited.. You can see that in numerous gtx 750ti/860m reviews that compare difference processors. Thus little to no improvement.

here is a decent video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_5PB73ZdV8

My opinion and many in that ocn thread are saying the same thing, its not worth it to spend the money on a faster chip. Now if you have that chip laying around, or find a helluva deal on chip, then yeah go for it. Other wise you are better going to a diferent system that allows you to get the full potential of the chip and a upgrade able gpu. No since in spending the money on an awesome cpu, then castrate it with a low end gpu. Unless your app/game isnt limited by the gpu. If they offer it again at 399, its worth it, At 499 its worth trying to build your own or looking at the other steam boxes that wont castrate the faster gear, unless you absolutely need that small of form factor.

Gaming is my least priority which is why Im fine dropping to this from a 670. I need more cores for video editing and handbrake, which leads to a question.

Is there a way to get this to switch to the Intel HD graphics, or even acknowledge its there? It wont let me install the driver for it, and GPU-Z doesn't list it. I want to use QuickSync with Handbrake but at the moment I cant get it to do so. Im guessing the HDMI is tied to the Nvidia GPU, so Im starting to think QuickSync is a no go. Which is almost a deal breaker for me.

If I can get QuickSync to work, Ill stick with an i5, but if I cant, Ill need to spring for an i7 to get more threads.
 

Ducman69

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I'm not near my Alpha, but just right click on the desktop and go to nvidia option and see if its an Optimus capable device. If it is, under manage 3D settings it should give you an option for auto, integrated graphics, or dedicated graphics. If its not, you won't have such a menu option.

Which makes me wonder if we will see a nice performance increase with Windows 10, as with DX12 it should allow it to use the Intel 4600 and the custom GTX 860 simultaneously, giving an even greater performance edge over the integrated-only graphics Xbox One and PS4. Its like a free SLI upgrade, woot! :D
 

chizow

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Gaming is my least priority which is why Im fine dropping to this from a 670. I need more cores for video editing and handbrake, which leads to a question.

Is there a way to get this to switch to the Intel HD graphics, or even acknowledge its there? It wont let me install the driver for it, and GPU-Z doesn't list it. I want to use QuickSync with Handbrake but at the moment I cant get it to do so. Im guessing the HDMI is tied to the Nvidia GPU, so Im starting to think QuickSync is a no go. Which is almost a deal breaker for me.

If I can get QuickSync to work, Ill stick with an i5, but if I cant, Ill need to spring for an i7 to get more threads.

Should be a BIOS option for integrated graphics, but since this is an AW and probably a very stripped down custom BIOS, they may have locked out the option for integrated graphics. The other concern though too is that if you enable the IGP it may start pushing overall CPU TDP beyond the rated cooling capacity for that HSF
 

Cecil

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Should be a BIOS option for integrated graphics, but since this is an AW and probably a very stripped down custom BIOS, they may have locked out the option for integrated graphics. The other concern though too is that if you enable the IGP it may start pushing overall CPU TDP beyond the rated cooling capacity for that HSF

That wouldn't be a concern. TDP is measured with the GPU as well. You can put an 84W CPU in there without any cooling issues, and stock is 35W.
 

Zohar78

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Another caveat of the Alpha: depending on how the sound of the app/game was encoded you may not get Surround sound if you use the toslink aka optical link. . the optical link doesnt have the bandwidth for surround sound with pcm, so only stereo sound will be sent. this only happens, If the app/game doesnt encode to dolbydigital or DTS and uses pcm, and you connect up toslink. as far as i know, hdmi doesnt have the issue. ironically xbox one and 360 deosnt ahve theis issue.

Some people are using a usb card like the Xonar or creative labs to solve the issue.
 
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