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  1. #1
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Dead Computer...

    Well, sadly I think my 9y/o Alienware has fired its last shot in anger, and cast its last spell...

    It started acting funky a month or two ago, thought it might have been the HD starting to go, so I bought a new SSD and installed Win 10. I figured Id dump $200 in to it, see what happens. After everything was said and done stability was not great, lock ups and hard-reboots were not uncommon. This morning it resided to give up the ghost for good, it goes through the BIOS then just displays a blinking cursor in the upper left corner. I thought the new SDD might have taken a dump, so I switched over to the old HHD and got the same thing. The BIOS recognizes both drives. From a little bit of research I have done, looks like it is a motherboard failure.

    So, time for a new computer. Trying to decide if I should go with another Alienware, or if there is something better out there.

    Thoughts?


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  2. #2
    RC Champion traxxasbrothers's Avatar
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    Some say that Alienware's quality has went downhill since Dell purchased it. I see a lot of people buying MSI, Asus ROGs, and Razer.
    I broke it again . . . \_(ツ)_/

  3. #3
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by traxxasbrothers View Post
    Some say that Alienware's quality has went downhill since Dell purchased it. I see a lot of people buying MSI, Asus ROGs, and Razer.
    My Alienware is a Dell, and, until now, has performed very well. Getting nine years of life out of this thing isn't bad at all, and really have just been waiting for this event to happen to get another computer. I really thought it was going to give up the ghost a couple years back, but it has been chugging along.

    Doing more research, it looks like the motherboards SATA controller is likely what is causing the problems. It is due to a failing PS, or something going flaky on the chipset (solder joints giving up). I ran some BIOS diagnostics, and it says everything is ok, and says the voltages are correct, but the diagnostics are limited, and with no draw on the SATA hardware, would not show if there was a problem.

    A while ago I built computers, kind of did it as a side business, and I enjoyed futzing with them. I don't enjoy that anymore...
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  4. #4
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
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    I would first try a BIOS upgrade if there is one available from the Alienware/Dell Support site.

    IMHO I have many people at my company using the Asus laptops and I can tell you they have been flawless. Remember, I'm an I.T. director so I see a lot of computers...

    Honestly, these days, I have not seen a lot of junky computers and we do use quite a few DELL laptops, but the Asus laptops we have get used at least 5 days a week and are very good.
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  5. #5
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitronaught View Post
    I would first try a BIOS upgrade if there is one available from the Alienware/Dell Support site.

    IMHO I have many people at my company using the Asus laptops and I can tell you they have been flawless. Remember, I'm an I.T. director so I see a lot of computers...

    Honestly, these days, I have not seen a lot of junky computers and we do use quite a few DELL laptops, but the Asus laptops we have get used at least 5 days a week and are very good.
    Good to know.

    The computer not booting was a bios setting, for some reason the bios had flopped the boot order and that was causing it to hang on the cursor screen. So, it boots up again, but stability is still for crap. At the very least I need to figure out where the bios battery is and replace it.

    But, I am in computer shopping mode. Dell/Alienware is attractive because I can get a reasonably good performing machine for under $1500, and I get a 10% military discount. But, I am not dedicated to Dell, if I can get a better deal elsewhere, I'll go with that.
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  6. #6
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    Good to know.

    The computer not booting was a bios setting, for some reason the bios had flopped the boot order and that was causing it to hang on the cursor screen. So, it boots up again, but stability is still for crap. At the very least I need to figure out where the bios battery is and replace it.

    But, I am in computer shopping mode. Dell/Alienware is attractive because I can get a reasonably good performing machine for under $1500, and I get a 10% military discount. But, I am not dedicated to Dell, if I can get a better deal elsewhere, I'll go with that.
    Bios Batt's on Laptops are not user replaceable....

    If it is forgetting all settings when turned off then it's time for a new laptop IMHO, or just go into the bios every time you boot.

    I'd still do a Bios Upgrade, if there is not a newer Bios from Alienware, do a Bios Upgrade with the same version..... THis has worked for me a few times...

    Yes, I used to also be a Manager of a Laptop store and I was the one with A+ Certification as well as Certified by Dell, Hewlett Packard, Packard Bell (now aging myself here) Texas Instruments and a few others...... I've only been working on computers since 1983..... Ugh.
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  7. #7
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Somewhere I have lead you down the wrong path... This is a desktop machine, and looking for another desktop.
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  8. #8
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    Somewhere I have lead you down the wrong path... This is a desktop machine, and looking for another desktop.
    I've watched too much "Big Bang Theory" and assumed you were Sheldon!!!! loll

    Still, if your computer keeps the correct date and time in the bios upon entering it from a cold boot, your battery is good.

    Also still would try updating the Bios... But back up your data first..... Might be a good idea anyways since it is acting up.
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  9. #9
    RC Qualifier Traxxas9008's Avatar
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    If you are looking for a Laptop, ASUS is really good.

    If you are looking for a Computer, then I'd go to a local store that sells them and see whats available. My older brother custom builds his own and thats really the fun of having a Desktop. I've updated a few parts in mine to make it run smoother when playing games, etc.
    If you ain't getting dirty, you ain't having fun.

  10. #10
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traxxas9008 View Post
    If you are looking for a Laptop, ASUS is really good.

    If you are looking for a Computer, then I'd go to a local store that sells them and see whats available. My older brother custom builds his own and thats really the fun of having a Desktop. I've updated a few parts in mine to make it run smoother when playing games, etc.
    I'd thought about that, and if I still lived in San Diego or west of Seattle I'd have lots of options, here, there really isn't that much in the local area for computers. This is North Idaho after all, the locals are still getting over the shock of electricity and in-door outhouses, it will take a little longer for them to warm up to computers...
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  11. #11
    RC Qualifier Traxxas9008's Avatar
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    Ahh, ok I see. That actually really made me laugh. Anyway, then. So you are only looking for computers to order online?
    If you ain't getting dirty, you ain't having fun.

  12. #12
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Yup, pretty much looking online.

    My last ditch effort will be the bios update this weekend, we'll see how it goes.
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  13. #13
    RC Qualifier Traxxas9008's Avatar
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    Alright. Sounds good.
    If you can't find one u like, you can think about building a custom computer.. If you are interested in it. Then you can build it to what you want.
    If you ain't getting dirty, you ain't having fun.

  14. #14
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Greatscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traxxas9008 View Post
    Alright. Sounds good.
    If you can't find one u like, you can think about building a custom computer.. If you are interested in it. Then you can build it to what you want.
    I am an electronics technician by trade, have been a LAN manager, and built my fair share of custom machines. I have not built anything in a while and just not a project I want to take on. The research alone I would have to do to get myself back up to speed is off putting, to say nothing of researching and sourcing parts.
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  15. #15
    Traxxas Employee TireSlinger's Avatar
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    I looked at building a custom machine a while back. After looking around a lot I ended up going with an Amazon brand unit with what I wanted installed for less than building it would have cost. It's not the latest top of the line equipment, but plays all the games I want really well, and it's nice being able to open the box and start windows updates.

    When the RTX line of graphics cards comes out I'll likely upgrade the GPU.

    I guess it depends on what you're looking for in the end. In my opinion I would build a machine if I was willing to invest in the absolute best of everything, but since that wasn't an option with my budget I found a lot of pre-built machines that were nice and far less work.

    FWIW the build was well done. Wires routed nicely, nothing loose or missing, etc.
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  16. #16
    RC Turnbuckle Jr. Nitronaught's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TireSlinger View Post
    I looked at building a custom machine a while back. After looking around a lot I ended up going with an Amazon brand unit with what I wanted installed for less than building it would have cost. It's not the latest top of the line equipment, but plays all the games I want really well, and it's nice being able to open the box and start windows updates.

    When the RTX line of graphics cards comes out I'll likely upgrade the GPU.

    I guess it depends on what you're looking for in the end. In my opinion I would build a machine if I was willing to invest in the absolute best of everything, but since that wasn't an option with my budget I found a lot of pre-built machines that were nice and far less work.

    FWIW the build was well done. Wires routed nicely, nothing loose or missing, etc.
    I had my own computer company for 6 years and used to build systems 10 at a time... These days, the price you pay for the parts, you can get something from NewEgg that's basically a custom build for the same price and if there are any issues you don't have the headache.... Used to be you saved quite a few bucks building it yourself, these days I don't even bother.. Just do your homework on the parts being used.... The only builds I do now are mining machines having 2-3 1500 watt power supplies and 6-12 video cards,,,, BIG BUCKS...... It's the only way I can turn a profit....
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  17. #17
    RC Qualifier Traxxas9008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greatscott View Post
    I am an electronics technician by trade, have been a LAN manager, and built my fair share of custom machines. I have not built anything in a while and just not a project I want to take on. The research alone I would have to do to get myself back up to speed is off putting, to say nothing of researching and sourcing parts.
    Ooh, thats really cool.
    But yeah, I understand perfectly. I haven't looked into desktop machines built by companies, only laptops, so I can't help. :/
    Sorry, but Good Luck with your search! ASUS is always a good brand to go with by my records.
    The computer I have rn is an Antec. Got it from my sibs and parents a while back, but its been great. Only replaced one part to help with gaming.
    If you ain't getting dirty, you ain't having fun.

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