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Review: Alienware Aurora 7700m Notebook

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Reviews' started by Elysian, Jan 25, 2006.

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  1. Elysian

    Elysian Thread Starter

    Sep 4, 2005
    In October, I purchased the Alienware Aurora 7700m Notebook for my husband as a gaming/work computer. Yes, it weighs a ton, but since he does not travel much, he figured the weight would not be an issue. The general specifications are a dual-core P4, 17" LCD, Nvidia 6800m video card with 256MB memory that's upgradable, 1024 MB memory, DVD-RW optical, SATA Raid hard drive configuration, a bunch of card slots (secure digital, memory sticks, etc), firewire, USB ports, Audio DJ (to play your music CDs without turning on the notebook), Windows XP Pro, and weighs about 12 LBs without the brick. With the brick, it's about 16 LBs.

    The Good

    The notebook is as fast as a desktop. And the LCD is gorgeous, but very reflective. Movies look great. Games like Rome: Total War and Civ4 play very well on decent to high graphic settings. No hitches with the games like an average notebook: no lags, reboots or crashes due to lack of video card capablility or other hardware. Word processing and internet are a no brainer on this machine. It also has an extra-wide keyboard that has a number pad (you have to use the function key to access it or to turn it on -- we never use it).

    Alienware's tech support seem to get to you fairly quickly -- within seven minutes. I had to wait about 10-15 minutes right before the Christmas holiday, though.

    The Bad

    The notebook needs to be plugged in all the time. The battery does not hold a charge even after charging overnight. This issue damaged my notebook to the point where "no operating system found" popped up after trying to boot it up. I turned it on with just the battery (and it had been charging for at least a day), and Windows froze during start up. Since ctrl+alt+del was not working, I had to hold the power button down to force a shut down. Upon restarting the notebook, it couldn't find the operating system -- after a month and a half of ownership! We had to ship it back to Alienware right before the Christmas holiday to repair it.

    We paid for premium three year support on this machine (the expensive extra one) and Alienware does not provide any sort of expedited repair. Shipping to Alienware was by Federal Express Saver and took three days to get to them. Shipping back to me was by Fed Ex Ground and took a week to get back to me. We waited three weeks for this computer to be shipped back to us, where he had no computer to use for work (Alienware was not sympathetic at all), so I had to buy another notebook for him to use in the interim.

    Audio DJ does not work from the moment we received the computer. It still does not work after it was "repaired" by Alienware.

    According to Alienware, they had to replace the motherboard, optical drive and replace the CPUs. There is a sticker on the bottom of my notebook stating that the parts installed were tested to be working prior to installation but the notebook itself was not tested to see if it actually worked. Which is why Audio DJ does not work. They didn't even bother to check to see if everything worked before shipping it back to us!

    Now, Windows takes about three to five minutes to boot. Is this a replay of our original "no operating system found" issue? Needless to say, I had a very lengthy, unhappy conversation with tech support, again. My husband demanded to get our money back from Alienware or a brand new laptop. Alienware said that they cannot do that. I did all the things the tech told me to do without the restore CDs they sent me (who lugs those things with you on a road trip anyway?) I hung up with tech support since he was making me do the Windows check disk, that takes forever. After that, Windows reboots as it normally does. I figured out that Windows takes forever to boot if I had my PCMCIA wireless card in the slot.

    I'm still not happy that I spent all this money for a headache. It pretty much works, except that I can't unplug it or use Audio DJ.

    Another feature I find strange is how they laid out the keyboard. It's recessed towards the screen and you have about seven inches of palm rest before the keyboard, making you lean in further towards the computer and a bit uncomfortable to type.

    In conclusion, I really regret plunking down the money for this lemon. Although it sort of works right now, I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop for something else to screw up.

    [HP Small Business at least gives you the option to purchase their "next day" support, where they pay for next day shipping, both ways ... which works really well, too. I got my work notebook fixed and returned to me three days after I shipped it.]
  2. Gabriel

    Gabriel Account Closed

    May 1, 2003
    Thanks for the infio on Alienware Elysian...sorry you are having this problem with them
  3. SIR****TMG


    Aug 12, 2003
    Thanks for the info..............
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