Today I come into the office to work, and find that my machine blue-screened overnight. I figured it was Vista acting up (again), so I restarted. Once the machine is back up, I log in, only to discover that I have no network access.
This is only the latest in a continuing series of problems I’ve had with Alienware’s Area 51 machines. If it wasn’t locking up for no apparent reason, the performance of virtual machines (VMware or Virtual PC) was slow. One cause of at least some of the problems turned out to be incorrect voltage settings for the memory (though I’m not sure how they got out of the factory with that wrong).
We spent about an hour uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and rebooting to see if we could solve the problem ourselves. After those efforts failed, I spent 2 hours on the phone with Alienware (1/2 of which were wasted by their tech support person walking me through things I’d already tried). The one really new thing we tried (installing a new BIOS) didn’t solve the problem either. Alienware has concluded that the motherboard has gone bad and needs replacing. This is a stunningly bad result for a PC less than 2 months old.
Two thumbs down on Alienware and Vista. If you must run some version of Windows, you’d be better off doing it on a Mac.
If you’re wondering how I posted this without a machine with Internet access, the answer is, with my iPhone.