Alienware Informative - 1600 Doorstop - Area-51 M5500 laptop
KAPOLEI, HAWAII -- I purchased an Alienware Area-51 M5500 laptop in 08/07 for $1628. I have now been officially getting the run around from customer service. Here is my problem. About 4 months after I purchased the computer it started to randomly shut down of its own accord. The battery level made no difference. Unfortunately, I was deployed at the time and had no real way to get in touch with the company, so I let it go until I returned from deployment. I sent an e-mail request for assistance. The response had me changing code in the BIOS which I was uncomfortable with doing. Shortly after the request for help on this matter the computer stopped working entirely. When turned on all the power lights would come on but nothing would come up on the screen. Thinking that it might be a problem with the screen I attached the laptop to an external monitor.
The image that came up was of Windows trying to start (the image was also interspersed with vertical colored lines making it very difficult to see) then an error message saying something to the effect of "Windows has encountered a problem and has to shut down." I am unable to be any more specific on the message due to the fact that many of the characters had been replaced by white boxes and the screen was still covered with lines. A local computer repair shop thinks the screen and mother board have been fried from over heating.
I was told by the technical support representative the computer was out of warranty and I would have to send it back to be repaired at my own expense. Normally I would understand this and not have much of a problem with it. Sometimes things just happen. After a little research, however, I discovered that since around the time I purchased my machine other people have been having the same problems; mostly caused by the laptop running too hot and damaging the motherboard or other elements. I feel that if this has been an on-going issue that the company is aware of a recall should have been issued to fix the problem, or at the very least the manufacturing should have been examined and altered.
Quite frankly, it boggles my mind that a mass produced Compaq laptop that I purchased almost ten years ago for half as much as I paid for the Alienware system, has never given me a single hardware issue, while the supposedly high-quality, high performance machine I purchased 16 months ago is now good for nothing more than a doorstop. According to customer service rep I spoke with I should be perfectly content with that because I can hardly expect a custom built high-performance machine to last as long as a mass-produced factory model. Apparently one tenth as long for double the price should be good enough for me.