Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

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Re: Just cannot bring myself to buy a gaming notebook ever again

Postby thebs » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:36 am

smartroad wrote:
thebs wrote:7x9x11" cube where I can plug into a hotel's HDMI

Problem I have found with that is many hotels block the use of the HDMI ports :(

Not the ones I stay in.
But even then, there is the Oculus Rift.

smartroad wrote:Really annoyed though, got the confirmation that the lappy is being shipped (YAY!) but it is, according to the tracking info, coming from China! ETA is almost two weeks! So frustrating :(

Nearly 100% of custom order notebooks come from China or Taiwan since the mid '00s. I remember purchasing my first, custom notebook in 2005 from HP, the Pavliion dv9000z, and it came directly from China within 10 days. None of them even use local assembly, it's all assembled in China or Taiwan.

Tier-1 OEMs like Dell and HP outsource to ODMs like ECS, FIC, Foxconn, et al. and they assemble there too. Lenovo is their own ODM, but increasingly they are using other ODMs such as the above, including assembly. Server hardware can be a bit difference, although even HP has gone with a 'whitebox line' trying to bring costs down, while still charging a lot, not much savings.

Tier-2 OEMs are almost always using Taiwan-based ODM Clevo, and will come from their Chinese or Taiwanese factories. Ironically Tier-2 OEMs, even their largest distributors -- e.g., Sager here in North America, Eurocom in--well--Europe, etc... -- offer assembly and customization in the US. Yes, the Tier-2 OEMs shipping Clevo ODM models provide more local region jobs and customization than the household name Tier-1 OEMs.

Disclaimer: In addition to being in the semiconductor industry as well as part of ASIC design teams in the past, most of my embedded career has involved me working directly with Chinese and Taiwanese ODMs as well as select OEMs, bypassing US distributors.

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E.g., when I needed my personally designed embedded Linux units for mesh wireless networking customized and assembled overnight for deployment in Louisiana and Mississippi within 48 hours, I pitched the sale to no less than three (3) ODMs directly. One came through, and we were able to provide extended communications for the US Coast Guard during Katrina by shipping directly, while I also shipped directly my pre-built, 100% automated Kickstart DVDs (0 interaction, just put in and turn it on) that was installed in the field by people who didn't know anything about computers (yes, either an USB driver or even a slim DVD drives in the tiny units). And yes, those were my local 407 area code numbers (Orlando) the US networks were putting on TV so people could call and find out about their loved ones. No infrastructure, all mesh networking, to satellite uplink ... only 1.5GHz spread over dozens of square kilometers to the same uplink in many cases. No way could I get it done if I wasn't dealing directly with the ODMs, and even one of them admitted they couldn't do the turnaround in time.
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby smartroad » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:00 pm

It doesn't bother me that it is coming from China, it is that they (Dell) don't make it clear. All they say is 3-5 days dispatch, which to be fair they met on day 4, there was nothing that indicated the potentially long delivery time.

Guess I have got used to fast delivery with the likes of Amazon and other places lol I just wouldn't consider the thing 'customised' all they are doing is swapping out the RAM, could have just jiffy bagged it and I'd have done it had I know LOL :D
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby thebs » Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:22 pm

smartroad wrote:It doesn't bother me that it is coming from China, it is that they (Dell) don't make it clear. All they say is 3-5 days dispatch, which to be fair they met on day 4, there was nothing that indicated the potentially long delivery time.

Dell, HP and Lenovo hide this fact. They always have. It's 10 days minimum as standard, usually 2+ weeks, 17 days not unheard of. They don't want Americans to know that *0* Americans are involved with the system, period.

It's just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing and assembly, something we invented in the US, and then the Japanese -- now Taiwanese and Chinese -- have bested us at wholesale -- literally. Get a degree in traditional engineering and you'll have four (4) different courses on microeconomics, finance and management, learning how it all works. It's a cost savings that is extremely significant, and helped bring down the cost of PCs in the '90s.

In any case ...

I was pleasantly surprised when I got my HP Pavilion dv9000z within 10 days back in late 2005 or early 2006 (cannot remember). It was supposed to be 10 days minimum, 2 weeks expected. I haven't purchased a custom system since then, always existing stock from Amazon or NewEgg, although nothing since 2011.

smartroad wrote:I have got used to fast delivery with the likes of Amazon and other places lol

That's because they have stock-on-hand in a warehouse.

smartroad wrote:I just wouldn't consider the thing 'customised' all they are doing is swapping out the RAM, could have just jiffy bagged it and I'd have done it had I know LOL :D

That's why I deal with local Clevo resellers if I can help it. Here in the US, MythLogic is the most accommodating bunch of guys I've ever run into. They are forward about supply and other aspects, and are not afraid to drop suppliers who fail them. And they actually integration test things! The Tier-2 whitebox horror stories are filled with endless tales of mis-integrations and incompatibilities.

Of course, they are still at the mercy of Sager, the North American redistributor for Clevo, when it comes to the main unit. Sager really isn't a Tier-2 OEM, they are really no different than Dell, HP or Lenovo. The one nice thing is that they usually have more stock-on-hand, of the pre-configured units, than the Big 3, at least in my experience.

In the Linux space, people use System76 as their Clevo-Sager reseller. Red Hat still orders from Lenovo though, their continuing IBM-Lenovo partnership, although Lenovo has screwed-the-pooch more than once. I prefer Clevo for Linux compatibility, heavily reference Intel design, nVidia Optimus usually works, and can be disabled if desired too.

Either that or I just buy an off-lease, 3 year-old Dell Precision m4000 series and upgrade the RAM, mSATA and hard drives. Of course they don't have the GTX 1000 series, but a 700 or 900-based Quadro that is, maybe, equivalent to a GTX 960 or so at best. But they kick butt as mobile business/engineering professional workstations with really cheap docks available via eBay. ;)

The 'mobile professional workstations' with nVidia Quadro units are always 100% GNU/Linux compatible. Dell and HP constantly fight over that very high-margin business and engineering market where mobile GNU/Linux workstations rule. That's why nVidia Quadro drivers for Linux usually get priority over both Linux and Windows consumer efforts.
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby smartroad » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:27 pm

Fingers crossed, I should have it turning up tomorrow! Annoyingly no one will be home, as apposed to its initial delivery date when I would have been home :( Ah well, pickup here I come (assuming it actually arrives!)
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby smartroad » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:31 pm

Woooooo! Its here (this post is being written on it!)

Currently installing Elite on it but so far I am impressed. Minimal bloat on it (mostly Microshaft junk and McAfee). Screen is just lovely to look it. I went for the 1080p LCD screen, where most of the review models had the OLED one. Sure it has more resolution and is better at blacks but it is reflective and my phone after a year of use has noticeable burn-in on its OLED screen.

Keyboard and touchpad back lighting is a little too bright, need to check how I reduce that, especially the touch pad which is distractedly bright when it is on! Keyboard is a nice thing to use though, enough feed back when you have pressed the button and a good feel. I shall put it thorugh its paces once I have it fully charged and running :P

For its small size it is bleeding heavy though LOL
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby pargyrak » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:18 pm

enjoy it!!!!
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby Daniel Dakota » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:31 am

Nice :) enjoy enjoy new toy :))))))

DD
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Re: Brought an Alienware 13 (2017)

Postby smartroad » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:41 pm

Elite plays surprisingly well on it. With high settings it sits constantly at 60FPS (V-Sync) no matter what is on screen at the time :) The 1060 is a very impressive chip, even in the confines of a small laptop. The one negative is in part due to the size, heat and fan noise. Once Elite gets going the fan quickly ramps up to full thrust and you really would have to be wearing headphones to appreciate the games sound fully.

I have even setup my Vive on it, although I have only done it while on battery and that is restricted to 30FPS (an overriddable setting though) through the Alienware software to maximise battery life. Will try later with mains (mostly for a giggle).

It is a shame that the whole experience was initially let down by Dell being secretive about the actual delivery time, because the laptop is an excellent bit of kit. If anyone buys from Dell be aware it is probably coming from China and the 3-5 dispatch time equates to at least 2 weeks delivery time.

Now all I need is the external GPU dock and I won't need a desktop machine LOL
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