Alienware Lightspeed PC
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Our configuration
We picked up a Lightspeed system, with the following configuration:

Warranty: 1-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support with Onsite Service Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 Desktop Enhancements: Exclusive AlienGUIse Theme Manager
Chassis: Alienware Classic Full-Tower Chassis - Space Black
Power Supply: Alienware 480 Watt Power Supply
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 Processor w/ HT Technology 3.0GHz
Motherboard: Intel Desktop Board D865PERLK
Memory: 1GB Dual Channel DDR PC-3200 SDRAM at 400MHz - 2 x 512MB
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB DDR3 w/Digital and S-Video Out
System Drive: High Performance - Serial ATA - 80GB Seagate Barracuda 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
Optical Drive One: Lite-On 16x DVD-ROM Drive with Software DVD Decoder
Optical Drive Two: Plextor PX-712A 12x DVD±R/W Drive
Floppy Drive: 3.5" 1.44 MB Floppy Disk Drive - Black
Sound Card: Integrated 5.1 Surround Sound w/Optical Digital Output
Network Connection: Integrated High Performance Intel Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Modem: US Robotics 56K V.92 Performance Pro
Keyboard: Microsoft Basic Keyboard Black
Mouse: Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse Black
Price: $1689

Since Alienware updates the possible components (and their prices) for their various series of PCs very often, the Lightspeed system we reviewed is no longer available (in particular the NVIDIA 6800 GT is not available in the list of possible graphics cards for the Ligthspeed series); for a higher price, you could get now a stylish Area 51 or the new beautiful Area 51 5300 (a new series featuring the characteristics of the classic Area 51 within a wonderful, silent small chassis) with a similar configuration (actually, even better than ours, since this is a PCI Express-based system):

Warranty: 1-Year AlienCare Toll-Free 24/7 Phone Support with Onsite Service
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2
Desktop Enhancements: Exclusive AlienGUIse Theme Manager
Chassis: Alienware Area-51 5300 Small Form Factor Chassis - Black
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 Processor 530 w/ HT Technology 3.0GHz 1MB Cache
Motherboard: Alienware Area-51 5300 Motherboard with Intel 915G Chipset
Memory: 1GB Dual Channel DDR PC-3200 SDRAM at 400MHz - 2 x 512MB
Graphics Processor: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT PCI Express 256MB DDR3 w/Digital and S-Video Out
System Drive: High Performance - Serial ATA - 80GB Seagate Barracuda 7,200 RPM w/8MB Cache
Optical Drive: NEC ND-3500 16x Dual Layer DVD±R/W Recorder
Sound Card: Intel 6-Channel Audio with SPDIF and Composite Out
Network Connection: Integrated High Performance Gigabit Ethernet
Modem: US Robotics 56K V.92 Performance Pro
Keyboard: Microsoft Basic Keyboard Black
Mouse: Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse Black
Price: $1861

In general, Alienware Area 51 "Optimized Value" and "Perfect Balance" series can help you configure a system that offers a great balance between price and performance, exactly what we tried to do in our previous article.

There are other free extras included in the package, like a free trial period to a popular gaming website, a 10% discount for a purchase at EB Games, and AlienInspection, Alienware proprietary software useful to protect and manage your system. We wanted a good 56K modem in the PC, useful for our reviews to test online games supporting dial-up and to send and receive faxes, but if you are on a broadband connection, you may not need it. Monitor and speakers are not included, as you may already have them, like us. We have a very cheap but good 5.1 speaker system, the Creative 5400, that has all you need if you want to play games with dolby surround enabled. In general, both Logitech and Creative manufacture solid 5.1 speaker systems. perfect for gaming, at excellent prices (around $75).

Alienware Ligthspeed PC Alienware Area-51 5300
Our Lightspeed PC
The new Area-51 5300

Opening the box
Quality of packaging is fundamental when it comes to delicate products like PCs or monitors. Even when an online seller offers solid warranties, it's always bad to open a box and find that your precious baby is broken. Alienware PCs come in cool big black boxes (depending on the size of your chassis, of course) with the Alienware logo in evidence on all sides that can induce sheer excitement and mouth watering even in the most hardcore gamer.

As we opened the box, the Accessory Box greeted us. This cardboard case, modelled to fit into the box, is stuffed with all smaller accessories, installation disks, and informative material you need for your PC; this is the content of our Accessory Box:

- Microsoft Basic Black Keyboard
- Microsoft Optical Mouse
- Personalized Alienware warranty ID card, with our name printed on it
- Simple manual to help us setup our system and install additional components
- Detailed documentation about the tests performed on the system with a few sample factory benchmarks
- A recovery disk containing the operating system, needed to bring the system back to how it was the day we received it
- More disks containing additional software installed on our system, latest drivers, and patches

Unreal Tournament 2004 Unreal Tournament 2004 Unreal Tournament 2004
Unreal Tournament 2004 running on the Lightspeed.


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