Replies 24

MojaviViper

Great review!


papusan

Both displays are unacceptable. Return both. This was bad. You pay premium price for medium quality.


Eroc162

You guys brought up this light bleed and I have 1 spot about 2 inches right over the Alienware head on startup. Kinda drives me nuts seeing it but like you guys Im afraid of getting something worse.  

Alienware 15, i7-4720, 4k touch , 980m, Samsung 850 512gb M.2, 16gb HyperX Ram, 1tb 7200hd, ButtKicker Gamer 2, Klipsch ProMedia 2.1, Klipsch R110SW = Keeps Me Happy

LinkRS

Eroc162 said:

You guys brought up this light bleed and I have 1 spot about 2 inches right over the Alienware head on startup. Kinda drives me nuts seeing it but like you guys Im afraid of getting something worse.  

My new 17 R3 is my third Alienware laptop, and if you want to get technical my sixth Dell laptop.  This is the first one I have owned that has had light bleed.  All of the higher-end ones I have owned have had IPS displays, and have been flawless.  This is the first $2K+ one I have owned with backlight bleed.  I really don't notice it once the system is up, it is just at boot time that it is really glaring.  But as I mentioned earlier one of our local Alienware Reps indicates there should be no bleed.  Since I diverted this topic, I am now going to steer this back to on-topic...

Hi Veedrac,

Is there a reason that you are running a GNU/Linux OS on the bare metal, and not just in a VM under Windows?  It seems, based on the issues you described, it would be less of a headache if you just ran Windows.  Thanks!

Rich S.


Veedrac

Is there a reason that you are running a GNU/Linux OS on the bare metal, and not just in a VM under Windows?  It seems, based on the issues you described, it would be less of a headache if you just ran Windows.  Thanks!

There are a few, none of them decisive.

Firstly, I wasn't expecting quite so many things to be problematic. The XPS I got was at the time also cutting-edge, but IIRC other than a couple of UEFI challenges (it's much easier now) and a noisy audio port (which I only actually fixed a year or so in) nothing went wrong. For the Alienware, each issue after the next was a surprise.

The second thing is that my OS is extremely lightweight and used almost exclusively. Putting it in Windows, which currently exists just for games and whenever I next break something on Arch, is a waste and will probably make a few issues a bit worse. Heck, just having to log into Windows irritates me - I have Arch log on automatically. For what it's worth, from the BIOS finishing to being fully logged in on Arch takes roughly 2.5 seconds. If only the BIOS was faster...

The third is I do a lot of pretty crazy things, and in my limited experience crazy things don't work amazingly in virtual boxes. I don't know whether it'll all be fine, but a lot make me unsettled about it. Remapping Caps Lock to ISO_Level5_Shift? Odd mounting configurations? I don't even know if stuff like qtFx will work in a virtual machine, or if I'd be able to bind the macro keys before the Alienware software intercepts it.

I guess the final point is that virtual machines don't really spring to mind quickly, as I don't use them often. Perhaps my points above are all wrong, and I'd just need more VM experience to realize it.

Certainly Linux in a VM is a totally valid option for very many people. I'm not sure how much it'll fix (how would it fix the lack of stable Skylake graphics support, say?), but that's for others to find out ;).


LinkRS

Veedrac said:

Is there a reason that you are running a GNU/Linux OS on the bare metal, and not just in a VM under Windows?  It seems, based on the issues you described, it would be less of a headache if you just ran Windows.  Thanks!

There are a few, none of them decisive.

Firstly, I wasn't expecting quite so many things to be problematic. The XPS I got was at the time also cutting-edge, but IIRC other than a couple of UEFI challenges (it's much easier now) and a noisy audio port (which I only actually fixed a year or so in) nothing went wrong. For the Alienware, each issue after the next was a surprise.

The second thing is that my OS is extremely lightweight and used almost exclusively. Putting it in Windows, which currently exists just for games and whenever I next break something on Arch, is a waste and will probably make a few issues a bit worse. Heck, just having to log into Windows irritates me - I have Arch log on automatically. For what it's worth, from the BIOS finishing to being fully logged in on Arch takes roughly 2.5 seconds. If only the BIOS was faster...

The third is I do a lot of pretty crazy things, and in my limited experience crazy things don't work amazingly in virtual boxes. I don't know whether it'll all be fine, but a lot make me unsettled about it. Remapping Caps Lock to ISO_Level5_Shift? Odd mounting configurations? I don't even know if stuff like qtFx will work in a virtual machine, or if I'd be able to bind the macro keys before the Alienware software intercepts it.

I guess the final point is that virtual machines don't really spring to mind quickly, as I don't use them often. Perhaps my points above are all wrong, and I'd just need more VM experience to realize it.

Certainly Linux in a VM is a totally valid option for very many people. I'm not sure how much it'll fix (how would it fix the lack of stable Skylake graphics support, say?), but that's for others to find out ;).

Hi Veerdac,

Many of the issues you are having, like with the audio jacks, and the video driver would be non-existent under a VM.  It might take quite a bit of fiddling to get the Sound Blaster Recon 3Di to work "as expected" under Linux, as much of it is closed source software.  The 3.5mm ports on the system are dynamically assigned, using the Sound Blaster control panel, so something in Linux would have to be able to mimic this assignment (even it is just once at boot t "fix" it).  Under a VM, it would emulate a more compatible set of hardware, and just "work."  Plus, you can take snapshots (if your software supports it), so when you are mucking around, you can revert if you do something that breaks it.  Windows 10 on my Alienware 17 R3 usually boots in around 3 seconds off of the SSD.  There seems to be an issue with the free-fall sensor, so sometime the boot takes around 40 seconds, and it comes up instantly when it is sleeping.  I use VMWare Workstation, and have several different VMs setup, Solaris, CentOS, and a Fedora VM.  I can actually run all at once if I wanted to, but typically only have one at a time.  It offers great flexibility, and unless you need very high-performance, I find it superior to just booting off of the bare metal.  And perhaps the best thing is, you don't have to reboot to switch from working in Linux, to go and play a game.  You can just suspend the VM, and then close it.  VMWare offers free VMware Player, and VirtualBox is also free.  It might be worth your time to take a look :-)

Rich S.


Veedrac

Many of the issues you are having, like with the audio jacks, and the video driver would be non-existent under a VM.

True, but the real work is over now. Sound is fine and the video driver isn't bad enough to really bother me (it will all be fixed up soon anyway).

Plus, you can take snapshots (if your software supports it), so when you are mucking around, you can revert if you do something that breaks it.

Heh, going for my weakness are you ;P.

Windows 10 on my Alienware 17 R3 usually boots in around 3 seconds off of the SSD. 

My boot times weren't bad per se; 15 seconds in the BIOS. I just looked at it and it seems it's slower due to legacy boot turned on (which I was using for easy USB booting); turning it back off makes the BIOS 5-6 seconds long. Still more than twice the time Linux takes to start up, but such is life.

A 3-second boot time in Windows is a bit hard to believe, though. Even with fast boot on and legacy boot disabled, Windows first boots into an Alienware loading screen (with spinning dots) and only then another booting stage for me. This takes a lot longer than Linux. Plus, I prefer turning fast boot off to let my disks stay read-writable and keep Windows' SSD usage small.

 


LinkRS

Hi Veedrac,

I am not counting the BIOS POST time,  my 3 seconds starts once the POST completes.  About 1 out of every 3 boots takes almost 30 seconds after that due to the apparently known issue with the freefall sensor, but the rest of the time, the Login screen is displayed about 3 seconds after POST completes.  Task Manager reports BIOS time at 6.5 seconds right now, so adding that, I have approx a 10 second boot time.  On my M17xR4 with a 32GB cache drive, Windows 8 would boot (using same description above) in around 15 seconds, and Windows 7 took 30 seconds.

I am making an educated guess here, but on systems that support "Fast Boot,' Windows 10 does not do a full boot.  It saves an image of the operating memory into the hibernation file, and then enters a low power state.  When the system next boots, it does the POST, loads the kernel, and then that image.  This makes booting incredibly fast.  However, it can cause issues when you have unstable things loaded into memory, as those could be saved and a reboot wouldn't help.  Here is an article that talks a little about it (if you are interested).http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/07/faster-booting-smaller-footprint-make-windows-10-an-easy-upgrade-for-old-pcs/

I'm glad you got your bugs worked out under Linux.  I still suggest that you investigate visualization.  You can even do this under Linux,  it has saved my bacon more times than I can count when I am tinkering.  Good luck!

Rich S.


Veedrac

I am not counting the BIOS POST time,

Nor am I. Judging by how the spinning dots show up only for Windows, I'm fairly certain Windows has started by that point. The transition may be hidden, but it's there. Linux will have booted well before those dots stop spinning, and Windows still delays work Linux does on boot 'till after you log in.

I don't want to emphasize boot times too much, don't get me wrong; I'm more commenting on how much more lightweight Linux is.

I am making an educated guess here, but on systems that support "Fast Boot,' Windows 10 does not do a full boot.  It saves an image of the operating memory into the hibernation file, and then enters a low power state.

Yup; that's what I was referring to when I said I turn off fast boot to save space and keep the disk writeable.


elalienwareo

Hey Veedrac,

 

Thanks a lot for your great review.

Maybe you can help me with a problem I am experiencing currently.

I am trying to install arch (the 02-2016 iso) booted via an usb stick onto my SSD.

My configuration is 1 512gb pcie-ssd and 1 1TB sata disc.

I could install without any problem to the sata disc, but since i am planning to compile cyanogenmod I would really like to make advantage of the ssd.

The problem: I cannot see the ssd inside the booted arch. print from parted does not find it, and lspci only display a raid controller (which is for sata anyhow i guess).

Since you have installed on ssd, maybe you can give me a hint, how to achieve my goal.

Any help is very appreciated!

Gr33z