My Alienware 17R3 (Dell) nightmare from hell. (for those of you thinking of buying one in 2016)


Feb 6, 2016
Hi everyone. I'm posting this here because I am livid at Dell for leaving me without a tool for days. I have never posted a negative review anywhere, and this must be heard. This has been a huge waste of my time, and I feel betrayed by a company I trusted. I went out on a limb and spent 2 months salary on a computer, and was severely let down.

After 2 weeks of obsessive research, I ordered this beauty on Amazon Prime: The Alienware AW17R3-8342SLV (Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor - 16 GB DDR4 - 1 TB HDD + 256 GB SSD Storage; 17.3 Inch UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) LED-lit Truelife Screen). I need it for 3D rendering, graphic design, and marketing (my day job) and of course my lifeblood: gaming. Gaming is a tension-relieving and therapeutic tool that relaxes me after a frazzled day at work. I never treat my self and I plan on having this laptop for at least 5-6 years.

I consciously decide to ignore the forum threads with slanderous stories about Alienware and the consumer affairs review websites with low ratings on Dell as a company. But Screw the haters! ... right?

It arrived quicker than expected, like 1.75 days (THANKS AMAZON!). This laptop really is gorgeous!

That's where the joy ends.

After the Windows 10 auto install, it takes 3 minutes to boot up after a restart. That's 180 [language] seconds of my life. Tried it 3 times. Hmmm... Googling and troubleshooting for over an hour. Find it. It's a known issue.

Fix: Device Manger > Sensor I/O Devices > Update Kionic KXCNL Freefall Sensor. After that it takes more like 20 seconds to start. Yay?

But don't start updating all your drivers willy nilly. I updated the Display adapters > Intel(R) HD Graphics 530 and immediately get a flickering, glitchy black screen and the error: "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered. Display driver Intel HD Graphics Driver for windows 8(R) stopped responding and has successfully recovered." Are you kidding me Dell?!

I just bought this laptop for $2,172.91 USD.

I still want to like this laptop so bad. Call a Alienware/Dell customer service rep for Alienware support. Immediately treated like a prospective cow to be milked for cash. A woman is intrusively pressing for email, phone number, first and last name, birth date. Tells me if I don't buy a premium warranty now, it will cost $800 for a 4 year warranty in a few weeks. What the?? I just need help with my computer!! "Sir, why can't you purchase the warranty right now?" Do they get a commission for this shit? I hang up in frustration.

I uninstall the Intel Driver that I updated, restart, then reinstall the driver gleaned from a dell help forum here:.

"Display driver stopped responding and has recovered." has not popped up and no black screen glitches for 20 minutes straight! Whew!! Approximately 3 hours after my initial powerup, I'm able install Steam and play a game. I launch Rise of the Tomb Raider. While it's loading, a strange interference pattern cackles from the left speaker. Like that gargling screech that comes from a microphone too close to a speaker, but consistent. The noise is drowned out by a loud, clear buzzing. Sounds like a fan that's possibly at the wrong angle, a teeny buzzing mechanical failure noise. It sounds like a tiny lawnmower. Is that the frikkin graphics card crying? At high settings, most games chug along at 17-35fps.

I turn off Steam and post my first angry monologue on the internet.

I'm not sure the cause of all this. The Dell woman told me to "only buy Dell, because Amazon buys the Alienware 17R3s in massive bulk, and they all have outdated firmware and software." Maybe she's wrong. Maybe it's a compatibility issue with Windows 10 and something else on this Super-Laptop. Maybe the SSD, graphics card, drivers, and speakers, screen on this laptop are faulty. Maybe I got another lemon. Whatever it is, I have a sore brain, burning eyeballs, and a bitter taste in my mouth for Dell.

Just as another reviewer online said, "It's not work the risk." I'm returning this gorgeous laptop tomorrow. I'm so disappointed in Dell. I feel betrayed by my first attempt at purchasing an Alienware. I really went out on a limb there and was sorely let down. I have never had a worse experience with a big ticket item.


Pros: * Keys are springier and more amazing than any I've used anywhere. * The screen is sharp. Queerly, discernibly sharp. * The startup is 5 seconds. The restart is 20.

Cons: * Plays newish games (GTA5, Witcher 3, even Bioshock Infinite) at 17-35 fps. * Faulty left speaker, graphics card (presumably), drivers,
Dell specifically says not to install Win10 on models not tested, and yours isn't in the list:

This article designates the Dell laptops and desktops that have been tested for upgrade to Windows 10 and tested for Windows 10 November update. If your device is not listed in the tables below, Dell is not testing the device, drivers have not been updated for that model, and Dell does not recommended an upgrade to Windows 10. If you wish to proceed with an upgrade to Windows 10 on an untested system, Microsoft provides information and support for upgrade through their upgrade website.
Blame Microsoft for releasing an OS and pushing it to PCs that it doesn't support, and roll back to 8.

PS: I'm not sure spending a sixth of your salary on a computer is particularly good fiscal planning...


Feb 6, 2016
Someone, are you suggesting that I need to now purchase windows 8.1 in order to use a computer I just paid $2150 for? Is there a free version of 8.1 somewhere?

This implied to me that it came with an earlier OS, and you'd hit the update to 10:
After the Windows 10 auto install
As did this:
Display driver Intel HD Graphics Driver for windows 8(R) stopped responding and has successfully recovered
Looks like I misunderstood you, sorry - the Amazon listing does say it came with 10.

Unless you really need a laptop, we normally recommend you build your own PC. Personally, I'd return it and do that. You'll spend half as much for something that's faster and better made.


Feb 6, 2016
Someone, no worries. I travel, and it's a real pain to transport the PC that I've already built here and there on planes and trains. I need a laptop that works out to the box. It's clear to me that this isn't that laptop.
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