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The 8800 is the first card from nVidia that can run both FSAA and HDR at the same time. I was able to push all the video settings for Oblivion all the way up to the maximum, and run at 16x FSAA and 16 anisotropic filtering. The detail and sharpness was tremendous, particularly because the filtering quality on the 8800 from nVidia is far better than its previous 7xxx series of cards. The thing is that now I hardly can face going home to play on my comparatively weedy home system.
Of course, the system is expensive, as with all Alienware system, but you do get the benefit of Alienware’s support package and a very cool looking pre-built case. Deciding to recommend the system or not was a difficult one to call as it depends on who the market is. If you’re looking for a superb value gaming PC, this isn’t really it. Yes the overall gaming performance is stellar but a more average system with one 8800 GTX system will give all the performance you’ll need.
It very much depends on what display you’ll be hooking this up to. You only really need a system like this right now if you’re pairing it with a Dell 30in or equivalent as otherwise it’s overkill. However there is some logic to buying it for games. Once titles that really can take advantage of more than two cores arrive, such as Crysis and Alan Wake next year, the advantage of quad-core will really start to become apparent, and the slower 2D scores we see here will be forgetten. This is actually a machine that will get faster in the future, and that’s not true of the average PC.
Additionally, if you’re into your 3D modelling apps, such as 3D Studio Max and LightWave as well as busting out with games then this is the system for you.
On that basis the Alienware gets an award – not in the rush out and buy this to run Office and play the Sims kind of way, but as a great example of super high-end halo effect technology in action. After all, this level of performance and technology will trickle down into cheaper system before too long.
As beautifully packaged and presented a PC as you would expect from Alienware but busting with bleeding edge kit. The quad-core CPU is a little ahead of its time, and a higher clocked dual-core processor will be faster right now, but the four cores will come into their once applications start to arrive. The dual 8800s only make sense if you’ve got a Dell 30in screen to attach them to, but if you are lucky enough to be able to afford the combo, then this system will deliver an outrageously impressive gaming experience.