25 Years On, Alienware Still Kicking Goals
Alienware is a US computer hardware operation who have dominated the world of PC gaming for 25 year, delivering top-end machines which are in big demand by gaming Pros playing the circuits, as well as home gamers.
Back in 2002, Michael Dell was the king of PC sales online, after pioneering the purchase of notebooks and desktop PCs, which at the time were heavy and expensive based on today’s pricing. He started to eye off a Company called Alienware that was founded in 1996 by Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila.
Alienware was initially distributed in Australia via an Adelaide-based Company, specialised in gaming hardware and was popular among the fans of gaming PCs, who were prepared to pay the premium price that these top-end machines cost.
After eyeing off the business for four years, Michael Dell finally acquired Alienware in 2006, and on June 2, 2009, The M17x was introduced as the first Alienware/Dell-branded gaming PC.
This acquisition was a game-changer, as Dell at the time was only known for business and enterprise computers that could be bought online.
According to the latest forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker, worldwide shipments of gaming PCs and monitors continue to grow at rates faster than console gaming, and is outstripping demand for business PCs, though I suspect a lot of work-from-home PC users have upgraded to a gaming PC.
For gaming PCs, which includes both desktop and notebook PCs, unit shipments are expected to grow from 41.3 million in 2020 to 52.3 million in 2025.
Similarly, the gaming monitor market, which Alienware now plays in, is expected to jump from 14.2 million units shipped to 26.4 million during the same time frame.
This equates to the two product categories having five-year compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 4.8% and 13.2% respectively.
Michael Dell had already worked out, similar to what Acer did back in 2006, that gaming PCs delivered better margin, while allowing Companies like Dell and Acer to demonstrate what an Intel processor hooked up to a top-end graphics card was capable of delivering.
This is very noticeable today in the new Alienware X15 notebook and the Dell Aurora 12 desktop PC.
Nelson Gonzalez originally started the business as a PC company named Saikai but he quickly twigged that custom PCs he specifically designed for gaming was where he saw a future.
“Back then, it was really hard, 16-bit and 32-bit DOS, Windows, 2D and 3D video cards,” he says. “A lot of his friends and family were buying PCs from Gateway and Compaq, but they couldn’t really get Doom or Quake running properly because it was a pain. And if they could get one game to run, it was hard to get the others going.”
Back in 1998, the Alienware Blade evolved into the very first Area 51 PC tower gaming PC.
Inside the box were Intel processors three video cards including one for 2D graphics and two additional 3D add-on cards with 3Dfx’s Voodoo PC chip.
The Area 51 featured dual soundcards from Creative Labs, which supported both Sound Blaster 16 and DirectX 3D audio.
In 1999 Alienware introduced an AMD-powered variant of the Area 51 christened the Aurora a name that is still around today.
Then came an array of metallic colours, including Nova Yellow, Plasma Purple, Saucer Silver, Conspiracy Blue, Cyborg Green, and Martian Red.
Recently, Dell introduced the latest Alienware Aurora, which offers the ultimate gaming power and toolless entry, making it Alienware’s most accessible and upgradeable desktop to date.
This device saw the debut of a new slick Legend 2.0 open-air chassis design that increases internal chassis volume by 50 per cdnt without significantly expanding the overall footprint of the chassis.
Acoustics have also been improved because of the development of the new chassis which delivers better air flow and thermal solution thus a significantly quieter system.
One contributor is that Alienware have introduced four 120mm system fans and liquid cooling options to provide a robust thermal architecture.
And for the first time, Alienware is offering an optional transparent left-side panel for gamers, so owners can gaze inside and admire a dark new motherboard illuminated by up to eight unique zones of AlienFX customisable lighting.
25 years since they launched their first PC, Alienware is still seen today as a market leader in gaming PCs.
Sold exclusively by JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys, as well as specialist dealers, Alienware is tipped to be here in another decade or two as the Company’s products are hard to beat.
During the last decade brands such as HP with their Omen gaming PCs and Lenovo with their Legion range have tried to take on the likes of Dell with their Alienware and Acer with their Predator PCs, however the market has spoken with both predator and Alienware seen as market leaders up against the likes of gaming machines from MSI and ASUS.