If you want a cutting-edge PC — OK, if you want a cutting-edge game-playing machine — you go to the guys at Alienware. Computer Maker in an Alien World explains Alienware’s entrepreneurial history:
Gonzalez and his business partner, Alex Aguila, launched Alienware seven years ago with an initial investment of $13,000 for office equipment and rent. The company was unable to establish credit lines with computer parts vendors, so each Alienware customer had to pay in advance for their system, which allowed the company to purchase the products to manufacture that system.
Gonzalez got the idea to custom build high-performance machines for gamers from his own experiments constructing computers that would allow him to run flight simulators on machines designed primarily to handle spreadsheets and word-processing software.
Once he figured out how to squeeze the most performance out of off-the-shelf parts, he began building machines for his friends. Shortly after, he figured he’d “just roll the dice” and start a business based on what he’d learned. He named it Alienware in tribute to his longtime fascination with both UFOs and computer hardware.
Gonzales also tried to make the building process a bit different from that of the competition.
“First we handpick each component that goes into the machines based on performance — we choose the best,” he said. “Then we build a clean machine — there are no bird’s nests of wires and cords, everything is neatly tie-wrapped. That makes for better airflow and the system components don’t overheat.”
“Then we tweak. We do all the things the obsessed overclocker geek would do with their own machine. We turn some services off; we accelerate some things. Sometimes we add our own custom drivers or just twiddle component settings. People who know how to tweak a machine like Alienware ? because it doesn’t take them a few days to set up their system; it’s all been done for them. People who don’t really know computers just like the way the machines run.”