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 Post subject: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:33 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 8:00 am
Posts: 5
Location: Massacshusetts, U.S.
Hey guys,
I am currently in the market for a new laptop. Specifically, I am looking for my
first gaming rig. Not much of a PC gamer but am looking to change that.

I've been browsing various sites, (NewEgg, MaxPC, Microcenter) and vendor sites,
checking out various configs and reviews. While looking, I came across some
boutique vendors. (Origin, Falcon NW, Maingear, ect.) Now, as I've never built
a gaming rig, just a P4 "general" desktop, I have never dealt with the above
vendors before. I've heard of them only in passing.

So, I have a few questions about them. I must also mention, I really like the
idea of a custom tailored laptop. That is the main reason why I am looking at
these guys, versus the commercial vendors. However, I am not am not
against the idea of buying an off the shelf laptop, as I have yet to settle on
a definate confing.

My questions:


i. Which of the boutique/specialty vendors are top of the line? Meaning, good
customer service, returns policy, quality builds, trustworthy, ect.?

ii. To the above, which are reasonably priced? I've heard, for example, that
Alienware is overpriced. That does not supprise me, now that they are
owned buy Dell.

iii. Do they give you a restore/Windows disc, rather than a partition?

iiii. Does not matter, but is Windows OEM or boxed, from these guys? Just curious.
--

I am not yet at the stage where I have chosen a budget, as it has been too long since I have bought a computer. However, I am willing to pay for power, as long as it is reasonable.

Thanks ahead of time,

Pete


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:08 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5396
racer108 wrote:
i. Which of the boutique/specialty vendors are top of the line? Meaning, good
customer service, returns policy, quality builds, trustworthy, ect.?

I hear nothing but good things about Falcon Northwest, and they're a long runner.

Quote:
ii. To the above, which are reasonably priced? I've heard, for example, that
Alienware is overpriced. That does not supprise me, now that they are
owned buy Dell.

Well, the problem is that you're shopping in a boutique, you're not going to find what most of us would call a "reasonably priced" OEM. What you can get from Falcon Northwest, for instance, you could easily pay half the cost for the equivalent parts, build, and configure the machine yourself. However, what you are paying for is the custom case job and an overclocking job that's both bitching fast and guaranteed to be stable. Among other things.

Quote:
iii. Do they give you a restore/Windows disc, rather than a partition?

Most likely. I don't see why not since these OEMs usually good about customer service. Usually.

Quote:
iiii. Does not matter, but is Windows OEM or boxed, from these guys? Just curious.

OEM.


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:42 pm 
Klamath
Klamath

Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 286
Just want to make sure, racer108, you are referring to laptops, right?

If so, I know nothing of built-to-order laptops :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:16 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5396
I've seemed to miss the laptop part. I guess the same rule applies, but still, keep in mind what you pay for is going to be the looks. Though chances are you'll still have good customer support and stuff. Just don't expect stellar performance if you want a thin laptop.

Otherwise, the ones that come to mind for laptops are Falcon, Sager, Origin, Apple (what?), and Razer (with their Razer Blade). The mainstream brands have "boutique" like laptops, like the Dell XPS, HP Envy or Sony Vaio Z. ASUS probably has a few as well, but they can't ever decide on a name for their series of laptops aside the Zenbook.


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:13 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 8:00 am
Posts: 5
Location: Massacshusetts, U.S.
Thanks for the replies. I'll look into those other brands too. As I mentioned before, I am still in the consideration phase, searching for all my available options.

When I mentioned overpriced, what I meant by it was, do some of these guys screw you by marking up way too much? Yes, I know I'll pay more for a custom rig, but I don't want to get taken in the process.


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:21 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5396
racer108 wrote:
When I mentioned overpriced, what I meant by it was, do some of these guys screw you by marking up way too much? Yes, I know I'll pay more for a custom rig, but I don't want to get taken in the process.

It depends on where you want your money to go. If you want hardware that performs, then boutiques are always going to be overpriced. If you want form and not so much function, well that's how much you're willing to spend. If you're looking for the "experience" (as I hear from Apple), then sure, you'll most likely get something better whether it be using the machine or the customer support.


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:27 am 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:22 pm
Posts: 4406
Location: In the closet
A few additional, yet mentioned, boutique builders who offer some outstanding rigs include Clevo, XoticPC, AVADirect, Maingear, Digital Storm and GenTech. Point and click around their offerings. Something for everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:15 am 
Team Member Top 250
Team Member Top 250
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:12 pm
Posts: 363
Location: San Diego
I would like to throw a bone/second this, as I recently (earlier this year) purchased a custom MSI laptop from Xoticpc.com and they were fantastic! I got a pretty good gaming lappy, considering my budget, and they had a military discount (might not apply to you :P ). They had really good customer service, offer a recovery disc (if you get the windows installation), have overclocking, custom graphics decal additions, and customizing of everything. I opted for a clean lappy (i.e. no windows, as I already had a disc for it) and it came rather speedy in the mail. Excellent packing as well! Overall, a very pleasant experience. I also got an email about a month later asking about how everything was working out and all that. I have heard very god things about other boutiques as well, such as Falcon Northwest and Origin, but they have a bit steeper pricing that didn't fit into my budget. Maybe next time. :P Good luck mate and hope everything works out!


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 Post subject: Re: Boutique/specialty vendors- who's good?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:20 am 
Boy in Black
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Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 1:40 pm
Posts: 24345
Location: South of heaven
A gaming laptop is a neutered basic desktop...just so you understand that. IMO, an iTX build, a gaming keyboard/mouse, and a common LCD would be better off for a gamer than a laptop. Asus and Lenovo make really good laptops, and you can grow into gaming with them just fine. But if you want to update 'em, you're screwed.

I feel that as gamers grow in their ability, the option to upgrade is paramount. You might start with a GTX460 and/or i3 CPU and then want more; you have that ability in an iTX build where you don't in a laptop. While you can add a screen to a laptop in the future, why not just start with a $150 23.6" and skip that "huge" 17 from the start?

I know I'm sidestepping your question, but it makes sense to me. I've bought 2 laptops for just this and I just quickly outgrow them instead of being able to upgrade them. I now use an iTX box and a keyboard/mouse to my liking, an S&S pad, and just drag it around in a backpack. When I outgrow the little HD6770, I can just plop in *insert whatever card here* and move along.

I guess it depends on your environment that you envision as gaming within, but it's not a PITA to drop a backpack and a 23.6" screen at a LAN any more than it is to try and game on a laptop alone. The laptop gets the easy nod for just picking up and going at short notice, but the iTX isn't far behind.


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