A Price Comparison
For comparison I will be pitting an OCZ do-it-yourself laptop head to head with an Alienware laptop with a virtually identical configuration. The OCZ barebone model is $999.99 on Newegg and consists of the laptop shell, the screen, the motherboard, the GPU and standard chipset equipment like wireless networking. The Alienware laptop is the M17 Extreme Gaming Laptop, which has a base price of $1299.99. These are good models for comparison because they use the same graphics, the same chipset, have screens of the same size, and can be customized into identical configurations.
In their base form, the OCZ and the Alienware have nearly the same overall cost. It is worth noting that right off the bat the Alienware does require one upgrade in order to be on par with the OCZ configuration, and that is the screen. The base for the M17 is a 1440x900 LCD, while the OCZ ships with a standard 1900x1200 LCD. Upgrading to the higher resolution LCD will set you back $200 dollars through Alienware. That said, if you keep everything else bone stock and compare it with the OCZ barebone customized to match the configuration, the price difference is so negligible that sales or coupons on either product would compensate for it.
But selling bone stock systems isn't where companies like Alienware make their money. They make it with upgrades. The stock M17 comes with an unimpressive 160GB mobile hard drive. It also ships with only 1GB of DDR3 Ram, which is atrocious considering that the Alienware system ships standard with Windows Vista 64-bit and has no Windows XP option.
Once you've accounted for the screen resolution, upgraded the hard drive to 500GB, and upped the RAM to a more reasonable 4GB, the tables have turned. These upgrades included, the price of the Alienware M17 rises to $1859, while the price of the OCZ is around $1450. That is a price difference of $409 dollars, or 28 percent. The difference only becomes larger as the upgrades become more intense.