Frank Azor, Alienware Co-Founder, Joins AMD as Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
35,405
I hope to see great things coming from AMD with this hiring acquisition. I have always been a fan of Alienware. When I was a teen, I remember seeing their beastly builds in PCGamer and drooling, wishing I could afford one. I still have my $5000 Alienware laptop from 2005. It was a beast back then and definitely turned heads when I showed up somewhere able to play UT2004/HL2/Doom3. That was around the same time I got into the custom builds and modding community and found [H]. I wouldn't say that Alienware was the sole reason I got into building my own rigs, but the beauty of their designs really stoked my interest. I will probably end up buying another Alienware laptop in the future (or Falcon NW, those paint jobs are gorgeous). I do not ever remember being looked down on for sporting an Alienware gaming laptop at any lan party back then, and I definitely did not "use daddy's credit card" to buy one. That is just insulting.

I agree.

You know, as much as I dislike pre-builts, they are an absolute necessity for the mass market, and if AMD wants to make this new Ryzen resurgence last longer than the K7/Athlon one did they need to make sure they have a reliable way to get complete systems in consumers hands even if the likes of Intel try to illegally disrupt them again.
 

next-Jin

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 29, 2006
Messages
7,176
I’d love to see AMD make a custom HTPC tbh. The form factor of a Node 202 built from the ground up for use as 4K PC Gaming boxes.

Hell just sell the barebones kits with a 5700XT(or higher), 3600, 450w PSU, custom case and cooling and call it a day.
 

GoodBoy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,409
AMD needs people like this. They lost Raja. (I know he's going into a different slot)
 

Shalafi

Fully [H]
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
22,957
Just proves there are a lot of people that do not have the skills, time, or desire to build their own machine and still want a solid gaming rig.


I also know people who are perfectly capable of building their own rig but also wanted an Alienware laptop or slim laptop for their use.
 

NWRMidnight

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
352
I think he'll do well. Alienware's branding might've gone down the toilet, but they did have some innovative designs afa cooling and modular notebooks.
They didn't start going down the toilet till dell bought them. Prior, they where just over priced (still are).
 

harmattan

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
5,110
I'd argue the Alienware brand hasn't really been relevant for the past 8-9 years since they stopped any sort of real innovation. Even their laptop line, which was once the creme de la creme of gaming laptop design, has been largely outmoded by the likes of MSI, Asus, Razer etc.

That said, this guy was with Alienware when they were THE pinnacle of gaming machines. Some of their case and laptop designs from 10 years ago+ still look amazing.
 

Nimisys

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 20, 2000
Messages
20,997
Didn't Alienware earn their rep back in the early days of enthusiast PC building? Back when you had to know which damn chioset to buy to power your board? Let alone cpu/gpu? Before you had all the YouTubers pimping whatever piece of shiny that comes into their hands, and dozens of review sites to tell you what to buy?

Yeah I got no problem with a guy that built the brand from those days helping AMD now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: N4CR
like this

Lakados

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
6,867
I know a few people who to this day still buy Alienware laptops, mostly for the keyboards screens and reliability. They aren’t cheap but my former 2012 (wife’s current) is working like a champ with a simple ram & ssd upgrade. 7 years on and the image quality and keyboard quality still leave most newer laptops behind. Spec wise they are more expensive than their counterparts but the extra cost tends to show in the little things regarding the actual durability and build quality.
 

jardows

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
2,198
They have their target audience that's for sure, that target audience is not us.
I think that was a good hire for AMD IMO overall. I'm curious where it will lead
I think AMD is looking at someone who can help build the brand and mindshare. Let's face it, AMD's marketing department hasn't exactly been Major League quality. They've done better the last couple of years, but that's mainly because the product has been selling itself.

I was hoping that they had recruited "The Strong Arm," Frank Azar.
f7b.gif
 

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,865
Just proves there are a lot of people that do not have the skills, time, or desire to build their own machine and still want a solid gaming rig.

Insert "Music" with being DIY



I get it man, I do. I just wish more people would realize how easy it is to build a rig at much lower cost than to get one from the manufacturer, minus the laptops.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
770
Insert "Music" with being DIY



I get it man, I do. I just wish more people would realize how easy it is to build a rig at much lower cost than to get one from the manufacturer, minus the laptops.


It's not that much cheaper anymore.
 

HAL_404

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
1,240
build it, make it look snazzy then charge twice what the MSRP ought to have been and you have Alienware

where are the really good recent PC games AMD, Intel and NVIDIA ?

PC gaming is a dead horse ... about time everyone got over it
 

Criticalhitkoala

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
1,985
build it, make it look snazzy then charge twice what the MSRP ought to have been and you have Alienware

where are the really good recent PC games AMD, Intel and NVIDIA ?

PC gaming is a dead horse ... about time everyone got over it

You gotta be kidding me man. Really? There's a shit ton of great games. Maybe they aren't your fancy but the industry itself is billions of dollars.
 

Criticalhitkoala

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
1,985
Insert "Music" with being DIY



I get it man, I do. I just wish more people would realize how easy it is to build a rig at much lower cost than to get one from the manufacturer, minus the laptops.


Build, yes. Service. No.

People who think they are saving lots of money building on their own seem to forgot the hours if not days they spent to get that comfort level to get to point. Some people don't have the time or even the skill set they need to reach that same point. Yeah it's a lot cheaper for me to build my own. And I do. But you better believe I don't sell it short to other people when I feel they may need support I can't or won't give. Having companies handle on phone and on site support is a major plus from these sellers.
 

Lakados

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
6,867
Build, yes. Service. No.

People who think they are saving lots of money building on their own seem to forgot the hours if not days they spent to get that comfort level to get to point. Some people don't have the time or even the skill set they need to reach that same point. Yeah it's a lot cheaper for me to build my own. And I do. But you better believe I don't sell it short to other people when I feel they may need support I can't or won't give. Having companies handle on phone and on site support is a major plus from these sellers.
In most cases I find building your own saves 10-15% but getting prebuilt saves a lot of time and effort and simplifies any warranty work.
 

Derangel

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
20,100
Insert "Music" with being DIY



I get it man, I do. I just wish more people would realize how easy it is to build a rig at much lower cost than to get one from the manufacturer, minus the laptops.


For most people I know that buy prebuilts it’s not about how easy it is or isn’t. It’s about the time it takes and not wanting to deal with troubleshooting hardware problems or dealing with notoriously dodgy warranties from several hardware manufacturers.

build it, make it look snazzy then charge twice what the MSRP ought to have been and you have Alienware

where are the really good recent PC games AMD, Intel and NVIDIA ?

PC gaming is a dead horse ... about time everyone got over it

The only dead horse here is clueless people like you beating the “PC gaming is dead” drum for the third decade in a row.
 

seanreisk

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 29, 2011
Messages
1,711
I dunno, branding and reputation are a funny thing. AOpen used to be a major supplier of PC components (the company still exists, but now it's part of the Acer group). They didn't make fantastic computer parts, they made ordinary computer parts. No one would be impressed if you bought an AOpen computer - a computer geek would even say that AOpen parts were crappy. But the parts were solid enough, and inexpensive, and for years my university bought from a local AOpen dealer because they were fanatics about supporting the stuff they sold. I don't think the policy came from AOpen, I think it was just that particular dealership, but I also think the entire dealership would have committed harikari if a problem with their products couldn't be resolved in 24 hours. You didn't order replacement parts - you called them, and they delivered replacement parts (and maybe even installed them) that day.

Our university spent more than $200,000 a year from that one company based on the customer support alone. Even the 'boutique' departments bought into it - the architecture department was famous for buying expensive computers and monitors for their professors, but their biggest student computer lab was all AOpen. Crappy AOpen was all over campus, and everyone was happy with it.

Then Acer bought them out, and it was 'goodbye horses' (we puts the lotion in the basket and order Dells).


Can Frank Azor have an impact at AMD? I'm not sure. If he's a one-trick pony kinda guy he's gonna model his ideas on his past success (Alienware). And maybe there's something about Alienware that AMD needs. But personally, I think AMD's biggest initiative for growth and success is to not over-invest again, and not to stumble on research and product release. A steady release of good products at good prices will be the winning formula.


P.S. My friend is someone who orders Alienware laptops. He also drives Subaru wagons, and a Subaru wagon isn't an especially comfortable, quiet, fuel efficient or speedy vehicle (unless you buy a WRX).
 

ManofGod

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 4, 2007
Messages
12,717
Seems to me that AMD is for real this time. I am not sure they is going to be a huge downturn for them like there was in the past. Also, they are not in a rush to get things done but are fully aware that these things they are doing take time to accomplish.
 

Criticalhitkoala

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
1,985
Can Frank Azor have an impact at AMD? I'm not sure. If he's a one-trick pony kinda guy he's gonna model his ideas on his past success (Alienware). And maybe there's something about Alienware that AMD needs. But personally, I think AMD's biggest initiative for growth and success is to not over-invest again, and not to stumble on research and product release. A steady release of good products at good prices will be the winning formula.

I appreciate your insight here. IMHO I think it could work well. When I think Alienware, I never think "Cutting Edge" (Edit - "Cutting Edge" might not be the right term here). I think pricey yet powerful current state of the art machines that turn things up to 11 and will perform well for the next few years. Yeah it might have things like SLI and stuff, but it wasn't delivering on prophecy of whats coming up, but more running current things great right now. Alienware delivered hard core performance NOW. Which is why it might work well with AMD. 8 years ago AMD banked on More cores with low IPC. Now that all the cores are being used, revisiting Bulldozer they aren't exactly horrible. IPC still is low, but the chips are decent. With Ryzen 3 it really looks like AMD is really finally catching up. I've only owned it for a little over a week but I've been really happy with the solid gaming performance of both my 3900x and 3700x...so maybe just maybe Frank's mindset could work on it.

I do agree with you though, there's a lot of maybes. There has been more one trick pony failures in the industry over single people successes, but at least it shows AMD is taking steps towards something.
 
Last edited:

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
Staff member
Joined
May 18, 1997
Messages
54,075
1. build it, make it look snazzy then charge twice what the MSRP ought to have been and you have Alienware

2. where are the really good recent PC games AMD, Intel and NVIDIA ?

3. PC gaming is a dead horse ... about time everyone got over it
1. No, it was not near that simple. The excellent delivery and support are huge in the cost equation. You would be astounded at the engineering put into a delivered Alienware system.

2. I would suggest to you, that without the huge volume of gaming systems that Alienware has put into the gaming ecosystem, that things would not be where those are today.

3. PC gaming is the only growing segment in PC.
 

ChosenUno

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
1,315
Put a price tag on this hobby of yours. Do an estimation of how much time you spent on learning the stuff you know about hardware, about how to build systems. Then add on top of that the amount of unpaid hours of self-support and diagnostics and fixing stuff you built. Now multiply that by your hourly wage.

For myself, I'm probably around the 1000 hour mark at this point. That's half a year of full time work right there, and will only increase.

I certainly can understand the appeal of paying extra to not have to spend time and effort and still get quality products. The mark up is IIRC around 25-35%. Buying a new system every 2-3 years and you can quite easily justify that markup in customer service alone.
 

SeymourGore

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 12, 2008
Messages
4,098
I dunno, for myself at least, I enjoy the tinkering and troubleshooting that comes with the hobby. I imagine it's a similar thrill to guys that like model trains and trying to perfect their tiny train details (or whatever the hell it is train guys do when they're train-ing).
 

Nobu

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
8,843
This was a chieftec case with a paint job. It was a great case that I had and used for three consecutive builds, but not a good example of Alienware innovation/engineering.
Yeah, that's early alienware stuff, there.
 

Balkroth

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Messages
441
1. No, it was not near that simple. The excellent delivery and support are huge in the cost equation. You would be astounded at the engineering put into a delivered Alienware system.

2. I would suggest to you, that without the huge volume of gaming systems that Alienware has put into the gaming ecosystem, that things would not be where those are today.

3. PC gaming is the only growing segment in PC.

I can definitely account for that, most of the thermal team at Dell actually came through my Mechanical Engineering program and were grad students in my lab with me. During our time in the 2008-2011 time frame Dell would work with us directly for testing watercooling products, heatsinks in our wind tunnel, and a variety of other equipment. This worked nice as they provided $100k or so a year to fund us grad students and buy equipment and what not.

I remember one of the weird projects was that they worked with us to develop fake fingers and skin that would have realistic resistances with thermo couples inside to get accurate readings for laptops.

The natrual convection cases were pretty awesome too.
 
Last edited:

odditory

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 23, 2007
Messages
6,482
Just proves there are a lot of people that do not have the skills, time, or desire to build their own machine and still want a solid gaming rig.
Truth. And let's face it, DIY PC gaming would not exist without the financial contributions of non-DIYers to the market to make it viable to hardware vendors.
 

ManofGod

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 4, 2007
Messages
12,717
Build, yes. Service. No.

People who think they are saving lots of money building on their own seem to forgot the hours if not days they spent to get that comfort level to get to point. Some people don't have the time or even the skill set they need to reach that same point. Yeah it's a lot cheaper for me to build my own. And I do. But you better believe I don't sell it short to other people when I feel they may need support I can't or won't give. Having companies handle on phone and on site support is a major plus from these sellers.

I build my own because I enjoy doing g so for the last 28 years or so. I am 52 now and I have some mistakes in the past that cost me, it is not as easy as some think it is.
 
Top