facebook rss twitter

Alienware now shipping the Alpha 'console'

by Ryan Martin on 24 November 2014, 12:35

Tags: Alienware (NASDAQ:DELL), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaclwv

Add to My Vault: x

Alienware's 'Alpha' Steam Machine has been in and out of the news since its unveiling back in June of this year. Alienware chief, Frank Azor, controversially expressed his distaste for the Steam Machine concept, expecting them to be the least profitable systems Alienware would ever sell.

Fast forward a few months and Alienware's Alpha Steam Machine is now shipping with a starting price of £449 ($550); remarkably low given Alienware's typical pricing strategy. The most expensive configuration, featuring an Intel Core i7 4765T and Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M, weighs in at a 'mere' £700 ($900).

The Alienware Alpha is being delivered at four price points: £449 ($550), £499 ($700), £569 ($800) and £699 ($900). All SKUs feature Nvidia's mobile GeForce GTX 860M graphics card which, it should be noted, is non-upgradeable and has already been superceeded by Nvidia's more capable Maxwell GeForce GTX 970M and 980M parts. Memory varies between 4GB and 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz while storage is mechanical in variety; 500GB, 1TB or 2TB hard drives. CPUs are selected from the desktop-class Intel Haswell 'T' series, available in Core i3, i5 and i7 options, and are upgradeable.

The software side is where things get interesting. Out of the box the Alpha loads up Alienware's custom "Alpha UI"; a bespoke controller-centric interface that offers a console-like experience on PC hardware. The Alpha can be made to boot directly into Windows 8.1, the default OS, or it can boot straight into Steam's 'Big Picture' mode; the source of its Steam Machine credentials.

The Alienware Alpha is unlikely to tempt die-hard PC Gamers away from their battlestations, but, as a living room gaming machine the Alpha offers a strong alternative to current-generation consoles.

What are your thoughts on the Alpha?

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
The £699 one doesn't seem too bad considering the spec, at least if you wanted a good system without self-building.

EDIT: Just re-read, I thought it was implying they have replaced the parts with 970m and 980m…..but they haven't….so pretty poor.
The £699 one doesn't seem too bad considering the spec, at least if you wanted a good system without self-building.

The issue is that graphics card comes in below a 560ti, it's not enough to rival consoles the steam machines have to beat them if they are to achieve the purpose of combating the console market.
So on a device aimed at gaming the CPU is upgradeable, but the GPU isn't? Genius! I would question the point of an i7 chip in a machine with a single 860M GPU anyway, it will make little or no difference to the gaming experience.
£700 sounds pretty bad to be honest because its got similar specs to a reasonably mid/high end laptop… a quick look at pc specialist pre-builts and you can see this one for £789 http://www.ebuyer.com/642077-pc-specialist-optimus-v-x15-860-gaming-laptop-pcs-l672510 (seen it below 700 frequently), the cpu has 2MB less cache but is 500mHz faster at stock with a beefier onboard GPU, the GPU is the same (gt 860m is a typo its a GTX). Why would you buy one of these alienware ‘consoles’ when you could simply pay £80 more (currently) for something that is potentially faster AND has a 1080p screen and a battery, I would rather just setup the cables and plug it all into one of those laptops that way I can take it away with me whenever.

Have I missed something ? I like what Valve are trying to do with steam boxes but the OEMs have it all wrong, high prices and lack of upgrade ability seem silly and short minded.
Might have missed it altogether but would quite like the UI, well something similar, in fact, I'll have a look at the SteamOS, would fit well with my HTPC, also a gaming machine.

The Alienware machine does look the part, TBH, prices aren't too bad when you factor in OS/Customisation considering the £500 price point, shame the GPU isn't upgradeable.