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Alienware Alpha Steam Machine set for autumn launch

Alienware Alpha Steam Machine set for autumn launch

The Alienware Alpha Steam Machine will launch later this year, but with Windows 8.1 rather than Valve's Linux-based SteamOS.

Dell subsidiary Alienware has confirmed plans to release a Steam Machine later this year, dubbed the Alienware Alpha and based on Windows rather than Valve's Linux-based SteamOS platform.

While it's not clear whether the company's decision has been impacted by Valve's move to delay the launch of its own Steam Machine and Steam Controller hardware following tester feedback, the Alienware Alpha will ship with Windows 8.1 as its stock operating system with the option to install SteamOS as a replacement or dual-boot operating system once it is officially released commercially.

UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, but Alienware has stated it will launch a base model Alpha at $549 featuring a Haswell-based Intel Core-i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 2GB GDDR5 Nvidia Maxwell-based GPU which the company claims represents a semi-custom design, and integrated gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth connectivity. Interestingly, the machine includes both HDMI output and input, similar to the pass-through capabilities of Microsoft's Xbox One console.

Upgrades available at launch will include a move to Core-i5 or Core-i7 processors, 8GB of memory and improved wireless capabilities. All models will also ship with a game pad, but thanks to Valve's decision to delay the launch of its Steam Controller Alienware has opted for the tried-and-tested Microsoft Xbox 360 controller. The system will also boot into Steam's Big Picture Mode by default, although this can be quit or overridden to expose the standard Windows 8.1 user interface.

The Alienware Alpha is one of a number of small form factor PCs due to launch as part of Valve's Steam Machine programme this year, even as Valve itself has shifted its own focus to a 2015 launch for the first own-brand device from the company.

13 Comments

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fuus 10th June 2014, 10:27 Quote
As long as the GPU packs a pretty decent punch it lines up pretty well to current gen consoles!
Guinevere 10th June 2014, 10:32 Quote
So... it's a PC with Steam installed. Glad we cleared that one right up.

Hmmm a PC with Steam installed. I think I've got one of those somewhere around here...
Impatience 10th June 2014, 10:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
So... it's a PC with Steam installed. Glad we cleared that one right up.

Hmmm a PC with Steam installed. I think I've got one of those somewhere around here...

I wonder if you can 'bay an Alienware logo sticker-thing? 'Cause then you've got a "Steam machine" too! Correct me if i'm wrong, but the only thing between this "steam machine" and a normal PC with steam is that badge! :)
Corky42 10th June 2014, 11:28 Quote
Does seem a bit daft to be jumping the gun. As has been mentioned without the controller and SteamOS this is nothing more than a PC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
While it's not clear whether the company's decision has been impacted by Valve's move to delay the launch of its own Steam Machine

Have Valve changed their mind ? Last i heard they said they were only going to make the 200 odd Steam Machines they sent out to testers.
Shirty 10th June 2014, 12:05 Quote


Oh Dell, you crack me up.
Icy EyeG 10th June 2014, 13:55 Quote
Well, they are still going to ship SteamOS in the future (source):
Quote:
"SteamOS is obviously been designed around one single use, whereas Windows is a multi-use operating system that can be custom tailored around any one particular use—as we're doing [with Alienware Alpha's console mode]," he says. "But Valve has a lot more control developing SteamOS, ensuring it's singularly focused with one use model. That's why it's a very important initiative for us, and one we're still fully supporting as soon as it's ready. It's a more sustainable way of delivering a reliable living room experience. We can build our custom [console UI] interface over Windows, but we don't know what Windows 9's going to be. Are we going to have to redo all that work in Windows 9?

"That's why we feel that over the long term, SteamOS and the Steam gamepad are going to be the best solution."

They could, though, offer this without an OS, if they can't wait for the SteamOS to be ready.
Corky42 10th June 2014, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy EyeG
Well, they are still going to ship SteamOS in the future

They could, though, offer this without an OS, if they can't wait for the SteamOS to be ready.

Interesting read Icy EyeG ;)
Surprised to see they are going to use a Custom Nvidia “Maxwell”-based GPU
I knew AMD made custom GPU's, i didn't know Nvidia made custom GPU's as well.
Quote:
The custom graphics processor, however, is soldered to the board and cannot be replaced. Designed around Nvidia's supremely energy-efficient Maxwell architecture, the chip allows the Alienware Alpha to offer performance comparable to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, according to Azor, but in a smaller box that consumes less power than either of the big consoles. Alas, he refused to match the chip's capabilities to any of Nvidia's current retail graphics cards offerings, calling it too unique a beast for a clean comparison.

I'm not sure Microsoft is going to like Dell (Alienware) snubbing Windows in such a way though, openly saying they don't like the direction Windows is heading seems like sticking two fingers up at Microsoft.
iggy 10th June 2014, 19:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinevere
So... it's a PC with Steam installed. Glad we cleared that one right up.

Hmmm a PC with Steam installed. I think I've got one of those somewhere around here...

congratulations, you have just described all steam machines.
Corky42 10th June 2014, 19:32 Quote
I would like to see those people saying it's just a PC with Steam installed price a PC with similar specs for only $549, £350 odd, the controller and OS would take up almost £100 of that.
Impatience 16th June 2014, 13:08 Quote
I'm interested as to how this "modded" win8 is going to look.. Apparently it has a custom boot sequence, so that you dont see windows AT ALL (unless you close steam) and that most of win boots up after steam apparently? Makes sense if you can go to sign in on steam and select a game while win loads in the background..
Shirty 16th June 2014, 13:22 Quote
To be honest 8.1 on an SSD takes between 10 and 15 seconds to boot to the desktop (at least on my rigs), so I'd be happy to keep things as they are.

Corky, most OEMs could build a PC with those specs for a similar price - remember they get their parts for peanuts, and they make barely any profit on the units they sell. However, for £100 more you or I could build a much better rig that was fully upgradeable.
Corky42 16th June 2014, 14:20 Quote
Yea most OEM can build one for that price, in fact CyberPower recently announced they are doing the same as Alienware, their Steam Machine is going to come with 8.1 installed instead of SteamOS, they also say it will be fully upgradable.

They claim it will be $50 more than the Alienware one, but that is still a darn site cheaper than us normal folks could build one, if they are willing to sell gaming PCs for the living room at almost cost prices then I'm happy that their cost savings are being passed on to the consumer.
Impatience 16th June 2014, 14:47 Quote
Makes you wonder.. These things may take over some of the ITX market (EG those that dont WC or want ODD's)
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