Alienware Alpha Does Windows

You've probably heard of the looming SteamBox "console" and the various companies that have thrown their hat in the ring to make one. You may have even heard that the SteamOS that is supposed to be used to power them has been delayed, which stands to impact the timelines of these system builders negatively.

What was revealed at E3 2014, however, is that Alienware is taking this hurdle in stride, by merely deflecting their direction slightly and building their Alpha "SteamBox" on top of a Windows operating system. It simply runs Steam in Big Picture mode.

Everything about the form factor is intended to present PC gaming as a console experience. The unit itself is 8" x 8" x 3" tall, making it smaller than the PS4 and Xbox One. According to Alienware, however, it will have more computing power than either, featuring a 4th generation Intel i3 "Haswell" CPU, 4GB DDR3 (1600 MHz) memory, a custom Nvidia "Maxwell" GPU (2GB GDDR5), a 500 GB SATA 3 HDD, Dual-Band Wireless AC 1x1 with Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet connection, 4 USB connections (2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0), Windows 8.1 64-bit, HDMI IN (direct HDMI Pass-through) and HDMI out, capable of uncompressed 8 channel audio and 4K video support.

Alienware: Introducing the Alpha - Teaser

The Alpha is being marketed as a console, with no keyboard or mouse out of the box and can be used completely with just a gamepad. The controller that is packed with the Alpha is an Xbox 360 wireless Controller (black), so you're likely to be familiar with that controller already, but the Alpha will also support the SteamBox controller, when that gets released. Further, after launch, the Alpha development team will be looking to incorporate other controllers as demand from the user base indicates need.

If you like the idea of a console experience, but hate leaving the ability to customize your gaming rig, there are some options in that arena. First, the RGB color accents on the box can be set to your choice of 20 different colors and the ability to set the brightness, as well.

But wait - there's more! I know that case lighting isn't enough for power players. There are upgrade options available for the Alpha, as well. Upgrades that have been announced so far include:

  • Intel Core i5 & i7 "Haswell" CPUs
  • 8GB DDR3 @ 1600 MHz Dual-Channel Memory
  • Dual-Band Wireless-AC 2x2 with Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1TB & 2TB SATA 3 HDD

Furthermore, Power users can get into windows and fiddle with its bits, but console gamers would never have to leave the custom Alienware gaming UI.

The Alpha will begin shipping in time for the 2014 Holiday Season, starting at $549 USD. For more information, check out the Alpha on the official Alienware website.