Alienware Alpha Packs PC Gaming into a Compact Console


AlienwareAlphaWhile console gaming has come a very long way since the days of the Atari, it still lags behind comparable technology in several areas, most notably in performance. Even the relatively newer consoles struggle with running at full 1080p resolution, and then there are notorious frame rate issues. For an ideal gaming experience across the board, PC gaming is currently your best bet. Or at least, it was.

AlienwareAlpha-2When Valve announced SteamOS last year, several manufacturers jumped onboard and said they would be creating Steam Machines to run it. Nearly a year later we are still awaiting the release of SteamOS and have yet to see any actual Steam Machines on store shelves. Never one to let a little thing like software stand in their way, Dell went ahead and released their Alienware Alpha anyway, a small-form gaming PC custom-built from laptop components but with the look and feel of a console. Currently it runs a Windows-based operating system, which will be able to be replaced with SteamOS when it eventually comes out. For the time being, what you do have is a console-sized gaming PC that can be controlled entirely through its joypad.

AlienwareAlpha-1The first thing that the Alienware Alpha promises is the ability to play any PC game in 1080p. To accomplish this it’s equipped with 4th Generation Intel Core Processors (the two lower-end models come with dual-core i3 processors while the higher end models have quad-core i5 and i7 processors, respectively), a custom Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5, up to a 2TB hard drive, Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi support. There are two USB 2.0 ports on the front of the console and two faster and higher power USB 3.0 ports on the back, and even a hidden extra USB input on the Alpha’s undercarriage (which is large enough to also house a small wireless mouse or keyboard dongle). It has standard HDMI and optical outlets for connecting to the tv as well as an HDMI input that lets you pass through the signal from another device.

AlienwareAlpha-3Alienware offers four different versions of the machine ranging from i3 to i7 processors, all of which share the exact same graphics card and motherboard. All Alphas come standard with Windows 8.1, an included wireless Xbox 360 controller and a plethora of free bonus content including the complete versions of Anomaly: Warzone Earth, Awesomenauts, Magicka as well as several others. For gamers who absolutely can’t wait for their first Steam Machine, the Alienware Alpha is definitely the way to go – it makes PC gaming on your home television freakishly easy. But until it has competition in a market that doesn’t really exist just yet, it’s hard to tell exactly how it will stack up against its competitors.

Topics: Technology News Dell Mini / Nano PCs Tech Reviews

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