Dell's CES 2014 Head-Turners: Stand-Out Steam Machine and UltraSharp 4K Panels Are Drool-Worthy - HotHardware
Dell's CES 2014 Head-Turners: Stand-Out Steam Machine and UltraSharp 4K Panels Are Drool-Worthy

Dell's CES 2014 Head-Turners: Stand-Out Steam Machine and UltraSharp 4K Panels Are Drool-Worthy

At CES 2014, Dell assumed a much lower profile than they had in previous years for the show. We've seen Dell occupy entire top levels of swank, high-end hotels and invite artists and entertainers to show off their wares. No longer beholden to stockholders and analysts, since Michael Dell took the company back private last year, Dell was setup efficiently in a conference block area of the Venetian at CES this year. However, Dell still managed to make a splash with a couple of products that the HotHardware team unanimously felt were some of the "best of show" in our humble, expert opinions.

The first product caught us by surprise actually, was Dell's Steam Machine.  Plenty of OEMs have lifted the veil on their planned Steam Machine products but Dell really broke free of the pack with their Alienware-designed small form factor machine and it's surprisingly tiny and elegant.

Dell's Alienware Steam Machine is remarkably smaller than either an Xbox One or PS4.  It's actually a lot smaller and weighs only about 4 pounds fully configured.  We saw only a mock of the machine but the chassis was mechanically exact, complete with IO ports and lighting accents.  Dell did have a SteamOS driven system running on hand though and it was actually a modified Alienware system running behind the curtain. The cool thing was we were able to play a couple of games like Metro Last Night with Valve's new Steam Controller.

Valve's new controller is very innovative and even the hard core PC gamers among our team, sworn to keyboard and mouse for control, agreed that the Steam Controller is very easy to use and intuitive with a quick learning curve.  In Metro, the left circular pad was setup for panning and aiming in traditional AWSD fashion, while the right was setup for forward and back movement with triggers setup for firing and aiming down site. You can, however, customize control bindings to your liking and even share profiles and bindings with friends on the Steam network.

After some quality fun time with Dell's Steam Machine, we turned our attention to Dell's new 4K displays. Left is the Dell 28 Ultra HD monitor and right is the UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD monitor.

Left: Dell UltraSharp 32 UP3214Q, Right: Dell 28 Ultra P2815Q Ultra HD Monitors

The Dell 28 sports a 3840X2160 native res and is a 28-inch TN panel display.  What was impressive was how good the viewing angles were for a TN panel with the Dell 28.  Equally impressive was Dell's MSRP for the display at $699. 

The UltraSharp 32, on the other hand, is totally drool-worthy, sporting a 3840X2160 IGZO panel with 100% sRGB color gamut coverage and 99% AdobeRGB.  The HotHardware executive staff uses 32-inch Dell 3008WFP panels for our workstations and we're jonesing for this new 32-inch 4K delight. However, at $3499.99 we're going to have to save up our lunch money for a while longer.  Still, professionals and enthusiasts alike have something to lust after with Dell's new displays and it's great to finally see a 4K monitor like the Dell 28 break cover well under the $1K dollar mark.  Better yet, GPU manufacturers like NVIDIA and AMD have to up their game as well, with these new ultra-high resolution displays becoming affordable in the mainstream.

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Those panels were so . Want!

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Any word on the refresh rate of those panels? The Dell-28 looks tempting.

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Their Steam machine looks a lot better in these reality shots - with the lighting set to red. I was not a big fan of the look of the cyan-lit renders.

Looking at the back of the machine, it looks like they've integrated the video card, meaning that component won't be upgradeable, unlike several of the other models. I wonder if the memory is the same way, or if it has sockets on the bottom like a laptop? If the video integration gets them a good deal with NVIDIA and makes it less expensive to produce, they could end up with a price advantage that gets them the lion's share of the market (and it doesn't hurt them to be the biggest name of the partners).

I'm already making a list of what I'm going to do with mine:

  • Install MESS and create launchers for all the NES, and Genesis games I own.
  • Install OpenSSH and move my son's minecraft server from my Linux desktop.
  • Install Mumble and TeamSpeak so I can connect to the usual clan servers while playing.
  • Install Wine, and create launchers for the couple of Windows games I own with no current ports (Civ IV).
  • Install XBMC (and an IRC client for chatting during live podcasts).
  • Connect my Oculus to it, so the kids can use it with HL2 and TF2.
  • Sync my old 360 and PS3 controllers to it for games where an analog stick is better.
  • etc...

Exciting times ahead!

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