Alienware Alpha Steam Machine Seen Pumping Pixels At PAX East

The PAX East show in Boston, MA raged on this weekend with a massive crowd as large as we've every seen it overrunning the venue. From crazy Cosplay types to hardcore, no mercy gamers, there's an absolute heat of humanity pushing the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to what must be close to max capacity. PAX East appears to have outgrown their venue.

That said, though there was lots of people watching to do, frankly, with a few notable exceptions, there wasn't a whole lot of new technology on display at PAX. Between MWC 2015 and GDC, most manufacturers have already pulled the curtain back on their latest and greatest PC and mobile gear. And with NVIDIA's GTC is happening next week as well, it feels like a lot of manufacturers are trying to catch their breath from the show circuit.

Alienware SteamBox2

However, one little machine we had yet to see in action, but that was offered to us for an opportunity with some hands-on time at PAX East, was Dell Alienware's forthcoming Alienware Alpha Steam machine, powered by SteamOS.

Alienware SteamBox3

Alienware Steam Machine A:

    CPU: Intel® Core™ i3 Dual-Core processor
    GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX - 2GB GDDR5
    Memory: 4GB DDR3L 1600MHz
    Storage: 500GB Hard Drive

Alienware Steam Machine B:

    CPU: Intel® Core™ i3 Dual-Core processor
    GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX - 2GB GDDR5
    Memory: 8GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz
    Storage: 1TB Hard Drive

Alienware Steam Machine C:

    CPU: Intel® Core™ i5 Quad-Core processor
    GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX - 2GB GDDR5
    Memory: 8GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz
    Storage: 1TB Hard Drive

Alienware Steam Machine D:

    CPU: Intel® Core™ i7 Quad-Core processor
    GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX - 2GB GDDR5
    Memory: 8GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz
    Storage: 2TB Hard Drive

** Pricing Starts at $479.99

The initial specifications outlined here for Alienware’s SteamOS-based Steam box are right in-line with the Alienware Alpha, which runs full-blown Windows. If you’d like some more detail on the Alpha and a closer look at all of the ports and amenities on the machine, we have a full review with video posted right here. In essence, what you’re looking at is an Intel Haswell-based small form factor PC, with discrete NVIDIA graphics, in a user-serviceable enclosure.

Alienware SteamBox

With the exception of the Steam logo emblazoned on the angled, corner lighting, there’s nothing to distinguish this Steam machine from is Windows-equipped cousin. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though—we think the Alienware Alpha looks pretty great.

Steam Controller1
One other differentiator that will come with Alienware’s Steam machine is a Steam Controller. Valve has been fine-tuning the controller's design for what seems like a couple of years now, but what you see pictured here should be the final iteration. The Steam controller has been designed to replace mouse / keyboard type controls, with haptic feedback, in a typical game controller-type form factor. Using the Steam controller definitely takes some getting used to, but there is real promise here. Last we heard, the Steam controller won’t be shipping until the November time frame.

Alienware SteamBox Gaming

We saw the Alienware Steam machine running the recently-released game Dying Light. The in-game imagery looked quite good, though we didn’t get to dig any deeper and run benchmarks or even see the Steam OS itself in action. Representatives from Alienware noted their new Steam Machine will be shipping sometime in November, just in time for the holiday shopping season. 

Between now and then, it would make sense that Alienware could upgrade the internals to Intel's latest Broadwell architecture and possibly the latest NVIDIA Maxwell GPUs as well, but we didn't get any commitments on that. We would underscore that the platform is user upgradable for CPU, GPU and memory, so regardless there's room for expansion to a degree down the road. We'll keep tabs on Alienware's Steam Machine for you with updates as we get them. 

Via:  Hot Hardware
Show comments blog comments powered by Disqus