Dell Launches Alienware X51 Ubuntu Gaming Desktop

It wasn't all that long ago that mainstream gaming on Linux was virtually unheard of. Sure, solutions like WINE have been around for awhile now, but it's only recently that developers and gamers alike have truly started to embrace Linux as a viable platform. Even Dell is getting in on the action by announcing a lower priced version of its Alienware X51 with Ubuntu.

The Alienware X51 is a small form factor gaming PC about the size of an Xbox 360 console, only much more powerful and flexible. We were so impressed with the machine that we gave it an Editor's Choice award at the conclusion of our autopsy (check out the full review).

If you're willing to trade Windows for Ubuntu, you'll save a Benjamin with a starting price of $599. On the hardware side, the entry-level model sports a dual-core Intel Core i3 3220 processor clocked at 3.3GHz, 6GB of DDR3-1600MHz memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 645 graphics card, 1TB hard drive (7200 RPM), slot-load DVD burner, built-in Wi-Fi, and various other accoutrements. Higher end configurations are available.

Alienware X51 Ubuntu

The Alienware X51 is first and foremost a gaming machine, and as such, Dell says the system comes with supported drivers from NVIDIA so that you can game right away. In addition, Dell is pushing Valve's Steam platform pretty hard.

"You can easily install Steam onto the machine. Though many games are not yet supported, including most of the AAA releases, the list is continuing to grow and now includes classics such as Team Fortress 2 and Serious Sam," Dell states in a blog post. "You can check out the list of Steam games here. The highlight for the Steam integration is that it supports Big Picture Mode. The versatility and small size of the X51 made it easy to disconnect the system from the monitor in my office and connect it to my TV."

This is a big step for Linux, especially as it pertains to gaming. Game support is still a weak spot, but now that a major OEM is on board, it could encourage game developers and publishers to take Linux a little more seriously.