Alienware Steam Machine Review: Dell's SteamOS Console Competitor

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Steam Machine Game Performance & Benchmarks

Alienware's Steam Machine performance was mostly solid and more consistently so if we didn’t futz with the default video settings, though there is some wiggle room in some titles with robust in-game setting options. As expected, less demanding games like Trine 2, Shank 2, Torchlight 2 and Broken Age ran virtually flawless. We did experience some noticeable framerate dips and mild stuttering in more intensive games such as Shadows of Mordor, Metro Last Light Redux, Dying Light and other titles known to stress even conventional gaming PCs. There are no deal-breaking issues, however. In fact we were largely impressed with this little machine's smooth performance.

Unfortunately we don’t have our usual suspects of benchmarking tools available to us. You have the Linux-based SteamOS to thank for that. So we ran a couple in-game benchmarks accessible in GRID Autosport and Shadows of Mordor using the games' main graphic preset options. However, there are quite a few individual options and settings to create custom configs and tailor your experience to your liking.

Alienware Steam Machine benchmarks4

Alienware Steam Machine benchmarks3

We weren't discourage by some of these lower numbers. For instance, Ultra was far more playable than its avg 18FPS data would have you think. Again, users will get the most out of the default settings. But we encourage you to dive into the options to tinker with the graphics image quality settings and find your personal custom balance and preference. One thing is for sure; no one should expect high-end PC-quality performance from Windows OS games ported to the SteamOS. This is a moderately spec'ed, low cost machine after all. And hopefully the SteamOS library will expand as more games are developed directly for Linux. Frankly, with a device like this and the existing install base, that may be the $64,000 question. Valve and their Steam platform swing a big stick but developer support for the platform down the road will be critical, regardless.

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