Alienware unveils $549 Alpha Steam Machine gaming PC at E3

Alienware unveils $549 Alpha Steam Machine gaming PC at E3

Summary: The living room system will ship with Windows 8.1 installed and include an Xbox 360 controller, but will also feature Steam Big Picture mode when it's expected during the 2014 holiday season.


The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game convention is routinely dominated by Sony and Microsoft (and, to a lesser and lesser degree, Nintendo) and their popular gaming consoles, leaving little room for PC gaming news. But Alienware managed to squeeze in a sneak peek at its forthcoming first foray into the Steam Machine realm.

Dubbed the Alpha, Alienware's debut contribution to Valve's living room strategy hedges its bets a bit. It will ship with Windows 8.1 and include an Xbox 360 controller that works with an interface customized by Valve. Nonetheless, it still qualifies (eventually) as a Steam Machine, making use of Steam Big Picture mode to optimally display on an HDTV and ready to handle the Steam Controller. The SteamOS, designed specifically for living room use, can be downloaded once it finally graduates from beta status.  

Linux-based game console (Gallery)

Meet the Steamboxes (Gallery)

Meet the Steamboxes (Gallery)

Part of this hedging owes to the fact that Valve won't have the necessary Steam components ready by the end of the year, despite promising at CES that Steam Machines will begin shipping by then. Technically, the Alpha will fulfill that goal, as Alienware claims it will be ready for the holiday shopping season. Ironically, however, it will begin its life as a small-form-factor Windows PC.

The base configuration of the Alpha will cost $549 and will be built with the following parts: Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, integrated wi-fi, and a customized Nvidia graphics card. This being Alienware, the Alpha can of course be customized with faster Intel CPUs (either Core i5 or i7), bigger hard drives (up to 2TB) and up to 8GB of RAM. One item that can't be upgraded is the GPU, not completely surprising given the Alpha's small footprint. 

While Alienware has been a longtime supporter of the Steam Machine concept, there is plenty of skepticism surrounding the ability of Valve's SteamOS to succeed in the living room against next-generation gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Would you have an interest in buying the Alpha when it becomes available later this year? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below. 

Topic: PCs

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  • Trade

    I would trade my PS4 for a Good Steam machine right now. I've been disappointed in my PS4. I would have a lot more fun playing my Steam games.
  • I like this !

    It is great idea. I was looking for exactly this type of PC. Compact but powerful and with great graphics. Of course I can buy parts separately and assemble my own configuration but I would love to buy complete system. It could be cheaper too.
  • I'd trade my PC for a good Steam Machine... long as the games are there. Windows itself does a lot that gets in the way of gaming, plus it's easy to hack, which makes viruses, malware and cheating a factor in PC gaming that's driven me to consoles. These days I use my iPad and iPhone for everything non-gaming that I used to use my PC for, but I do miss the cheaper games and great mods. If Alienware brings that back to me for $549 I'll sign up. What I'm not interested in is sub-1080p resolution or sub 30fps. If the base machine can't deliver that, I'm not going to drop $700 or more when my PS4 is already delivering that.
  • why...

    Why doesn't Alien get with MS and just put out an XBOXOne update with Steam support.
  • Nah...

    I would just build my own rig if I was looking to game on a PC. I'm happy with my Xbox one and 360, phone and tablet for gaming.
  • I doubt this whole concept

    This whole platform is a bad joke. They're the Episode 3 of set-top game consoles.
    • They are NOT episode 3

      They are episode 5.
      PS4, XBox One, WiiU and (the total failure of) Ouya are ahead of them.
  • Well ... that is a DOA product

    The MS had to stop production of the XBox One because it wasn't selling at $499 or even $399. What makes people think that this is going to sell at $549???

    This is a DOA product thanks to a ridiculously high starting price. If they really wanted to grab market share, they should had started with a more budget friendly device ($250 or less) and then up the specs on a premium version once they showed success.
  • Bring It On!!

    This is pretty much what I was looking for, except I will be getting it with the i7 and the max memory. Bring it on!!
  • OK..

    The Base is an I3? really at 549?
    Good luck! lol