When Alienware trotted out its retooled Alpha system at E3 last week, we should have guessed its response to Valve's Steam Machine delays could be the start of a trend. Lo and behold, CyberPower PC is apparently doing something similar with its Syber console PC.
With Valve delaying the official rollout of its Steam Machine platform to bring PC gaming into the living room, owing to continued tweaks to its Steam Controller and SteamOS, its partners providing Steam Machine systems have started making other arrangements so they don't gather dust until next year. Like Alienware's Alpha, CyberPower is planning to ship Syber with Windows 8.1 installed, according to MaximumPC. Of course, it will be able to run SteamOS when it's ready, but Valve's home-theater-friendly OS is still in beta.
To compensate in the meantime, both Alpha and Syber make use of Steam Big Picture Mode to optimize output from the PC for an HDTV. Syber will also have a starting price similar to the Alienware, though a touch higher: $599 versus $549 for the Alpha. While some of the specs are similar for the respective base configurations (4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive), Syber provides a little more flexibility when it comes to graphics cards. Alienware puts a custom, non-upgradeable card into the Alpha, but CyberPower will use off-the-shelf components like the AMD Radeon R9 270 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti.
The latter will come in a slightly pricier version ($100 additional) that swaps out the AMD processor for an Intel Core i3-4150 and doubles the RAM and hard drive space. The price for either configuration will include a bundle of accessories, including a controller and possibly a remote control, though CyberPower has not confirmed the specific items in the bundle. (The Alpha will come with an Xbox 360 controller as part of its price.)
CyberPower says that it decided to offer the Syber system with Windows 8.1 due to customer demand after it showed off the Steam Machine during CES. A missed opportunity for Valve could be a chance for Windows 8 to enter the living room in a fairly painless fashion, as Alienware and CyberPower probably won't be the last to retrofit their Steam Machines to ship this year -- rather than on Valve's schedule.