updated 05:53 am EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
Steam OS will be replaced by Windows 8.1 for Alienware Alpha launch
Alienware will be shipping its Alpha Gaming Console in time for the holidays, according to a report. The Dell-owned gaming PC producer revealed a list of specifications for the diminutive PC-as-console, as well as admitting that it will not ship as a Steam Machine at launch because of Valve's Steam OS delays, but will instead arrive pre-installed with Windows 8.1.
Ubergizmo reports the Alpha will use a Haswell-based Intel Core i3 to Core i7 processor with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, with an Nvidia Maxwell GPU using 2GB of VRAM. Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, optical audio out, four USB ports, and storage options between 500GB and 1TB are also included, along with a HDMI output with 8-channel support and the ability to output 4K video, with a secondary HDMI input for its pass-through mode.
Shipping with Windows instead of Steam OS may be an issue for some, adding an extra cost and potentially wasting storage space, but it will apparently run the controller-friendly Big Picture Mode in Steam when booted. A representative advised the Alpha will still give the option to install Steam OS once it is released in a more usable state by Valve, and since the Steam Controller will also be delayed, it will instead ship with one for the Xbox 360.
The base price of the Alienware Alpha will be $549, putting it above the cost of current-generation game consoles, but the price difference is likely to be offset by the relative cheapness of PC games compared to their console counterparts.