Alienware is thinking small these days. Not only did the company recently launch a portable gaming laptop, but now the company is taking pre-orders for a small form-factor gaming PC that you can use in the home office or living room.
The Alienware Alpha isn’t much larger than a game controller, but it’s a full-blown Windows PC with an Intel Haswell processor and NVIDIA graphics. Prices start at $549.
Dell originally unveiled the Alienware Alpha last year, suggesting that it would launch alongside Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS operating system. But now that Valve has delayed the launch of SteamOS until 2015 some of the companies that had been planning to launch Steam Machines are just going ahead and launching them anyway… with Windows 8.1 software.
An entry-level Alpha features a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. You can pay more to get up to 8GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, and up to a Core i7 processor.
All models feature NVIDIA Maxwell graphics with 2GB of dedicated memory, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI input and output, and optical audio output.
Game controllers, HDMI cables, keyboards, and other accessories are sold separately. If you opt for a game controller you can use the Alien Alpha’s big-screen user interface to navigate your game collection using Steam Big Picture and Alienware’s settings menus without using a keyboard and mouse.