Alienware Alpha: PC or Console?

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The Alienware Alpha is a new gaming PC by Dell, debuting as the first ever “Steam Machine”. In a nutshell, it is a powerful gaming computer with the outer and inner workings of a gaming console. It’s also a bit of an experiment, attempting to blend together the flexibility of a well constructed PC with the comfort of a gaming console right out of the box.

Please note that this review is from the opinion of gamer, first and foremost. I have used computers all my life, but I’m not as techy savy as some computer engineers can be these days. This perspective is from the eyes of a gamer, one that mostly has favored console gaming over portables. I have always been interested in PC gaming but never the machine to run the usually high specs current games require. I finally took the plunge and updated my old desktop to the Alpha and here are my thoughts.

I own a PS4 so I knew from the get go it was gonna take some convincing for me to spend the same price on another machine. That’s right, the Alpha and PS4 cost the same. It seems like a lot for a console, but actually a lot less for a decent gaming computer. They tend to run in the high thousands and for the price, this machine does deliver.

If you want the specs then head over to the Alienware Alpha Product page and check it out for yourself. Suffice to say, right out of the box it is a powerful machine that can keep up with the PS4 and even surpass it. It has a few shortcomings though and I will briefly explain them here.

Pros:

+ Powerful gaming PC right out of the box

+ Includes controller and adapter bundled in

+ Sleek design with a nice interface

+ Extremely small and lightweight, barely taking up any room

+ Can be upgraded further and is already plenty strong at it’s price

Cons:

– Does not come with keyboard, mouse, or monitor although its made for HDMI right into your TV (cord included)

– Alienware UI system is a bit buggy and has crashed on me, I ended up just using Desktop mode to launch Steam

– If you want to use it as a normal desktop computer, need to install sound card just for speakers to work

– Installing takes a while and I even had to system recover on day one because of UI locking up, this needs to be fixed

In short, its a very good gaming PC for the price and even comes with its own controller and adapter bundled in. By simply hooking it up to your HD TV (with included HDMI cable), its very easy to enjoy this package right in your own living room. I would strongly recommend getting a wireless keyboard and mouse as you are going to need it. I also would suggest a lapdesk of some kind, even if its for temporary usage.

Overall a fantastic deal, but depending on what type of gamer you are, you could just be better off with a traditional console. If you want a new computer AND a new gaming machine, this is for you. Otherwise I would suggest building your own desktop and buying a PS4. Either way I’m very satisfied with the Alpha and will put in hundreds of more hours onto Steam for days to come.

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