Alienware, Dell Computer’s gaming line of PCs and laptops, has joined the game console market promising to merge PC gaming with the ease-of-use of a console.
Dubbed the Alienware Alpha, the game console is smaller in form factor than other current generation consoles, the company claims. The game console users an interface that boots directly into the console without the use of a mouse or keyboard, requiring only a controller. It is optimized to be used with gaming company Valve’s Steam platform to enable Steam’s Big Picture on a television. Alienware claims this is the first PC gaming console on the market, although Valve has been rumored to be working on the Steam box to use its own proprietary gaming console to enable a similar experience.
The Alienware Alpha utilizes a GPU from Nvidia and Intel’s fourth generation core i3, i5 and i7 processors with up to 8GBs of DDR3 memory and hard drive options up to 2TBs. The GPU has been a collaboration between Nvidia and Alienware in order to maximize gaming performance while balancing the thermal envelope and power utilization, Alienware said.
Frank Azor, GM of Alienware, said in a statement the Alpha game console will allow for hundreds of Steam games to be played through a console for the first time while delivering “our vision for big screen gaming and give our fans a console that delivers true next-gen performance.”
Alienware’s gaming console comes equipped with a Microsoft Xbox 360 wireless controller that is compatible with PC games or using a full version of Windows 8.1, gamers can use a mouse and keyboard as well as install Microsoft Office and download apps from the Windows Store.
The Alienware Alpha is available now with prices beginning at $549. Some packages include bundled games along with the console.