The folks at Alienware have announced during this year’s E3 that their Steam Machine, the Alienware Alpha, will be available this coming holiday season with prices starting at $549.
There is one caveat to the device’s release though – the Alienware Alpha launching in December won’t be running Valve’s SteamOS, which was delayed until sometime in 2015, but will instead run on Windows 8.1 with a custom user interface developed by Alienware’s parent company Dell. The custom interface will bypass the Windows interface altogether and will bring users straight into the Steam Big Picture interface.
This doesn’t mean that the Alienware Alpha won’t run SteamOS at all as users will have the option to install the SteamOS beta themselves. Additionally, when the full version of SteamOS comes out next year, users will also be able to update to that with instructions provided by Alienware.
The Alienware Alpha console will also come with an Xbox 360 wireless controller and receiver in lieu of Valve’s Steam Controller which Valve is still in the process of tweaking for release (which is also the reason for the delay of the SteamOS platform). Alienware has also mentioned that Playstation 3 controller support will also come to the Alpha in the future.
The $549 starting configuration of the Alienware Alpha console will come with an Intel Core i3 Haswell-based processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM clocked at 1600MHz, a custom-built NVIDIA Maxwell-based GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, a 500GB SATA3 HDD, Dual-band Wireless-AC 1×1, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Users will be able customize their Alpha configurations with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM clocked at 1600MHz, Dual-band Wireless-AC 2×2, and up to 2TB SATA3 HDD storage.
All Alienware Alpha consoles will have two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, Optical Audio Out, an HDMI Out port, and an HDMI In port (pass-through).
The Alienware Alpha was originally unveiled back in January during CES 2014 and the Window 8.1 version of the device is expected to ship sometime in December 2014.