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Research has mounted over the previous two years that there surely is an audience for a PC-as-console expertise, although size of this sector continues to be hard to measure. While Steam Machines were poised to get commenced in earnest once again in 2014, Valve s delayed SteamOS and controller means hardware partners trying to enter this new market have had already been Alienware didn’t wait to release a system operating on Windows 8.1; SteamOS-based systems are coming, but instead of waiting they opted for something ostensibly the same without SteamOS.
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Welcome to the Best Alienware Alpha Guide.
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AlienWare area 51M – 5500 and 6110 Laptop Battery
The Alienware Alpha is a strange proposition: it arrives before SteamOS, but it s still a Steam Big Picture affair. As the computer boots up right into its own bespoke Alienware UI, you ll be gaming in no time with the support of Big Picture mode. You can boot into Windows 8.1 on the Alienware Alpha, but keyboard and mouse are not included. Predicated on what will come in the box alone, this is much more a gaming console than an alphanumeric one.
Without a doubt, modern consoles experience occasional crashes.
Metro: Last Light ran at almost 60 frames per second on Medium settings.
Tech specs The Alpha comes in four different models, starting at $600 with a custom-made Nvidia GTX 860M GPU. The Alpha is very expensive, with an Intel Core i7-4765T processor and 8GB of DDR3 memory, but the 2TB mechanical hard disk drive can’t be swapped out for an SSD. It’s unlikely the drive s speed will bother potential users; people used to Xbox 360 or Xbox One loading times are more likely to be annoyed.
For the GPU, we benchmarked it against a similarly equipped desktop: The Acer Aspire 15 Nitro laptop with a GTX 860M. Although there are some slight variations in games like Metro Last Light, GRID 2 and BioShock Infinite, these benchmarks show that they perform comparably. Alienware’s Alpha is a great gaming machine that’s significantly cheaper than the average equivalent, but has slightly lower framerates.
The Alienware Alpha runs Metro: Last Light at 60fps on Medium settings at 1080p, but you’ll experience performance issues if you want to turn up the graphics any higher. One of the best features of PC gaming is that console versions can run as well, if not better.
That’s the Alpha, and it’s more like a notebook than an Xbox 360. Alphas main components are replaceable, with the exception of its custom GPU that is hardwired to the motherboard. Memory upgrades can be a hassle, as only two slots exist on this machine. However if you plan on replacing your computer often and consider yourself a power user, I recommend purchasing the Alpha despite its internals consisting of “only” four
Here is a practical guide for users looking to buy the Alienware Alpha.
The alienware alpha offers a clear and crisp picture.
The Alpha’s bespoke UI has a selection of customisation options.
The Alpha includes a group of hotkeys triggered by controller button press configurations.
This is how the Alpha UI looks in bigger screens. When you navigate through Steam, it’s almost just like your using a desktop. There is a good category for controller games, so you can avoid anything requiring input from the keyboard. I spent an hour and a half playing Eldritch on the couch and it felt just like the game was designed for console, though it did boot automatically into a windowed screen. This hint still holds true in Alienware alpha game menu settings.
The Alpha is, for now, one of the leading consoles on the market. On its own merits when compared to other gaming systems, it has five major advantages:
1) Steam’s gargantuan games library
2) The Alpha doesn’t require a new hard drive for in-home storage
3) It is relatively small The most efficient way to resolve the kernel panic on the Dell XPS 13 is by exiting from Windows.
On both Alpha s barebones UI and Big Picture mode, you re unable to search for and play videos. However, you can use Steam Music in either UI. Though the Alienware Alpha touts media playback as a major feature, it doesn’t come cheap. With Windows 8 providing in-built USB support for AVI files, there’s no reason aliens with an iPhone app can’t fix this issue soon enough. I advise you do this.
For the Alpha UI’s interface it is user-friendly and is accessible at any time by using a controller shortcut. The display settings include simple adjustments like resolution, screen scaling, the ability to customise in-menu themes with different colours, as well as network selection.
The Alpha is capable of running standard Windows as well as the Alpha UI or Big Picture mode, though there are a few caveats to keep in mind. It could be an excellent choice for people on a budget or working from home considering its size.
It’s hard to tell the value of Alienware Alpha, a computer that can’t compete with a desktop in terms of power but is good for any person buying a discreet little PC who might keep it in their living room. As long as you’re willing to sacrifice the flexibility and style of a desktop-or at least be able to forfeit the Alpha UI so you can access Windows 8.1 proper, then this little machine might just fit your needs.
The Alpha suits people who ve got an abundance of money, or don t want to be hampered by fiddling with a desktop PC.
Alienware Alpha is an attractive option if you re interested in the Steam OS. It will take a while for more competitors to arrive, but it could be worth waiting until everything has come out before making a decision. There is a grey area when it comes to interstellar travel, in spite of popular belief.
If you’re in the market for a powerful gaming laptop-hybrid, you may be interested in purchasing one of Alienware’s newest offerings.
The Alpha is an interesting alternative to the traditional desktop.
Shaun is a PC Gamer editor and writer in Australia, who mainly writes about platformers and RPGs. He also monitors any interesting Australian stories.