E3 2014: Alienware Alpha Announced with HDMI In and Out

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 10, 2014 - 11:44 PM |
Tagged: Steam Machine, E3 14, E3, dell, alienware alpha, alienware

While "Steam Machines" are delayed, Alienware will still launch their console form-factor PC. The $550 price tag includes a black Xbox 360 wireless controller (with receiver) and Windows 8.1 64-bit. Alienware has also designed their own "Console-mode UI" for Windows 8.1, which can be navigated directly with a controller. It will ship Holiday 2014.

Apparently PC-based consoles equate to dubstep and parkour.

About the "Console-mode UI", it will apparently be what the user sees when the Alpha boots. The user can then select between Steam Big Picture, media, and programs. They also allow users to boot into the standard Windows 8.1 interface.

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As for its specifications:

  Base Model ($550) Upgrade Options
Processor Haswell-based Intel Core i3 Core i5, Core i7 (user accessible)
GPU "Custom" Maxwell-based, 2GB GDDR5
(see next paragraph)
(none) (not user accessible, soldered on)
System Memory 4GB at 1600 MHz 8GB (user accessible)
HDD 500GB SATA3 1TB or 2TB (user accessible)
Wireless Dual-band 802.11ac (user accessible)
I/O
  • HDMI Out
  • HDMI In
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Optical Audio
  • 2x USB 3.0 (rear), 2x USB 2.0 (front)
Included
Accessories
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Accessories USB Adapter

The GPU is not specified, or even given a similar part to refer to. PC World claims that it will be comparable to the performance found on the two next-gen consoles. Since the 750 Ti has around 1.3 TeraFLOPs of performance, this GPU is probably near that, or slightly above it. PC Gamer says that it will be based on mobile Maxwell, so it might be similar to an current or upcoming laptop GPU.

One thing that has not been addressed is the HDMI-in port. We know that it supports passthrough for low latency, but we do not know what it will do with the input video. Alienware has several of these set up at their booth on the show floor, so we might hear more soon. While its specifications are a bit on the light side, particularly on the default amount of RAM (although that is easily and cheaply upgraded), its $550 price, which includes a wireless controller and its adapter, is also pretty good.

Source: Alienware
June 11, 2014 | 12:34 AM - Posted by biohazard918

Oh wonderful just what I wanted a pc with a gpu you can't upgrade.

Edit: that teaser is REALLY obnoxious.

June 11, 2014 | 05:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"I don't always parkour to the couch to play videogames, but when I do I do it to dubstep with my bro."

The $50 premium (now $150) over the Xbone still seems worth it considering that it's a full blown PC with limitless software options. You may not be able to upgrade the GPU, but everything else can be user-upgraded.

While we're on the topic of the GPU, it should be made clear that the 750Ti alone is roughly as powerful as the total output of a Xbone/PS4 (including Jaguar cores). Take a look at any benchmark comparing Jaguar to an i3... TL;DR: there is no comparison.

That said, they should really consider selling a blank slate for $399. No OS, no controller. I'd consider buying that in a heartbeat.

June 11, 2014 | 04:13 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Why buy an XBOX one or a PS4 when you can buy a more expensive PC that is about at the same levels in cpu/gpu performance (if not worst in gpu performance)?

And why build a custom PC when you can buy an Alienware with the most importand part,the gpu, soldered on the board?

June 11, 2014 | 06:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Biggest Benefits of each platform

NINTENDO

Best 1st Party Games
Can game on your toilet, bed, etc with comfort
Don't pay money for multiplayer

SONY
2nd Best First Party Games
Access to the best 3rd Party Games

MICROSOFT
Access to the best 3rd Party Games

PERSONAL COMPUTER
Steam/GoG/HUmble Bundle Prices
Don't Pay for multiplayer
Modding Community offers longevity to the most popular games.
Access to genres that simply aren't made on a console.

June 11, 2014 | 09:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

PC:
Can game on your toilet, bed, etc with comfort (notebook, tablet, SHIELD...)
Emulate consoles
Access to the best 3rd Party Games
More games

June 11, 2014 | 05:02 AM - Posted by obababoy

They just released drivers for the XB1 controller on PC, hope they switch it out. I do like the new controller.

June 11, 2014 | 06:55 AM - Posted by godrilla (not verified)

I heard the eireless controller only works when its wired doesn't work wirelessly

June 11, 2014 | 06:55 AM - Posted by godrilla (not verified)

Wireless*

June 11, 2014 | 09:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Correct, they haven't released a wireless adapter for the Xbone controller yet. USB-only ATM.

June 11, 2014 | 06:51 AM - Posted by godrilla (not verified)

Ps4 has 1.8 teraflops and is priced way cheaper

June 11, 2014 | 07:15 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is where Valve screwed up, when they should be getting their Steam OS and ecosystem out there for people to become accustomed to! To add to this, any channel partners that Valve had for hardware are now left hanging, and all because Valve is fixated on a controller, when they should be more concerned about getting Steam OS out of beta and into the wild. Valve should have shipped its Steam boxes with a different controller and kept working on the Steam Controller at the same time. Linux ditros, like Steam OS(Debian based), can be configured to be light weight and non resource intensive so as not to steal any processer cycles from the gaming engines while gaming, unlike windows with its non-removable cycle stealing bloat and services. It's great that Valve is working on a controller, but it should not be at the cost of Steam OS, and the small time frame that Valve has before windows 9 hits the market, and M$ can backtrack just enough from its lone term plans of a closed ecosystem, to keep gaming dependent on M$'s ecosystem. I still think Steam OS is the way to go for gaming, maybe with windows in a dual boot configuration, until the gaming engines, game ports, and development SDKs, are fully tuned to the Linux environment and ecosystem.

This so called steam like console does not have an upgradable GPU, so I would not exactly use Steam box, or Steam box like, without the ability of full upgradability for the hardware. Steam OS is the real important part of the equation, along with the steam client that offers the Turn Key gaming services of the console ecosystem, while having all the hardware upgradability of a build it yourself PC gaming rig. Valve's reference Steam Box cases where impressive for their ability to efficiently squeeze hardware components in to as little space as possible while still maintaining full upgradability, and Valve should consider Branding a line of small and fully upgradable cases, or even Open Source case designs that can be printed for the system builders and experimenters out there.

Not only could Valve work on that, but considering the importance of game streaming to tablets from PCs, Valve should be producing reference Steam Box systems that can be automatically paired with a Steam OS based tablet, for gigabit wireless streaming of games and video content, as well as for other wireless asymmetrical multiprocessing processing between PCs(Steam Boxes/other) and Tablets. Eventually new Homes will come with server closets and Gigabit or faster wireless systems that will feed multiple tablets throughout the house to a centralized gaming/entertainment server. Eventually gaming on Tablets is going to be preferred mobile way to game and the dedicated mobile gaming only device will go away, and maybe there will be game streaming to tablets offered as a subscription service aboard Tranes, and Planes, and other places equipped with wireless gaming servers.

Apple just demonstrated a system of wirelessly and seamlessly transferring tasks between tablets and its laptop/other devices, so wireless asymmetrical multiprocessing is the next big thing, and having tablets that can wirelessly send complex and demanding tasks to a nearby home server for processing workloads that the tablet itself can not complete in a reasonable amount of time, like high definition gaming, and other tasks, is the next "Killer Application" or big thing, or whatever it can be called.

June 11, 2014 | 03:13 PM - Posted by kristoffertrolle

Sounds pretty sweet, but a Maxwell gpu??? Nvidia and Amd have been the only companies that had succes with gpu's on x86 pc's since the voodoo cards, and Maxwell are making a new gpu? Don't understand :)

June 12, 2014 | 11:34 PM - Posted by Danny (not verified)

Nvidia named the architecture Maxwell. AMD and Nvidia always codename the gpus (cpus for AMD).

June 12, 2014 | 11:56 PM - Posted by Shootureself (not verified)

Maxwell is Nvidias next generation architecture.

Src: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_800_series

June 13, 2014 | 02:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It would be nice if some big neo-billionaire social network, search engine, or electric car technology big wig would fund transforming Imagination technology's PowerVR wizard mobile GPU's into a low end desktop/laptop discrete GPU. Nvidia appears to be going the low power mobile GPU scaled up to any power range, from the mobile Tegra K1 to the desktop Maxwell, by merging the two(mobile, desktop) line's roadmaps/microarchitectures into one. I'm pretty sure the PowerVR line cold be scaled up in the same fashion, to give Nvidia, and AMD some much needed competition. A desktop GPU with hardware Ray tracing would be a big thing for gaming and graphics uses, and face it, there is not going to be much difference between each company's individual mobile and discrete SKUs going forward, other than scaling up the number of execution units, and adding wider/faster on die connection fabrics for the desktop variants. The whole GPU industry appears to be going in this direction of modular scalability with each company's mobile and discrete lines built around a single chosen microarchitecture, it saves money on R&D and production.

June 14, 2014 | 02:51 PM - Posted by SikSlayer

That teaser video was hilariously stupid. It does nothing to explain to someone who has no idea what the Alpha is other than it's some kind of console.

The HDMI in is an unexpected addition.

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