Alienware Alpha: Purpose-Built For Your Living Room With Maxwell Technology

Hardware, Alienware

When we set out to create the Alienware Alpha console we had a goal to merge the flexibility of a PC with the simplicity of a console, ultimately creating the world’s first open-console. Easier said than done though, as traditionally we’ve seen three major challenges in bringing PC gaming successfully into the living room: Complexity, Design, and Price. And please do take note that I use the word ‘successfully’ here in very literal terms. It comes as no surprise that gamers have been hooking up their PC’s to their TV’s for years, but it’s a clumsy, cumbersome process that likely involves plenty of different peripherals and modes of interaction, not to mention it’s all usually done on an OS that isn’t really made to be operated in your living room. Not exactly the stuff that successful implementations are made of.

We began by tackling complexity first, and knew it would be the most difficult challenge of the three. Fans of the Alpha will probably recall that it was originally introduced at CES 2014 as part of Valve’s Steam Machine initiative, part of a new revolution to not only make playing your favorite Steam games simple in the living room, but to also introduce a new operating system and input device to experience it all on. Unfortunately since then the Steam Machine initiative has been put on hold, but we felt we had a product on our hands that could successfully bring PC gaming to the living room in the meantime, while also being ‘Steam-Machine-Ready’ on day-one when Valve launches the Steam Controller.

With SteamOS still in development, we were then presented with the challenge to build an effective living room UI, one that would allow the user to launch into Steam and control all of Alpha’s core system functions. Enter Alpha-UI, an exclusive user interface we built that transforms Alpha from a PC into a console. When users first open up their Alpha packaging, they’ll immediately notice there is no keyboard and mouse included - in fact, all you need to interact with your Alpha is the included Xbox 360 wireless controller. Upon first boot users will be taken through an entirely custom experience that parallels the setup and general interaction of a console, and it’s all done with just a controller: a world first.

After going through a quick first-time-setup users will land at Alpha-UI’s main menu, where they can launch directly into Steam Big Picture mode, adjust all of the core system settings, launch various entertainment programs, as well as handle power options and more. With Alpha-UI we’ve removed the need for a keyboard and mouse completely, all while putting the user in an easy-to-navigate UI that is simple, elegant and made for the big-screen. Users can also toggle between console mode and desktop mode, so they can hook up a mouse and keyboard at any time and use Alpha as a fully functional Windows 8.1 desktop PC.

For Alpha’s design we knew we’d have to create a system that was small, quiet and living-room-friendly, yet still delivered the performance that gamers expect from Alienware. So we turned to NVIDIA to help us deliver a solution that would exceed the market’s expectations. At the heart of the Alpha’s performance is its GPU, and it’s truly one-of-a-kind. Alienware and NVIDIA engineers worked carefully to develop a custom graphics solution that maximizes gaming performance while carefully balancing the thermal envelope and power utilization, ultimately creating an ideal and unique graphics platform that runs cool and quiet while delivering the graphical horsepower that gamers demand.

Leveraging the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, based off NVIDIA’s newest Maxwell architecture, Alienware was able to increase the standard performance even further, customizing the GPU to run at speeds currently found in no other device. To ensure a quick execution protocol, Alienware and NVIDIA paired 2GB of GDDR5 memory to the Alpha’s custom GeForce GTX GPU. Without a doubt, Alpha’s NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU delivers the world’s best performance-per-watt. And at 130 watts under load, Alpha is able to deliver superior performance and visuals against the 150 watt consoles.

The last challenge we had to overcome was pricing the Alpha to not only be affordable, but to also be competitive with the so-called next-gen consoles. At a starting price of $549 I believe we’ve shattered this challenge, and to sweeten the deal even further we’re bundling complete versions of Anomaly: Warzone Earth, Awesomenauts, Magicka, Payday 2 and Strike Suit Zero. Alienware Alpha will also include a $100 Alienware gift card for users who preorder their Alpha on Alienware.com before the November launch, as well an exclusive Gauntlet in-game item, the Magicka: Dungeons and Daemons DLC, and Alienware-exclusive demos of Defense Grid 2 and Super Splatters.

The result of all this hard work and effort is a console that, in a word, is open. Do you want a console you can plug any PC peripheral in? You can do it on the Alpha. Do you want a console you can open up and upgrade without voiding your warranty? You can do it on the Alpha. Do you want a console that doesn’t restrict you to modify the OS, games and more? You can do it on the Alpha. Do you want a console that is backwards compatible? Alpha is. Do you want a console that provides you with the latest and greatest in NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU technology? Alpha’s got it. Do you want a console where you don’t have to pay to use online services? Then get an Alpha. Do you want a console where you make the choices you want for yourself and are not dictated what your options are? Then get an Alpha.

So get ready to dial-up the settings on your Alienware Alpha, and rest assured that you’ll be playing the best new games at true 1080p resolutions, all while experiencing the gaming performance of a hardware platform that is finally worthy of the title “next-gen.” Preorder the Alienware Alpha Console today.

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