Alienware Alpha Gaming Console Review, Hybrid PC
All right ladies and gents today I am writing an Alienware Alpha Gaming Console Review. Once again I am on the quest to find a good but cheap gaming PC for under $500, but is it possible?
This little ditty is kind of mysterious because it is one part steam machine and one part PC.
We are going to look at how all of this works, see a couple videos and I hope ultimately you will have a clearer picture of whether or not you should be bringing one home.
Please read this article to the end so you can catch my super secret ninja tips I have discovered about this gaming console as well as my final verdict.
Product: Alienware Alpha ASM100-1580 Console
Price: $379.99 (console) +$19.99 +$77.99? (secret ninja performance extras) = $477.97 optional total
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
- Processor: 2.9 GHz Intel Core i3
- RAM: 4 GB DDR3 1600mhz
- Hard Drive: 500 GB SATA 5400RPM
- Graphics Card: Custom Nvidia Maxwell GTX CPU
- Operating System: Windows 8.1, Free Upgrade to Windows 10
- Size: 7.87 x 7.87 x 2.17 inches (tiny right?)
So at first glance this thing doesn’t stand up to the other gaming PC’s I have been reviewing.
When I say this I am talking about the 4GB of RAM, the slower hard drive and the graphics co-processor.
But we have to actually see how all of this shakes out in the real world and if there is a lack of performance, is there a way to improve it? Well of course there is! We will be getting into that here shortly.
Steam Machine and PC
The cool thing that really separates this computer from the rest of the pack is the hybrid nature allowing the user to switch between the Steam gaming interface and normal Windows 8 PC mode.
I personally think while this is a neat idea and very enjoyable for many the Alienware Alpha Gaming Console is far from taking over mainstream.
It is always cool to have diversity though and if this console can hold up as a decent gaming PC for the money then I say it is money well spent… with the added bonuses of course.
Should you buy the Alpha or the PS4?
Before we move on to my ninja tips and overall PC performance I want to talk about the console side of this machine a little bit more.
I have personally used this in both PC and console mode and I have to say that it actually works pretty dang well as a console. Alienware somehow packed a pretty decent punch here with the gaming capabilities.
When it boots up you choose the Steam mode and right from your couch you can have access to all your games at a nice 1080p quality. The Alpha seems to handle most games fairly well at this resolution.
I’ll tell you this. The Alpha and PS4 actually have comparable performance makes and what you really need to do is decide which platform more suits your needs.
Of course with PS4 and the same is true with Xbox, there will be exclusive games and content to each platform. This could be one deciding factor for you.
Another one being that with the Alpha you have access to a lot of cool indie games through steam as well as the unique benefits of PC gaming such as mods and additional content that is PC specific.
You will know what is more important to you and don’t let me persuade you by saying that I’ve always played on consoles and PC’s but, I enjoy PC gaming many times over console. Just a personal preference.
Super Awesome Semi Secret Performance Ninja Tips
WOW that was a mouthful! That’s what sh… never mind :). OK so the Alienware Alpha Gaming Console works fairly decently as is. Especially at its current price point of $379.99.
But there are a couple of things I’d say we need to do to kick it up a notch. It will cost some doe but the target budget here was under $500 so we have some wiggle room.
The first thing i’d like to address is the RAM. This rig only has 4GB and it needs to have 8GB to be on the same playing field as the competition. This is VERY easy to do as you saw by watching either of the videos I provided within this review. Buy one more stick of 4GB, slap it in and BADABOOM! You can get this really cheap at under $20 so it is a no brainer upgrade.
The next upgrade we can do to really increase over all performance is to swap out that slow Hard Drive for a SSD or Solid State Drive. This will help a ton with loading your OS as well as in game loading.
Now although I do highly recommend you do this upgrade it is an extra $77.99 for the 256GB drive so you can choose if this is a must have upgrade. You can also jump up to 512GB SSD but then we are looking at more then double the price of the 256GB SSD. If swapping hard drives seems like a daunting task it really isn’t. Especially if you are swapping the drives on a new machine.
Let’s take a look at the entire build
Total cost for an awesome budget machine – $477.97
That is just about going to wrap up my Alienware Alpha Gaming Console Review today. Here is what I think, whether you are looking for a strait up budget gaming PC or just really into Steam then i’d say go for it. I have to tell you it is pretty sick kicking back on the couch and using this thing for games and all other media. A buddy of mine just uses his at the desk as his main computer. You can get your own Alpha for a total of $379.99 and it will work pretty well out of the box or you can do a couple cheap and fun upgrades and have a machine that will really kick some butt and last you a bit longer into your gaming career. Less then $100 for the upgrades I recommended is really worth the money for the added performance you will see. All in all it’s up to you and what fits your style best but hey i’m just trying to spitball some ideas out there for ya! 🙂
Are you going to purchase this gaming console/computer? What sort of use will you see out of it? I’d love to share in your experience so let me know! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to drop me one anytime at the bottom of this page. Likes, shares, tweets and +1’s are greatly appreciated as well.
Founder of Level Up Your Gear