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Alienware is now shipping its PC/console hybrid

If you just can’t decide between a next-generation console and a Windows-based gaming rig then the Alienware Alpha PC is here to meet your needs. It’s been in the pipeline since the summer, and this weekend Dell confirmed that shipping had started on the compact computer with console aspirations. In terms of living room gaming, Sony and Microsoft have the market pretty much sewn up, but efforts such as Alpha and SteamOS are looking to change that landscape. Prices for the new machine start at $549 with an Intel Core i3 dual core CPU and 4GB of RAM, rising to $899 for a faster Intel Core i7 quad core CPU, 8GB of RAM and more storage capacity.

The “PC console” era doesn’t officially begin until the arrival of the much-vaunted Steam Machines in 2015. But in the meantime, Dell today launched its own under-the-TV PC games machine. The Alienware Alpha shipped out to customers today, with an entry price of $550, rising to $900. It comes with an Xbox 360 controller and uses its own user interface called Alpha-UI, designed around Steam Big Picture and controller-enabled PC games. It also comes with Windows 8.1, for those inclined. The cheapest model is based around an Intel Core i3-4130T dual-core processor, a 2 GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M GPU, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, making it a fairly basic machine, unsuited for the most demanding PC games, for which the more expensive models are designed. Dell is offering a bundle of games, worth around $100, for those who pre-ordered or who buy the machine during its launch period. “We’ve been working hard this past year to break the mold and develop a system that finally brings hundreds of Steam games, including some really fun indie titles, to TVs,” said Alienware general manager Frank Azor. “The team and I are excited to finally deliver our vision for big screen gaming and give our fans a console that delivers true next-gen performance with the flexibility to choose how, what and where they want to play.”

 

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