Alienware is one of those specialist brands that were created when a corporation, in this case Dell, decided it would suit their purposes to focus on design and performance and not worry about everything else. The brand eventually became a business in its own right. And now, that business is introducing a new computer.
Called Alienware Alpha, the newcomer is a small, sleek, black and shiny miniature personal computer, one that bears the logo on the front, though not in the middle. The new PC is an exercise in understated asymmetry, so a middle spot would have worked against the allure.
The thing about Alienware PCs is that they're very seldom truly overpowered. Dell, or rather Alienware, likes to tailor them for specific purposes, and for shapes and sizes that aren't easily found elsewhere. Even if all it takes is just a small design element applied to the case.
The newest PC in the lineup, called Alineware Alpha, is a small, HTPC-sized computer, one might even say media player-sized. But don't let that fool you. The system is a lot stronger than it looks.
Despite the space constraints, Dell/Alienware was able to make a gaming-capable configuration. Sure, the Core i3 CPUs (Haswell) isn't that spectacular, and the 4 GB of DDR3-1600 memory are nothing special, but there is an add-in graphics card in there.
Specifically, Alienware installed an NVIDIA board, based on the Maxwell micro-architecture. Possibly the GeForce GTX 75 Ti, given the 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM.
Altogether, this hardware combination won't let you do anything too spectacular like set up multi-monitor PCs and play in Crysis and Skyrim in 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels).
You should have an easy time playing any title on a normal, single-monitor or TV though, in Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). There are some stronger versions though, with Core i5/i7 CPUs, 8 GB RAM and HDDs of one or two TB instead of 500 GB.
The price will be a lot higher though. While the standard Alienware Alpha costs $549 / or so, the others will ship for twice that, or maybe more.
On the flip side, four USB ports (two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0), HDMI, 802.11 ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and Gigabit Ethernet are available in all cases.
And for those of you who think that this may be the fabled Steam PC, running Valve's Steam operating system, think again. The OS, here, is the Windows 8.1. Steam OS isn't ready to be marketed yet, apparently.