PS4 and Xbox One get new competition from the Alienware Alpha

Alienware Alpha Windows 8.1 Console

Pair an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller to a Windows PC and you’ve got yourself a Windows console, but whatever setup you’ve got going at home may not be as cool or as powerful as this completely new, and unexpected, Alienware Windows 8.1 gaming console and home entertainment system.

In case the device – dubbed Alpha – looks familiar, that’s because it was supposed to run Steam OS and be a Steam Machine console. However, since Valve delayed its Steam Machine program until next year, Alienware decided to take a different route with the Alpha.

The Alpha will ship as a 64-bit Windows 8.1 PC bundled with a wireless Xbox 360 controller, Ars Technica reports, although users will also be able to use Xbox One controllers with it considering that Microsoft has just added Windows support for Xbox One controllers.

The basic Alpha will pack a Core i3 Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, dual-band 802.11ac 1×1 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI out, gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB 3.0 ports and a custom-built NVIDIA GPU that uses Maxwell architecture and will have 2GB of dedicated RAM.

The Alpha systems will ship at some point in the fourth quarter, with prices starting at $549, which is $50 more than what an Xbox One console with Kinect costs. An Alpha Steam Machine will be available next year as well.

“[Following the Steam Machine delay] we want to make it a true console experience,” Alienware PC executive director Frank Azor told GamesBeat. “It will be hard to buy a machine that meets or beats this price.”

“It’s our objective to bring PC gaming to the living room,” Azor also said. “We’re delivering a solution that makes Windows a great experience on the TV. This is an experience designed for the living room.”

Users will be able to further customize their Alphas, by choosing Core i5 or i7 processors, 8GB of RAM, hard drives up to 2TB and 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi.

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