Dell: Alienware Alpha
I mean, I was a “PC Gamer” before there were PC’s, thanks to Commodore and while I played the hell out of Atari and the NES on either side of my C=64 days, I eventually went back to PC’s for gaming for pretty much all of the 90’s and until my first Xbox. I ended up switching to Xbox because my TV was bigger than my monitor; since I was playing Halo on PC before Xbox, it made sense that having an extra 17″ of screen space would be better. I was tired of calling customer support for hours at a time only to learn that my BIOS had a graphics aperture setting of 64MB instead of 8MB and that the game-of-the-month didn’t like that. Besides, at this point, the price of the console was almost cheaper than the cost of a really good graphics card.
Basically, I traded the endless flexibility of a gaming PC away for the ease of use and cheaper cost of a console.
Was my choice; I’m not trying to push that on anyone. PC gaming is alive and well – and some of the rigs are flat out amazing – but to me, it’s for people that still like tweaking and building boxes… instead of upgrading my PC every 12-18 months to play the latest game, I go 6-8 years between PC upgrades. Even laptops last me for over 2 years at a time now.
That brings us to the Alpha. Who is this product for?
PC gamers aren’t likely going to want a “small” box that can’t be easily customized. True it’s under $1K which is likely half the cost of a solid gaming PC but to what end? In 12 months can they upgrade the motherboard for PC-25600 RAM and a new i7 with a FrontLawn bridge? My guess is no. I mean, why would a PC gamer want one if they don’t get the flexibility of growth?
Console gamers aren’t likely going to want to spend more to get a PC, particularly because the experience isn’t clear. Does it boot to Windows or to the Alienware app? And if it’s a custom shell, what can you still use Steam? And then because it’s a PC, how does a user deal with a bad driver they were told to download but stops the box from booting? Insult to injury, I think you’d need the $699 model to match the specs of either the Xbox One or PS4.
At least it’s a nice case, I guess.