Alienware’s Steam Machine Will Be Over $700 And Comes With A Custom GPU

Alienware’s Steam Machine Will Be Over $700 And Comes With A Custom GPU

Steam Machines will finally be coming to Australia as of next year, and while there won’t be a massive amount of surprises with the one major sticking point is the GPU.

Like the Surface Book, it’s a custom chip that NVIDIA has put together for Alienware — and you won’t be able to upgrade it if you want more grunt.

Alienware’s planning and development manager Joe Olmsted sat down with me at PAX on the weekend to talk through the specifications and hardware of the Steam machine, when it’d be available in Sydney and what it’d ship with.

There’s no surprises with the machines though: it’s the same hardware as the Alienware Alpha boxes, which you can purchase from Dell right now. Those come in multiple configurations, but you’re generally dealing with an Intel i3/i5/i7 with either 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 memory, and so on.

There are some slight changes with the Steam machines, with Olmsted confirming that the top-end Steam machine configuration will come with 16GB of DDR3 RAM. The custom 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA chip that shipped in the Alpha will be the same here, although the Steam machines will come with the SteamOS installed.

Alienware’s website says the custom chip “does have similar performance to an NVIDIA 860M class card”, although

The baseline Steam offering comes with a 500GB hard-drive and the top-end will have around a 2TB drive, with Olmsted adding that Alienware is looking at adding some SSD options to the configurations as well. The Steam Machines will also ship with 10 games, one of which would be the Melbourne-made Screencheat.

Olmstead added that the baseline Steam machine configuration would be sold over $700 in what he called the “premium console” price point. The minimum model of the Alpha is currently available through Dell for $799, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see their Steam machine at the same price (although that’s not confirmed as of yet).

Alienware’s Steam machine will also come with PAYDAY 2’s Game of the Year Edition and Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball, an indie game featuring robots throwing around a dodgeball like it’s a rocket launcher.


  • Who the hell is this aimed at again??? If that’s 700 American, that, with hardware pricing disparity will, I’m betting end up 1k to 1100 at least? The price of 700 US ridiculous given you get an 860M , if you shopped around you could easily get a computer shop to knock out a tower in a compact case for similair or less than that with a high end AMD chip, ssd for OS and 2tb+ hdd, maybe you’d prefer an i5 chip whatever your preference, and a 970 card these days…

    Just boggles my mind who they think these are aimed at again?

    Check out the performance difference:

    • Considering the Dell link from the article has the unit going for AU$799, the $700 figure is definitely AUD.

      • Ta dude, still not particularly great pricing on it. Given the 799 is the baseline model. If you want to actually game you’ll head for the 999 model. Still stand solidly by the idea that building your own is a better idea…

    • Pretty sure it’s AUD, but the fact that that’s the baseline means, yep, probably going to be overpriced with all the addons.

    • curious where you’re seeing that these are 860m based? did i miss something? (it’s possible)

      either way I don’t see much value in something like this… build your own mITX box… if you’re really incapable there are shops that’ll do it for you for a price…

      • Alienware’s website says the custom chip “does have similar performance to an NVIDIA 860M class card”

        About half way down

    • 2 minutes on PC part picker and i just built a micro ATX beast capable of 4k 60fps gaming for about $1300 so this Alienware machine really doesn’t make much sense.

    • 2 minutes on PC part picker and i just built a micro ATX beast capable of 4k 60fps gaming for about $1300 so this Alienware machine really doesn’t make much sense.

    • It’s from Dell, right? The price probably pays for a 5 year warranty or something.

      • Something that pricing has a warranty automatically of around that length by law, 3+ years due to expected lifespan etc.

        (Full disclosure, I’m an ex DELL repairman, did it before starting my Bachelor of Edu, we had people starting to ring up and getting this enforced near the end of my tenure 4 years back (bloody heck) on their Alienware laptops etc, the company tried everything to say no but once the Ombudsman and threat of legal action started, they caved and did it).

  • Taking into account the PS4 price drop,that could end up being twice as expensive as a console for an almost entry level Steam Machine. I don’t think many people will be rushing through the doors to pick one up. It’ll be interesting to see how they sell on release but I could see them going the way of the Ouya tbh

    I’m more interested in the Steam Controller more than anything else

    • I don’t think there is a real market for these. Anyone serious about PC gaming would probably already have a better machine and could just opt for Steam Link and a controller. Anyone not particularly interested in PC gaming would probably go the cheaper console option.

      • I was hoping Steamworks was going to go somewhere/anywhere along those lines when they put it on PS3 with the Orange Box. Shame that it was as executed as well as Steam Machines seem to be

      • That’s all Xbox need to do with Win 10, reverse that console->PC streaming service and you’ve got yourself a Steam Box under the TV (with a better controller to-boot).

        Phil Spencer suggested that it’s possible but in typical MS CorpSpeak, didn’t commit to anything. I’d dare say it’ll take lawyers longer to figure things out than the developers.

        • I was hoping that this gen would shake things up and xbox would go more in the direction of PCs and come with windows installed while playstation stayed as is but that probably doesn’t make any marketing sense.
          I just wanted something a bit more revolutionary this time round.

  • PCIe port? because when Vulkan comes out you will be able to use the onboard with addon card, if they let you install one. If it’s prefixed configuration with no upgrade options… nope nope nope nope

  • I just…don’t understand the market behind Steam machines, especially anything Alienware. They’re caught in an awkward place between consoles and PCs.

    1) They’re still something like double the price of a console, but you’re only getting an 860M or similar GPU. These “base level” Steam machines might be nominally more powerful than consoles, but you generally find that lower end gaming PCs often don’t make much sense – because consoles can be better optimised, they can provide decent if not earth shattering performance for >$500.

    2) For the same price, you could build a vastly superior traditional gaming PC. Steam Big Picture isn’t that bad, and if you pick a nice mATX or mITX build it can still be pretty compact. Plus, you get full access to the entire Steam library, not the restricted Linux-based one you get on SteamOS. The i7 version of this is $1299 for something that uses essentially an 860M! For the same price you could build a nice GTX960 (desktop) PC with an i5, or for a couple hundred more a 970 and walk all over this.

    Maybe I’m lucky in that I can have the best of both worlds with both a PS4 and a high-end (if 18 month old) PC, but I just don’t get the point. Either save your money and get a console that’ll be perfectly good, or spend a comparatively minimal amount extra and get a vastly superior normal gaming PC.

    • heh ” — and you won’t be able to upgrade it if you want more grunt.”

      Yep… I’m out. In 5 yrs time when you can’t run any new release games, you’ll be wishing you’d bought a pc!

  • The interesting thing is the controller, according to sources the thing has a Cortex controller in it with a unpopulated JTAG header which means reprogramming it should be fairly straightforward and that excites me.

    • Seriously though, I wonder if those pad things emulate a mouse real good.
      There’s infinite crpgs I must play & I’m a keytard (a little nonpc rudery to remind you of home)

      • wub you jimmy and mouse emulation isnt super tricky. if you wanted something i could probably make something up for you.

        • I need a new computer but am not allowed to buy one til the craptop dies.

          If that finally happens, I may get back to you 🙂

  • I think… they totally missed the mark on this one…

    There is zero appeal for me here and it makes me wonder who their target audience is? Consoles are cheaper and have far more variety and PC gamers have the option of building their own desktop rigs (or picking a laptop) and getting more bang for their buck.

    Along with having their flagship Alienware laptops suddenly become restricted with soldered chips, preventing DIY upgrades over time.

    (I like Alienware laptops and have owned a few. I travel with work regularly and want good gaming performance and excellent warranty support. I’ve also done my own upgrades of GPU, CPU, RAM, SSD in the past.)

  • While this particular “steam box” is over priced and under powered, I have enough faith in the concept that the rest of them will be the exact same thing.

  • Is it only steamos or is it dual boot win10?

    I could see this being a htpc and then a gaming machine in the lounge room.

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