The Alienware Alpha is considered one of the most impressive new models this year. Gaming desktop computers aren’t the norm, in fact, most consumers opt for a gaming laptop, but once you get over the fact that it’s not a laptop, you’ll be blown away by a model that looks and feels more like a gaming console from the future. This model is equipped with Windows 8 and a free Windows 10 upgrade, not to mention some other great extras.
Our Verdict: The first thing that attracts gamers to this model is obviously the eye-catching design. However, this rig is more than just looks. It comes with a powerful processor, decent RAM, impressive image quality, and a top of the line graphics card. It works well for the most graphically demanding games, which obviously makes this model popular with gamers.
Alienware rigs remain a favorite in the gaming scene. Their flashy designs may be a big part of the initial draw, but most gamers will find that these rigs often come with some great gaming specific components that can take gameplay to the next level. Continue reading to learn more about this rig’s extra features and how it performs when put to the test.
Overview and Features
Alienware is a company that’s been dominating the gaming industry for years. Not only do they produce some powerful rigs, but the designs of their rigs are pretty impressive, featuring a flashy techy look that instantly boosts a rig’s appeal while giving it a pro look that any gamer would love.
This desktop definitely looks like a pro gaming console. The design consists of a square compact box with the power button located in the front and a few USB ports on both the front and back, in addition to an HDMI port.
The sturdy, flashy design is all Alienware, but it also adds plenty of appeal for a rig that’s so reasonably priced and one that comes loaded with some nice features and components.
This model is equipped with an Intel core i3 CPU, 500 GB hard drive and 4 GB of RAM. This is a new and improved version of the first model released way back in 2013. This model has been optimized in order to allow it to play the most current games at a resolution of 1920 x 1080p and offers smooth frame rates, but we recommend that you set the in-game graphics at a medium level, at least until you’re able to gauge the rig’s performance and whether or not it can handle a high setting.
After the hassle of setting up the system, the end result is totally worth it. Even graphically demanding games will run smoothly on this system and will look better even when compared to some of the console versions. Challenging games will work well at the 1080p high setting. The interface is definitely first-generation. While the design strives for greatness, it’s basically awkward and bulky. You’ll have to keep a mouse plugged in to access the Windows 8 desktop. Setting up the system can be a hassle and can require a mouse in order to deal with error messages and pop-ups. Additionally, many gamers reported that this model isn’t compatible with Panasonic TVs.
According to the manufacturer, the ten-foot experience will be just as good as what you can expect from the latest gaming consoles. And because most consoles fail to hit 1080p res, this model has some much-needed edge over the competition. But even with impressive graphics capabilities, a desktop computer isn’t a gaming console. And because of this, the system boots into its own UI, which is operated with the use of an Xbox controller. This will provide you with access to a number of settings before directing the user into the Steam software’s big picture mode. Big picture mode is a UI for launching video games from your TV.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- 1080p High-res image quality
- Top of the line graphics card
- Fast processor
- Plenty of RAM for gaming
- Windows 8
- Reasonably priced
- Rig is bulky and awkward
- Setting up the system can be difficult for the beginner
- Not compatible with Panasonic TVs
Is There a Space-Saving Rig in this Price Range?
There’s no getting around the fact that this rig can take up plenty of desk or floor space. Most Alienware rigs are not only flashy but bulky and awkward, which can make them difficult to set on your desk or in a tight space right by it. If you’re looking for a rig that’s right around the same price and one that comes loaded with many of the same features, we recommend the HP Pavillion 500281. To learn more about other competing models of gaming PCs that are budget-friendly, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Can You Get a Good Gaming Setup on a Budget?
The type of gaming setup usually varies from gamer to gamer. Some prefer a basic setup, while others appreciate a lot of bells and whistles that can enhance the gaming experience. But if you’re new to the world of online gaming, it’s better to start off with the basics and slowly upgrade or add gear over time. Rigs like this Alienware model can be the perfect addition to your setup if you don’t have much money to work with. Additionally, you’ll find that the price of gaming gear has gone down over the years, so you can easily find some great deals online. To learn more about what you need in a basic gaming setup, click here to read our article on budget gaming setups.