The magic of E3 has hit again. Among numerous useless press releases full of hype, there’s one worth noting for us Linux gamers. Dell and its subdivision Alienware have just announced that the Alienware Alpha and its Steam Machine equivalent are getting an upgrade (called the r2).
Here’s the take-aways:
- Intel processor: from 4th generation to the 6th (Skylake), i5 and i7 only.
- RAM: from 4Gb to 8 Gb.
- GPU: from a 860M to a GTX960 equivalent.
- For the more expensive models, hard drive go up to 1TB of storage.
- Price: the new models start from 749 USD (ouch!) up to 899 USD. The previous Steam Machine with an i3 core remains available at 449 USD.
It is very strange to see the i3 model not being upgraded, since an i3 intel chip makes a lot of sense for gaming. Most games are pretty bad at using multiple cores currently, so there is not so much advantage in going for an i5 and i7.
This being said this is a welcome upgrade, while it’s still somewhat not near enough for the most demanding ports out there, if you want to play them at max details in fullHD.
ITWorld had apparently a few words with Chris Sutphen, senior marketing manager at Alienware, who declared:
- “We expect the SteamOS catalog to strengthen at the end of year”
- “Vulkan will speed up transition for SteamOS to AAA content”
Since Alienware keeps selling the Alienware Alpha new model with the very same specs, I’d say the risk is minimal on their part. It’s not like they are making new hardware JUST for the Steam Machines. Still, not giving up at this stage is a positive sign, as we assume sales have been far from stellar up until now. And they did update their shop page for that purpose, finally.
Now it would be nice if some of the other options out there (Syber, Zotac) did refresh their Steam Machines line-up. As the SteamOS library grows, things should start to make a little more sense down the road.
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