Alienware’s Steam Machines Get an Update

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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[…] that was an indirect confirmation that the sales of Alienware Steam Machines are very low. Several hundreds to a couple of thousands every month don’t make it look like […]


Love to see a Zen/Polaris APU similar to what the XB1 Scorpio should have. The Scorpio is looking to be an incredible value machine. It appears it will have: APU with: Zen CPU (8-core and probably 2x performance of current XBox One CPU) with Polaris GPU (6TFlops). It’s about 4.5X the power as the XB1 (the GPU). WOW! Hopefully they’ll enable 60FPS for most previous games which would be simple to do. The quality of future games on Scorpio is amazing. Look at Battlefront using Photogrammetry for approaching photo realism, 60FPS, 1080p, hopefully 90FPS VR HUD support (likely) I may… Read more »


> Is the difference simply due to tax? Sounds like 15%+.

Total sales tax of 9.0% (state + county + city). Everybody wants a piece.


That’s why America’s one of the wealthiest countries in the world 😉


RE: “Now it would be nice if some of the other options out there (Syber, Zotac) did refresh their Steam Machines line-up.” _ZOTAC_ ZOTAC has released a newer ZBOX model (the MAGNUS EN980, which is VR-ready) which includes the notebook form factor of the GeForce GTX 980 (, not to be confused with the GeForce GTX 980M, but I sort of doubt ZOTAC would release a new Steam Machine roughly based on the EN980, as the SN970, as it stands, is competitive enough with the new Alienware Steam Machine. Like the new Alienware Steam Machine (“Coral R2” revision), the SN970… Read more »