For Alienware, the machine is a four-year partnership to build a machine that has the technology of a typical PC, but will run Valve’s custom Steam operating system, designed to bring the massive library normally found on Steam to a device that’s closer to a console than your typical desktop computer.
From what we understand, Alienware has taken the X51 desktop and essentially redesigned it, shrinking the system and bringing it down a notch so that it can run in the living room. Unlike regular desktops, the Steam Machine will install its games through an internet connection and not through an optical drive, so that’s one way Alienware has been able to cut down on the hardware needs of the new machine.
We’ll likely see some other changes, such as newer smaller processors, graphics designed to handle most of the games people can play, and components that limit the amount of sound and heat a system like this might produce.
“With the introduction of the X51 system nearly two years ago, Alienware kicked off an evolution of small form factor PC gaming systems designed for every living area,” said Frank Azor, Co-Founder and General Manager of Alienware in America.
“When Valve and Alienware began collaborating on our vision for a PC gaming console several years ago we could clearly see we were on to revolutionising PC Gaming forever.”
Alienware says that two machines will be made for Valve’s Steam program, with the Steam Machine console and a Steam Machine edition of the X51 desktop (below), the latter of which is being designed for gamers that need more than just a Steam-connected console in the living room, and could potentially use it as a desktop computer for other needs.
It’s worth noting that Alienware isn’t the only company Valve is working with to make the SteamOS consoles, with Origin PC and motherboard-maker Gigabyte also involved in the process.
More Australians will probably recognise Alienware, though, and if not that company, Dell as it’s the owner of Alienware.
As such, Australians might end up seeing a Steam Machine from Dell and Alienware this year, with the platforms expected to launch late this year.