We have managed to get our hands on the “Alienware Alpha” for review. I’ll start this article off with some unboxing pictures then move on to the design.

 

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Box Contents:

  • Alienware Alpha unit
  • Xbox 360 Controller
  • Xbox 360 USB Wireless Adapter
  • Windows 8 Recovery on USB
  • Delta Electronics power adapter (130W)
  • 2x AA batteries for Controller
  • Xbox 360 Driver Disc
  • Information leaflets and instructions

 

Design-

This is a Mini-ITX computer that’s paired with a Nvidia ——— Graphics Card. On the rear you get the DC Socket, 1x HDMI In Slot, 1x HDMI out Slot, Ethernet port, Digital Audio port and 2 USB ports. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a DVI port so playing it on your computer’s monitor will somewhat be hard unless you have an adapter that converts HDMI to DVI. However, let’s forget about that part. This is a system designed to pair with your TV. I’ll provide a picture below to compare the size of the unit to my “Playstation 4”

 

Powering the machine on give you a nice blue glow effect on the power button and on the side corner of the box. On the underside of the unit there’s another USB port  for the Steam’s Wireless adaptor to use the controller. Or you can leave a USB stick plugged in for extra storage, at the front you will get an additional 2 USB ports, with 5 ports in total you shouldn’t run out of space anytime soon. This system makes a great HTPC, it boots straight to “Kodi Launcher” or the “HiveMind” how Dell/Alienware calls it. It supports the 360 controller with mouse movement also. You can use the launcher to start-up Steam or Uplay and even Origin.

 

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Specifications:

  • Intel Core i7 4765
  • O/S Windows 10
  • 8GB DDR3L 1600MHz
  • Nvidia GTX 860m 2GB (Integrated on Motherbaord)

 

Functionality-

Using the 360 controller with the Alpha unit is relatively easy. Took some getting used to, but I’ve always had the option of using my own Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse if I didn’t want to use the controller. I’ve got 2 login users. One of them will take me to the Windows 10 desktop and the other which will direct me to the “Hive Mind” or the Kodi Launcher. The Hive Mind is great to use on TV, you have the option to view your pictures, videos, game library and even Netflix.

 

Some thoughts

One disadvantage which I must point out is that the O/S boots from HDD. I’ve never used a HDD to boot to a O/S since 2010 it just seemed like to go on forever. If there was an option to include a SSD drive with the Alpha unit then this would eliminate the problem. Cold boot to login page to the Hive Mind takes around 2-3 minutes.

But I suppose you could work around that by leaving the system powered on in sleep mode, that way you don’t have to worry about the whole boot up sequence. There’s always the option to strip down the unit yourself and replace the HDD with a SSD. I’d recommend at least a 1TB (Terrabyte). If I had the option to choose between the Windows 10 desktop layout or the HiveMind launcher, I’d definitely stick with the Hive Launcher. It’s sleek, quick and attractive to use on the TV with the 360 controller. It’s an ideal little gaming/media PC that’s built specifically for the living room. I’ll now provide some screenshots of the HiveMind launcher in action.

 

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As you can see, it’s a simple and easy to use interface than you can use with your mouse / keyboard or your Xbox360 controller that comes packaged with the Alpha unit. I’m sure this will be replaced by the Steam controller once it’s fully released worldwide.

 

Final Thoughts-

For a small computer that only costs between £498-748 depending on what configuration you want, this is definitely one of the best buys for a budget gaming PC that’s suited for the living room. Great for the family! the blue LED’s don’t intrude much but add a nice blue glow to the background. I like the HiveMind interface, one of the best features about this console and it’s worked out great. Launching Steam goes straight to the “Big Picture” mode instead of Steam’s GUI interface. Just one of those things that makes using the 360 controller easier to use.

 

This product has been awarded the Gold Star rating.

 

You can find this Alpha unit on Amazon below or go directly to Dells / Alienware site for more information here.

 RI Gold star temp

http://i2.wp.com/reviewsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/20150905_162129-e1442392552349.jpg?fit=1024%2C576http://i2.wp.com/reviewsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/20150905_162129-e1442392552349.jpg?resize=150%2C150Rhys McCleanComputersAlienware,Alpha,Computer,Dell,Desktop,Gaming,HTPC,Intel,Kodi Launcher,Nvidia,Review,SteamWe have managed to get our hands on the 'Alienware Alpha' for review. I'll start this article off with some unboxing pictures then move on to the design.     Box Contents: Alienware Alpha unit Xbox 360 Controller Xbox 360 USB Wireless Adapter Windows 8 Recovery on USB Delta Electronics power adapter (130W) 2x AA batteries for Controller Xbox...