Alienware Alpha revealed, a $550 Steam Machine available this holiday

Today at E3 2014 , Alienware unveiled its entry in the Steam Machine lineup. The Alienware Alpha gaming console is a gaming PC designed from the beginning to bring your favorite Steam games into the living room—even if SteamOS and the Steam Controller isn't quite ready yet .

The Alpha starts at $550 for a model with an Intel Core i3 Haswell process, 4GB of DDR3 desktop RAM running at 1600MHz, and a custom-built Nvidia Maxwell-based GPU, based on mobile architecture. Alienware says the chip will have 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory.The Alpha also includes HDMI In and Out, for direct HDMI pass-through, as well as two USB 2.0 ports in the front of the unit and two USB 3.0 ports in the back. Alienware notes that, aside from the custom GPU, other parts such as the CPU, storage, and RAM can be user upgraded.

Alienware says the Alpha will ship in time for the 2014 holiday season, and include a Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller and receiver in lieu of Valve's Steam Controller, which has been delayed until 2015. The Alpha will also ship with Windows 8.1, and Alienware has developed a custom user interface for the system that will run on top of the OS, much like Steam Big Picture mode works on a television. The Alienware Alpha will not ship with a mouse or keyboard.

Alienware Alpha specs:

  • Exclusive Alienware Alpha Console-mode UI
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (Black) (with receiver)
  • Intel Core i3 'Haswell' based processor
  • 4GB DDR3 @ 1600MHz Memory
  • Custom-built NVIDIA “Maxwell” based GPU, with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 high-speed memory
  • Dual-band Wireless-AC 1x1 with Bluetooth 4.0
  • HDMI Out: Uncompressed 8 Channel Audio & support for 4k content
  • HDMI In: Direct HDMI pass-through
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • Optical Audio Out
  • 500GB SATA 3 HDD
  • Windows 8.1 64 bit

Alienware will also offer custom-built configurations of the Alpha, including:

  • Intel Core i5 & i7 'Haswell' based processors
  • 8GB DDR3 @ 1600MHz Dual-Channel Memory
  • Dual-band Wireless-AC 2x2 with Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1TB & 2TB SATA 3 HDD

The Alienware Alpha is on the show floor at E3 2014 , and we'll have hands-on impressions of the machine and its custom user interface soon.