From the many Steam Machine models unveiled at CES 2014 , Alienware's looked like one of the best. It was less of an eyesore, and Valve's Greg Coomer himself has said that it's the machine "we think is actually going to serve the most customers and make the most Steam users happy." I bet these users will be less happy to find out that they can't upgrade Alienware's Steam Machine, which will instead just launch a new model every 12 months.
“There will be no customization options, you can't really update it,” Alienware's General Manager Frank Azor tells TrustedReviews . “Lifecycle wise, consoles update every five, six, seven years, we will be updating our Steam Machines every year.”
The Dell-owned company has yet to release an exact price and system specifications for its Steam Machine, but it did say that it will run on an Intel CPU and an Nvidia GPU, and compete with next-gen console pricing.
As we've noted before , if you like Windows and the option to customize your machine, at that point you might as well buy one of Alienware's small-form-factor X51 machines, (opens in new tab) which start at $700.
Even Azor agrees with us. “If you actually want to customize your Alienware Steam Machine, maybe change your graphics card out or put in a new CPU, you would be better off with the standard Alienware X51,” he tells TrustedReviews.
Alienware's Steam Machine might be more tempting once we have an official price point, but it needs to be pretty competitive in order to justify not having one of the most compelling aspects of PC gaming: The ability to solve any problem with a component upgrade. Other Steam Machine manufacturers are building systems with full customization in mind, with only a few of the announced systems acting as a console-type appliance.