Back in the day, boutique brands almost exclusively resided in the premium gaming sector with high-dollar systems dressed to the nines in top-shelf hardware. Alienware was one of those brands, and though it was acquired by Dell over a decade ago, the brand is still largely reserved for higher end systems that cost more than your average PC. That may change next year, according to Digitimes and its sources within the upstream supply chain.
It's said that Dell is planning to release a "Light Gaming" series under its Alienware brand. The idea is to extend its reach into the midrange sector where companies such as Acer, Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte have a strong presence.
These products would be significantly cheaper than your average Alienware system, at least in regards to laptops. If buying a new system direct from Dell, the cheapest current Alienware laptop is a 13-inch system starting at $1,100. In 15.6-inch territory, you're looking at $1,250 and up, and for a 17.3-inch Alienware laptop, the cost starts at $1,350.
Digitimes reports that the Light Gaming laptops from Alienware would fall somewhere in the range of $799 to $899. That would certainly open up the Alienware brand to a new audience in the mobile sector, though we're curious how Dell would juggle these systems next to its existing (and affordable) Inspiron 5000 and 7000 series laptops.
This appears to be a laptop play only. Dell already offers sub-$1,000 desktop PCs from its Alienware division, including the Alpha starting at $600 and Aurora starting at $800. It's the Area-51 line that resides in the premium sector, with baseline configurations ranging from $1,900 on up to $3,800.
In any event, this would be an interesting evolution of the Alienware brand. At one time a standalone boutique builder, Dell acquired the brand in 2006. Rival HP followed suit a few months later by scooping up VoodooPC, and even OCZ got in on the action a year later by buying a company called Hypersonic, another player in the boutique space. Now a decade later, only the Alienware brand remains active.
We have reached out to Dell for comment and will update this article if and when we hear back.
Dell did in fact get back to us shortly after this article went live. We are told that this is a "rumor, nothing more." Dell also told us that its Inspiron line is "definitely our focus for affordable/mid-range gaming" PCs.