Valve's Steam Machine concept generated a lot of buzz when it first broke cover well over a year ago but an unavoidable delay that pushed the release date back to 2015 took most of the wind out of its sails.
Dell isn't waiting until the New Year - or on Valve's branding - to launch its "PC gaming console." The Alienware Alpha is available as of writing and is essentially an unofficial Stream Machine. It comes in four pre-configured models ranging in price from $550 up to $900.
The entry-level model ships with a dual-core Intel Core i3-4130T processor clocked at 2.9GHz alongside 4GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M with 2GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. The top-end model comes with a quad-core Intel Core i7-4765T ticking along at 3GHz, 8GB of RAM, the same GTX 860M and 2TB of internal storage.
Unfortunately with only an 860M GPU, buyers won't be able to run the latest games at high graphics settings.
All systems run Windows 8.1 but boot into what's called the Alpha-UI, a gaming-minded user interface that provides easy access to Steam Big Picture mode. It also comes with an Xbox 360 controller as the Steam Controller was also delayed.
As mentioned, systems are available as of writing at select Fry's and Walmart locations or you can simply order online from a number of retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop and Newegg, among others.