Alienware clarifies Steam Machine upgradability comments

PC manufacturer confirms you won't be prevented from upgrading, but says doing so won't be easy.

PC maker Alienware has clarified a report from earlier this week that claimed the company's new Steam Machine could not be upgraded. As it turns out, while you will not be prevented from upgrading your system, it won't be easy.

"Enabling customers the opportunity to upgrade components has been a core tenet for Alienware since the company was founded, and that remains true today," Alienware general manager Frank Azor told Eurogamer today.

"The Alienware Steam Machine, announced at CES, is designed to deliver a great gaming experience in the living room and we will enable customers to upgrade components," he added. "Considering we've purposefully designed the Alienware Steam Machine to be smaller than the latest generation consoles, upgrading the internal components will not be as easy as compared to other platforms, such as the Alienware X51, but we will not prevent a customer from upgrading."

Azor's statement today is pretty much a reversal from what he said earlier this week. At the time, he said, "there will be no customization options, you can't really update it." If you're dead set on upgrading your machine on a regular basis, Azor said you might be better suited with another Alienware product, like the X51.

"We feel we have multiple options for customers based on their individual needs. If a gamer wants more freedom to upgrade, we have the X51," he said. "If they would prefer a smaller, more console-like system, we will offer the Alienware Steam Machine."

Valve unveiled a host of third-party Steam Machines at CES 2014 earlier this month, including Alienware's offering. The price of the machine is yet to be revealed.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
132 comments
coregmer
coregmer

No thanks! Good luck with steam system in a future business, when launch on day. =o) 

cws3e
cws3e

That game pad is still hideous.

cws3e
cws3e

A reasonably priced steam machine could be an option for a console gamer that wants to experience some fo the PC games that never make it to consoles but they don't want to spend the time research or the money to get bleeding edge prettiness. 


However most of the steam machines I've seen are going to be well above the cost a console gamer is going to be willing to spend.

wearelegion5000
wearelegion5000

Never buy ready-made PCs, steam machine or otherwise. Build one yourself. 

If you dont have problems building with lego bricks, you can build a PC.

If you do, you are retarded and probably you should buy a console or a ready-made overpriced PC from alienware.

mrindigo15
mrindigo15

I am interesting where this concept will go, and how popular will it become. As a all-around fan of new, exciting and innovative things, I am hoping for its success.


And btw., check out my new blog about gaming - http://indigogaming.blogspot.com/

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

...but Steam has yet to announce who their manufacturer will be right?

rarson
rarson

In other words, "we don't intend on creating or supporting any major upgrades for our Steam machine."


I liked Alienware a lot more before Dell took them over.

DrKill09
DrKill09

That's why you don't buy Alienware, and you DON'T buy a Steam (ing pile of shit) Machine.

billlabowski
billlabowski

This isn't what PC gaming needs. Alienware shouldn't have even been an option when it comes to Steam machines. All they care about is ripping people off. The fact that you can take one of their $2,000 PC's and build the same exact thing for $500-$700 is obvious to that fact. I really hope gamers who are interested in PC gaming, but don't know how to build them, doesn't fall for buying one of these. PC gaming is about having the freedom of options and this destroys that meaning. 

fgjnfgh
fgjnfgh

still don't get the point of steam machines.

rbrignoni
rbrignoni

It still gets me how this whole idea behind Alienware and Steam Boxes are supposed to be better than building your own PC and just running the Windows OS. I still have too many questions regarding Steam OS like is it Linux based? If so will I be able to convert my Windows games to the Steam OS library and the obvious answer is hell NO.


So why should I invest in an overpriced PC I can build myself and use a Windows OS instead of getting trapped in this Hardware/Software Valve hellhole? The answer is because Gabe Newell needs more money to fund his mega yacht.


This whole Steam Box idea has been poorly thought out. It's like they have taken a page from Microsoft and Windows 8. ;)

robertcain
robertcain

Seems like another terrible practice if you ask me; rake in as much money as possible, make it difficult to save money through personal upgrading and release a new machine every couple of years for everyone who can't be bothered with boosting their hardware. Good thing my PC mates advised me to stay away from computer manufacturers and build my own instead.

cailebb
cailebb

Without a minimum requirement standard for building these Steam machines, its going to be a critic's nightmare which will just lead to saying that consumers should just either buy a known reliable console or get a PC.  I can see last gen builds, current gen builds, and next gen builds.  Depending on what you get is going to end up as a "you get what you pay for" experience.  The Steam machine will fail because of this.  They should have set a minimum performance requirement with a maximum cost to consumers.  Instead people will still be reluctant on buying a product that has too many names and various performance specifications.  This is one of the reasons the PC market is lacking vs consoles.  Too many variations and you just do not know what your buying.

pupp3t_mast3r
pupp3t_mast3r

Being one of the people who read the original article can I just say.... LOL.

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

So much hate on the comment section (not exactly shocked about it); I would actually be interested in having a Steam Machine, obviously would have to install Windows for the time being as I can't play half of my games on Linux yet (yet!), but I've always been a fan of compact stuff, and these Steam Machines looks exactly like what I've been idealizing for so long! Wish there was a retailer on my country :c (and that I had a shit-ton of money to spend on one).

chrisx2k3
chrisx2k3

This product has no definitive target demographic. It really just all boils down to a marketing scheme here, name recognition. These PC builders have nothing to lose, as they WILL sell more units than they would have otherwise. Steam gets it's name out there, at no risk...But, make no mistake, this product introduces nothing new and is indistinguishable from any other gaming PC or general PC for that matter. It's a solution looking for a problem. No threat to consoles whatsoever, won't expand PC gaming in the least. It's also overpriced. Only millionaires, suckers or brand name loyalists could ever justify a purchase.

Stepn2myworld
Stepn2myworld

Alienware engaging in the confusing message.  So, if you truly want the ability to easily upgrade, buy the X51. If you want do want to worry about upgrades or don't mind challenge involved in upgrading, buy the Steam Machine.  


I'd rather buildt a slick looking PC and put it in my living room. 

JoInfo
JoInfo

Steam boxes are going to fail anyway.

santinegrete
santinegrete

And... this totally killed my interest. I have my Steam machine already, had to add a long HDMI cable to use it on TV.

mattcake
mattcake

So will it or won't it be upgradeable? His comments made nothing any clearer. What, so I can upgrade it if I don't mind taking the case off and having 8 inches of circuit board sticking out or what?

xcollector
xcollector

By difficult they better not mean there are security screws preventing the case from being easily opened to upgrade the ram, or hard drives, and or a screwed up bios that won't let you boot off a usb stick. 


What I hope he means is that it will difficult to upgrade because a small form factor like that is probable using laptop parts and there isn't much you can upgrade on a laptop. Though it would be cool if they used a standard ITX form factor that should be upgradable. 

obsequies
obsequies

well thats one bridge only half burnt now

ggregd
ggregd

The Alienware SteamMachine rollout is beginning to sound a lot like the XBox One rollout.

cws3e
cws3e

@wearelegion5000 I don't fault people for not wanting to build their own PC just like I don't fault people for not wanting to build their own car.

cws3e
cws3e

@billlabowski I have built numerous machines and there was a time when you could build one for a lot cheaper than one you purchase, but that isn't true anymore, and it hasn't been for years.  The cost of building one and the cost of buying one is near equal these days.  I still recommend everybody build at least one, but do it because you want the experience or you love building them, not because of price because the price differential is small and if you factor in your time invested in researching the specs of every component and making sure everything will play nice then its a wash.

bdiddytampa
bdiddytampa

@billlabowski The entire Steam Machine concept is about freedom of options... not sure if I see how a $500 Alienware box is destroying that ... :-/

ryangcnx-2
ryangcnx-2

@billlabowski You obviously never properly priced them out. It's not that big of a difference. A regular build is maybe 300-400 more if you don't add the warranty. And yes it can get stupid expensive if you check the highest box in every category and have them liquid cool everything, overclock everything, add 64gb of ram and other stupid upgrades, that is where they get you to pay the extra money. Keep it at realistic configurations and they are making 300-400 bucks on it. Also keep in mind Alienware does use stuff from Patriot, EVGA, Silverstone and such. They don't use those super cheap manufacturers that you guys love using to make your builds seem as cheap as possible and you guys also love not adding in the cost of Windows. I have worked on several of their machines (doing virus removals, upgrades and such, as well as own a m17x r3 laptop), they are not made of cheap no name parts.


A company is there to make money, not to build you a machine at cost, they do have to pay their employees and make money to stay in business. And you people need to stop over exaggerating the cost difference. Go build a machine with EVGA, Silverstone, Patriot, Corsair and so forth and all of a sudden that price difference is not so large.


All of you would fail at running a business and it would burn to ground within months because you wouldn't be making any money to actually live on.


And again, they said they are competing with the PS4 and Xbox One with their steambox. Which means these units are going to cost between 400-600 more than likely and be more powerful. 


This product isn't for you or me. But the PC gamer Elitist attitude if you don't build your own rig then your an idiot mentality isn't helping your platform grow. You should be more excited that companies like them are trying to get more people into it, and not to play games like Candy Crush, but actual core gamer games. 


focuspuller
focuspuller

@fgjnfgh It's for people that are too lazy to figure out how to connect a PC to a HDTV, and to have a "console" they you can store under the tv.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@fgjnfgh And I don't get the point of eating insects, but I'm sure they're a great source of protein for people who do eat them. Steam machines aren't for you. That's why you don't get the point, but please understand how huge Steam is. If you honestly think all those millions of gamers are building their PCs, you're wrong. 

deadpen
deadpen

@fgjnfgh $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ from PC (aka parent's cash) gamers. Hope that helped.

hystavito
hystavito

@rbrignoni Yes it is about money, but there can also be benefits for PC gamers that don't even buy Steam Machines.

At the very least, a Linux OS intended specifically for gaming should yield performance improvements, and the open source nature of it all should reduce barriers to entry for developers even moreso than Windows.


But yes, it's about money.  Valve wants to make money here, and with SteamOS being free the only way to make money is by selling Steam Machines and creating this new console-like ecosystem to pull more consumers into PC gaming and buying games on Steam.  If they can pull it off, and they do make money, then like I said I believe even those who never buy a Steam Machine will see benefits.  I think the industry as a whole could really use a shakeup like this, because as it is now with consoles being king, the system is too closed, too controlled.  Better performance, more variety of game types, lower prices, and so on.  I can't really see much downside to Steam Machines succeeding, as long as Valve doesn't pull some 180s and abuse it later :).


You probably shouldn't invest, Steam Machines aren't really for you, or me either.  But I really believe all gamers (consumers) will benefit if this thing takes off.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@rbrignoni The steam box is to get a pre built, compact, gaming efficient PC into the living room. It's not for people like you and me that know how to build a computer. As for the linux point, Valve is hard at work at making more devs convert their games to Linux and Mac, making the Steam OS a viable option. As for the Alienware specific steam box...yeah...I never really cared for alienware.

rarson
rarson

@cailebb 

There IS a minimum spec for Steam machines, that's kind of the whole point.

cailebb
cailebb

Oh and I had an Alienware laptop which I had to return 3 times to get the same problem fixed over and over again.  To include them sending me a refurbished video card instead of a new one which the heat sink was not even secure.  Screws were stripped.  Oh and when you call them for support, you better expect to be mechanically and electrically inclined because they will have you take it apart for troubleshooting.  If you break something while doing so the response is "I am sorry but the warranty does not cover damages caused during troubleshooting."  Also they are known to have the worst customer service which is outsourced from some other country.  Now this was before Dell took it over so maybe things changed... I don't know.  But the reputation still sticks from past experiences imo.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@chrisx2k3 The point of this product is to bring a gaming PC to the living room for people that don't really know anything about PC gaming. That's what it brings and it's a good thing. I wouldn't buy Alienware's, but the beauty of the Steam Machine is that it's mostly just an idea and every person or manufacturer can build one.

Conscrumptured
Conscrumptured

@cws3e @wearelegion5000 The process is far less complicated, in building one's own PC. And gamers specifically who don't bother to know their hardware should probably, as said, just go ahead and use a console.

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@cws3e @wearelegion5000 Huge difference. Some commpanies sell PCs in sets and then you can pay them about 20-30 bucks to build it for you. Buying a brand named prebuild is always way to expensive though, like Alienware. 

Also, I watch about 3 hours of youtube videos before doing my first pc build last year and I was able to build it without a problem. I hardly think I could watch 3 hours of videos and then build a car. 


I get that people want to buy a ready-made pc, but just look around and see if you can find a company like one I mentioned above. 

ESPM400
ESPM400

@focuspuller The only draw I can see to a Steam Machine is the size compared to a typical gaming rig. I recently built myself a new rig in a Cooler Master Storm Stryker case. Now just to put it into context, the case alone weighs 30 lbs. without any components installed, and it ain't exactly small.


That being said, I will never understand why people would buy Alienware, as the only reason I can come up with is ignorance. My rig was the first one I've built since the late '90s, and between parts research, purchasing, and the actual build, it maybe took eight hours out of my life, and I had no issues. Now, an equivalent AW desktop would've cost me ~$1K more and I can't use the specific parts that I want. It doesn't make much sense...

Zloth2
Zloth2

@PS2fweak@fgjnfgh So you get a pre-built.  The question is, why get a Steam machine?  What does it do that a non-Steam machine can do?  The OS is free.  The controller can be bought for any PC.

rarson
rarson

@cailebb 

It's not very hard to not damage a laptop when taking it apart. If you can't, then you shouldn't be doing it.


Having said that, it's completely illogical for a company to request their customers to disassemble their laptops in order to "troubleshoot." Which makes me question your entire comment.

vannacut
vannacut

@billlabowski @ryangcnx-2 no , you are just sounding stupid for claiming that you can build their exact same 2000 dollar hardware for only 6-700 dollars , without backing up your claim, and i am not expecting you to prove it because you will not, you will keep talking shit, over and over without getting to the point. i dont buy alienware, yes they are expensive, you ll be paying extra, but not as much as you say..

vannacut
vannacut

@Zloth2 @PS2fweak @fgjnfgh it may be hard to build  that small...