Alienware, one of the world’s leading gaming PC hardware manufacturers, has revealed a new variant of its Alienware X51 gaming PCs that comes complete with Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system.
Designed for the living room through its small form-factor, with its original Windows-based release revealed last January, the console-sized Linux machine is powered by a dual-core or quad-core Intel Core i3/i5/i7 microprocessor and Nvidia GeForce GT 645 or GTX 660 graphics card with 1GB/1.5GB of memory.
Configuration options include up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, a 2TB hard drive and an optical Blu-ray drive, with prices landing between $599 and $1049 (£390 and £682) depending on build. By comparison, the Windows-based versions of the X51 start at $699.
The computer’s release is particularly interesting given the rumours surrounding a Steam Box console from Valve. Valve, developers of the Half-Life, Left 4 Dead and Portal games, as well s being the influential team behind popular PC gaming download store Steam, have revealed that they are working on their own small-form-factor PC aimed at the living room, dubbed the Steam Box. Like this new Alienware release, it’s said to be using a Linux OS, and Valve will be encouraging third-party hardware manufacturers to release their own-branded Steam Box units, as was seen with the Xi3 Piston.
The use of Linux and Ubuntu stems from Valve boss Gabe Newell’s distrust of Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform, something he called “a disaster” (likely due to the way it encourages gamers to buy game’s through Microsoft’s stores as opposed to his own).
Alienware seem keen to support the possible Steam Box boom. See this as the company testing the water ahead of the expected influx of third-party Steam Box machines later in the year, and don’t be surprised if you see an Alienware machine launch specifically under the Steam Box banner.