Alienware at E3 2016
June 2016 – This year’s E3 show was heavily focused on games that utilize the new hardware platforms – consoles, PCs, and VR systems. As a long time anchor for the gaming industry and celebrating their 20th anniversary was Alienware which is a division of Dell. This year featured a revamping of their desktop line to be able to support the VR community across all platforms. The new line includes overclocked processors in both the desktops and laptops, where all the units feature a global warranty on the use in overclocked mode.
The first announcement was the new Aurora mid-sized desktop. This is a platform designed for the VR marketplace. It has been designed to utilize a liquid cooled CPU ranging from an i3 to i7 and use 2 graphics cards all in a tool-less chassis. The design will support up to dual Nvidia 1080 cards and 5 storage devices with just the side venting thermal management. For connectivity the unit features 15ports on the back of the unit dominated by 1 SuperSpeed 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 SuperSpeed 10Gbps USB 3.1 Type-C, 3 SuperSpeed USB 3.0, and 6 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 ports. The front of the unit has standard headphone and microphone jacks in addition to 4 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 of which 2 are charging enabled. The dual GPU cards are a necessity for some of the high performance and high frame rate VR games that are being released that have synced rendering with one GPU card driving the display on each eye. The system is designed and certified for use with both Occulus and the HTC Vive VR systems.
On the high end the platform is still dominated by the Area51 gaming desktop. The current version of the unit can support up to 3 GPU cards up to the Nvidia Titan X with 12GB per card, up to the i7-6950x CPU with 10 cores/20 threads, has DDR4-2400 memory up to 32GB and a 1G Killer Networking NIC for connectivity.
Continuing the high-end into the laptop market is the new Alien 13. The new version supports up to a 6th generation i7-6500U CPU with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory. The major advancement on the new model is the option for a QHD (4K) OLED touchscreen. This screen has a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, 104% of the standard IPS color gamut and a sub 1ms response time, so it is highly optimized for next generation gaming needs.
The new compact platforms that were introduced were the all new Steam Machine and the Alpha. Both have similar hardware configurations and are designed to support the external PCIe connected Alienware Graphics Amplifier for expansion. The Alpha uses Windows 10 as the OS, and the Steam box uses SteamOS. The Alpha can support up to a GTX960 GPU and uses the new Hivemind GUI for content selection. The new Steam console also supports up to the GTX 960 GPU with a system that can hold up to 16GB and dual band AC wireless. It is designed for high performance game such as Robot Roller Derby Disco Dodgeball at an entry level price. The steam machine can currently plat all titles in the steam library. By using the Expansion Alienware Graphics Amplifier Dual graphics can be installed in the configuration supporting the VR platforms.