In theory, we only take a look at real computers on this site, but because of the popularity of these new “desktop consoles” (as the manufacturer puts it), we can’t just ignore them. Indeed, Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-2980BLK is a mix between a real desktop and gaming console, and you might wonder what the heck can it be used for? Well, I’ll tell you that below…
What is it good for?
If you’re a friend of Steam games, then Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-2980BLK offers a lot to you. It has a special Steam OS installed, which is in fact a modified Debian Linux, and downloading games from that popular Valve service is a piece of cake. It’s also easy and fast to use as all the unnecessary clutter has been taken away, the system is much simpler than Windows.
In addition, the unit includes a console-like controller. The Steam OS supposedly works fine on that, and no keyboard and mouse are needed (or included). However, if you want the more traditional input devices, rest assured that mouse and keyboard are supported here.
What is it bad for?
You need to remember that indeed the operating system of Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-2980BLK is not your familiar Windows but Steam OS. So, if you were to play your favorite Windows games, you would need to install the Microsoft’s brainchild here. That is surely possible, but if you’re favorite games are not found on Steam, then choosing this desktop is not a good idea. You should also check that your favorite Steam games support Linux, because not every item found there does!
Any other things to keep in mind?
One thing you should know, the hardware of Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-2980BLK isn’t on par with gaming desktops. But that is understandable, since Steam-based games usually aren’t very heavyweight. The system includes Intel i3-4170T (quad-core, 3.2GHz clock speed, no turbo), 8G RAM and 1TB 7200RPM SATA 3 hard drive as the main components. Graphics card is the cleverly-named GeForce GTX GPU 2GB GDDR5, which in reality is similar to GeForce GTX860M.
The unit can be poorly upgraded. You can install SSD, but only if you remove the hard drive first. Upping the memory to 16GB should be possible. However, adding a dedicated graphics card does not work here.
The computer has no optical drive or media card reader, but you can use those if you get external ones with USB connectors.
This Alienware includes three USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. For video you get HDMI input and output, and for audio there’s optical S/PDIF port (no headphone jack available).
You can reach the Internet by using the dual-band AC WiFi card (with Bluetooth 4.0 support) or Gigabit RJ-45 port.
Monitor is not included, so you need to get that separately.
To put it simply, Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-2980BLK is a Linux-based, small desktop computer that runs Steam games and is used with a console-like controller. The thing here is, it can surely run all the Steam Linux games you like, but what about Windows games? Yep, you need to install Windows 7/8/10 in that case. This might not be a problem for you (and the other model Alienware Alpha has Windows if you want to choose it) but nonetheless something to keep in mind. So if you’re fine with being confined to Steam, this compact system also has strong points: it’s darn compact and easy to use and within its scope, will run all the games smooth and clean, just like how the players want it!