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Alienware Alpha Review

Combining the UI of a gaming console with the power of a PC, the Alienware Alpha is a force to be reckoned with.

For the Love of the Games

Usually when you purchase a console such as the PS4 or Xbox One, Sony or Microsoft will throw you a bone and bundle one, maybe two games. Alienware bundles the Alpha with a whopping 10 titles, including Metro: Last Light, Awesomenauts, Gauntlet: Champion's Casque and Payday 2 — an added value of $100.

And here's something that will make the budget-minded among you smile. New games on Xbox and PlayStation typically cost $59.99, while PC games average around $49.99. Also, if you're interested in fragging with friends, you don't have to shell out additional money for subscription services such as the PlayStation Network ($49.99 annually) and Xbox Live ($59.99).

In terms of its game catalog, the Alpha is the clear winner. Thanks to Valve, Alienware Alpha can access Steam's library, which currently features more than 3,500 games. To date, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and PS4 have 1,126, 769, 112 and 127 titles, respectively. So the Alpha has more games than all other modern consoles combined.

However, once you purchase all those games, be prepared to wait a while to play them. Unlike regular consoles, Steam forces you to download your titles one at time. Worse, you can’t play them until they're fully downloaded. I took a shortcut and copied some of my library onto the hard drive using my external hard drive.

But if you're downloading larger games such as Far Cry 4, be prepared for a rather long wait that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 5 hours, depending on the speed and strength of your router. Loading times can be just as soul-crushing on a console, but at least next-gen devices let you start playing the game after downloading approximately 20 percent of the title.