When Valve dropped off the map, Alienware decided to ship it with Windows and an Xbox 360 controller instead.Needless to say, there are upsides and downsides to that decision.The first thing that struck me about the Alpha is how small it is.

The Play Station 4 and Xbox One might be hot shit right now, but PCs have more games, cheaper games, and can usually make those games look way prettier.

Still, PCs can be a pain in the ass to use, particularly plugged into a TV.

You can’t just pop in a disc, pick up a controller and start playing.

The Alienware Alpha wants to be the best of both worlds: a PC game console. Originally, the Alpha was going to be the flagship for Valve’s Steam Machines initative, and come with both the innovative Steam Controller and the Linux-based Steam OS.

It’s closer to the size of a Nintendo Wii, just a little stouter and more squared-off.

It’s fairly plain and boxy, save for one lopped-off corner and the alien head power button on the front.Both glow in the colors of your choice when the system is on. It’s smaller and more powerful than the PS4 and Xbox One. But be warned: it’s not as easy to use as a game console, not as foolproof.It’s not nearly the slam dunk I was hoping it would be. A black box just under 2.5 inches tall, 8 inches wide, and 8 inches deep.A box designed to act like a game console: it comes with an Xbox 360 wireless controller, a custom interface, and Steam’s TV-friendly Big Picture Mode so you don’t need a mouse and keyboard to find or play your games from 10+ feet away.For 9, a box that crams in a dual-core 2.9GHz Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, a custom Ge Force GTX 860M GPU, a 500GB hard drive, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. There are also pricier configurations, but you probably shouldn’t bother.