computing

Five things to know about Alienware’s Alpha console

Five things to know about Alienware’s Alpha console

Gaming PCs may be nothing new, but Alienware is hoping to do something different with its new Alpha console: deliver the flexibility of a PC but with the turn-key convenience of a traditional console. Rather than waiting for Valve to finish SteamOS, NVIDIA opted to create its own Alpha UI so that gamers could control the console from their couch. It's an intriguing strategy, especially as consoles like Xbox One and PlayStation 4 try to extend their own reach into multimedia and entertainment; read on for five Alpha highlights.

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Alienware Alpha console hits preorder (without SteamOS)

Alienware Alpha console hits preorder (without SteamOS)

Alienware's Alpha console has gone up for preorder, no longer waiting for the delayed SteamOS and instead running Windows 8.1 with deep ties into the Steam game library thanks to a homegrown couch-friendly interface. Priced from $549, the Alpha runs a choice of Intel Haswell dual- and quadcore Core i chip, paired with a custom NVIDIA Maxwell GTX GPU with 2GB of its own memory, and up to 16GB of DDR3 system memory. That's all squeezed into a box that's compact enough to fit discretely under your TV.

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Surface Pro 3 has MacBook Air in sights with attack ad trio

Surface Pro 3 has MacBook Air in sights with attack ad trio

Microsoft hasn't been shy in calling out Apple in recent months, pitting Cortana against Siri in a recent advert, while calling out the MacBook Air from the get-go with its Surface Pro 3 launch. Now the OS X ultraportable is under attack again, with a trio of new Microsoft commercials attempting to demonstrate how a pen, touchscreen, and detachable keyboard are together more flexible than a regular notebook can be.

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Alienware 13 slims gaming grunt into thinnest model yet

Alienware 13 slims gaming grunt into thinnest model yet

Gamers love their Alienware notebooks, and the Dell-owned brand is happy to keep delivering them, with the Alienware 13 the latest more portable model to escape the fold. Alienware's thinnest ever notebook, at an inch thick, and tipping the scales at under 4.5 pounds, the Alienware 13 slots in-between last year's Alienware 14 and the missed-by-many Alienware M11x which was killed off the year before.

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Touch+ hands-on: Someone finally gets gesture control right

Touch+ hands-on: Someone finally gets gesture control right

Touchscreens work for tablets and phones, but getting your fingers involved with notebooks and PCs can be trickier, something Kickstarter success Ractiv believes it has fixed with its Touch+ motion tracking sensor bar. Eschewing the vague waving of Leap Motion, Touch+ takes a top-down approach by creating a virtual multitouch layer right on top of the keyboard. I caught up with the team behind the sensor to find out more on the path from crowdsourcing to shipping a commercial product now.

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Apple Beats buy final: compared to birth of iPhone

Apple Beats buy final: compared to birth of iPhone

It would appear that Apple’s acquisition of Beats by Dre, aka Beats Electronics, aka Beats Music, has been finalized. With it comes a message from Beats, likely written by a top wordsmith from Apple. It sounds that way, anyway, bringing on words that deem Beats headphones worthy of sitting alongside the iPod, iPad, and iPhone as Apple’s key "instruments."

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