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Huh: Alienware Steam Machines Can Be Upgraded After All

Remember when Alienware said you won’t be able to upgrade or customize its Steam Machine just a few days ago? Yeah, well it didn’t really mean that. Not entirely, anyway. Dell’s mighty squad of moon men have explained that you’ll technically be able to worm around in its pristine innards – for instance, by cracking its shell with a large mallet – but don’t expect to have an easy time of it.

In a statement to Eurogamer, Alienware boss Frank Azor clarified his previous stance on the matter:

“The Alienware Steam Machine, announced at CES, is designed to deliver a great gaming experience in the living room and we will enable customers to upgrade components. Considering we’ve purposefully designed the Alienware Steam Machine to be smaller than the latest generation consoles, upgrading the internal components will not be as easy as compared to other platforms, such as the Alienware X51, but we will not prevent a customer from upgrading.”

He did, however, reiterate that Alienware’s itsy bitsy X51 behemoth is a far better choice for those who want to upgrade without undue muss or fuss. “Enabling easy upgradeability was a critical design requirement for the X51,” he said. “It includes features such as single screw access to all internal components, and easy-to-remove ODD, HDD, graphics, etc.”

So basically, it’s a second verse to what we already knew. I never figured that Alienware’s Steam Machine was, like, wired to explode if somebody attempted to replace its insides with better parts or hamsters or cyber-kitties. Rather, the problem here is that Alienware clearly isn’t facilitating the upgrade process. You can try if you want, but expect a struggle unless you’re some kind of machine whisperer.

As I outlined a couple days ago, that’s really unfortunate. Early Steam Machines will basically be ticking time bombs of obsolescence. They need to be easily upgradable if Alienware, Valve, and co don’t want a large portion of PC gamers to write them off before they get their footing. As is, however, I know I certainly won’t be purchasing Alienware’s Steam Machine. How about you? Is there anything this misguided piece of tech has going for it aside from a pretty box?

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Nathan Grayson

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