Dell is releasing an Alienware x51 that comes preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux, and no versions of Microsoft Windows. The X51 has been sold since last year for $699, but the Linux version will be $599.
Dell is releasing an Alienware X51 that comes preinstalled with Ubuntu Linux, and no versions of Microsoft Windows. The X51 has been sold since last year for $699, but the Linux version will be $599.
Dell’s Alienware machines are popular choices for gamers who don't want to build their own rigs, or to settle for much more expensive pre-builts. Generally loaded with lots of memory, and high capacity graphics cards/processors, Alienwares can run intensive PC games at much higher performance than most desktops.
The base version of Alienware's X51 desktop machine comes with a 3.3 GHz Intel core i3 processor, a 1 GB GeForce GTX 645 graphics card, 6 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive. The least expensive of Alienware's gaming PCs, the X51 certainly isn't the most hefty of their offerings, but it isn't wimpy either. Forking over more dough will get you an upgraded X51 with better specs, too.
Alienware PCs, like most gaming rigs, generally come preloaded with Windows 7, which supports every standalone modern PC game, and gaming services such as Valve’s Steam. While it is true that Linux now supports Steam, most Steam games are not currently supported on Linux systems.
At the same time, Linux is versatile, and by using Wine, users can get the Windows version of Steam to work on a Linux machine, thereby supporting a much bigger library of games.
PC gaming is typically associated with Windows, as is the term PC itself. So, there is no knowing how hardcore gamers will adopt a Linux gaming rig. At the same time, the open source community will likely be very pleased – while Linux can be cumbersome to an average user, it also allows for an extremely versatile experience for those who know how to modify it to their liking.
There is some speculation that, with the release of this computer, Dell is vying for dibs on the "Steam box" gaming console that Valve announced it was making with Xi3, but hasn't made any known progress with.
It doesn't take much to make a Linux gaming machine on one's own – Ubuntu Linux (and Steam) can easily be installed on most regular PCs. As such, whatever Dell intends to prove with this move, it doesn’t really have anything to lose.