According to a post on the company’s official corporate blog, the decision to ship a new Alienware X51 variant with Dell’s favorite Linux distro on it was prompted by entreaties to this effect from potential Alienware customers. The company hailed this move as a “big step” for Linux gaming in the blog post.
“Some of the features that stood out to me were the performance/multitasking and how easy it was to load 3rd party apps like Steam,” wrote Dell’s Mark Obee of his own impressions of the Ubuntu-running desktop.
Not only is it easy to install Steam onto this Ubuntu PC, but it also comes with the latest Nvidia drivers pre-installed. However, as Obee acknowledged in his blog post, the dearth of AAA titles on Steam for Linux means that the platform isn’t quite ready for full-time gaming duties yet.
The Ubuntu-powered variant of the diminutive Alienware X51 desktop starts at $599, which is $100 less than the most basic Windows-based model. For this price you will get a 3.3GHz, dual-core Intel Core i3-3220 CPU, 6GB DDR3 RAM, 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 645 GPU, DVD burner, 802.11gn WLAN and a 1TB SATA hard drive. The top variant, which starts at $1,049, comes with a quad-core Intel Core i7-3770 CPU, 8GB memory, and a 1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 GPU.