The Alienware Steam Machine combines the awesome experience of console gaming with a massive library of over 1000 games, all in full 1080p HD on your TV. You’ll experience powerful and immersive gaming with the high performance NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX GPU 2GB GDDR5 graphics and Intel® Core processors.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (85 reviews) - 70% of the 85 user reviews for this hardware are positive.
Release Date: Nov 10, 2015

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About This Hardware

The Alienware Steam Machine combines the awesome experience of console gaming with a massive library of over 1000 games, all in full 1080p HD on your TV. You’ll experience powerful and immersive gaming with the high performance NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX GPU 2GB GDDR5 graphics and Intel® Core processors. Be in total command with the Steam Controller, which controls your moves like no other game controller before it. Have a game on your PC that you want to play on your TV? Not a problem as the Alienware Steam Machine can stream any Steam game on your home network to your TV. The Alienware Steam Machine gives you quick and easy access to thousands of your favorite Steam games, entertainment, and access to the largest community of gamers in the world with no membership fee.
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Mostly Positive (85 reviews)
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73 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
724 of 776 people (93%) found this review helpful
90 people found this review funny
Posted: November 16, 2015
FIrst off - I am writing this review using my childs account because the hardware registers itself to the first person who logs into it. You apparently can't do a review otherwise. I will reply to it with my main account if you have questions you can send them there.

I purchased the i5 Model for my kids bedroom. They keep fighing over their gaming rig (I have my own that's off limits, they use an older one I built a while back). My requirements were simple: It had to play a good portion of their steam library, it had to be compact and it had to not get in it's own way. The Alienware Steam machine seemed like a good fit. I thought of the Alpha - but I figured without a good place for a keyboard and mouse I wanted something where it was not going to be needed.

I ordered the unit on the 4th of November, it arrived on the 10th. My first task after unboxing was to get it setup and start loading games and testing.

Some games they love are not available - Anything Lego (including Lego Worlds), Blockland, Beam.NG - not available. But some of their mainstays were: Stanley Parable, Portal 1&2, Limbo. I decided to buy a few new games during the steam machine launch sale. I added ARK, Shadows of Mordor (for me), the Trine Collection and Dirt Showdown. I have two accounts for the boys, one that will only be one this machine, and one on the their PC rig. This way they don't kick each other off - but I needed some games to make the Steam Machine enticing. They wouldn't have wanted to learn the controller otherwise. I'll get to that soon.

The controller needed a firmware update to work properly (it was jittery before the update). The boot process and update process is very streamlined. There two types of updates: OS and Client. They are performed seamlessly. Booting, connecting to the wireless network and adding accounts was very easy. The controller isn't quite as intuitive as it could be in the UI - but I did get used to it.

I started testing games. Portal 2 loaded quick - but surprisingly was at a real low resolution. I pumped it up and it played really well. Getting used to the controller was a task. I think we take gamepads for granted - they've been in their current state for so long we forget that they actually had a learning curve. Well, the Steam Controller has a steeper curve. I would compare it to learning how to type and use a mouse for the first time. While I know what everything does as far as how to use an analog stick, use a touchpad, use the buttons - the muscle memory just isn't there.

I tried Trine next. One thing became really apparent - some games need a little babysitting to get working and Trine 3 was one of those. It came up with a config page right on start that was really awkward to use. Software Developers need to do better. Including Valve. No game should start lower than 720p on even the lowest iteration of Steam Machine. Better hardware detection is needed. Anyways, this title I did fool with some controller mappings. I didn't get too deep into gameplay, but it worked, albeit the controls would need some practice.

I finally tried Dirt Showdown. It played wonderfully. The graphics were good from the get-go. The Controller was well mapped by default. It felt strangely natural to use the steam controller for racing. I decided to add motion control for steering - and that worked really great. I'm surprised not much is mentioned about motion control in most of the mainstream reviews.

My next task was a non steam game... Minecraft. A must for my kids. I am no newbie to Linux, having worked with it since Slackware was a new distribution. However I haven't used it too much recently - so had to dig a little to figure out how to install Java. Once I got that squared away, I wrote a very simple .sh script to launch minecraft, then asked the community how to get it in to the Steam Library and got a quick response. It played awesome after a short config session with the controller. It almost plays like the Xbox One version now. That's a huge plus..

Now, I know there are benchmarks circulating that aren't shedding SteamOS in a good light right now... But to be honest, as far as playing PC games in a console format, I really didn't need benchmarks - the Alienware Steam Machine runs them as good or better than our Xbox One. To think that there is a large amount of room for improvement as Valve and the developers close the gap with the graphics is a bonus to me. I'm not trying to make this thing scream FPS, I'm just trying to let the kids have some fun playing their games.

Next was the kid test. My 6 year old was in awe. I don't know how he knew, but he said "is that a steam machine?". I must have mentioned it before. In any case, he was initially frustrated with the controller for games he's already played with an Xbox 360 controller. But for the games he hadn't (especially ARK) he was willing to spend the time and learn. He picked it up rather quick - and while not perfectly proficient, he's now going back to the games he knows and playing. I've had to help with some of the mappings - but I don't feel the need to setup an xbox controller quite yet.

Now - let me get into some pet peeves:

I wish you could turn the machine on from the controller. You can't.

It's not entirely stable. I've had games crash. I've had the system reboot. But it's been minimal, and seems to be game specific.

The system comes with Games not Available to play on SteamOS. Really? C'mon Alienware. Also a bummer that Rocket League isn't yet available.

The web browser needs work - and a lot of it trivial stuff like auto complete in the keyboard overlay, one button shortcut to the URL box.

The controller should be customization for the UI. It's not - or maybe I'm missing something?

No groups or discussions in the UI... huh? why? Steam Community is it's strength, why the disconnect there?

The GPU is not upgradable. Yeah, I know they compromised because of size/cooling/performance... but thbbbbt....

Those are my major gripes. Most of this is easily fixable.

I am going to recommend the steam machine. But on the prefix that people buying the system know that there is a bit of a curve with the controller and that not everything is 100%. Even the available game in the library are hit and miss. Some developers seem to have taken the time to really think out the steam controller (Shadows of Mordor), others it seems an afterthought (Trine).

I am still learning - and so are my kids. But I feel this will only get better as time goes by. I'm not giving up my PC rig for one of these, but as a second system I say go for it!


Cleaned up some grammar/spelling mistakes.

My kids are still going strong with the Steam Machine. I found one Lego game that works - Lego Minifigures Online. I'm having trouble getting it to log my child in automatically - but once in it plays great.
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253 of 297 people (85%) found this review helpful
38 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
Posted: February 6
Although it’s a common issue, it may not happen to your unit...

Got the i7, it was awesome for 2 weeks then it stopped working... Now I’m fighting with Dell support to either get it fixed or get my money back. I recommend just building your own SteamOS box.

To clarify, it won’t start up. I can’t even turn it on. Skeptical? Then, Google "Alienware steam machine yellow blinking light" and you can see for yourself if it’s worth the risk. Although it’s a common issue, it may not happen to your unit...

What hurts the most is how badly I wanted it to work.

If I return it, I lose about $100 net worth in sales tax. Then again, $100 is the price I pay for buying into something without verifying it will work.

Nonetheless, if I want to get it fixed, I have to go through Dell support, and their cumbersome bureaucracy system. Which leeches out around 30 days of the warranty period in turnaround time...

I'm lost and confused, I’m $800 poorer, with a dream that my SteamBox was something much more than a paperweight and a benefactor to the Dell disregard of quality.

EDIT/UPDATE: I decided to go through with Dell tech support. After several back and forwards’ phone calls they have agreed to send me a package to which I can send my Steam Machine into the warehouse to get it fixed. They have told me the process should take 5 business days, I'm currently on day 4.
I hope that they are able to fix it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the two weeks that it worked for me. If it returns and works for a reasonable amount of time, I will revisit this review and re-publish it with a different opinion. However, I will be hesitant to do so anytime soon.

EDIT/UPDATE2: Finally received the unit back from the warehouse. I’m so glad to be done with Dell customer service. I keep my fingers crossed that it is all over. The representative told me that it will take at most 5 business DAYS however, it took about 5 weeks to get the unit fixed and returned to my door (They had to replace some part it that was out of stock).

With all that said I am VERY happy to be back in action. The Steam Machine is really cool when it’s working. However, I am hesitant to change my recommendation to positive until I’m confident that I will not need to send the unit back again. Since the SteamBox didn’t break until 2 weeks after its first use, I’m going to wait a couple weeks to change my recommendation. Until then I’m going to play some games. I’m also going to brush my teeth a bit longer because Dell has left a very bad taste in my mouth.


Alright, I’m ready to put my final thoughts on this review.

I want to keep all the original text above rather than writing a brand new review because I ultimately do not intend on changing my recommendation.

Why keep the “no” recommendation? Simply because I would not recommend this unit at this price when there are so many other options. One could build their own Steam OS box, or purchase a steam box from one of the other brands, or even use a steam link if you have the ability to connect it to a PC with a LAN cable and not wireless.

Please do not get me wrong. Now that I have a working unit, I LOVE IT! I really enjoy playing steam games from the comfort of my couch. All the reasons I love my steam machine are not unique to this particular unit. However, all the reasons I was disappointed were indeed unique to the Alienware Steam Machine.

I’m not sure if the other options out there are any better but I would recommend giving them a bit more thought, before making any purchase.
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170 of 189 people (90%) found this review helpful
19 people found this review funny
Posted: January 21
I bought the $500 model and have mixed emotions. The hardware is great and the games I've played on it run beyond smoothly at high graphics. Setup was a breeze and the Steam controller comes packaged with it, so there's very little to worry about on that front. The home screen is also intuitive and easier to navigate than the Xbox 360 my Steam Machine is currently sitting on top of.

My biggest complaint is an issue that Alienware can't fix, but is worth bringing up in this review. You should check what games in your library are playable on SteamOS before commiting to this purchase. Only about 1/3 of my games are playable on this piece of hardware right now.

Flat out, I would recommend buying this if you can't really afford a PC better than this with Windows AND if you have enough games to validate it. So if you're in the weird situation like me where you have a crap laptop, a library of 90+ games, and held on to your last-gen consoles, this is perfect for you. Otherwise, hold out until more stuff gets ported to SteamOS
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377 of 519 people (73%) found this review helpful
66 people found this review funny
Posted: November 10, 2015
I am new to PC gaming and figured the Steam Machine would be a good introduction. So far, I like it a lot. The track pads work great and I had no problem playing First-Person games like Soma and TF2. It works great and it definitely looks cool. I highly recommend to people who are new to PC gaming like myself.
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104 of 128 people (81%) found this review helpful
45 people found this review funny
Posted: December 29, 2015
Edit: Reporting back on January 26, 2016. Two weeks ago I started getting an error where the alien would begin blinking yellow, and the system would not start up. Note: If you ever have an issue with the system where it won't start and the alien continually blinks yellow, that means that there is a problem with the motherboard. You could try draining the battery, but that didn't help me. What's really great about this system is that it's got a warranty for 5+ years. Contact alienware support and they'll fix it for you at any time, no charge. Since I actually bought this system from gamestop, they took it one step further and just decided to replace the system. I sent them the broken one, and got a new one. I was super excited to give it a go, the setup was simple, and I downloaded a game just to feel that feeling you get when you download and play your first game. It was great, just like before :).

I then turn the system off, go downstairs, heat myself a batch of pop tarts, eat the pop tarts, drink some milk, then I head back upstairs and I go to turn on my steam machine! Can't wait to use my steam machine again! I go to turn it on, and the alien looks me dead in the eyes and shouts "F**K YOU" and starts blinking yellow. There's no stopping this damn alien!

I really don't know what I'm going to do. I did nothing (I think) wrong that should have caused this... Maybe it's something to do with how/what I'm plugging it into... It really doesn't make sense to me. It's annoying as hell to have to replace it, especially after getting it replaced all new. I'm debating wether to just send it back and beg for a refund, or keep replacing it...

Anyways, that's just my negative experience with it (other than whatever else is listed in my review below). This issue does not appear to be super common, so there's a good chance that you won't have this same error. Maybe it's just an issue with the consoles gamestop is selling. Either way, if you totally overlook this huge issue I've been having, I think I still would have to recommend it.

___End of edit___

I got the steam machine without reading ANY reviews about it anywhere. I basically just said "Let's go" and got one. I have a very nice PC computer that can run games very very well, but until I got the steam machine, I didn't play games that often. Maybe it was just because I didn't like sitting in that office chair, or maybe because I didn't like that the PC wasn't made specifically for games (yeah for some reason that bugs me), but the Steam machine is a very great console, and I've been playing games a lot more.

The controller is nice.. I'm still getting used to it, but the amount of customization is amazing.

The Alienware Steam Machine is still early. It's like a PS1. I can't wait for the Alienware Steam Machine 2, because It's going to be amazing.

BTW, I say PS1, not comparing it to the PS1, but how it's the first console of it's time.

What I would like to see:

- The Steam Store needs to show my current account balance. I've looked all around and It's so hard to find what my balance is on my account. I'm at the point where I am buying games on a computer and downloading them on my steam machine.

- The browser doesn't work well. Maybe i'm just not good with the controller yet, but the browser is hard to navigate. Hopefully this will change.

- More games!

- Allow me to turn the system on from the controller. It's gotten super annoying for me to have to walk over to the console just to turn it on each time.

Overall, I love it. I hope to begin using it more than my PS4, and I think the future is very bright :).

Recommending it, mainly because you can change the color of the alien and the steam logo. Really neat feature.
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98 of 133 people (74%) found this review helpful
36 people found this review funny
Posted: April 4
-Buy a Steam Machine.
-Buy a copy of Windows 10.
-Load Windows 10 and delete SteamOS.
-Update system and drivers (Automatic and easy)
-Get Steam App from Internet.
-Redownload games in library.
-Plug in Xbox controller (Auto update)
-Now, you're ready:::


I was hesitant to buy as SteamOS is VERY limited and many games only work through WindowsOS.

Alienware Alpha comes with Windows 10 already.

Steam Machine only needs a copy of Windows 10 to achieve the same level of gamer greatness!!!
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52 of 69 people (75%) found this review helpful
18 people found this review funny
Posted: December 3, 2015
This thing is small and that is a good thing. I purchased the i3 unit with 4gB of ram and the 500gB of hdd space. I have already upgraded the ram to some low cas latency 8gB 2x4 sticks. Will put an sshd in when time and money allow. It was easy to setup and I love the controller. The unit is quite and cool. Love the led symbols on the front. Wish that I could turn off the steam logo light on the controller or dim it when playing in the dark. Wish blue-tooth control was in the ui, it is hidden on the os desktop and i haven't been able to get it too work with my logitech headset. it is paired just won't connect. i also had to change my time zone in the os desktop because the steam ui did not change to the correct time. I played Shadow of Mordor just fine and beat it on this unit. I loved it so much that I made my twin purchase a unit as well, she got the i7 unit, jelly. I would like to use some sudo commands to get that blue-tooth working but it should work out of the box just as ubuntu 14.04. oh well i'll wait.
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32 of 36 people (89%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Posted: May 13
I love my Alienware i7 steam machine. Its the gaming computer for my TV I have imagined for almost 20 years. I love what they are doing for PC gaming here and I support 100%. I no longer will purchase steam games unless they have full steamOS support. I have Kodi and Retro Arch plus my full steam linux library. I knew what I was getting what I bought it, and its a great addition to my livingroom.
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41 of 51 people (80%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Posted: January 1
Just a amazing machine despite mixed reviews about the controller. The controller really makes sense once you get it down and now its become my favourite. I purchased the i7 model and I'm having a blast with it. You really get that console like experience with the flexibility of a PC all in one. All my games play in high settings all in 1080p, something you dont get with this gen of consoles. Highly recommend it.
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50 of 69 people (72%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Posted: November 18, 2015
It's a great system! They really did their best to make PC gaming feel so natural in a console-style system! I am so happy to sit back and play my favorite PC games! Looking forward to more supported games, which I am sure will happen. It doesn't feel gimmicky, and Valve made SteamOS feel like a proper system layout. I have not experienced any lag so far. Really, people should buy this system. It's even appealing to the eye!
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Recently Posted
Posted: October 18
I have some mixed feelings about my steam machine, but mainly positive. I bought my Alienware Steam Machine from Newegg with 6gigs ram, and a Terabyte of storage and I still have a hard time finding games to take up that much space. I mainly bought this hoping I could play my whole library but later found out that with steam is came limited game choice, and since my library was mainly games that ran off of Windows I was out of luck. I had atleast hoped some of the remastered versions of games would be runnable on steam is, but sadly found out that was not the case. I think if more of a game choice was brought up that it would be perfect sadly for now it isn't only making it great.
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Posted: October 15
Its soooo good! I got tf2 for it when first bought and worked like a charm
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Posted: September 28
Love the computer, but it is better as a windows!
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Posted: September 22
Unfortunately due to the lack of support for Linux OS, Windows has a much better selection of games. The steam machine feels more like an Xbox live arcade machine and I already have an Xbox so felt like I wasted my money :-(
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Posted: August 17
I've had this since November 2015, and I have not had the issues as others have. For me, this little guy boots up right away into Windows 10 Pro from the SSHD drive inside. The Core i7 and 16GB of high performance RAM surely help. More about that later.

In November 2015 just before Thanksgiving I got this to be a travel gaming computer. At the same time I swapped out the RAM with Crucial memory, put in a 1TB SSHD, and reformatted the drive to use Windows 10. Primary reasons for the updates was to remove the slow hard drive and increase the application memory. The version of LInux that it came with was perfectly fine, but I could not play even a 1/10th of the games in my library.

After updating and playing with it for awhile, 4 months, I replaced the Steam controller with an XBox One controller. I have had no issues with this computer, either with connecting it to various TVs or monitors, turning on, booting up, playing games, etc. It's worked flawlessly for me. The only real drawback here is the lack of internal sata ports. You will be limited to a single drive and for that it's only a 4 star product.

Easy to setup and update
Custom Nvidia 980m GPU packs a lot of power for such a small footprint
It's small and light and easy to travel with, even on an airplane
1TB of storage space is just enough but a standard HDD is considered pretty slow in today's gaming
Pricepoint is pretty decent, I paid just under $700 on sale
Was easy to upgrade the memory and hard drive
Plays every game I have including Star Wars Battlefront, PvZ Gardenware 2, Battlefield, Doom (2016), and a whole lot more
Lighting effects are slick, but uneccessary, can be cool to see the front flash when you are taking damage
Has HDMI output
Has optical audio output
WiFI and Bluetooth

Limited to a single hard drive
Like all small form factor PCs it heats up, a lot
Causes some games like Doom and Battlefront to occassionally switch down to a lower resolution (easily fixable from in-game settings but a nuisance)
Only 4 USB ports
One 1 video output port - HDMI
No headphone or speaker port, optical out only
Has concealable access panel hiding one internal USB port - would be good but the cavity is too small for XBox USB dongle.

I would recommend this product with one caveat, know what you are doing with PCs.
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Posted: August 16
When it works (WHEN WITH A CAPITAL WHEN) it's great.

However i cannot recommend it.

I bought the highest spec machine. Within 1 week the first machine failed due to a motherboard failure.

When the replacement arrived it seemed to work but with intermittent problems. then early july 2016, i tried to start it only to get a fatal error. it took 5 weeks of going backwards and forwards with dell support before it went back to them to be repaired.

When it finally returned to me there was a dell support report in the box saying it was a hard drive failure.

For such a top name brand there seems to be very poor/un-reliable parts going into the make up of these machines. If mine develops one more problems I will be asking for a full refund plus costs.

Update. Another failed hard drive. These machines are utterly useless. For such a top brand name, I will never trust alienware/dell again. This machine is going back and I WILL get a refund. WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T BUY ONE
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Solar's Acolyte
Posted: August 14
Just no sometimes game just randomly crash or sometimes when i try to play competitive csgo it just breaks says no steam logon if i try to play on another computer to resume the game is glitches out and says instalation % and doesnt start so no i sometimes cant play games this never happens on my regular computer and just dont buy it if you have games that you play for long periods of time around 30 minutes because it has a chance of crashing and its happend more recently then ever you might be better spening any amount of this money on a differant gaming pc it will probably run steam much better and wont glitch out theres my review ive had its for almost a year and now i mainly play on my computer because of it osrry for any typing mistakes.
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[eXo] monokrome
Posted: August 2
I purchased the highest performing AlienWare Steam Machine, and am extremely disappointed. The operating system feels like it still needs a *lot* of work, and the hardware leaves a lot to be desired. It overheats nearly every other time that I use it, and it doesn't seem to support any way of installing Windows after I realized that the operating system was so poor.

I have over 400 games on my Steam library, and only 70 run natively on SteamOS. I understand that this is because the games weren't developed for Linux, but this is essentially just an overpriced SteamLink box at this point. The streaming is quite good over ethernet, but terrible over a 802.11AC wireless network.
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Posted: July 30
Issues with the motherboard battery is rampant. I myself have experienced it, and was very let down. Especially considering how excited I was to play this thing. Fortunately lots of info on fixing it yourself is available. With that said, I believe for what you receive in this small form chassis, is nice for people that want the extra power the PS4 or XB1 doesnt have.

Should play games med-high settings 1080p. To achieve 60fps tweak will have to be made, like lowering textures quality. Nothing too drastic, still looks better then both of the main console's on the market.

I love this thing, but can't ignore there's clearly a problem with the system's motherboard.

Buyer beware! When it works, it's truly and experience for first time pc gamers. When it doesn't? You have a bitter taste in your mouth.
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Posted: July 16
Good little box that's got decent power, not the best by today's standards but good enough for an entry level pc.

My only gripe with this thing is the garbage OS it comes with. How can Steam release this and it can only run just over a thousand of the , what, nine thousand games steam has? It runs like crap and you'd have to use wine or something to run non steam games. Luckily you can easily install Windows without any problems and after that you're good to go. They should really either come with windows (i know some models do) or come dual boot ready.

But yeah, not bad. Also i got the i5 version. The specs say 2.0 ghz but it's really 3.0 ghz. So don't let that stat discourage you.

EDIT: So yeah, apparantly there's an issue with either the power brick or the CMOS battery. Also it's a big problem it seems because i and many others have had this problem. What happens is you'll go to turn the unit on and instead of booting up the power button will flash a yellow light. So you have to take the unit apart and unplug the CMOS battery from the mother board for 5-10 minutes. Also the power brick should have been unplugged from the wall for anywhere from a half hour to 6 hours. After that it should turn back on. It doesn't seem to hurt the hardware, but it also can't be good for it.

So for this reason i can't give it a thumbs up anymore. Also note that this has existed since launch and here we are still with the problem. Even the Alphas have this problem, so it's not just these models. Short of this problem though, the unit's pretty solid.
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