If you're familiar with Alienware products, you've probably seen the company's Alienware Command Center software. It's the hub that allows gamers to create and assign macros, manage power consumption and, of course, customize the LED lighting.
In short, Command Center is the secret sauce that makes an Alienware an Alienware. Dell recently announced that this vaunted set of apps was getting a much-needed makeover for Q1 2018.
The first thing you'll notice when you launch the updated Command Center is the clean, futuristic interface. The static image of whichever Alienware system you were tweaking against a dark boring background has been replaced by a customizable animated backdrop, which is available in black or white. You can choose from a rolling-wave animation, a swirling cloud of rose petals or an undulating mass of particles.
The text is large and clean, and pertinent information is presented on big, visually striking tiles. The suite has been condensed into four tabs: Home, Library, FX and Fusion. Home gives you an overview of your Alienware system at a glance, including which lighting, performance and thermal profile you have selected in addition to which games are currently installed.
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Library is a new feature that draws comparisons to Nvidia's GeForce Experience software. This is where you'll see all the games currently installed on your system presented in a large tile format. You can either launch or create individual profiles for each title in this tab. It's a nifty way to access everything at once instead of having to navigate several different game launchers.
If you want a crazy light show, the FX tab is where you'll get it. Similar to its predecessor, you'll have access to the 16.8 million colors and myriad of lighting effects. Not only can you trick out your laptop or desktop, but FX will also allow you to customize any Alienware peripherals you might have in your arsenal.
However, the biggest change is the Fusion tab. Alienware has refreshed the overclocking and thermal tools, simplifying them enough for newbies, but adding a level of depth that DIYers will appreciate. It's here that you'll adjust clock speed, voltage and frequency on your processor and graphics card. To ensure you don't accidentally crash your system, there's a test-and-save button to make sure the new settings are stable.
Overall, I appreciate the revamped Command Center for its fresh new looks and, more importantly, its increased accessibility and convenience. It'll be easier for gamers to overclock their systems with the simplified controls, as well as set proper thermal and create custom profiles no matter the skill level.
I also appreciate that I can access just about everything gaming-related in one centralized spot. However, I would like to see Alienware incorporate some streaming services into the mix in the near future.