Get ready for some benchmarks.
Earlier this month at CES 2014, Valve Software revealed a list of OEMs currently building Steam Machines. These will range in specs and price to meet every gamer's tastes. Unfortunately, we really have no idea what will be under the hood of many solutions until Valve gives the green light later this year. However, that hasn't stopped Futuremark for posting 3DMark benchmarks.
Obviously, the report is going to be incomplete for now, as it's based on what we know so far about the machines. What's shown on the chart is equivalent hardware running Windows, not the Linux-based SteamOS that's now in early beta.
Currently, the Chronos machine from Origin PC sits at the top of the list with two Nvidia Geforce GTX Titans, followed by Digital Storm's Bolt II with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti. Gigabyte's Brix Pro is seventh on the list with the Intel Core i7-4770R and Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics.
To Futuremark's defense, this will be a chart to watch over the following months as specs are revealed. Alienware already said that its solution will be out sometime in September, but the release date is really up to Valve. If Valve won't be ready by then, Alienware's rig will be put on standby until Valve gives the green light. We're thinking E3 2014 could be very interesting this year.
What’s great about Futuremark's chart on a consumer level is that it not only shows the range of hardware and price points, but which Machine offers the best value for the money. So far, Webhallen's Steam Machine, which is third on the list in terms of its 3DMark score, is shown as the best value, packing an Intel Core i7-4771 and a Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 for $1,499. Scan's NC10, which is sixth in performance on the list, offers the least value, with an Intel i3-4000M and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M for $1,090.
Obviously, all of this will change as time moves on and we get closer to the release date. There are seven on the list with a TBA, so it will be interesting to see how everything will fit together once the hopeful September release date finally arrives. Of course, 3DMark is a Windows benchmarking tool, and SteamOS is based on Linux. That said, the numbers could be higher for all using optimized Linux drivers and games.