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Valve Finally Reveals Steam Machine Prototype Specs

By - Source: Valve | B 64 comments

The prototypes will be based on Nvidia GPUs and Intel CPUs.

The Steam Universe group page has been updated with the specs of Valve's prototypes being distributed to 300 testers later this month. Valve also explains the creation of its own hardware set given there will be plenty of partners on board offering complete Steam Machines solutions. Valve designer Greg "Gregori" Coomer says the company wanted to accomplish some specific design goals that in the past others weren't yet tackling.

"One of them was to combine high-end power with a living-room-friendly form factor," he writes. "Another was to help us test living-room scenarios on a box that's as open as possible. So for our own first prototype Steam Machine (the one we're shipping to 300 Steam users), we've chosen to build something special."

That something special will feature units with either a Nvidia Titan, GTX 780, GTX 760 or GTX 660 GPU. On the CPU front, some boxes will have Intel's Core i7-4770, some with the Core i5-4570, and some with Core i3 processors. Available RAM will be 16 GB DDR3-1600 (CPU) and 3 GB DDR5 (GPU), and storage will be provided by a hybrid SSHD with 1 TB for storage and 8 GB for cache. Power will be handled by an internal 450 watt 80 Plus Gold power supply.

As for the actual living-room friendly size, the prototype dimensions will be 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 inches. To put that into perspective, the upcoming Xbox One will supposedly measure 10.86 x 13.18 x 2.96, making this prototype roughly the same size.

"The prototype machine is a high-end, high-performance box, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts," Coomer writes. "It is also fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, even the motherboard if you really want to. Apart from the custom enclosure, anyone can go and build exactly the same machine by shopping for components and assembling it themselves. And we expect that at least a few people will do just that. We'll also share the source CAD files for our enclosure, in case people want to replicate it as well."

"And to be clear, this design is not meant to serve the needs of all of the tens of millions of Steam users. It may, however, be the kind of machine that a significant percentage of Steam users would actually want to purchase - those who want plenty of performance in a high-end living room package," he adds. "Many others would opt for machines that have been more carefully designed to cost less, or to be tiny, or super quiet, and there will be Steam Machines that fit those descriptions."

From a hardware perspective, the Steam ecosystem will change over time, he says, thus any upgrades will be at the owner's discretion. Later on the company will talk about how Steam will help customers understand the differences between the machines, the strengths and weaknesses of hardware, and upgrade decisions. The company also plans to release images of the prototypes before the units are shipped later on – they're currently not ready for showcasing.

"The prototype we're talking about here is not meant to replace [a customer's current performance PC]," he says. "Many of those users would like to have a way to bridge the gap into the living room without giving up their existing hardware and without spending lots of money. We think that's a great goal, and we're working on ways to use our in-home streaming technology to accomplish it - we'll talk more about that in the future."

Ouch! No AMD? Probably not given Nvidia's involvement with SteamOS and all this talk of "streaming" PC games to the Linux-based machine. Also, did you notice all the Shield-friendly Kepler GPUs?

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  • 15 Hide
    michael908 , October 4, 2013 2:33 PM
    Guess Nvidia was more interested in pushing mid to high end gpus with steam than selling laptop apus to Sony and Microsoft.
  • 11 Hide
    stevejnb , October 4, 2013 2:26 PM
    Yikes - doubt these will be cheap without selling at a big loss. On the other hand, to do justice to some pc game, you need that kind of power.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 4, 2013 2:25 PM
    I wouldn't be against a free SteamBox to mess with. I am in the beta so lets hope I get one.

    Would be fun to mess with it and find the bugs in it. I wonder if SteamOS has a way to send error reports directly to VALVe.....
  • 6 Hide
    bigshootr8 , October 4, 2013 2:25 PM
    Very interesting. I would just say that I wasn't expecting that high end of parts with the seam machine. With that said though I'm glad its not just some low powered stream box its something you can game on to.
  • 11 Hide
    stevejnb , October 4, 2013 2:26 PM
    Yikes - doubt these will be cheap without selling at a big loss. On the other hand, to do justice to some pc game, you need that kind of power.
  • 15 Hide
    michael908 , October 4, 2013 2:33 PM
    Guess Nvidia was more interested in pushing mid to high end gpus with steam than selling laptop apus to Sony and Microsoft.
  • 0 Hide
    yannigr , October 4, 2013 2:36 PM
    All those expecting/asking/hoping/demanding Mantle on Linux, I think they can forget that now.
  • 6 Hide
    soccerplayer88 , October 4, 2013 2:47 PM
    Well even console designers (MS/Sony) make their money back on the games not on the consoles. Even when the PS3 was marked at $600 Sony still were taking a loss on the console.

    I would imagine that Valve approaches sales the same way a console company would. The money is in the games.

    It'll be interesting to see how things pan out with Nintendo hanging on by a thread and the other two consoles dominating the market. It will be tough to get in such a saturated market.
  • 3 Hide
    house70 , October 4, 2013 2:53 PM
    "Ouch! No AMD? ....."

    Lame attempt to start a flame war. tsk, tsk...

    They had to pick one. It is their choice, period. Did you really expected 2 different consoles, just to satisfy AMD fans?
    If it runs well, I could not care less what it has inside (unless, of course, console is serviceable....he, he).
  • 6 Hide
    edogawa , October 4, 2013 2:53 PM
    Not bad specifications at all. It's basically going to be a mini-itx system running Steam OS Linux Distribution. When it really comes down to it anyone will be able to build their own, if not better, SteamBox which is great about this whole thing.

    My only concern with the SteamBox is price, I don't see many console gamers purchasing a 600, 700, or 800 dollar Steam-box over a 400 dollar PS4 with more to offer. It will take a few years for things to kick into action if the Steam OS is a hit.

  • 9 Hide
    Shankovich , October 4, 2013 2:57 PM
    At least they tell you what PSU you get, hate it so much when vendors don't do that. And that's why I always build :p . Looks like these aren't the Xi3 machines though. Whoever gets a titan for free will be one lucky bastard.
  • 1 Hide
    Mousemonkey , October 4, 2013 3:05 PM
    Quote:
    "Ouch! No AMD? ....."

    Lame attempt to start a flame war. tsk, tsk...

    They had to pick one. It is their choice, period. Did you really expected 2 different consoles, just to satisfy AMD fans?
    If it runs well, I could not care less what it has inside (unless, of course, console is serviceable....he, he).

    Trying to start a flame war or just pointing out that like Origin not everyone has a hard on for AMD or Mantle.
  • 1 Hide
    bigshootr8 , October 4, 2013 3:27 PM
    Agreed Mouse and not every solution will fit everyone's bill anyway people may just still use their own custom PC. If you like what you have just use the steam OS.
  • 4 Hide
    stevejnb , October 4, 2013 3:38 PM
    Quote:
    Agreed Mouse and not every solution will fit everyone's bill anyway people may just still use their own custom PC. If you like what you have just use the steam OS.


    The ironic thing about this that everyone I so excited about is that everything it does you can already do on an existing PC, no SteamBox, no SteamOS required... I know that's not the point of it for many of you, but it is rather amusing to see the excitement for a product that does what products you already have do.

    Not the point, I know, but still amusing.
  • 4 Hide
    neblogai , October 4, 2013 3:43 PM
    With specs like these, Valve seams to have a plan: to tease us for some two years, and as soon manufacturing prices drop, to unleash steam' 'consoles', superior to xbone and ps4, in full force.
  • 3 Hide
    Mousemonkey , October 4, 2013 3:48 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Agreed Mouse and not every solution will fit everyone's bill anyway people may just still use their own custom PC. If you like what you have just use the steam OS.


    The ironic thing about this that everyone I so excited about is that everything it does you can already do on an existing PC, no SteamBox, no SteamOS required... I know that's not the point of it for many of you, but it is rather amusing to see the excitement for a product that does what products you already have do.

    Not the point, I know, but still amusing.


    The same could be said of consoles though (and it is, quite regularly) its just that they've chosen to go with Nvidia and Intel for this venture rather than AMD but with this all you need is the OS and you can build your own box with whatever you want that you think will work.
  • 2 Hide
    stevejnb , October 4, 2013 3:57 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Agreed Mouse and not every solution will fit everyone's bill anyway people may just still use their own custom PC. If you like what you have just use the steam OS.


    The ironic thing about this that everyone I so excited about is that everything it does you can already do on an existing PC, no SteamBox, no SteamOS required... I know that's not the point of it for many of you, but it is rather amusing to see the excitement for a product that does what products you already have do.

    Not the point, I know, but still amusing.


    The same could be said of consoles though (and it is, quite regularly) its just that they've chosen to go with Nvidia and Intel for this venture rather than AMD but with this all you need is the OS and you can build your own box with whatever you want that you think will work.


    No, the same thing can't really be said. Consoles are almost defined by their exclusive titles, generally. Steambox is defined by Steam's game library which is entirely available on a Windows PC. It could well be a significant boon for squeezing the most out of hardware. It may well turn out to have some services or features unique to not just SteamOS but the SteamBox itself, but until then, I don't see what any SteamBox/SteamOS combo can do that a Windows PC running Steam can't. Heck, at this point, the WIndows PC actually plays more of the Steam library than a Steambox or PC running SteamOS does.

    I'm not disparaging the value of this... Though in previous threads I've expressed concerns about how open SteamOS will be, I recognize it'll likely end up a lighter weight OS to run PC games on. That's not insignificant, and a viable gaming competitor to Windows in the PC world will be huge. Just, some of the excitement is kind of amusing - because people can't wait to get SteamOS so they can play exactly the games they can already play, but on a new OS. It's kind of like if you were to have bought a PS3 not to play MGS4 or the next GTA or Final Fantasy that weren't out on your old platform, but to play all the PS2 games - but have them run a bit better.
  • -1 Hide
    jurassic512 , October 4, 2013 4:23 PM
    Linux plus flagship hardware = A horrible idea.
    Anyone who buys this is a fool and should be shot in the chest at point blank range.
  • 7 Hide
    stevejnb , October 4, 2013 4:34 PM
    Quote:
    Linux plus flagship hardware = A horrible idea.
    Anyone who buys this is a fool and should be shot in the chest at point blank range.


    I remember people like you saying this about a Linux distro on another set of devices a few years ago... I think that distro was called "Android" or something like that. How's that doing now? I can't recall. I wonder how many were shot in the chest for supporting that abortion of an OS, amirite?

    If the market has a niche for a competitor to the power(s) that be and a strong one arises, it sometimes can be a meteoric rise to the top. Not saying this is what will happen, but, there are a lot of people out there who hate Windows just because it's Windows, and a lot out there who prefer other OS's but just can't game on them.

    PS - what kind of phone do you use?
  • -2 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 4, 2013 5:23 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Agreed Mouse and not every solution will fit everyone's bill anyway people may just still use their own custom PC. If you like what you have just use the steam OS.


    The ironic thing about this that everyone I so excited about is that everything it does you can already do on an existing PC, no SteamBox, no SteamOS required... I know that's not the point of it for many of you, but it is rather amusing to see the excitement for a product that does what products you already have do.

    Not the point, I know, but still amusing.


    The same could be said of consoles though (and it is, quite regularly) its just that they've chosen to go with Nvidia and Intel for this venture rather than AMD but with this all you need is the OS and you can build your own box with whatever you want that you think will work.


    No, the same thing can't really be said. Consoles are almost defined by their exclusive titles, generally. Steambox is defined by Steam's game library which is entirely available on a Windows PC. It could well be a significant boon for squeezing the most out of hardware. It may well turn out to have some services or features unique to not just SteamOS but the SteamBox itself, but until then, I don't see what any SteamBox/SteamOS combo can do that a Windows PC running Steam can't. Heck, at this point, the WIndows PC actually plays more of the Steam library than a Steambox or PC running SteamOS does.

    I'm not disparaging the value of this... Though in previous threads I've expressed concerns about how open SteamOS will be, I recognize it'll likely end up a lighter weight OS to run PC games on. That's not insignificant, and a viable gaming competitor to Windows in the PC world will be huge. Just, some of the excitement is kind of amusing - because people can't wait to get SteamOS so they can play exactly the games they can already play, but on a new OS. It's kind of like if you were to have bought a PS3 not to play MGS4 or the next GTA or Final Fantasy that weren't out on your old platform, but to play all the PS2 games - but have them run a bit better.


    Not quite Steams library as its not the same as on Windows. What it has, Windows does have but it wont have the same library as Windows since not every vendor is willing to throw money and resources to recode their entire game to use OGL instead of DX.

    In the larger scheme its just not profitable to them while VALVe, since it is privately owned, does not worry as much about making more money only. Of course they need to make money to survive but they still connect more with their customers than any other company.

    Quote:
    Quote:
    Linux plus flagship hardware = A horrible idea.
    Anyone who buys this is a fool and should be shot in the chest at point blank range.


    I remember people like you saying this about a Linux distro on another set of devices a few years ago... I think that distro was called "Android" or something like that. How's that doing now? I can't recall. I wonder how many were shot in the chest for supporting that abortion of an OS, amirite?

    If the market has a niche for a competitor to the power(s) that be and a strong one arises, it sometimes can be a meteoric rise to the top. Not saying this is what will happen, but, there are a lot of people out there who hate Windows just because it's Windows, and a lot out there who prefer other OS's but just can't game on them.

    PS - what kind of phone do you use?


    Android, much like Windows, was specifically designed for the hardware it uses though (ARM). They do have a x86 version but I doubt anyone will really use it to game as its not a full blown OS.

    In fact its probably just a watered down Linux kernel stripped of features to work on hardware that's not as powerful as desktop PC hardware.

    And while there is various versions of said hardware, its still all ARM based so optimizing it is not as hard as with PC.

    While I am not a fan of Linux, due to it being much harder to use and therefore not a good for a network environment, I am excited for SteamOS and the SteamBox. The SteamBox mainly because you can still throw Windows on it if you want or you can build a HTPC that's low power but decent and throw SteamOS on it and play some mid end games on your TV like Sonic Generations which works best with a controller.
  • -3 Hide
    Nilo BP , October 4, 2013 6:03 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Linux plus flagship hardware = A horrible idea.
    Anyone who buys this is a fool and should be shot in the chest at point blank range.


    I remember people like you saying this about a Linux distro on another set of devices a few years ago... I think that distro was called "Android" or something like that. How's that doing now? I can't recall. I wonder how many were shot in the chest for supporting that abortion of an OS, amirite?

    If the market has a niche for a competitor to the power(s) that be and a strong one arises, it sometimes can be a meteoric rise to the top. Not saying this is what will happen, but, there are a lot of people out there who hate Windows just because it's Windows, and a lot out there who prefer other OS's but just can't game on them.

    PS - what kind of phone do you use?


    I don't see how that invalidates his point. Quite the contrary. Anyone who buys flagship hardware to run Android should be shot in the chest at point blank, with a bazooka, I might add.

    Android took over the world from the low end, even if you only consider smartphones. Which is exactly the opposite of what Valve seems to be doing with this. AMD are the ones with the "monopolize the mainstream" approach right now.
  • -1 Hide
    beta212 , October 4, 2013 6:48 PM
    Looking at this news, I have just lost all hope in steam boxes. One of the major advantages of a "console" is static, identical hardware, and a closed system. This allows many developers to optimize code for that specific set of hardware. It also makes it hard for games to be pirated, that is one of the reasons the majority of the profits are made on consoles.

    How is this steam box different say, a normal PC with linux installed? What's to prevent a person from making a fork of steamOS? Or pirating games? 450W of heat in that small space could lead to high failure rate/loud fans.

    Consumers are sensitive to price, look at all that backlash the X1 received for being priced at 499$. And those are actual "consoles", with features not found in normal PCs. Looking on the flip side, all this powerful hardware probably indicates that games *future* steam games on linux are still inefficient and require massive amounts of horsepower to run them fluidly.

    I have already dropped money on a PS4, but I also game on the PC. I would love another competitor, but this approach has little hope.
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