Steam machines have been rolling out steadily this quarter, with mainstream vendors such as Zotac and Alienware offering set-top box-sized gaming consoles powered by mid-to-high-grade Intel Haswell-based processors and middle-of-the-road Nvidia graphics solutions. These small form factor machines are mostly designed to offer optimal gaming performance at 1080p, with a few teasing 4K capabilities. But what if you want your personal Steam OS-powered rig to dominate at 3840x2160? For those framerate-craving, next-level enthusiasts, there's Maingear's Drift.
Maingear announced the availability of a Steam machine that on paper is as impressive as its "regular" PC counterparts. The Drift can be customized with overclocked Intel Haswell-E (X99) or Skylake (Z170) processors, up to 16 GB of Kingston DDR4 memory, and up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti or Titan X GPUs. Here's a table of the primary customization options for the Drift:
|Intel Chipset||Processor Options||Motherboard Options||Nvidia GeForce Graphics Options||AMD Radeon Graphics Options||Storage Options||Power Supply Options|
|Z170 (Skylake)||-Core i5-6500-Core i5-6600K-Core i7-6700-Core i7-6700K||-Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WIFI-ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact||-GTX 750 1 GB-GTX 750Ti 2 GB-GTX 950 2 GB-GTX 960 2 GB-GTX 970 4 GB-GTX 980 4 GB-GTX 980Ti 6 GB-Titan X 12 GB||-R7 360X 2 GB -R7 370 2 GB -R9 380 2 GB -R9 390 8 GB -R9 390X 8 GB -R9 Nano 4 GB HBM -R9 Fury 4 GB HBM||-Up to 6 TB HDD-Up to 2 TB SSD-Up to 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD400 GB -Intel 750 Series PCIe SSD||-450W Silverstone ST45SF -500W Silverstone SX500-LG-600W Silverstone SX600-G (X99 Only)|
|X99 (Haswell-E)||-Core i7-5820K-Core i7-5930K-Core i7-5960X||-ASRock X99E-ITX|
The Drift can be configured with 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) of DDR4-2666 or 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 RAM, and it sports two 2.5-inch drive bays and one 3.5-inch bay for larger HDDs. In addition, it can house an optical drive (Blu-ray or DVD burner), a 120 mm closed-loop water cooler and an Intel 750-series PCIe NVMe SSD. Somehow, this all fits into a 14.8 x 13.8 x 4.2-inch custom-painted chassis.
If 4K gaming is the goal, few Steam machines are offering performance at this level. The Drift doesn't just dabble with next-generation resolutions, it's giving you the weapons to dominate them. It can be configured with the Steam OS in addition to Windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Home and Pro (all 64-bit editions). It can even be setup for dual-boot.
Maingear's Drift is available now, with Z170 models starting at $1,199 and X99 configurations starting at $2,399. Both Steam machines come with a Steam controller. If you want to take the Drift on the road, Maingear also offers a custom body-shell travel case for an additional $249.
Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. PC gaming, graphics hardware and VR devices are among his favorite topics to cover. He is a lifelong PC enthusiast, former IT administrator and a custom PC builder with a penchant for creating music, voice acting and all things geek.