So now that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are on the market and doing well, Nvidia is seemingly pushing gamers to consider Valve’s Steam Machine initiative without actually naming the small form factor rigs. Matt Wright, consumer sales manager at Nvidia, says the company is proposing small form-factor PCs to be viable alternatives to the new consoles on the market.
"Enthusiast players want the ultimate games system and that is the PC," Wright told MCV. "The PC platform is far superior to any console when it comes to gaming, plus you get all the extra functionality that a computer brings."
While this speech really isn’t anything new, it arrives just before CES 2014 in January, which will play host to a number of Steam Machine reveals such as one prototype recently unveiled by IBUYPOWER. The OEM’s Steam Machine will sport a multi-core AMD CPU, Radeon R9 270 graphics and a console-like form factor, but there will be plenty of alternatives packed with Nvidia’s GeForce graphics.
"We want to make PC gaming as simple as possible and we think that it already becoming much more relevant and appealing to casual gamers," said Wright. "Steam now has more users than Xbox Live. There is a whole new generation who grew up playing on PC with titles like Minecraft or World of Tanks. There’s a huge community who love playing their games on PC."
As previously reported, Valve is currently testing a number of prototypes using 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 Xbox One measures 10.86 x 13.18 x 2.96, making this prototype roughly the same size.
Small form factor PCs with GeForce inside aren’t anything new as shown on the GeForce website: a number of OEMs carry solutions including IBUYPOWER, Maingear, Origin, CyberpowerPC and more. What Nvidia is proposing here is a console-like form factor that features the same price range as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but provide superior power. Plus throw in Steam, and gamers have a much larger library of titles than what’s currently made available on the new consoles.