On Friday, Nvidia PR manager Brian Burke posted a short Q&A with Mike Sartaina from Valve's Linux team, discussing the Steam Machines initiative. As revealed earlier, the GeForce GPU maker has been involved with SteamOS from the beginning, and is supplying the Kepler-based GPUs used in the 300 Steam Machine prototypes being offered to testers later this month.
"Nvidia and Valve have been working together for over a decade and engineers from both companies are in constant communication," Sartaina said. "When the SteamOS and Steam Machine projects first got going at Valve, everyone from Nvidia showed a ton of excitement and wanted to get involved. It was a very collaborative effort as folks just started tackling issues such as driver support, porting Nvidia’s content library, and more."
Both teams believe the SteamOS open ecosystem is a very important move for gaming and that it will redefine the living room gaming experience. This will be a chance for gamers to provide feedback during pre-production, to allow them to be part of the design process. The Steam Machines initiative will also be a chance to innovate in a way that really hasn't been seen in the living room console market.
Sartiana said that with the prototype stage now about to begin, Valve is interested in receiving feedback on a number of configurations. "Their feedback will have a significant impact in shaping further development of these devices and the functionality of the SteamOS," he said. "As such, we wanted to test a variety of Steam Machines that explore a range of price performance. Nvidia has done a ton of work to optimize its GTX GPU series on Linux. That work applies across the GTX product line, which provides a complementary set of GPUs for our desired range of prototype Machines."
The prototype machines will feature either an Nvidia Titan, GTX 780, GTX 760, or GTX 660 GPU. On the CPU front, some boxes will have Intel's Core i7-4770, others will have the Core i5-4570, and some will have the Core i3 processors. Available RAM will be 16 GB DDR3-1600 (CPU) and 3 GB DDR5 (GPU). 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.
"The GeForce GTX series delivers the graphics performance, acoustic characteristics, and power efficiency we wanted for the first impression of the SteamOS living room game experience," he said. "So, even though they are helping us test these devices, their experience should begin with superior performance and amazing visuals directly on their big screen TV the first day they have it."
For a chance of landing a Steam Machines prototype, follow the beta entry instructions here.