We already figured this would be the case, but Valve Software's Doug Lombardi felt the need to clarify that Steam Machines won't specifically focus on Nvidia GPUs despite the prototypes, but support the three primary graphics vendors of today: AMD, Intel and Nvidia. For PC gamers looking for a pure GeForce screaming machine this holiday season, look no further than Nvidia's Battlebox certification.
"Last week, we posted some technical specs of our first wave of Steam Machine prototypes," said Lombardi. "Although the graphics hardware that we've selected for the first wave of prototypes is a variety of Nvidia cards, that is not an indication that Steam Machines are Nvidia-only."
"In 2014, there will be Steam Machines commercially available with graphics hardware made by AMD, Nvidia, and Intel," he added. "Valve has worked closely together with all three of these companies on optimizing their hardware for SteamOS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future."
Nvidia has played a big part in Valve's SteamOS and Steam Machines introduction over the last several weeks. That could be partially due to AMD focusing on revealing its "Hawaii" GPUs and Mantle API during the same timeframe. AMD has also been talking up its unified gaming approach that ties in with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Nvidia, on the other hand, has been cashing in on its involvement with the SteamOS development and Valve's prototype "consoles."
Although Xi3 hasn't officially made any announcements, its Piston compact PC slated to ship in late November is supposedly a Steam Machine. The "console" will likely ship with a quad-core AMD R464L "Trinity" 35 watt APU clocked up to 3.2 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, an installed 128 GB SSD, a second SSD connector and two SD card slots. There's speculation that the device will ship with SteamOS installed along with several Linux-based free games.
By comparison, the 300 Xbox One-sized Steam Machine prototypes will feature 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.
"[T]o 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," stated Valve designer Greg "Gregori" Coomer. "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."
The prototypes are slated to be released to the 300 beta participants by the end of the month.