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iBUYPOWER's (Unofficial) Steam Machine Has Arrived

iBUYPOWER introduced its new SBX Entertainment System, a console-like gaming machine that was previously introduced as a Steam Machine during CES 2014 in January. As predicted, many OEMS like iBUYPOWER are releasing their unofficial Steam Machines anyway, seemingly unwilling to wait on Valve Software to get the Steam Controller just right.

The Xbox One-shaped SBX arrives in four flavors: the SBX Raw for $399, the SBX plus an Xbox 360 controller for $459, the SBX plus the controller and Windows 8.1 for $549, and the SBX "Plus" with the controller and Windows 8.1 for $699.99. The SBX Raw and SBX + Controller model do not have operating systems pre-installed.

The SBX Plus model includes an AMD Athlon 740 CPU, an AMD Radeon R7 250X video card with 1 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 8 GB of DDR3-1600 MHz memory, and the iBUYPOWER FM2A78M+ ITX motherboard. There's also a 1 TB 2.5-inch hard drive, Wireless N and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 30-day trial of Office 365. This console rig is backed by a three-year standard warranty.

In addition to the controller, what's the difference between the four consoles? The SBX Raw, the SBX + Controller, and the SBX + Controller and Windows 8.1 include 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. As previously mentioned, the SBX Plus includes 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive.

Even so, the specs of the SBX consoles aren't too shabby, and the beauty of this setup is that customers can upgrade components when needed. The amount of memory of the three non Plus gaming rigs – 4 GB – is rather low, which will prevent customers from playing games that require 6 GB of RAM or higher. Again, customers can presumably modify this setup when needed.

"Customers will be able to configure their SBX to boot into Steam Big Picture mode, or any other configuration. Games, media, streaming, the SBX handles it all," the press release said. "It’ll even be the perfect system for those who want to enjoy their classic games on emulation on the big screen. SBX is also fully Steam OS ready."

The iBUYPOWER SBX product page reveals that an app for Android and iOS is coming soon that will allow SBX owners to customize the color and pattern effect of the console's lighted strip. The SBX is only offered in matte black.

Customers can pre-purchase the SBX console now. Shipment will begin in three weeks. Is the name SBX short for "Steambox?"

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