Valve reveals Steam Machine prototype hardware

Steam machine prototype header

Valve has begun to ready its three hundred prototype Steam Machines which will ship to lucky Steam users who were selected to participate in the program.

Steam Machine is an initiative by the company to offer a user-configurable machine that shares some benefits with a closed environment similar to consoles thanks to SteamOS. Valve has said they will reveal their hardware partners for Steam Machines at CES 2014, along with demonstrations of prototypes and a final shipping date for some of the hardware.

To celebrate the beginning of the prototype beta Valve invited Engadget and The Verge to try out their Steam machine prototype and the Steam controller. The writers from both websites entered into the demo room with feelings of trepidation, they both appear to have left with changed opinions.

Valve Steam machine prototype

Valve Steam machine prototype

The prototype used was pretty close to Valve’s initial specifications – it packs in an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, a 1TB hard drive by default with 8GB of cache memory, 16GB of DDR3 memory, a 450W power supply, and takes up roughly the same space as Dell’s Alienware X51.

Engadget also played around with the SteamOS and came away slightly disappointed. The version they tried was a lot like Steam Big Picture, but had no way of playing media, looking at stored photos, or opening up a spreadsheet in Libre Office. Valve will only be supporting SteamOS as far as it’s actual capabilities go and with regards to drivers and system updates. Other functionality or applications that users load onto the system will be the responsibility of the user only.

The Verge enquired about Valve’s aspirations for future hardware builds and received some interesting answers. “We’re super interested in Iris Pro,” the team answered. On the subject of whether Intel or AMD might release specialised hardware for a future Steam machine, Valve employees merely stated that, “we don’t have an answer that we can give you before January.”

Valve’s Steam OS should be launching before the end of the year and will be available for all interested gamers to try out. The roster of Linux games is slowly climbing over 200 titles, but that is expected to increase as SteamOS launches and grows in popularity.

Source: The Verge, Engadget

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Forum discussion

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  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    VERY excited about this! I am actually thinking about going for the high end one, but it will be far over 10k for it…

  • Devourer of Small Bunnies

    Odd no LCD in the Steam Controller. Hoping that they are also going to work on the design aspects of the steam machine, the aesthetics arent exactly “becoming” if you knwo what I mean.

  • Its a prototype for now, Valve’s working on getting the basics working before they add in the LCD. The machine’s also just a prototype for now, Valve mentioned a while back that other form factors would be available.

  • Devourer of Small Bunnies

    Yup, read the same thing, but knowing Valve, I was admittedly expecting something more

  • Jacks

    I’d suggest going mid range and slapping in a sexy gpu but time will tell if it’s worth it.

  • Jacks

    I’m tempted to say valve has won the console wars by building a pc…

  • Jacks

    I rather like the look of it. Simple, sleek, sexy. That being said I’ve read early reviews on the controller not being the holy grail everyone expected it to be.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    I was contemplating the same thing. I will weigh up the options in the end. I actually want to upgrade my card for my PC. So I am keeping about 4-5k for that and then Steam Machine. So I think mid range is my current plan and then upgrade later if I want to.

    Would actually like to get a i7 in there though and then later get a better card maybe. A CPU’s lifecycle is a lot longer than a card in my exp.

  • Devourer of Small Bunnies


  • Jacks

    Agreed. Again time will tell but if it’s actually a normal pc you could just buy the low end one and jam an i7 in it.

  • NicoR

    Can’t wait for this to come out!

    I’m more interested to see what a low-spec version would be like, just for streaming games. Would be way cheaper.

  • AfricanJedi

    All they did was give console users what they wanted, freedom on the system.

    Fundamentally its a console not a PC. ie cant really upgrade much unless breaking warranty etc

  • Jacks

    I’m curious how the warranty will work but I draw directly from the steam machines web page here:

    “We have designed a high-performance prototype that’s optimized for
    gaming, for the living room, and for Steam. Of course, it’s also
    completely UPGRADABLE and open.”

    or from kotaku:

    “This is what you get if you want to replicate a next-gen console—the middle-end Steam Machines will compete with the likes of Xbox One and PS4, Newell said. Expect specs around that area. This machine of course won’t have the Xbox and PlayStation’s software exclusives, but it will be UPGRADABLE, and it will be a valuable soldier in the never-ending PC-vs.-console wars.”

    or techland:

    “The hypothetical specs are more than powerful enough to tackle whatever Sony or Microsoft have cooking, next-gen-wise, and these boxes are UPGRADABLE, so while the PS4 and Xbox One languish in 2013 tech, Steam Machines will keep marching forward, enabling new experiences without gaping half-decade-or-more intervals.”

    I took the liberty of capitalizing specific words, hope you don’t mind. So really it’s a pc running a new console-ish OS.

    P.S I can send you links if you want. Just be prepared to wait, moderation times here are not great :/

  • XennoX

    Eh, I must be blind. I’ve read through the specs paragraph twice now and I don’t see where it mentions what video card its going to have.

  • Zinzan Zonzo

    They said the same thing about Microsoft and the XBOX1.

Valve reveals Steam Machine prototype hardware

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