Prototype Steam Machine hardware revealed

By on October 4, 2013, 7:30 PM
valve, steam, pc gaming, steam box, machine, steam machines

Last week, Valve made three announcements geared towards bringing Steam into the living room, one of which was Steam Machines: a series of gaming machines running SteamOS, produce by hardware partners in conjunction with Valve. In the Steam Universe group today, Valve's Greg Coomer revealed the specifications for their prototype Steam Machines, which will be sent free of charge to 300 lucky beta testers.

There will be a range of units sent out, from expensive high-end machines to mid-range systems. Here's the hardware Valve has chosen:

  • CPU: either an Intel Core i7-4770, Core i5-4570 or (unspecified) Core i3
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR3-1600
  • GPU: either an Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan, GTX 780, GTX 760 or GTX 660
  • Storage: 1 TB/8 GB hybrid SSHD
  • Power Supply: (unspecified) 450W 80Plus Gold unit
  • Dimensions: approximately 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 inches (300 x 315 x 74 mm)

There are some interesting things to note here from the specifications. Firstly, the dimensions of the case put the system as roughly the same size as an original Xbox 360, albeit a bit longer. While a 10.5" (267mm) long GTX Titan will fit inside, it will likely need to feature a non-standard motherboard to place the card parallel to it, rather than perpendicular like a traditional tower PC (for height reasons).

Secondly, these machines will be rather expensive. The top end model will cost at least $1,700, going from parts prices on Newegg, and the lowest-end model from the listed specifications will be at least $800. With an entry level price potentially $300 greater than a next-generation console, Valve may need a lower-end system to tempt buyers.

However, these are just prototypes, and no doubt the hardware will be tinkered with before final versions are released. Valve even expects that the beta testers who receive the machines will redesign it, through adding or swapping out parts. The company says they will reveal the design of their prototype Machine before it starts shipping, which hopefully won't be too far away.




User Comments: 20

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2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

While a 10.5" (267mm) long GTX Titan will fit inside, it will likely need to feature a non-standard motherboard to place the card parallel to it, rather than perpendicular like a traditional tower PC (for height reasons).
A PCIe riser could be used without making the motherboard proprietary, which would allow for laying the card on its side.

Mavrickx888 Mavrickx888 said:

I really hope that Steam can find a way to make at least the mid-ranged build competitive with other living room devices (Trying not to name any names... *cough* Ps4, XBO *cough*). Don't know if/how they plan to do it, but I really hope it's not just something we can build ourselves for cheaper. I'm also surprised they don't have an IGP solution in the mix as well for a low-mid ranged option. Maybe that will come down the line...

On a side note, they've also released the source CAD for the case for those savvy enough that want to make it themselves, which is pretty cool.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

I imagine SteamOS will be capable of being installed on a great deal of hardware. As long as it runs Steam, Valve makes money.

Duskywolf50 said:

I have no comment until I see the OS first.

1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

Don't see this taking off. Anyone who wants SteamOS will simply put in on their own home-built (and much cheaper) gaming rig.

1 person liked this | Leeky Leeky said:

Don't see this taking off. Anyone who wants SteamOS will simply put in on their own home-built (and much cheaper) gaming rig.

That might be true of those who game on a PC now, but I can see a whole bunch of living room console gamers moving over to Valve's model to take advantage of their considerably larger game portfolio.

It's easy to forget among all us enthusiasts that some consumers just aren't remotely interested in building/using a computer for gaming purposes -- this would be right up their street.

BMfan BMfan said:

A 450w with a Titan or 780,would that even work?

avoidz avoidz said:

I'm over building my own PCs (since GTA: San Andreas, many years ago), so I would welcome a pre-built gaming system that can play a large library of PC games. But it would have to be a lot cheaper than those prices.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well, there goes any dream of PC finally becoming standarized for the masses.

Here I thought Valve would take a risk and maybe take a hit to significantly reduce the price point. But these are just hand-picked PC parts assembled by someone and put into a fancy case. I don't see how exactly they plan to change the game like this.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

It's easy to forget among all us enthusiasts that some consumers just aren't remotely interested in building/using a computer for gaming purposes -- this would be right up their street.

Just like Alienware, boutique PC builders, Toshiba Quosmio laptops etc? That's all well and good while there are no alternatives, but a PS4/XBone is most definitely a viable alternative for under half the price.

Leeky Leeky said:

Just like Alienware, boutique PC builders, Toshiba Quosmio laptops etc? That's all well and good while there are no alternatives, but a PS4/XBone is most definitely a viable alternative for under half the price.

Definitely, though I suspect you'll have a much broader range of games running through Steam, not to mention PC-like graphic advances over consoles and their fixed hardware profiles. For several reasons I can see this venture being highly successful. That said, I don't think you'll see a massive shift from those high-end gaming on PCs, I'm convinced they'll be coming from game consoles.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

A 450w with a Titan or 780,would that even work?

According to nVidia, minimum recommended for a system with GTX-780 is 600w PSU (This is what it says on my GTX-780 packaging box). So I'm not sure how they plan out a system with Titan and a poultry 450w PSU...

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm sure the 600W has lots of headroom for peripherals, that would not be added to the Steam Machine. It is puzzling though why they would vary the CPU and GPU, while only listing one PSU.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm sure the 600W has lots of headroom for peripherals, that would not be added to the Steam Machine. It is puzzling though why they would vary the CPU and GPU, while only listing one PSU.

The price difference between a 450W PSU and a 400W or 350W one probably doesn't warrant the change.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The price difference between a 450W PSU and a 400W or 350W one probably doesn't warrant the change.
The question is whether the 450W is large enough. I can understand them wanting a single PSU for all configurations, but not if it will under power the top-end equipment. However I'm sure they have done several test, and know what PSU power rating they can get by with. This chart from Tom's Hardware shows the Titan topping out just under 450W total system load power consumption. There definitely is not any headroom but with the pre-built Steam Machine, there may not be any options for added peripherals.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This chart from Tom's Hardware shows the Titan topping out just under 450W total system load power consumption.

The CPU used there is the Intel Core i7-3970X, which is a 150W CPU, compared to 84W for the Core i7 4770K. I imagine that the platform may be optimised at other levels too, although this is probably enough to make sure the PSU is sufficient.

JC713 JC713 said:

Don't see this taking off. Anyone who wants SteamOS will simply put in on their own home-built (and much cheaper) gaming rig.

Yeah. Also, who needs a GTX 770 and above for gaming on Linux???

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Yeah. Also, who needs a GTX 770 and above for gaming on Linux???
You must be coming from a lack in game library perspective on Linux, that would take advantage of such high-end cards. Otherwise I'm lost from the interpretation of what you are meaning.

slamscaper slamscaper said:

Sigh... Still wish Valve would just shut up and make Half-Life 3 already.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

You must be coming from a lack in game library perspective on Linux, that would take advantage of such high-end cards. Otherwise I'm lost from the interpretation of what you are meaning.

Yeah that is really it. The lack of games is the issue. But also, Linux games use OpenGL while Windows games use DX. I am surprised Valve didnt go with AMD since the OpenGL performance on AMD cards is superior to that of nVidia. If this does take off though, I can see nVidia clamping down on OpenGL performance.

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