Valve details specs for Linux-based Steam Machine prototype gaming PCs

Valve details specs for Linux-based Steam Machine prototype gaming PCs

Summary: The 300 prototypes will feature a variety of Intel processors and Nvidia graphics cards inside.

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TOPICS: PCs, Hardware, Linux
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Valve continues to mete out slowly information about its forthcoming Linux-powered Steam Machine living room gaming consoles.

Last week, it provided details on how you could qualify to obtain one of the 300 prototype units to be released sometime before the year's end. While it didn't offer many details about what was inside those prototypes, we did know that Nvidia graphics would be featured.

Another week has gone by, and Valve has parceled out a few more nuggets about the Steam Machine. It looks like the prototype systems will have specs similar to Windows-based gaming PCs. In particular, they will make use of a variety of Intel Core processors, with the quad-core Core i7-4770 mentioned specifically. No AMD in sight here. They will also come with 16GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and storage ranging from 1TB to 8TB via hybrid disk drives.

In terms of graphics, lower-end Steam Machine prototypes will include the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660; others will feature GTX 760 or GTX 780 cards, while the upper echelon systems will come with GeForce GTX Titan monster cards. 

Valve makes the point that the Steam Machine prototypes were built from off-the-shelf parts, and that future Steam Machines will be user upgradable. While that isn't different than Windows gaming PCs, it's definitely different from gaming consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation, which usually only allow storage upgrades by its users.

Like traditional computers, you will be able to use a keyboard and mouse with a Steam Machine, though you'll most likely want to rely on the new Steam Controller for your gaming. That controller, as shown above, eschews the thumbsticks we've come to associate with console gaming, offering dual trackpads instead.

The last thing mentioned by Valve is that not all potential Steam gamers will want to buy an additional PC for living room gaming. For these users, the company is teasing a streaming solution that would conceivably use your existing system to beam Steam games to your HDTV in another room. Not surprisingly, more details will follow about that.

Have you applied for one of the Steam Machine prototype units? What do you think of their specs? Let us know in the Talkback section below.

Topics: PCs, Hardware, Linux

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Talkback

97 comments
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  • This is gonna flop

    Big time!
    adacosta38
    • Why?

      Linux can handle the load, the drivers, the application, even the graphics.

      It may fail due to the hardware being too expensive, but I doubt that.
      jessepollard
      • Problem is how this device will be better than a gaming PC with same specs

        The cost of this device will be similar as a home build gaming PC.If you spend $1000-$3000 on the hardware, just a few extra games and software can justify paying $120 for a windows licence.
        Oden79
        • Exclusives

          So, you are saying if it has some exclusives like Half Life 3 it could turn it into a success.
          John Lauro
          • Maybe

            Problem is that there are loads of games that is "Windows exclusive"
            Oden79
          • Games that are "Windows exclusive"

            More and more that is a Windows user's choice or dilemma, thanks to Microsoft's decision to make dual booting Lin/Win a thing of the past with its instance on Secure Boot for Win8 and up. a decision that Redmond may come to regret.

            Your "Windows Gaming" argument and all the ones that follow on this thread would have an easy solution in the past with a dual boot machine, but that is not the case today.

            Before the advent of Microsoft insisting on all Win8 and up PCs be secure boot only I would say you have a point about not limiting one's self to one OS choice for gaming by installing Linux on a Win PC or vice-versa and having the best of both worlds, but alas it is not to be and my choice is to go for the Linux only option because that is where I see the future of game development thriving.
            InformationRetrieval
          • A little research goes a long way....

            "More and more that is a Windows user's choice or dilemma, thanks to Microsoft's decision to make dual booting Lin/Win a thing of the past with its instance on Secure Boot for Win8 and up. a decision that Redmond may come to regret. "

            This (non-)issue has been covered quite a bit in the past and it is fairly well-known that it is not really an issue at all. Especially in the context of PC gaming rigs where users are tweaking their machines to the nth degree. Without beating a dead horse with the whole "you can turn it off" argument, I'll point out the other problem with that argument - most people building "gaming rigs" these days are doing so by buying the parts themselves (motherboard, CPU, etc). Most off-the-shelf motherboards have Secure Boot disabled from the factory.

            So no - dual-booting today isn't any different than it was 10 years ago, except that where hardcore gamers previously dual-booted one version of Windows for gaming and another for general computing, now they have the choice of dual-booting to a gaming-specific Linux OS.
            daftkey
          • Easiest way tomake sure HL3 is a failure

            is to tie it to this new system.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • Half Life 3

            They will NEVER make HL3 exclusive... at most and I say, at MOST they could give it some extra DLC or something and not even sure about that one... it would be suicide...

            On another note, I don't see the appeal for the steam machine... will be to expensive for the console crowd... will be to similar for the pc crowd ... not sure who it's aiming at... it's trying to be another "Alienware" while using the steal brand as a means of getting attention. Sorry, but no.
            DJK2
          • Steam = Steam

            Fixed type :)
            DJK2
          • Sigh... STEAL = STEAM

            Fixed typo in my typo fixing, sorry it's late LOL
            DJK2
          • Half Life 3

            I agree it's not likely to be a full exclusive, but I could see it being a timed exclusive for Linux and Steam Box.
            John Lauro
          • Why make it exclusive?

            It is enough to make sure "their" Linux runs it better than anything else around. This is trivial, given how generic Windows graphics drivers are and how difficult is to optimize for unknown targets. In this case, Steam knows what to optimize for.

            Any gamer could care less what the "OS" in the box is, as long as it runs their game better.
            danbi
          • Emulation runs better?

            Most gamers like to continue running games they purchased years ago. While some are willing to resort to tools like DosBox to run ancient games, running anything current in an emulator is never better perfornance than running it with the native OS it was designed for.

            This box will appeal to those with lots of money to throw at gaming who are also gadget freaks. I doubt many will be making a huge effort to run legacy games on it, but they will likely buy new titles to justify their purchase unless it's determined the game actually runs worse on the thing than on other things.

            Only a small subset of PC owners have the technical wherewithal and inclination to upgrade their boxes as time goes by. Closed console systems have about a 5 year life span; and when new models come out, it is always with state-of-the-art components, knowing that after 5 years, it's going to be sad compared to what's hot today. Gimping some of the machines with low-end graphic processors will just further confuse the market and hinder an adoption process that could take several years to take hold (ala Xbox).

            This is not a device born of market demand, but of personal vengeance. I can imagine any likely scenario that would enable it to succeed at this time.
            jvitous
          • "state-of-the-art components"

            Good one! Consoles come out with the previous generation's middle end graphic card, and no one in their right state of mind would think that a console's graphics could look better than what comes out of a slightly outdated graphic card.
            Benoît Brummer
          • Exclusives

            Because that strategy worked so well with Microsoft in keeping their tablet version of Office exclusive to Windows-based machines..
            jvitous
          • Exclusives....

            "Exclusives...Because that strategy worked so well with Microsoft in keeping their tablet version of Office exclusive to Windows-based machines.."

            XBox... Halo...
            daftkey
          • That's cute... Calling Halo an exclusive...

            since the first time I played Halo happened to be on a Mac and the first time I played Halo 2 happened to be on a PC.
            Champ_Kind
          • Re: "That's cute..."

            "...That's cute... Calling Halo an exclusive..since the first time I played Halo happened to be on a Mac and the first time I played Halo 2 happened to be on a PC."

            What year was that, exactly? Between its release in 2001 and its port to PC/Mac in 2003, it was only available on the XBox. It also is pretty much the one and only reason that the XBox could even compete in sales against the PS2 at the time. And all this for a game that was originally being developed only for the Mac by a software company that was Mac-specific.

            Not sure what the definition beside "exclusive" says in your dictionary, but someone who does his gaming on a Mac shouldn't be throwing the word "cute" around too much.
            daftkey
          • daftkey...You're brilliant!

            Don't know who you are but as I read through these comments, I keep coming across ones that make me say "Yes! That's EXACTLY what I was just thinking but couldn't articulate as well." And all these comments I find myself agreeing with are yours. You're brilliant. Thank you for saying so clearly and accurately what I keep thinking.
            CharlesBarnes