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

The 300 prototypes will feature a variety of Intel processors and Nvidia graphics cards inside.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

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.

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