The Steam Machine Prototype Is Mighty Powerful
A few weeks back, Valve finally revealed their entry into the hardware industry with Steam Machines, which are basically very compact PC’s that you can experience as a console in your living room. So not unlike Alienware’s own X51’s, but the inclusion of SteamOS and a new controller do make it just a tad more exciting. And if you’re lucky enough to be selected for the beta, you’re going to be in for a treat.
Over the weekend, Valve reveled the specifications of the Steam Machines they would be sending out near the end of this year to 270 lucky Steam users, which would also make up the most powerful varient of the Steam Machines when they launch. Beta testers can expect the following on their Steam Machine beta box:
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- GPU: some units with NVidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
- CPU: some boxes with Intel : i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
- RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB DDR5 (GPU)
- Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
- Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
- Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 inches high
Valve was also quick to remind people that Steam Machines would not only come in these extremely powerful (and expensive) variants, but rather that the beta boxes are there to test what each machine could achieve when combined with the most powerful hardware on the market.
The announcement of such powerful Steam Machines makes a little less sense to me personally, as it seems like Valve has taken an idea that really didn’t work too well at Alienware and rebranded it with their own logo. Of course the inclusion of a custom controller, SteamOS and the ability to upgrade these machines in any way is somewhat of an improvement, but I highly doubt someone with nearly R20 000 to blow on a PC will look to smaller, more convenient hardware over more powerful variants that could go in a desktop. Especially when Valve has announced that they are looking at more ways to bring the desktop to the living room via streaming services.
I just don’t see what market is being aimed at here. If you’re a console gamer, you’re not likely to be enticed by a more expensive (and less powerful) offering from the cheapest Steam Machines, and if you’re a hardcore PC gamer you’re just as unlikely to convert when you know you’re paying for portability over power.
But hey, I’m just one writer disagreeing with one of the biggest game studios in the world. What do I know, right?