Steam Machines prototype specs revealed

Described as "something special," Valve's initial Steam Machines prototype is a "high-end, high-performance box" built from off-the-shelf PC parts. Valve says that anyone can go and build exactly the same machine, minus the custom enclosure.


Eventually, Valve plans on having multiple manufacturers making all kinds of Steam Machines. But until the program's formal launch next year, all eyes are on Valve's prototype machine. Three hundred of these prototypes will be distributed to gamers, and many are eager to know: what's in the box?

Described as "something special," Valve's initial prototype is a "high-end, high-performance box" built from off-the-shelf PC parts. Valve says that anyone can go and build exactly the same machine, minus the custom enclosure.

  • 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 in high

Valve points out that "this design is not meant to serve the needs of all of the tens of millions of Steam users." However, it will be "the kind of machine that a significant percentage of Steam users would actually want to purchase."

Hardware partners will undoubtedly create very different systems for a variety of potential customers. Namely, there will be systems with less beefy specs--designed to cost less, be smaller, and/or be quieter. "there will be Steam Machines that fit those descriptions," Valve promises. Based on our estimates, Valve's prototype will cost about $1300 to build using parts purchased off Newegg. Your mileage will vary, of course.

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  • reply
    October 4, 2013 12:50 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Steam Machines prototype specs revealed.

    Described as "something special," Valve's initial Steam Machines prototype is a "high-end, high-performance box" built from off-the-shelf PC parts. Valve says that anyone can go and build exactly the same machine, minus the custom enclosure.

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      October 4, 2013 12:53 PM

      > titan

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        October 4, 2013 12:56 PM

        So basically these steam machines will be as expensive as normal PCs if they are putting the Titan in some.

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          October 4, 2013 1:09 PM

          Some of them will. The lower spec'd ones will obviously be cheaper.

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            October 5, 2013 9:10 AM

            Do we have any evidence that the machines above are or are not the lowest spec? As I recall the steam announcement made no mention of a low cost/low spec machine specifically. For all we know the $900 box could be the lowest spec machine.

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              October 5, 2013 10:56 AM

              Yes, we do. Go read Gabe's comments and he flat out states there will be a steambox to fill every niche, including casual players, though not all of those will be made by Valve; most steam machines won't according to the current plan. They're planning for a wide ecosystem.

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                October 5, 2013 11:41 AM

                I may be blind but I am looking at the announcement page and see nothing referencing a machine for every niche ( I see nothing referencing a low priced machine and nothing referencing a machine for casual players, maybe I am missing something.

                Here's what I see that may be leading you to jump to that interpretation - again please correct me with a citation of the official announcement where you see something to the contrary of this:

                "Other boxes will optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors."

                "we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014"

                So I guess based on this official announcement page plus the variety of machines included in the prototype, I still can't say for sure if there is a $100 box out there. My point is that maybe the $900 i3 machine is the lowest spec model.

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                  October 5, 2013 11:48 AM

                  Based on what I am seeing, the Steam Machine itself doesn't appear to be targeted as a PC enhancement device - what I would call a device that was low priced a meant to stream games from an existing PC to the TV. It appears to be a PC replacement instead. This could change however as more information comes to light.

                  Of course you could always build your own low priced Steam Box. However, to me paying $200 to be able to stream games on my TV from my gaming rig, is a waste of money - I'd rather just move the damn thing in the TV room instead and put that $200 towards something else.

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                  October 5, 2013 3:16 PM

                  It's been in the interviews he's been giving on the subject. It's not my fault you haven't been paying attention.

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                    October 5, 2013 3:27 PM

                    Wow man, not trying to be a dick or anything. Just wanted to know where you heard it/read it so I could check it out too. Because you're giving me some snarky answer without really providing any proof - no link to a video or anything, it indicates that you may just be making things up. Not saying you are, just saying that's what it looks like.

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                      October 5, 2013 3:41 PM

                      Ok found something that closely references what you've been talking about.


                      "And to be clear, this design is not meant to serve the needs of all of the tens of millions of Steam users. It may, however, be the kind of machine that a significant percentage of Steam users would actually want to purchase - those who want plenty of performance in a high-end living room package. Many others would opt for machines that have been more carefully designed to cost less, or to be tiny, or super quiet, and there will be Steam Machines that fit those descriptions. "

                      Although this doesn't really mention anything about casual Steam Machines, I believe it is close to what you were referencing. Less in price could be $600 or it could be $60. With literally nothing substantial other than the announced $900-1900 machines to go on, I guess I am still apprehensive about the whole Steam Machine announcement.

                      I think it may be very tough for them to mass market a device that could potentially be so different across the models. I think it will potentially confuse a lot of people.

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          October 4, 2013 1:09 PM

          Prototypes having a 660GTX won't be too expensive. Essentially that's for the i3. I bet that's around a $499 price point.

          For 1080p gaming, I bet it will play ALL Source games(not saying Source 2) at max settings natively in Linux just fine. Course they are all "old" games.

          Again it's just a prototype and volume discounts from OEM's will hopefully bring these down another $100 to $399 or even $299 with less ram and a few changes here and there.

          I anticipated a $499 box as the norm, and I'd say they can probably get a 760 or by the time of release a 770 in there for that price coupled to an i3 setup.

          The 3inch height is what's crazy to me. I'm thinking it's using a daughter board to make the GFX card sit parallel with the MB. At 12x12, that's easily doable.

          What makes me laugh a little though is the fact that they are using Nvidia hardware when Nvidia has been a thorn to Linux in terms of performance, so hopefully that's changing since last i checked ATI has them beat driver wise in Linux.(This coming from an Nvidia fan)

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            October 4, 2013 1:11 PM

            if $500 is the norm, then i dont see this whole project accomplishing what they want.

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              October 4, 2013 2:14 PM

              They need to get a $100 box that is basically capable of ONLY streaming your games across the network. A Roku or Chromecast for PC games. People would buy the shit out of that. $500-$1500 bucks, no.

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                October 4, 2013 2:23 PM

                While that does fill a useful niche, Valve clearly is looking towards platform independence, which that wouldn't serve at all.

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                  October 4, 2013 5:06 PM

                  It serves a significant purpose, which is to compensate for the lack of native games currently on SteamOS. As time goes on that will be a less significant issue, and at the same time prices for the beefier machines will drop.

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                    October 4, 2013 5:12 PM

                    I didn't say it wasn't useful, I said it didn't really fit where Valve wants this to lead.

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                October 4, 2013 6:00 PM

                You can do that yourself. Just build a cheap small form factor PC and install Steam OS on it. There are already plenty of solutions.

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                  October 5, 2013 9:27 AM

                  I think the annoying thing about that is that this build you're talking about really is two machines - 1 PC running Windows to run the newest games and one low end machine to stream games to your TV using the Steam OS. You're talking $200 minimum to build a low end rig (power supply, processor, ram, graphics, case, hdd, etc).

                  Two machines is pretty inefficient and a waste of money to me, you'd be better off cutting the Steam Machine out altogether and just sticking your Windows rig under your TV instead. Just my opinion.

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              October 4, 2013 3:16 PM

              Well I think PS/Xbox being the same price means that's exactly what they want. I will however state, as I've stated before, since the majority of their games are still DX required, the first iteration I'm looking forward to see is the $1-200 range device that will stream my PC games and allow me to watch my network video files/surf the web with a full-fledged PC OS that isn't tied down like PS/Xbox is atm.

              Hopefully they can get a system in that range, though maybe 150-250 is more reasonable considering I doubt they want ATOM/SoC Steamboxes and well trying to piece together that for 150-250 unless we use older parts would be difficult to say the least.

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                October 4, 2013 5:07 PM

                I wonder if they'll sell the boxes separately from the controller. I can't see the producing that controller for under $80.

                1-200 for the stream device + aprox 80 for the controller isn't so cheap after all..

                Having said that, i'm totally onboard.

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            October 4, 2013 1:55 PM

            with nvidia working with steam on SteamOS, and releasing information on the innerworking of the cards for linux users (recent story) I'll wager that nvidia puts out it's own steamOS drivers at/or before launch.

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              October 4, 2013 4:45 PM

              Probably this. DaVinci1980 works for nvidia and was working on making steam games run in linux earlier this year.

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      October 4, 2013 2:13 PM



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      October 4, 2013 2:53 PM

      I'm guessing they are going with really high end video cards now because by the time steam machine prototypes and steamOS is ready for retail release, 20nm GPU's will be in production and will offer similar performance at a substantially lower cost than gtx780's and Titan.

      • rms legacy 10 years mercury mega
        October 4, 2013 4:22 PM

        This seems rose-tinted to me, though maybe they'll have build options?

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          October 4, 2013 6:23 PM

          I don't think they will. I think they'll sell several different pre-built options to save on costs.

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            October 4, 2013 6:23 PM

            I take that back. They might offer limited flexibility in configuration, but I would not be surprised if they leave fully customized units up to 3rd party vendors.

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      October 4, 2013 4:01 PM

      Right now all I want to know is when can I download the OS?

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      October 4, 2013 4:52 PM

      I'm guessing these specs are just for the prototype units. If these are final, then they are pricing WAY too high to gain any traction.

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        October 4, 2013 4:59 PM

        They've already said there will be steam boxes at various levels. They'll have the lower end covered, too.

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          October 5, 2013 9:22 AM

          These may be the high and low end machines. An i3 (dual core) seems pretty low end to me -

          This article prices out the configs based on off the shelf parts. They have the i3 version at $900. Very interesting choice to go exclusively with Intel/Nvidia, especially if games become optimized for AMD CPU/GPU due to their presence in all of the consoles.

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            October 5, 2013 10:58 AM

            Again, this is just for their own prototypes that are aimed at existing Steam users. There are not going to be just three machines, and not just from Valve.

            They certainly aren't going to start at $900.

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      October 4, 2013 6:41 PM

      PC gamers:

      "These consoles are shit! My 3 year old PC is faster!"

      "This console is too expensive! It's faster than my 3 year old PC!"

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        October 5, 2013 1:00 AM

        No PC gamer's gonna say that, for off-the-shelf PC parts do not a console make. Console people though, they say all kinds of crazy shit.

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      October 6, 2013 1:39 PM

      OH I GOT A STEAM MACHINE ALSO...its called my PC.

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        October 9, 2013 12:24 AM

        ikr... turns out I've had one for years...

        So I guess the news here is... uhm... there's a new fork of Linux called SteamOS... and uhh... Valve is gonna start selling PCs...


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