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Valve unveils one of the 300 Steam Machine prototypes

by Mark Tyson on 5 November 2013, 10:03

Tags: Valve

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qab4rv

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Valve invited a huddle of tech journalists to its Bellevue, Washington headquarters to have a look and a play with one of the 300 prototype Steam Machines it has built. (At least both Engadget and The Verge went along.) The living room targeted gaming PC was shown off, complete with a Steam Controller and running the SteamOS. While Valve’s own chassis design isn’t going to be mass produced it is nonetheless interesting to see it in the flesh.

The Steam Machine on demonstration contained pretty capable components with the pairing of an Intel i7 CPU and a GTX 780 GPU. The amount of RAM wasn’t disclosed and the 12-inch square and 3-inch tall chassis doesn’t have an optical drive. Valve designer Greg Coomer reminded Engadget that “We're really building this as a test platform, and there are many machines that are gonna be made by third-parties. They're the ones that will be available commercially in 2014”.

In testing the machine performed capably. The machine kept cool by keeping the three major components which can generate heat - the power supply, the CPU and the graphics card – in separate zones. Each of the aforementioned components expels its hot air from a different side of the chassis. The Verge reports that the operating Steam Machine was “surprisingly cool and quiet,” yet was still being tweaked using various 3D-printed exhaust shroud variations by Valve engineers.

The testing version of the Steam Controller isn’t the same as that which will ship with commercial Steam Machines in 2014. This prototype is wired, rather than wireless, also the centre touch screen isn’t available but simulated using the four buttons around the corners of where it will be installed. We saw a demonstration of this controller in an official Valve video in mid-October. Interestingly The Verge found out that the controller contains a gyroscope for motion control which is yet to be enabled by a software update.

Looking a bit at the SteamOS now, Engadget thought it was surprisingly limited in not being able to venture further than browsing and playing your Steam game library or the browsing the web. Also PC game streaming wasn't available to be demonstrated during this recent hands-on demo. Right now there is no streaming or media playing option but Valve is said to be in active talks with some streaming companies.

The next big thing we will see concerning Steam Machines will be the revealing of Steam Machines made by Valve’s hardware partners at the CES2014 in January. The Verge were told that machines of about a quarter of the size of the Valve prototype would be included in this initial raft of Steam Machine offerings.

Valve aiming to make Offline Mode work indefinitely

In other Steam related news EuroGamer reports that Valve is looking to enable Steam’s offline mode to work indefinitely. Valve insists that having to go online periodically to verify your account is just “a bug” and not some form of DRM. A solution is actively being worked on, we are told.



HEXUS Forums :: 24 Comments

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cute little machine, should push for some more intersting designs in cases. Certainly exciting times ahead!
is that the prototype with Titan ?
YazX
is that the prototype with Titan ?

Nope - article says:
The Steam Machine on demonstration contained pretty capable components with the pairing of an Intel i7 CPU and a GTX 780 GPU.

So no Titan.

Looking a bit at the SteamOS now, Engadget thought it was surprisingly limited in not being able to venture further than browsing and playing your Steam game library or the browsing the web.

In which my opinion of Engadget just took a movement downwards since (a) it's supposed to be a GAMES MACHINE, not an effin' PC replacement; and (b) do Engadget realize what the word "prototype" means - i.e. a basis for future development.

Oh, and Engadget, personally if I'm buying a Steam Machine, then it's primary use is GAME PLAYING. I've got tablets and PC's that are going to be better at web browsing, media etc. And since I've got a Tivo box I'm not that bothered about Netflix, Lovefilm, etc, (plus my TV and home theatre system can do VoD anyway).

Like the design a whole lot more than the XBone, especially if they add some extra design above and below the USB ports - at the moment it looks a little bit plain for my taste.
I know this is the steam box, however I hope they find someway of letting other games play on it that are out of steams reach such as Battlefield, my aunt is planning on buying an xbox to play games on however she wants to play with us but doesn't want a hefty big PC so this is perfect but she wants battlefield
crossy
Nope - article says:
So no Titan.


In which my opinion of Engadget just took a movement downwards since (a) it's supposed to be a GAMES MACHINE, not an effin' PC replacement; and (b) do Engadget realize what the word "prototype" means - i.e. a basis for future development.

Oh, and Engadget, personally if I'm buying a Steam Machine, then it's primary use is GAME PLAYING. I've got tablets and PC's that are going to be better at web browsing, media etc. And since I've got a Tivo box I'm not that bothered about Netflix, Lovefilm, etc, (plus my TV and home theatre system can do VoD anyway).

Like the design a whole lot more than the XBone, especially if they add some extra design above and below the USB ports - at the moment it looks a little bit plain for my taste.

Whats the point of the box though??

Its going to be the cost of the parts of a pre-built gaming PC plus the builders markup and unlike a console how long is the hardware going to be relevant?? 5 years?? 2 years?? Its going to expensive for what it is and I doubt it will last anywhere as long as a console.

See people buy it and start bitching and moaning when their £1000+ Tier 1 Steambox is consigned to the meh bin 18 months later,when their mates £600 MK2 Tier 3 SteamBox is better.

Will a 5 year old SteamBox run all games on Steam fine with good framerates??

This is just basicially an Alienware X51 but made by Valve.

Why would anyone want to buy an expensive PC when it is so locked down?? The main reason I have a SFF gaming PC,is because when I am not gaming,I can use it for other things too and its one box which is not too large.

Engadget are right on the money here.

If people want a locked down piece of hardware,you buy a PS4 or XBox One. It will last you 5 to 8 years and the hardware is cheap too and remains relevant for that time.

This is one of the reasons people buy consoles - they do not need to worry about whether the hardware will work fine for years and they know they won't need to spend more on console hardware upgrades.

The SteamBox looks like the bastard son of a console and a gaming PC with the worst of both in terms of cost and longevity.

Console games cost more upfront,but console games still have a secondhand market unlike PC games,and consoles gamers are unlikely to buy a 100 games a year anyway.

I have been building SFF PCs for nearly 8 years now. I would rather build a fully functional box for less.