Valve's living room-friendly, Linux-based Steam Machines are on the horizon, and Valve designer Greg Coomer has offered up more details on the round of prototype hardware that's due to ship to 300 select Steam users.
Here are a few of the key points from a blog post from Coomer
- He reiterated that a "variety of companies" will be making Steam Machines. "Some of those companies will be capable of meeting the demands of lots of Steam users very quickly, some will be more specialized and lower volume. The hardware specs of each of those machines will differ, in many cases substantially, from our prototype," he said.
- Coomer said the purpose of Steam Machines is to address holes in the living room game market that other game companies are not addressing. "One of them was to combine high-end power with a living-room-friendly form factor. Another was to help us test living-room scenarios on a box that's as open as possible."
- As previously stated, the prototype is built from off-the-shelf parts (notably, this is a key trait of disruptive technologies). Users can swap out the insides at will.
- Valve is even making the prototype's custom enclosure open for tinkering: "We'll also share the source CAD files for our enclosure, in case people want to replicate it as well," Coomer said.
Here are the specs for the 300 Steam Machine Prototypes. They range from mid-range hardware to high-end boxes that sport a $1,000 graphics card (see Nvidia's Titan):
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
Coomer said Valve isn't ready to post pictures of the prototype, but the dimensions give you an idea of the size of the box – about one square foot around and three inches high.
He added some more clarity on Valve's strategy with the Steam Machines, stating that a lot of Steam users are happy with their current PC setups, and Steam Machines are not meant to replace those rigs.
"Many of those users would like to have a way to bridge the gap into the living room without giving up their existing hardware and without spending lots of money. We think that's a great goal, and we're working on ways to use our in-home streaming technology to accomplish it - we'll talk more about that in the future," said Coomer.
Steam Machines are due to go on sale for the public sometime next year.