Valve has released some information describing the prototype that will be sent out for beta testing. The Steam Machines that will be sold commercially next year will be produced by different companies, and so they will ultimately differ in their specs, giving us a wide variety of low-to-high-end options. But for their prototype machine, Valve has “chosen to build something special” to give their testers. No pictures are available yet, but they have announced the specs for their special machine. And so without further ado, the hardware contained in the prototype Steam Machine is as follows:
- Dimensions: ~12 x 12.4 x 2.9
- GPU: Varies among a few NVidia units, namely Titan, GTX780, GTX760, or GTX660
- CPU: Intel, either i&-4770, i5-4570, or i3
- RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 for the CPU, 3GB DDR5 for the GPU
- Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
- Power Supply: Internal, 450W 80Plus Gold
This prototype includes higher-end, off-the-shelf hardware, and will be fully upgradable at the user’s discretion in the future. The components are nothing exactly special or unavailable commercially, though. In fact if one were so inclined, you could purchase all these parts from your favorite hardware supplier and build one yourself right now (with the exception of the case, which will be a custom build by Valve, but even the blueprint files for the case will be also released at some point in the future), and you would own your very own unofficial Steam Machine before even the testers do (sans SteamOS, of course)!
The design of the prototype is not going to be a one-size-fits-all unit, as no one machine can cater to everyone’s taste. It does seem that the prototype will have enough power to play any current games with higher-end settings, though. If you are interested in building your own machine, I’m sure you could easily make some that are more powerful, quieter, or smaller. Some of those qualities may even be selling points for the commercial units next year, to appeal to those that aren’t as tech-savvy and want to have something that just works out of the box without having to worry about upgrades.
These consoles aren’t meant to replace your existing gaming hardware, they are only meant to expand your enjoyment. Steam machines will bring your games from the small screen to the glorious big screen with everything set up and ready to go, without having to worry about the hassle of connecting your desktop computer to the living room TV that is all the way on the other side of the house. Obviously this is a benefit to all of us. I mean, who doesn’t want to play Half-Life 3 on a 50-inch television?