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In a bid to reduce the number of hardware-related issues with Steam Machines that were last quarter sent to beta testers, Valve Software chose to reduce support of hardware by SteamOS operating system. However, as PC makers are getting ready to enter the market with their Steam Machines, support of hardware has to be brought back, which is exactly what the company did on Thursday.

The beta Steam Machines only supported microprocessors designed by Intel Corp. and select graphics processing units developed by Nvidia Corp. With the new “alchemist” update for SteamOS, Valve added support for AMD microprocessors and AMD Radeon graphics processors (Radeon HD 5000-series and newer) as well as enabled operation of Intel integrated graphics engines. Existing SteamOS installs should update themselves automatically.

Based on specifications of first-generation Steam Machines released earlier this week, it is obvious that the vast majority of PCs will use Intel microprocessors and the higher share of systems will utilize Nvidia GeForce graphics solutions. The reasons behind hardware choice are not completely clear. While it is apparent that Intel’s Core microprocessors are faster than AMD’s offerings in games, AMD Radeon and Nvidia GeForce demonstrate comparable performance on equally-priced graphics cards. Perhaps, AMD’s Linux drivers are still not as good as Nvidia’s?

Valve’s SteamOS is a Linux-based operating system developed with video games and entertainment in mind. In SteamOS, Valve claims it has achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing and is now working on audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level.

Running on any personal computer in a living room, SteamOS will provide access to games and user-generated content available on Steam distribution service. SteamOS-based PCs can stream video games over a home network straight to a TV. Family sharing allows gamers to take turns playing one another’s games while earning own Steam achievements and saving individual game progress to the Steam cloud. Eventually, SteamOS will also gain compatibility with music, TV and video distribution services.

SteamOS will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines. SteamOS is pre-installed on Steam Machines gaming PCs available from different PC makers.

Tags: Valve, SteamOS, AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Radeon, Geforce, Steam Box, Steam Machine

Discussion

Comments currently: 3
Discussion started: 01/11/14 05:26:38 AM
Latest comment: 01/11/14 03:21:01 PM

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1. 
Nvidia's great hope.... will not provide tough competition for the consoles due to the lack of diverse content.
1 3 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 01/11/14 05:26:38 AM]
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2. 
The reasons behind hardware choice are not completely clear

to me neither considering the quote below

"Linus Torvalds received the Millennium prize last week for his work on Linux operating system. He was already in Finland, so Aalto University arranged a talk session with him (video). During the Q&A, a person asks why NVIDIA does not play well with Linux. Torvalds explained shortly that NVIDIA has been one of the worst companies to work with Linux project — which makes it even worse that NVIDIA ships a high number of chips for Android devices (which use Linux inside). Torvalds even summarized that ('Nvidia, f*** you!') in a playful manner. What has been your experience on NVIDIA drivers with Linux?"
3 1 [Posted by: Igor Wollersheim  | Date: 01/11/14 12:44:49 PM]
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3. 
"..Based on specifications of first-generation Steam Machines released earlier this week, it is obvious that the vast majority of PCs will use Intel microprocessors and the higher share of systems will utilize Nvidia GeForce graphics solutions.."

Why that is just specious reasoning that most systems will use "Intel microprocessors and the higher share of systems will utilize Nvidia GeForce graphics" as a choice, as Debian Linux will run just fine on any X86 based ISA(AMD or Intel), same goes for the steam client! For that matter, what does the beta test systems' x86 based hardware/Nivida based Graphics, have to do with the, post beta test, release to market code/OS/steam client software, and hardware, which the OEMs and custom rig builders will choose to build their systems around? The only reason Valve chose Intel/Nvidia for the test development BETA platforms was because AMD did NOT have the Linux based drivers ready, for Valve to include any AMD CPU/APU based x86, or amd GPU based discrete graphics product in the BETA test units. How do you Know that Valve has not already produced some in house testing rigs built around AMD x86 ISA and AMD BASED APU/Descrete GPU SKUs, they must have had to have this AMD hardware available to deploy and certify the AMD drivers with the STEAM OS/ STEAM client on in house test units! It would be safe to assume that Valve has a complete set of testing mules, based around most of the Intel SKUs, as well as the AMD and Nvidia SKUs(integrated and discrete), and I'll even wager that Valve has some Nvidia K1, and other ARM based testing mule platforms that they are using to evaluate for some tablet based Steam OS/Steam Client based systems! There may be many more platforms running STEAM OS/Steam Client in the future.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc! A little Much, No?
3 0 [Posted by: BigChiefRunAmok  | Date: 01/11/14 03:21:01 PM]
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