by Anton Shilov
10/04/2013 | 11:00 PM
Valve Software, a developer of popular video games and the owner of Steam video game distribution service, on Friday finally disclosed specifications of its prototype Steam Machines, personal computers running SteamOS designed to fit into interior of living rooms. While the characteristics of the boxes impress, they clearly point to the fact that Valve basically wants high-end PCs with SteamOS to be installed into living rooms.
Valve stressed that when it set out to create its own prototype Steam Machine “console” hardware, it wanted to accomplish some specific design goals that in the past others were not tackling. One of them was to combine high-end power with a living-room-friendly form-factor, another was to help it test living-room scenarios on a box that is as open as possible. For its own prototype Steam Machines, Valve has chosen to build something special, high-end, high-performance boxes, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts.
Specifications of 300 Steam Machine prototypes, which will be sent to beta testers, look as follows:
The systems are fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, even the motherboard. Apart from the custom enclosure, anyone can go and build exactly the same machine by shopping for components and assembling it themselves.
“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. In the future we will talk about how Steam will help customers understand the differences between machines, hardware strengths and weaknesses, and upgrade decisions,” a statement by Valve reads.
Valve has not published pictures of its own Steam Machine prototype due to the fact that the design has not been finalized. Besides, Valve said it expects people to redesign the machines both from a technical perspective, deciding on different components, and from an industrial design perspective, changing the enclosure in interesting ways.