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Steam Machine prototype tech specs confirmed

Valve announces more details of its prototype Steam Box

Valve has confirmed the tech specs and more details for the prototype Steam Machine which is expected to be sent to about 300 testers by the end of the year.

As previously announced, Valve will ship 300 high-performance Steam Machine prototypes for free as part of a hardware beta test. Steam users can make themselves eligible for the beta test by completing the platform's 'Eligibility Quest', the details for which are through that link.

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Steam Machines released due for commercial release next year will come in a variety of forms and differing specs - some prioritising low-cost or a small form factor, others going for high performance, says Valve. The prototype will serve as a test-bed for the latter, it confirmed today.

The company says the prototype Steam Machine - specifically the one that will be sent to 300 specially selected gamers for beta testing - will be "a high-end, high-performance box, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts". But they will not all be identical, as the specs below confirm a variety of possible specifications.

Here are the specs:

  • 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

Fully upgradable, users will be able to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, and the motherboard as they see fit.

Valve says that its use of off-the-shelf parts means that "anyone can go and build exactly the same machine by shopping for components and assembling it themselves," and the firm will even share the source CAD files for the custom enclosure, should you wish to have one made. The firm held off releasing a picture of the prototypes "because they're not finished enough".

"To be clear," adds Valve, "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."

For those who already have powerful PCs, Valve goes on to hint at a simpler, low-cost Steam Machine for streaming content from an existing PC to a TV, perhaps in a similar fashion to the slim Apple TV, which wirelessly streams content from Mac and iOS devices.

"There are a lot of other Steam customers who already have perfectly great gaming hardware at home in the form of a powerful PC," says Valve.

"The prototype we're talking about here is not meant to replace that. 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."

Valve''s Steam Machine plan was revealed late in September as part of a trio of announcements related to Valve's grand plan for bringing Steam games to the living room. The firm also revealed its television-focussed operating system SteamOS, alongside a new controller designed to offer innovative new input mechanics.

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