Digital game distribution service Steam
has revealed some information about its prototype Steam Machine that it will ship to 300 Steam users for free. The prototype machines are high-end, high-performance boxes, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts. They are fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, and motherboard in a custom enclosure, which will have source CAD files available for people willing to replicate the device in its entirety.
The Linux-based machine will be either an unnamed Intel i3, i5-4570 with a peak speed of 3.6GHz, or an i7-4770 that maxes out at 3.9GHz. The GPU will be either the GTX660, GTX760, GTX780, or the recently announced Nvidia Titan. The device will have 6GB of DDR3-1600, with 3GB of DDR5 for the GPU. Storage will be a hybrid drive, with 1TB of space. All of the components will be packed in a 12 x 12.4 x 2.9-inch case, comparable in size to the Xbox Slim or PlayStation 3 Slim.
Gaming enthusiast website Kotaku
has priced out three configurations, coming in between $880 and $1,850. Steam representatives acknowledge the relatively expensive consoles as not for every consumer, and notes that "there are a lot of other Steam customers who already have perfectly great gaming hardware at home in the form of a powerful PC. 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. "