Nvidia's GeForce division has announced a new range of incredibly high-end gaming PCs called GeForce GTX Battleboxes, making a clear statement of intent as the AMD-powered next generation of consoles prepares to take the stage.
Much like Valve's Steam machines, these PCs are based on target spec and specific components, with several manufacturing and reselling partners chosen to build, price and retail the units. Each reseller's precise specification varies, but all will bear the "hallmark" of the GeForce GTX Battlebox brand. Key to each is an SLI configuration of GTX 780 or Titan cards, backed up by i7 processors and other high-end components. 4K output support is also high on the agenda.
"We are pleased to announce we're working with system builders around EMEAI to help introduce a new breed of elite gaming PCs, called the 'Battlebox'", says Nvidia's release. "Designed to deliver the fastest frame rates for this winter's most anticipated game titles. Battleboxes are constructed with the fastest hardware imaginable, including the latest GeForce GTX GPUs and Intel Ivy Bridge-E CPUs.
"For gamers who are looking for intense and highly coordinated skirmishes on the virtual battlefield, the Battlebox will be their weapon of choice when configured with an Intel Haswell CPU, a 4K monitor sporting a resolution of 3840x2160 and dual GeForce GTX 780 or higher GPUs running in SLI configuration. The combination of this potent hardware will help gamers secure victory in their favourite PC games, while experiencing consistently playable frame rates and buttery-smooth animation when mowing down their competition.
"Gamers looking for the ultimate action this year have need look no further than the impressive system builders who have signed up as Battlebox recruits, including: Scan, PC Specialist, Chillblast, Cyberpower, Dino PC, ComputerPlanet along with more than 30 others worldwide."
In a more in-depth detailing on Nvidia's site, the manufacturer's guns are brought more openly to bear of the trophies of Microsoft and Sony, quashing their rhetoric about which platform is best with a stream of PC-centric technical jargon.
"Batman: Arkham Origins features console-destroying graphics, advanced GPU-accelerated NVIDIA PhysX effects, DirectX 11 Tessellation, NVIDIA HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion, NVIDIA TXAA anti-aliasing, NVIDIA Bokeh and Depth of Field, and NVIDIA Percentage-Closer Soft Shadows," a passage on the website opens. "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has graphics better than those of any next-gen console, plus Tessellation, HBAO+, PCSS, TXAA, and advanced Godrays. Call of Duty: Ghosts has the best graphics of any system, bolstered by DX11, PhysX, and Tessellation. And the massively anticipated Watch Dogs has better-than-next-gen graphics, backed by HBAO+, and TXAA."
Whilst it makes clear business sense to be making a push at this point, and branded PC lines designed to show off new tech are nothing new, things are a little different this time around. Nvidia has previously had a hand in console manufacture, perhaps lending it a softer view of the market, but this generation has seen it shut out of the equation. With AMD set to make the most of those potentially lucrative contracts and Valve's Steam machines coming ever closer, are we seeing Nvidia make its first tentative steps towards tossing a hat into the platform ring?