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Alienware, GigaByte, Origin PC all making Steam Machines

Alienware, GigaByte, Origin PC all making Steam Machines

Tue 07 Jan 2014 8:13am GMT / 3:13am EST / 12:13am PST
Hardware

Valve reveals list of twelve first generation manufacturers for hardware

Valve has revealed that the first twelve Steam Machines currently in production with manufacturers like Alienware and Origin PC and will go on sale later this year starting at $499.

"The first generation Steam Machines offers something for every gamer, which is a critical part of extending Steam into the living room," said Valve's Gabe Newell.

"With over 3,000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it's important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them."

The full list of manufacturers for the first dozen machines is:

  • Alienware
  • Alternate
  • CyberPowerPC
  • Digital Storm
  • Falcon NW
  • GigaByte
  • iBuyPower
  • Maingear
  • Material.net
  • Next Spa
  • Origin PC
  • Scan
  • Webhallen
  • Zotac

In its CES literature, reported Polygon, Valve also listed specs and prices for some of those machines.

Alternate - $1339

  • CPU - Intel Core i5 4570
  • Graphics - Gigabyte GTX 760
  • RAM - 16GB
  • Storage - 1TB SSHD

CyberPowerPC - $499 and up

  • CPU - AMD/Intel Core i5 CPU
  • Graphics - AMD Radeon R9 270/Nvidia GTX 760
  • RAM - 8GB
  • Storage - 500GB

Digital Storm Bolt 2 - $2,584

  • CPU - Intel Core i7 4770K
  • Graphics - GTX 780 Ti
  • RAM - 16GB
  • Storage - 1TB HDD + 120 GB SSD

Gigabyte Brix Pro - TBD

  • CPU - Intel Core i7-4770R
  • Graphics - Intel Iris Pro 5200
  • RAM - 2 x 4GB
  • Storage - 1TB SATA 6Gb/sata

Falcon Northwest - $1,799 to $6000

  • CPU - customisable
  • Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan
  • RAM - 8 to 16 GB
  • Storage - up to 6 TB
  • CPU - Quad core AMD or Intel
  • Graphics - Radeon GCN Graphics
  • RAM - 8GB

Materiel.net - $1,098

  • CPU - Intel Core i5 4440
  • Graphics - MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC
  • RAM - 8GB
  • Storage - 8 GB + 1 TB SSHD

Next SPA - price TBD

  • CPU - Intel Core i5
  • Graphics - Nvidia GT 760
  • RAM - 8GB
  • Storage - 1TB

Origin PC Chronos - price TBD

  • CPU - Intel Core i7 4770K (3.9 to 4.6 GHz)
  • Graphics - 2 x 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX Titans
  • CPU - Intel Core i3 4000M
  • Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M
  • RAM - 8GB
  • Storage - 500GB

Webhallen - $1,499

  • CPU - Intel Core i7
  • Graphics - Nvidia GT 780
  • RAM - 16GB
  • Storage - 1TB SSHD

Zotac - $599

  • CPU - Intel Core (TBD)
  • Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX
  • RAM - TBD
  • Storage - TBD

"We are not looking to compete with console pricing," said Digital Storm's director of product development Rajeev Kuruppu.

"We're taking aim at the high end of the market, targeting consumers that demand the best possible gaming experience and who are looking for a PC capable of playing any title on their new 4K display."

Valve's Pierre-Loup A. Griffais also updated the Steam Community with the news "Intel graphics are now supported out of the box; AMD graphics support still being worked on."

Valve announced its Linux based SteamOS and the Steam Controller in September, and that month Newell also spoke a little about Valve's plans for the future.

"We really don't think the fragmentation around the physical location and input devices of computation is either necessary or desirable for software developers or consumers..." he told Linuxcon attendees.

"Obviously, if that's the direction you're going in, Linux is the obvious basis for that. None of the proprietary, closed platforms are going to be able to provide that grand unification between mobile, the living room and the desktop."

25 Comments

Jakub Mikyska
CEO

199 1,091 5.5
Valve is being extremely smart. They are enjoying all the joys of being a platform holder (game sales royalties, licensing of hardware/peripherals), without all the pains (designing a box, putting it on shelves). It reminds me of the 3DO. Hopefully, this will be more successful.

I don't think this will kill the current consoles, mainly because it is just so much fragmented, but we may have a fourth major player in a pond that can hardly feed three big fishes already.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jakub Mikyska on 7th January 2014 8:47am

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Craig Burkey
Software Engineer

153 143 0.9
They need a date for Half Life 3 if they want this to take off

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
Everyone I expected, then again it is the bulk of PC manufacturers.

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Scott Davis
Games Analyst

18 30 1.7
Popular Comment
I'm finding it hard to understand and there really seems to be some confusion among people (from what I've read online this morning) on the benefits of buying a steam machine over a regular PC.

Surely SteamOS is a platform aimed at hardcore PC gamers that want a purely games focused PC as I can't see the mid-core or casual PC audiences buying into that kind of ecosystem at that price. But the hardcore PC gamerbase are some of the smartest, ear-to-the-ground audiences out there. They are smart enough to see that these machines are way too overpriced and are way too closed when compared to a machine they can just build themselves for a fraction of the cost whilst continuing to enjoy using steam and any other features other more open OS's offer.

Am i missing something, or are these not just more expensive closed-OS PC's with no advertised exclusive advantage (yet) over something I could buy in PC-World or build myself?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Scott Davis on 7th January 2014 9:56am

Posted:7 months ago

#4

Christian Keichel
Journalist

626 853 1.4
CyberPowerPC - $499 and up

CPU - AMD/Intel Core i5 CPU
Graphics - AMD Radeon R9 270/Nvidia GTX 760
RAM - 8GB
Storage - 500GB
I doubt they will be capable to sell a Steam Box with an i5 and a GTX760 for $499, the cheapest i5 systems with an 760 GPU are sold way beyond $499 right now, so I guess this is the price of the AMD Box.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 7th January 2014 10:02am

Posted:7 months ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
@ Scott
Am i missing something, or are these not just more expensive closed-OS PC's with no advertised exclusive advantage (yet) over something I could buy in PC-World or build myself?
Well, they're all going to come with the open Linux-based SteamOS pre-installed. That'll offset the price of the machine a little, since they'll be no Windows license fee baked into the price. Aside from that, they're aiming at a semi-casual PC crowd who think that PC gaming is tricky to get into, requires a lot of constant upgrading, or requires a lot of technical expertise; they can also aim at the hardcore console gaming crowd, who don't want the hassle of faffing with Windows and installer-files. Presumably the SteamOS boots straight into Steam's Big Picture Mode, and from there it's just install and play (much like a console).

Essentially, Steam Machines are the answer to "Why can't I buy a decent gaming PC and have games just work". The Machines themselves aren't particularly aimed at hardcore PC gamers (since that crowd can mostly build their own), but the OS is interesting for that market, if only because it'll get more developers onto the Linux platform. :)

Edit: And depending upon how the prices pan out, they might not be that over-priced, considering that building your own PC is cheap, but also a little time-consuming, and expensive if you cock-up.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 7th January 2014 10:27am

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
Am i missing something, or are these not just more expensive closed-OS PC's with no advertised exclusive advantage (yet) over something I could buy in PC-World or build myself?
I think you are, because the idea is that these boxes come in many configurations from really cheap to really expensive (and more high end).

I personally think it could suit a casual or console gamer, who wants the games and Steam ecosystem without the baggage involved with the rest of the computer (which they may not want or need).

Posted:7 months ago

#7

Christian Keichel
Journalist

626 853 1.4
I think you are, because the idea is that these boxes come in many configurations from really cheap to really expensive (and more high end).
That's the problem, $499 isn't exactly really cheap and I doubt we will see anything cheaper then that.

Posted:7 months ago

#8

Anthony Gowland
Lead Designer

173 531 3.1
Some staggeringly ugly & expensive bits of hardware there - completely missing the market that exists for cheap, no fuss, s.o-friendly bit of gaming kit to stick under your TV.

Posted:7 months ago

#9

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,148 928 0.8
That's the problem, $499 isn't exactly really cheap and I doubt we will see anything cheaper then that.
Its a doubt not a certainty. I would expect low, medium and high end configurations eventually. It was part of the ambition and eventually, AMD and Intel graphics chipsets will gain support, offering more variety and competition in that department.

There is no need for all Steam Machine current and future to be 'more expensive gaming PCs', which in my mind, even at the current price ranges they're not. Most would spend more.

Posted:7 months ago

#10

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Microsoft have lost the plot.
Windows has become bloatware that takes up huge computing resources and which demands huge operating overheads. It is a long way from what most of its users want.
We are seeing this with mobile computing where Chromebooks are far better in every way for most users. So their sales have exploded.
For gaming Valve are providing an OS that is much more highly optimised for its job than Windows is and which does away with all the bloat.
People complain about the cost of the hardware standard, but competition and Moore's law will soon see prices tumbling.

I see Steam being bigger than the three home gaming consoles put together. It will quickly become the OS of choice for PC gaming. Which means it will become the OS of choice for serious dedicated gamers. However big that market really is.

All this depends on Valve not screwing up. We should be pretty safe with Gabe.

Posted:7 months ago

#11

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

1,071 1,005 0.9


I suppose you can call those $300 the hype tax people have to pay for the branding. Which seems to describe this first round of Steam machines. They are not direct console competition, they are vanity versions for PC enthusiasts.

Posted:7 months ago

#12

Lewis Brown
Snr Sourcer/Recruiter

195 54 0.3


I have a console plugged into my TV and that's unlikely to change so how does this fit into my life? My PC does need upgrading but I do use it primarily as a PC? maybe I am just not part of the target market?

I think I am just too much of a luddite....

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lewis Brown on 7th January 2014 2:52pm

Posted:7 months ago

#13

Christian Keichel
Journalist

626 853 1.4
Its a doubt not a certainty. I would expect low, medium and high end configurations eventually.
Not a certainity right now, but I think, the fact, that configurations from 12 different manufacturers are known at this point and none is below $499 is a strong indication, that at least these 12 manufacturers aren't planning anything cheaper right now. I also think it's a safe bet, that the market will be extremely crowded, when 12 manufacturers release their various machines within the next year, so I have the feeling we will not see many more boxes then these.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 7th January 2014 3:54pm

Posted:7 months ago

#14

Martin Klima
Executive Producer

26 50 1.9
@Bruce: the reason Android tablets sell better than Windows ones is that they are cheaper, not that they are better. I have Surface Pro and I am very happy with it (happier than with any Android device I own), but I understand not everybody is willing to fork out $1,000 for device to consume Facebook on. However, what SteamBox seems to be doing is the exact opposite: they are creating a box that is both more expensive and less capable (in as much that you cannot use it for anything else beyond games). I fail to see the appeal of this approach.

Posted:7 months ago

#15

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
they are creating a box that is both more expensive and less capable (in as much that you cannot use it for anything else beyond games).
Well, the bolded parted is obviously not going to be the case. Steam Machines are simply PCs with a streamlined Linux OS, which means that I have no doubt that there'll be ways to use them as fully functioning PCs (the Wiki entry for the OS states "Users can, however, access the inbuilt GNOME desktop environment and perform tasks like installing other software"). This'll no doubt be streamlined for ease-of-use closer to release. On top of that, it's already been stated that it'll be possible to Dual-Boot SteamOS and Windows, so even if you don't want or like Linux, they'll perform as standard Windows PCs. You can even be entirely contrary and buy a Steam Machinesimply to hook up to a monitor on a desk in a standard PC configuration. A bit pointless considering it's aimed at the Living Room, but still... :)

Also, let's bear in mind that the PC isn't just a games and work machine. Streaming services like Lovefilm/Netflix/IPlayer/Spotify aren't just the domain of the consoles. I'm sure Spotify or Lovefilm would love a hook-up to the 65 million Steam accounts. Steam already has a "Link my profile to Facebook" button. I'm sure a "Link my profile to Ultraviolet account" button isn't far behind.
I fail to see the appeal of this approach.
Perhaps because, shockingly, neither you nor I are the target market. :p

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 7th January 2014 5:41pm

Posted:7 months ago

#16

Christopher Ingram
Editor-at-Large

52 42 0.8
SteamOS is Linux and the Linux community will have these boxes being dual-boot compatible in no time, I have no doubt of this.

The Linux community is an ever-growing entity in and of itself and if/when these gamers see the advantages and possibilities that many of the newer Linux packages offer, I think the SteamBox will be just as good for the Linux community as it is for Valve and PC gaming as a whole.

I find it hysterical when I show people the things I can do in Linux Mint 16, especially when they realise that Linux can run competitor's OS in a virtual environment.

I think that SteamOS is being intentionally kept closed for optimisation and development purposes. Once it's released - what's the point of keeping the system closed? That's goes against the very nature of what Linux and open source software stands for.

Also, you could purchase a SteamBox, wipe it and install whatever you want too.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Ingram on 7th January 2014 5:59pm

Posted:7 months ago

#17

Craig Page
Programmer

382 218 0.6
Steam is great as a store, it has a lot of games, and it's good at helping you discover games you want but never knew you wanted.

It's DRM / Big Picture though... The more I use it the more I hate it. It's just always getting in the way, I go to start up Sim City 4 but I can't because Steam wants to start up first and take 20 seconds doing who knows what. It even gets in the way of shutting down your computer. Their "Big Picture" mode is just marketing material, you can't actually play any game with just a controller, at some point you have to use a mouse to go through the Steam dialogs and menus. (unless they've fixed it since Borderlands 2)

So what's the point of Steam OS? Most of their games in the store were written to run on Windows. Can Steam OS run Visual Studio, Unity, Open Office, anything? Then on top of that it comes on computers that all cost 2-3 times what their parts are worth...

Posted:7 months ago

#18

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
at some point you have to use a mouse to go through the Steam dialogs and menus. (unless they've fixed it since Borderlands 2)
Steam Controller... :p

Though, yeah, admittedly, if you're going to use it for anything other than gaming, wireless keyboard/mouse are going to be the first things bought.
Can Steam OS run Visual Studio, Unity, Open Office, anything?
Can Linux run them? That's the thing to ask. Unity? Sure, that runs on Linux. Open Office? Well, it was designed as an alternative to MS Office, so, yeah. :D Visual Studio? Only in a VM, as near as I can tell? But there will only be more compatibility with programs in the future, not less.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 7th January 2014 7:17pm

Posted:7 months ago

#19

Pier Castonguay
Programmer

189 106 0.6
"With over 3,000 games and more than 65 million gamers on Steam, it's important to offer gamers a variety of Steam Machines that allow them to select what makes the most sense for them."
The number of games that run natively on Linux (hence on the SteamMachine) is not even a tenth of this. I still don't understand what Valve is trying to do. I tried SteamOS and was severely disappointed. I was expecting a unix system remake from the ground up (like Android/MacOS), but it's just a stripped-down Debian distribution with a few minor patches. It bring nothing new to the Linux world.

edit: I would see a nice market for boxes streaming from the gamer desktop PC in the bedroom to the living room, but since none of the announced box is under $100 they missed this market.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pier Castonguay on 7th January 2014 9:01pm

Posted:7 months ago

#20

Murray Lorden
Game Designer & Developer

199 72 0.4
Interesting. I'd consider getting a SteamBox for around $500 at some point, if it really offers the ability to play most of the games available at reasonable graphics settings at a good framerate (I don't mind not playing at the maxed out graphics settings).

My PC is a bit long in the tooth. And I believe I could also build my own Linux machine to use as a SteamBox if I wanted as well, yeah? So there's always that option (that was the idea I got a few months ago, anyway).

The manufacturers above just offer pre-built machines. I've always thought that hyped up "gamer machines" like Alienware machines were ridiculously expensive, and that you could save money by making your own, and tweaking exactly which components you want, and for what price. I guess that'll always be the case.

Posted:7 months ago

#21

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,512 1,294 0.9
@ Pier
edit: I would see a nice market for boxes streaming from the gamer desktop PC in the bedroom to the living room, but since none of the announced box is under $100 they missed this market.
There is, no doubt, going to be a sub-$200/$100 streaming device. There's already tit-bits of info coming out about the Streaming options ( http://steamcommunity.com/groups/homestream ), but, let's face it, announcing a streaming Machine before the Streaming Beta has even started was never going to happen. Let's not forget that this is just the opening line of mid and top-range Machines, and that a sub-$100 streaming Machine may be great for us (I'll buy one straight away), but it's not big news for the console gamers and mainstream crowd, who don't have a decent PC capable of doing the grunt work.

And one last thing: These have been announced at the CES. This isn't, specifically, a games show. E3 is probably where the major gaming reveals will happen. :)

Posted:7 months ago

#22

Steve Wetz
Reviewer/Assistant Editor

195 495 2.5
Just sell me the damn controller. I have enough money problems without buying a $1,000 PC-console hybrid.

Posted:7 months ago

#23

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,153 1,069 0.5
I think Valve can skip E3 and basically hold a Nintendo Direct-style event where all they talk about is Steam boxes and games to play on them (yeah, a Half-Life 3 announcement for that box would be cool. And a Left4Dead box for all consoles, he said wishful thinking meter to 14)...

Posted:7 months ago

#24

Robin Clarke
Producer

26 50 1.9
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Having lots of vendors building Steam boxes should see them become smaller and cheaper quickly. Unlike the Android market where most devices are inefficient and badly designed, with Steam you have a common target to reach for, and it is easy to compare performance.

I don't quite see how Valve will sell the part about them having to be locked-down boxes that only run SteamOS though. Unless they enforce this as a contractual obligation of the hardware vendors, in which case they're no better than the other proprietary console formats.

If Microsoft slashed the price of their entry level Windows 8.1 (or made it free), the PC would be much more attractive again. Buy a standardised box that plays games or one that plays games virtually identically and does everything else as well.

Posted:7 months ago

#25

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