updated 06:12 pm EDT, Fri October 4, 2013
New 'console' will run custom branch of Linux
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. "