Steam Machine teardown reveals $1300 price for components

Priciest part is the Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB video card at more than $500.

by

Valve has not announced a price point for its Steam Machine, but a new teardown analysis from iFixit reveals that the system may carry a price tag of over $1000.

Image Credit: iFixit

The sum of the system's various components--including its processor, motherboard, and hard drive--came out to around $1300.

The most expensive component was its Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB video card--estimated at more than $500.

It's important to note that the 300 Steam Machine units available today for beta testers are prototype systems. Specifications, and thus price, could change before the system launches publicly in 2014.

It's also important to remember that several boxes will be available, featuring an array of specifications and price points.

We've asked Valve to comment on the $1300 price point, but haven't heard back.

iFixit noted several problematic issues with the Steam Machine, including RAM removal being difficult due to the motherboard cowling. In addition, the site says precise cable routing during reassembly is difficult without a repair manual.

In October, Valve described its Steam Machine prototype as "something special" and suggested that it may carry a premium price tag. It is built out of off-the-shelf PC parts and is fully upgradable, meaning users can swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, or the motherboard if they want to.

"To be clear, this design is not meant to serve the needs of all of the tens of millions of Steam users," Valve said at the time. "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."

Valve will provide more details on its Steam Machine at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next month, while various third-party systems are also expected to be announced during the event. GameSpot will be on-hand at the show, which runs January 7-10 in Las Vegas.

Discussion

611 comments
rokketdawg
rokketdawg

There is no benefit to getting a Steam Box unless they somehow get an exclusive hardware deal that will offer competitively priced components. I don't see anything here that couldn't be done with off the shelf parts, so how is this supposed to compete with the consoles? Until that question has an adequate amswer, I'll be playing games on my Xbox One!

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

So... they're actually going after Alienware, then...

megakick
megakick

any more than $700 it will do poorly. EXAMPLES> NEO GEO and 3DO. This STEAM console better have amazing LINUX only exclusives!

blue_shift_91
blue_shift_91

not sure what group they're targeting, but it already seems like a flop.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

So how is this going to sell as a Xbox One/PS4 alternative? It's basically a Steam branded gaming PC, 1300 is actually not a bad figure for a high end gaming rig, but this was suppose to be something that would compete with the consoles to get it in your living room. I see a market, but not that will tap into the MS and Sony players buying consoles at a price tag that is even double Microsoft's console.

stev69
stev69

So they are basically selling PCs at inflated prices a la Alienware. Gonna have to do better than this is you want me to open my wallet. 

eBentl
eBentl

Seems about what i've been looking to build for my new system

adwerk
adwerk

Pretty sure they'll make different versions with different pricetags, as its basically just a pc. 


If you however use your pc for more then just games, I dont really see the point in buying this vs upgrading your rig.

GhostHawk196
GhostHawk196

I think i'll stick with my Xbox One, PS4 and Gaming Laptop. Not sure what group of consumers Valve is trying to target here...

theKSMM
theKSMM

I'm glad that Valve didn't go wimpy on the specs while trying to hit a console-like price point.  Good PC gaming costs, and not even Valve can change that value proposition.


Having said that, while I appreciate seeing new, well-designed game systems, I wonder what will qualify as PC a "Steam Machine" if the specs are all over the map.

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

A $1300 laptop will be a better option. 

GarGx1
GarGx1

It's the top end prototype specs. These will be aimed at enthusiasts not the average person. There will be Steam machines with lower specs and pricing.


My guess would be three variants - low (console spec equivalent and price $400 - $500ish), mid (average gaming PC, $800 system) and high ($1300)

RageSet
RageSet

Valve, if you're listening, in order to beat Sony and Microsoft at their own game, you must offer something that truly destroys the concept of a console. 


First, you must offer a compelling Steam Machine under $600. Now this Steam Machine must beat the Xbox One and PS4 in terms of specs.


Second, you must offer a true Steam Rental service that allows a gamer two to three PC games per month (if the gamer deletes a title, they can then be allowed to download another game).


Third. In addition to the Steam Rental service, keep offering your Steam Sales from time to time.


Fourth. Give Publishers and Developers incentives to produce actual game expansions and not simple "DLC" that nickle and dime gamers.


Fifth. Allow Indie developers to release their games before taking a cut (up to a certain number of downloads). This will give indie developers a reason to stick with the Steam platform and price their games to sell.

PupilsDilated
PupilsDilated

Valve surely has worked out a deal with each of their component suppliers, so it won't cost them $1300 to build.

But even if the MSRP is slightly less than $1300, it's still way too much for the average gamer.  Even half that price is quite steep.

And it doesn't even come with a hooker!

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

My Gaming rig upgrade cost me $600.  Playing games going from High→Ultra isn't worth the extra $1000.00  .  The Steam wajamacallit would have to be pretty intensive to need to charge $1000.00 +  . Its a great Idea, but there needs to be more games before everyone jumps on board.  Sliding out the video card to upgrade it is one thing.  What about the CPU, BUS & RAM speeds?  thats where the biggest changes are, those would require new boxes all together. Remember Sega Genesis going to Sega CD, then 32X?  slight difference, not worth the $ though.   We will all have to wait & See.

Stinger78
Stinger78

If I can get high details with at least 30fps and 1080p, I call it an enjoyable experience.  To get that, you don't need a Steam box, but if I had the money, I'd probably build something similar.  I will say that my now 2-year old PC is still doing a decent job with most games I've run.

2-3 years from now, I'm sure "Steam Box" gamers will want to upgrade, but like any other PC, it's not an automatic requirement.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

lol even when PC industry tries to make a console, they still can't keep it under a grand.  Quit dancing around the issue and just buy a console already.  You wont have to spend half as much and you'll get soo much more.  


-More than twice the life span of a PC (last gen consoles lasted nearly 10 years, no one plays on any PC rig that long)

-No Benchmark worries every time a new game comes out.

-No costly upgrades on top of the 1K+ you already spent.

-You won't get left out on all the major exclusives (like GTA V) 

-Get away from the desk, forget carpal tunnel syndrome and enjoy your big screen TV and couch!

-You won't wait over a decade for sequels (Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2)


A year from now, the ONLY steam machine you'll need is to clean your floors with...

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Still can't really understand the point, but I'm anxious to see the future of the Steam platform and even more anxious to see the increased support for Linux, which is now almost entirely down to Valve.

Linux already runs supported games faster than their Windows equivalents, and the drivers are completely crap right now.  The future for Linux is set to be absolutely awesome, but the spark isn't going to light for another 5 years at least I reckon...

lionheart051
lionheart051

Lol when you calculate valve and other companies who produce it making a profit, it can easily sky rocket to $3000. I still think steam machines are a dumb idea. But the gpu inside is overkill if they are trying to compete with consoles. But even if they lowered the gpu it will still be expensive because evga and others will ramp up price for profit. I really don't know what valve is trying to do here...

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

$1300 components, which means they will have to sell for approximately that to make a profit. I wouldn't go anywhere near it for much more than the next gen consoles personally. The next gen consoles are expensive enough.

And on top of that you are getting a LOT of graphics card in there. So much graphics card in fact you could easily play ALL games at 1080p and 60fps (give or take due to bad optimisation on PC) and for a considerable time into the future (if it doesn't break before then) AND it will only be able to play games.

On a PC for a someone who needs excessive power to make games, or video editing or making movie CGI or something, obviously the more money you spend the better your experience is going to be and games can be played as secondary. But why would I ever spend that sort of cash JUST to play games? No amount of graphics is worth that sort of cash.

megakick
megakick

It is still a PC though, Will have to cost a lot less to sell.

robertico7
robertico7

l could still buy it for a price of $1200. Its the ultimate console. i don't need a ps4 or xbox one if i got this. and don't forget you can save a lot of money on games. 

J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

For $1300, I would just....build my own PC. 

CaveManCobb
CaveManCobb

I seriously doubt it will be 1300 bucks. Especially if they are trying to market it like a console. 

baxwam
baxwam

780? holy crap 

Coseniath
Coseniath

"iFixit noted several problematic issues with the Steam Machine, including RAM removal being difficult due to the motherboard cowling. In addition, the site says precise cable routing during reassembly is difficult without a repair manual." 

I lost my faith on you. Really? You need repair manual to change RAM and cable management on a system with mini ITX? I am so dissapointed from iFixit. 

Just stay on tearing down iPhones and leave PCs please...

oflow
oflow

so many people here dont seem to understand that this is a prototype. Valve already said they will have a number of different configurations of the box the one used in this example has all the highest end components.  

For those on the denser side its like buying a car.  You can get a base model or a fully loaded one with bells and whistles thats twice the cost:

"To be clear, this design is not meant to serve the needs of all of the tens of millions of Steam users," Valve said at the time. "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."

I'd wager theres more people with outdated rigs and/or people looking to get their first rig that dont like building them that would buy one of these than people here realize.  You all are speaking from the perspective of old pc gamers that have built lots of rigs.  Think back to the first rig you built.  If this was an option back then for the same price I know plenty of people would have bought this instead of going thru the hassle of building a rig.

Hmmm...open box and download your library onto a prefab pc or go thru the hassle of assembly, messing with bios, installing OS and drivers etc.  Which one would be easier for a first time pc builder if it was the same price?


The other thing people are also overlooking is Valve makes money off of software.  They could give the boxes away at a loss if it meant getting a million extra boxes into peoples' living rooms and getting them hooked on steam sales.

madgame23
madgame23

I don't understand the reasons to buy a steam machine?  its not an exclusive system where you buy game discs, ps3 xbone, nor is it complete digital.  Everything available on it is on the steam program you download online.  You can buy a PC and do exactly the same thing.  Granted you can't play PC games in the living room but who does?  what im gonna play sim city in the living room for all to see, or how about company of heroes other PC staples like FPS are already on consoles?  It doesn't make much sense and I see the Steam box becoming a niche item.

stev69
stev69

@PupilsDilated Obviously buying components in bulk from a supplier is going to mean a massive cost reduction for them, as is the case in almost any industry.

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

@Gravity_Slave My last PC lasted 7 years & It played every game that came out ( 1 upgrade ).  You get what you pay for.  When your console expires, everything is lost, all your games, all that $, gone.  With a PC, you can play games 10 years old if you wanted.  but your right, its cheaper with a console up front.  I can still play Quake 1, FreeSpace & Diablo 1, But I can't play Soul Caliber 1, B.O.B. or Mario RPG  :(  ( unless you use an Emulator on a PC.)

jessica73
jessica73

@Gravity_Slave You definitely won't be playing on these consoles for 10 years, at least not the same ones. Personally had both the ps3 and 360 break twice so far.

The rest is of course ridiculous as I'm sure you know. People that use the comfy couch argument have surely been told multiple times this is bullshit, but keep spreading said shit around like they work at a greenhouse.

Also if we don't wait a decade for console sequels, explain KH3. Dark Cloud 2, Mega Man Legends 3...

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

@Gravity_Slave You pay the same money over the same period thanks to 50% more expensive games, yet you play it with pitiful, outdated graphics for more than half of the console's lifetime. Not to mention crude controls that need auto-aim hand-holding. Hardly anyone misses braindead shooters, we get enough of those on PC anyway.

Seriously, don't pick fights where you have no hope of winning.

FCT-Steve-O
FCT-Steve-O

@Gravity_Slave Only people who worry about costly upgrades are people who have an allowance. Benchmarks? Naw I dont care about those as long as I run on ultra at fps cap. Life span, well I use my computer for more than just gaming so how can you compare that to a gaming console? Oh wait xone is all about TV now isnt it?


I'll give you exclusives, but GTA 5 was over rated and over hyped. Not to mention it will be released to PC eventually...but regardless consoles has great exclusives.


Couch and big screen? I've tried big screens, dont like them...and couch? I got a lazy boy so w/e.



El_Zaggy
El_Zaggy

@Gravity_SlaveSo you are saying to buy an inferior machine at an inferior price and get inferior results for gaming ? You realize that steam machine is a LOT more powerful than next gens consoles so it will last longer right ? You understand that the games will considerably look better and run better on the system right ? You also understands that if you want to get more, you can by upgrade it right ? Dont fool yourself. You get what you pay for. So if you pay 400-500$ for a gaming machine, you will get 500$ of performance. A 2006 pc can play games at the 360 level of fidelity. Rockstar was hiring a few months ago to bring GTA V to pc. You can plug your 360 controller or ps4$xbone and plug you pc on tv and enjoy gaming on couch. Anyway before posting trash like you did, please do some research and try to know your gaming hardware/pc hardware before making a fool of yourself

GymFox
GymFox

@Dannystaples14 LOL, what in god's name are you talking about?!?!? Either you haven't built a nice rig or have never really used one with a high end GPU. Last year I built a PC with similar specs (just 680 series) and have never regretted it or thought to myself "this is too much graphics". In fact, with large mods or running huge games (like Crysis or Metro) a relatively high end GPU can be (essentially) mandatory for a 60+FPS experience. 400-500 USD GPU's are referred to as a "enthusiast" level component and many many people (like myself) want such a product. No need to knock it or state a hyperbolic claim..... "no amount if graphics is worth that sort of cash" b/c, in fact, it is.....    

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@megakick 


No, its not a PC.  Its more of a console.  The only difference is its upgrade able...which just means more money.  So yeah, that part is PC like.  The Steam Machine kinda reminds me of vegetarians trying to make their tofu look like real meat.  Just seems redundant and hypocritical.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@robertico7 I've owned both a PC and console and my Xbox still to this day has never cost me more than my PC, even with more expensive games. Unless you buy tonnes of games every year it will be cheaper to buy a console.

Plus the PC market place is so saturated with "Early Access" and Indie titles it gets less enticing every year.

I don't mind occasionally buying a game in beta or early access. But most of the time I just want a game that works and don't want to help them work out the bugs. I want a bug free game from the start. Now they seem to be endless.

jhcho2
jhcho2

@CaveManCobb

 Whether it will be $1300 is besides the point. But it gives us a ballpark price range based on the cost of the components. Even if Valve decides to absorb a $300 loss, how many people would actually be willing to pay $1000? And for that kind of money, it kinda defeats the purpose of marketing it as a console

sammoth
sammoth

@oflow Prototype means nothing when the cost is extreme. There is no benefit  to buying one ATM. Since you can just build a HTPC for the same and have Windows / Steam loaded onto it.

ejstrup
ejstrup

@madgame23  ... but you actually can do that with steam's "big picture". I've done that for some 3rd person games like Batman or Tombraider.

sammoth
sammoth

@madgame23 Wut? You can put PC's in your living room. It's been done for years.

BuzzLiteBeer
BuzzLiteBeer

@exiled_paladin @Gravity_Slave There are pros and cons to both. Both of you are fan boys (owning a console does not make you impartial...it's like saying you're not racist cuz you "have a black friend"). 


I personally prefer PC because it suits my lifestyle and personal preference. I respect the advantages of owning a console, but I simply don't want one right now. 


The major reason I don't run with the console gang is because I do not own a television and do not plan on owning one. I prefer fewer devices overall (my PC handles most things while my phone handles mobility and social activities). On top of all this, I do not game often (but I do keep up with the gaming community and releases/news).


Stop bickering about this and start realizing that your preferences are not the center of the universe.

simon1812
simon1812

@exiled_paladin@Gravity_Slave  

"-Games won't lose fps or graphical quality as your rig's lifetime span unlike a console will. Probably be stuck  30 FPS  1080P for the next 10 years. While PC Gaming will have 4K resolution and 60-120 fps."

thats a lie wrapped around bullshit! games will become more system demanding as your rig'd life time depletes (probably sooner than that), and it will be noticeable after a couple of years when u start to turn off certain effect up until u have to set the graphical setting to medium and Im assuming u buying the best hardware out there and yeah thats more expensive than any console in the marked even if u include the eye crap and headphones and games with 60$ price tag. oh and that other thing u said, 30fps, 60fps nobody seriously gives a crap about that and 120 fps is just ridiculous. clowns like you make it sounds as if 120fps would make ET (yes atari's ET) playable, stop trying to fool ppl u fanboy.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@GymFox I've never played a PC game at 4k res on a 30 inch monitor a foot from my face no. But I've played games like Crysis and Witcher 2 at max settings on lower res.

I hate mods. All they do is make is okay for developers to be lazy. Just look at Skyrim. Vanilla Skyrim is the dullest spectacle of a game I've played in a long time. Literally nothing in it grabs me. Yet people talk about playing thousands of hours on it. And when you ask them it normally turns out those people have so many mods on the game it isn't even Skyrim any more by ANY definition. They don't even like Skyrim what they like is the game they created by installing shit tonnes of mods. You are ok with Bethesda releasing a game that is largely unfinished so you can install mods on it that normally end up with weapons or armour clipping through your characters neck or some other amateurish problem?

The graphics on PC are not enough on their own to offset the fact that a lot of games are just as shit on PC as they are on console. So many games are linear corridor runners, with generic gameplay, crap stories and on PC really badly optimised.

If graphics made any difference to a game I'd agree with you. But I was playing the NES verisons of Final Fantasy over the summer and had more fun on the first two of those than I had on most of the PC games I bought last year.

If a game could be crap and still be great because it looked great I'd be on PC all the time. But as the Crysis games prove, just because they look good doesn't make the game any less shit.

Witcher 2, it looked great but Witcher 2 could have looked like a PS1 game and it would still have been awesome. It didn't need the graphics. Witcher 1 wasn't mind blowing in visuals and I still loved it.

Graphics are nice but ONLY when there is good gameplay to back it up, otherwise I still won't play it. And I definitely won't pay this kind of cash to obtain them.

I mean is it literally all you care about? Graphics? You are okay playing shit games just because they look nice? YOU are what is wrong with PC gaming. People like you are the reason I prefer consoles.

GymFox
GymFox

@Dannystaples14 @robertico7 what are you talking about? Unless you scour the internets for used titles and deals console games are WAY WAY more expensive than PC deals. That is exactly why myself (and many of my friends) can't afford very many PS3/Xbox games per year. However, Case-in-point, go check out Steam's sale going on right now, many new, major AAA titles going for <15-20 USD. Not to mention sales on the major competitors such as, GOG, GMG, Amazon, Uplay, Origin, etc.... Any game on PC will inevitably go on sale within a couple of months somewhere, whereas console games hold their value incredible well.  

bennehftw
bennehftw

@jhcho2 @CaveManCobb I would? I mean I may be the minority here, but I haven't made a PC in a very long time, nor have kept up with what's good since say the early 2000s? If I could buy a modernized gaming PC for cheaper than it's parts? I would easily buy it at that price. If they're going to actually try to profit it, I might as well buy the parts myself though. 


But definitely, if they are willing to lose money on it, I am willing to buy it, hell even for just parts couldn't you either resell it or use them yourself? 

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@GymFox @robertico7 Yeah and yet I've owned my Xbox 360 for six years and if I add up all of the games I've ever bought for full price or cheaper it doesn't go over $1000.

My PC on the other hand is over that and I've only had it a year.