First Three Steam Machines Released, Prices and Specs Detailed

Prices listed for a range of configurations from Alienware, Zotac, and Syber.

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The first run of Steam Machines, a line of computers designed to challenge consoles for space in the living room, have gone on general sale across North America and the UK.

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New PC-console hybrids are being offered by three manufacturers: Alienware, Syber, and Zotac. Each comes with Valve's new game controller that is uniquely designed to map keyboard and mouse controls to a handheld pad. Prices start at $450 in North America and £450 in the UK, with certain high-end configurations available at three times that price.

To mark the release of these systems, Valve has started a game sale with discounts as high as 80 percent. Click through the link for the full list of Steam games on sale.

The NEN Steam Machine, by Zotac, ships for $800 (UK price not available) and bundles together an Intel Core i5-6400T, 4 GB of RAM, one terabyte of storage, and comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960.

Zotac's NEN Steam Machine - click on the thumbnails below to view images in full-screen
Zotac's NEN Steam Machine - click on the thumbnails below to view images in full-screen
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Meanwhile, the Syber Steam Machine is available in numerous configurations, starting at $530 (£500) for a system that comes with an Intel Core i3-4170 processor, a GeForce GTX 950 2 GB GPU, a 1 terabyte hard-drive, and 4 GB of DDR3 memory.

Syber's higher-end Steam Machine fetches for $1450 (£1200) and comes with an i7-4790k CPU, 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 980 4 GB graphics card A middle-ground bundle, at $760 (£700) goes for the i5-4460 processor, 8 GB of DDR3, and a GTX 960 2 GB video card.

Cyber's Steam Machine - click on the thumbnails below to view images in full-screen
Cyber's Steam Machine - click on the thumbnails below to view images in full-screen
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8

Alienware is the third manufacturer releasing a line of Steam Machines, with its basic model going for $450 (£450) with an i3, 4 GB of memory, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card that carries 2GB of GDDR5. The premium model sells for $750 (£700) and comes with an i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX graphics card with 2 GB of GDDR5. There are two tiers of pre-made bundles between these low and high-end versions.

Alienware's Steam Machine - click on the thumbnails below to view images in full-screen
Alienware's Steam Machine - click on the thumbnails below to view images in full-screen
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5

Steam Machines were first rumoured in March 2012, months prior to Valve's official announcement. Each machine varies significantly in price and performance, while all run on SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system (though players can install windows too). A Valve-developed Steam controller has also been built for the devices.

Valve has also created a seperate solution to PC gaming in the living room, with a Wi-Fi-enabled device called Steam Link that transfers video signals from the PC to a nearby television.

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    Avatar image for mrjoeyyaya
    mrjoeyyaya

    PC master race will conquer the console market within 10 years.

    Avatar image for xcollector
    xcollector

    @mrjoeyyaya: Its possible because steam machines can be updated with new hardware for the same price yearly and thus continuously widening the performance gap until the next console refresh. Eventually you'll be able to get a Steam Machine for the same price of a console that will make current consoles look like last gen. MS/Sony will have to refresh sooner rather than later to keep up.

    Avatar image for gamelegend100
    GameLegend100

    So let me get this straight, with this device you don't need a pc at all? An I can play any game I want on it? An it hooks up to the TV like a gaming console?

    Avatar image for xcollector
    xcollector

    @gamelegend100: That is the general idea and vision Valve has but it isn't a perfect solution today. Steam is available for 3 computer platforms. Windows, MAC, and Linux. SteamOS runs on Linux. Steam machines run SteamOS. Only games that have a Linux port will run on SteamOS, and thus steam machines.

    The majority of games are released for Windows and those games won't work on a Steam Machine until they get ported. Its mostly indie games that are being made for Steam machines right now. But they are starting to port big titles like Arkham Knight which will come to steam machines in spring 2016.

    The first generation of steam machines won't be a good deal unless you want an indie console. Steam machines will likely get updated every year with a better model for the same price like phones. Eventually the high end steam machines of today will become the cheaper low end steam machines of tomorrow and will become considerably more powerful than current consoles until the next console refresh. The longer MS/Sony wait for a console refresh the more they will fall behind the the Steam Machine performance because its updated yearly.

    One of the biggest benefits of steam OS going forward, if they stick to the x86/64 architecture, is the ability for 100% backwards compatibility forever. It shouldn't be like consoles where every new gen breaks compatibility. So 10, 20 years from now, if steam is still around, you should be able to play the linux steam os games you bought today on the next generation of systems going forward. Like how you can run old apps on new phones.

    Avatar image for gamelegend100
    GameLegend100

    @xcollector: ook cool thanks. Trying to get into the pc gaming now.

    Avatar image for phattuna
    PhatTuna

    @gamelegend100: No.

    It is a PC, just smaller and overpriced. Unless you put Windows on it, you can only play games that are compatible with SteamOS, which isn't a lot. You can hook up any PC to a TV; it doesn't need to be a steam machine, and you can use any controller you want.

    Avatar image for ShockG707
    ShockG707

    Dead on arrival, stillborn, burning money. I've lost count how many times I've seen this in my 30 years of gaming.

    Avatar image for simplesurf7
    simplesurf7

    ...So, at what price do you think the Syber (entry model) would be worthwhile?

    Avatar image for TruthSerum808
    TruthSerum808

    I'm still looking for the first commenter here to sey they will buy this.

    ..and I mean REALLY buy one and not just say it.

    Avatar image for serial666k
    serial666k

    @TruthSerum808

    no way would i buy one!!!:

    Avatar image for lonesamurai1
    lonesamurai1

    Trying to make PCs as cheap as consoles is just dumb. PC hardware is at the bleeding edge and as such you should expect to pay a premium for the hardware. The reward (if you know what you're doing) is best in class graphics and performance in your games, now wanting to play PC games on a TV I just don't get unless it's at 4K.

    Avatar image for phattuna
    PhatTuna

    @lonesamurai1: I play PC games on my TV quite often. Sometimes you just want to lay on a couch while playing... Not all PC games are Counter Strike or dota where you have to constantly be on the edge of your seat.

    Avatar image for lonesamurai1
    lonesamurai1

    @phattuna: Go ahead, I'm not saying that it's wrong or right. i just don't get it because I don't feel the need unless I want to game at 4K and I can do that on my monitor. I just think that if you have a PC like mine, then gaming at anything less than 1440p is just a waste. I understand that most people have average gaming PCs and that 1080p is all they can muster.

    Avatar image for phattuna
    PhatTuna

    @lonesamurai1: My PC can play games in 4k too. I just don't think 4k TVs are worth the money right now. I mostly play in 1440p. But like I said, sometimes you just wanna chill on your couch and play. I don't find 1080p TV from a couch that much worse than 1440p at a desk monitor, personally. And the ability to max out the graphics settings with mods and play at a constant 60 fps on a TV is still better than playing on a console.

    I'm not trying to justify steam machines. But I don't think playing PC games on a TV is that far fetched. The PC I built was actually originally intended to act as a console at my living room TV until I moved into a bigger space and had room for a desk and a monitor.

    Avatar image for lonesamurai1
    lonesamurai1

    @phattuna: I agree with everything except for the difference between 1440p on a monitor and 1080p on a TV, it is a noticeable enough difference. I've heard people say the ridiculous like there's no difference in graphics to the eyes unless you're up close. Ridiculous, 9 out of 10 of those people have never even seen the difference for themselves, they're just repeating what they've heard someone else say. First off because they don't even have a 4K set and it's usually people defending the PS4 because they have nothing better than their console and an average PC.

    "I don't find 1080p TV from a couch that much worse than 1440p at a desk monitor, personally" No my friend I disagree very much with that statement because the sharper looking image is noticeable to me even from a distance. It's just sharper.

    Avatar image for mrjoeyyaya
    mrjoeyyaya

    @lonesamurai1: But... you are missing the point.... Steam has thousands of games and 90% of them do not require bleeding edge technology. Even at 1080p, you get better optimized graphics on the PC versus a console, which is exactly why PC gamer's might want to game on their TV versus buying a console.

    Avatar image for lonesamurai1
    lonesamurai1

    @mrjoeyyaya: Well yes but obviously I'm not talking about playing those kinds of little indie games at 1440p or 4k. I was totally talking about the bigger budget 3rd party games. I wouldn't want to sacrifice screen resolution for the experience of playing in a living room at 1080p.

    Avatar image for phattuna
    PhatTuna

    @lonesamurai1: screen resolution is relative. playing on a 1080p TV from your couch can potentially look just as sharp as playing in 1440p with you face right next to the monitor.

    Avatar image for lonesamurai1
    lonesamurai1

    @phattuna: I have seen the difference and I can't roll with that statement. I'm sorry but games on a monitor look so much better than games on a TV even using consoles on a purpose built gaming monitor looks better than gaming on a TV no matter the distance.

    Avatar image for barcaazul
    BarcaAzul

    Is it me or are you better off picking up a console for $300 than the cheap one?

    I don't get it.

    Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR
    AyatollaofRnR

    @barcaazul: Yeah, there's really no reason to get it when consoles are cheaper and outperform it.

    $450 is over priced for what it is.

    Avatar image for hystavito
    hystavito

    @AyatollaofRnR: It should have more "apps", if not now then eventually, especially if you consider community developed stuff. If you go for a dual boot with Windows then right away you'll have all kinds of abilities you just can't find on any closed platform like consoles.

    Being at least somewhat open, having more options, being able to do what you want with it, those are probably it's biggest advantages. Of course in some cases that can become a disadvantage, at least for some, as it can create confusion. and possibly less stability or security.

    If I had to bet I'd probably bet against them, yeah the idea will probably fail. But I think it's cool some big companies are at least trying to take the mainstream gaming market in a direction that is more of an open platform.

    Avatar image for Jmuper
    Jmuper

    I smell problems, do to overheating.

    Avatar image for whirlwind12
    whirlwind12

    So it's basically like a PC but cost more money for less value and only plays games on Steam DRM service. No thanks only a moron would buy this garbage.

    Avatar image for Alurit
    Alurit

    @whirlwind12: it's like laptops (some of them actually uses laptop hardware like the zotac nen, a gtx 970m rebranded as an OEM 3GB GTX 960), these cost nearly twice as much per fps for the form factor. the alienware alpha i3/windows is kinda the closest to what it cost to build (cause it has windows and an xbox pad for free).

    Avatar image for mikemurphy80
    mikemurphy80

    I don't understand why the mid range units that go for the $800 range are still including a crappy 960 2GB GPU. Seems like a dumb upgrade choice. I'd rather that range of units have a lower CPU and say a 970 4GB GPU. Seeing as the price difference between the two GPU's is only $100 I don't see why this compromise wasn't made by these manufacturers.

    Betting the profit margin on the mid range units is significantly higher than the low end ones.

    Avatar image for Alurit
    Alurit

    @mikemurphy80: that "crappy 960 2GB" on the zotac if you look up the specs is actually a 3GB 970m (somewhat similar but bit bellow a gtx 960) but is being rebranded as an OEM 960 3GB. that part actually cost almost twice cause it's small and uses close to no power

    Avatar image for mikemurphy80
    mikemurphy80

    @Alurit: Do we know if the other two units described in this article are using a mobile version of the Nvidia lineup? Also, those only offer 2GB of VRAM.

    Avatar image for poxonu
    poxonu

    @mikemurphy80: The Alienware Steam Machine features a custom GeForce GTX 860M GPU which is soldered to the motherboard.

    Avatar image for luffy0192
    Luffy0192

    bigruss730: i would say syber's base version

    Avatar image for luffy0192
    Luffy0192

    Personally for me i could see these going somewhere if they could get more games on steaomos which could take time but i would be glad to see these succeed

    Avatar image for bigruss730
    bigruss730

    Can anyone recommend which one of these to go for as an upgrade from a PS4?

    Avatar image for phattuna
    PhatTuna

    @bigruss730: Like previous said, none of them. If you want a true upgrade, build a PC. It will be more powerful and cost less.

    Avatar image for ninjaroach81
    ninjaroach81

    @bigruss730: None of them. If you're really looking to upgrade from a PS4, go for a full-fledged gaming PC.

    Avatar image for serial666k
    serial666k

    @ninjaroach81

    so true:

    Avatar image for Alurit
    Alurit

    @bigruss730: these are only recommended if you really really want a small form factor, they have $100-300 premiums for being small. so you should probably find a store where they put together a pc for you for like $20 or something

    but if you want an noticeable upgrade from a console you're looking into at least gtx 960/r9 380 + i5.

    that is something like $750ish if you want a smaller pc like this http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7hL2P6 http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hnhg99

    or $700 for a more standard size http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2dPnzy

    Avatar image for saintyamato
    SaintYamato

    Literally zero people are gonna try and get used to those crappy controllers, I will admit that Syber Machine has a better graphics card (I think?) and I would want that but other than that these don't look worth.

    Avatar image for sladakrobot
    sladakrobot

    Can i play Forza on it?

    Joke aside...which audience are these machines actually for?

    I would have been interested if there was one Steam Machine...one device...the Steam Machine.

    But we will see over 30+ different Steam Machines...that didnt worked with the 3DO back then,will not work now.

    Avatar image for ninjaroach81
    ninjaroach81

    @sladakrobot: That's the problem. There's no unified hardware structure, so game performance is going to be all over the map, and with all of the Steam Machines being built by 3rd parties, there's no way they can compete in price with consoles. You can't even really call them consoles, since they don't have any of the advantages of consoles!

    Avatar image for Dogswithguns
    Dogswithguns

    This saying die PC die!!!

    Avatar image for hlmcpherson
    hlmcpherson

    can't believe most only have 4GB RAM /facepalm

    Avatar image for juboner
    juboner

    Once they get the OS fully implemented and can have an auto settings for specific box, for specific game. Then they will have a chance imo. There are so many steam account users already anyway, the developers would love this to compete with consoles so they can have more digital sales.

    Dev. dont have to wait for console users to jump on the all digital band wagon with these.

    Avatar image for poxonu
    poxonu

    @juboner: There will still be underperforming ports like this: http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=21965. I would not be surprised if the benchmark mode in Alien: Isolation wasn't ported over in the Linux version so as to avoid performance comparisons with the Windows version.

    Avatar image for juboner
    juboner

    @poxonu: If/once they have the linux steam OS running most of the games things will get interesting. But I dont know all the details behind all that, with licensing or whatever.

    Avatar image for ninjaroach81
    ninjaroach81

    @juboner: Auto settings still won't solve the problem of some games not being able to run on certain Steam Machines; some have already pointed out that some of the entry-level Steam Machines don't have the hardware to run Fallout 4.

    Avatar image for juboner
    juboner

    @ninjaroach81: I find that hard to believe, so it is weaker than a X!? I think they will improve things in the future. Maybe they want to see how well these do first before going all in.

    Avatar image for TheDestroyer12
    TheDestroyer12

    oh volvo ever since that TI, u've become greedier!!!!

    lord gaben u can take these boxes and shove them up ur ****** so its not enough that ppl paid ur dota 2 more than 1000$ now u want the same amount for a stupid box.

    good luck i will never get it even if u drop the price down to 250$.