You can read the full article here. In short, the 300 prototype Steam Machines that Valve is giving to beta testers will range from mid to high-end PC specs. The range of hardware they are testing are as follows:
GPU: some units with NVidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
CPU: some boxes with Intel i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB GDDR5 (GPU)
Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high
Just some quick thoughts:
- As a person who is very interested in SFF (small form factor) builds - I'll be doing my own come January - the small packaging Valve is aiming for is awesome. The dimensions mean that they will be using an ITX motherboard, and I'm guessing that the PSU they are using is the Silverstone ST45SF-G, which is a fan favorite among SFF enthusiasts.
- Valve now confirms that the components they are using are completely off the shelf. My assumption from this statement is that Steam Machines will be sold above the amount each component would cost separately. It wouldn't make the slightest sense to sell a pre-built PC under its actual value. How much of a premium Valve would sell this for is still uncertain. If Valve were producing it themselves, I wouldn't be surprised that they sell it at zero profit (e.g. they would just charge for the components and the cost of building and shipping). If Valve is partnering with manufacturers to produce Steam Machines, then the price tag would definitely be way higher.
- Just going off of the specs released by Valve and their costs in PCPartPicker's database:
- The most low end Steam Machine prototype could be Intel i3-4130+Asus H87I-Plus+ Kingston 16GB (2x8GB)+Seagate 1TB 5400rpm SSHD+EVGA GTX 660 3GB+Silverstone ST45SF-G450W = $763.55 USD (case not included)
- The most high end Steam Machine prototype could be i7-4770+Asus H87I-Plus**+ Kingston 16GB (2x8GB)**+Seagate 1TB 5400rpm SSHD**+EVGA GTX Titan 6GB+Silverstone ST45SF-G450W = $1702.56 USD (case not included)
** = The motherboard, RAM, and SSHD are complete guesses. In choosing these parts for estimating the base cost of the low and high end of Steam Machines, I went with lower end/lower costing hardware.
- In the article, Valve explicitly states that they do not believe high-end Steam Machines to be a product for the masses, but instead is something that a "significant percentage" of Steam users would want. So we can throw away the notion that Valve is setting up to compete against the PS4 and Xbox One in the console war. I take this to mean that Valve isn't looking to conquer the living room like Microsoft or Sony, but it just feeling out a potential market that can expand their Steam userbase. This is a much more humble approach compared to crazy GabeN fans saying "Valve is looking to destroy the console market!!! Praise be to him!"
So what do you guys think? Now knowing slightly a little more with what Valve is offering, are you interested in a Steam Machine. If so, would you go for a high end or middle tier configuration?