Valve reveals specs for Steam machine prototypes


— 3:28 PM on October 4, 2013

When Valve announced its Steam machine project last week, the company was mum on the subject of specifications. Today, the firm has broken its silence. A new blog post on Valve's website discloses the specs of the prototype Steam machines that will soon be sent to beta testers. It looks like there will be several configs, all featuring Intel processors and Nvidia graphics cards:

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 DDR5 (GPU)
Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high

Those look like pretty solid specs for a gaming PC. I'm surprised Valve went with 16GB of RAM and no SSD, though. Our testing suggests hybrid SSHDs are kind of a mixed bag, but they at least do a good job of speeding game load times.

What will these systems look like? Your guess is as good as mine. Valve says the prototypes are not "finished enough" and thus not ready for a photo shoot quite yet. Judging by the dimensions and specs, I'm guessing Valve used Mini-ITX motherboards and perhaps a PCIe riser in order to accommodate full-sized graphics cards inside a three-inch-thick enclosure. Either that, or Valve got Nvidia to supply modified versions of the Titan and other high-end GeForce cards.

According to Valve, one of the goals when building Steam machine prototypes was to "combine high-end power with a living-room-friendly form factor." The company also strove for openness. The prototypes will be made from "off-the-shelf PC parts" and will be "fully upgradable." Folks will even be able to download CAD files for the enclosure design.

Commercial Steam machines that come out next year may be different, though. Valve said last week that we could expect "an array of specifications, price, and performance." Today, the company reiterated, "The hardware specs of each of those machines will differ, in many cases substantially, from our prototype." One would assume some of those commercial systems will feature AMD hardware.

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