news xi3 reveals steam optimized pc in grapefruit sized chassis
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Xi3 reveals Steam-optimized PC in ‘grapefruit-sized’ chassis

Huh, interesting. With all the rumors about Valve’s Steam Box floating around, I was kind of picturing a Mini-ITX-sized living room PC. Valve may be shooting for a smaller form factor, though. Xi3 has put out an announcement saying its Modular Computer chassis is playing host to "a development stage system optimized for computer gameplay on large high-definition television monitors." According to the press release, the system is designed specifically to run Steam in Big Picture mode for "residential and LAN party computer gaming on larger high-def screens."

As it turns out, the Xi3 Modular Computer was announced a couple of years ago, and it’s small—really small. Xi3 describes the thing as "grapefruit-sized," and it’s not lying:

This is a slick-looking machine, no doubt about it, but I’m left wondering just how much GPU horsepower one can cram in there. I doubt there’s room for a discrete graphics chip or a particularly powerful CPU or APU, which may restrict one to pared-down integrated graphics. I suppose that’s enough to run Team Fortress 2, though. (Thanks to TR reader James for the heads up.)

0 responses to “Xi3 reveals Steam-optimized PC in ‘grapefruit-sized’ chassis

  1. you’re right. it’s not news that windows has overhead. program to the metal, and you get better performance.

  2. Because it shows clearly that development time isn’t a valid measure of a game’s quality visually or otherwise.

    Also I said nothing about “capabilities of a console at release date”. My whole argument was that you can’t do simple paper spec comparisons between a console and a PC. You’ve been beating on a strawman.

  3. Youtube help videos would disagree with you. You can do something without vouching to offer full support.

    Valve already offers a portion of this already by allowing you to easily download display drivers.

    Tutorials for plugging in a HDMI cable is not a manpower issue. It’s possible to make a piece of software that custom tailors the configuration based on data mined software. So if you have something that is animated, it could use dynamic props that are generated based on the make and model of their card. How many dvi, svideo, hdmi, displayports a video card offers are probably already reported to the system. Valve already data mines all this stuff.

    I disagree, Valves motto is to improve their products in whatever shape or form they can. Google the Valve Employee Handbook. It really works this way for ANY company that attempts to take what they do to the next level. It’s not just about developing a product or a good product, but improving it in every way, shape, and form… That’s what some of the six sigma programs are about. That’s the way Google does things too.

  4. lots of people are calling them out on it. it’s just that in NA, legally, there is no recourse.

  5. Maybe you should start supporting property rights of consumers then. This pretend game of not owning what you pay for is obviously a sham, but nobody wants to call valve out on it since they are the best distributor on the market. You are clearly buying a personal license to your games, but valve’s EULA claims you are buying a “subscription” and then doesn’t allow you to start a class action suit against them. Are we honestly going to tolerate this right up until Valve collapses or starts charging an actual subscription fee?

  6. 1) The Xbox is horribly outdated. People want a new system with better graphics.

    2) The PS3 doesn’t use DirectX, yet they enjoy a very large catalog of games. Porting isn’t the problem, the real issue is getting the distro and drivers up to snuff.

    Neither of your arguments hold water, and you probably knew that, so I’m guessing you’re just picking random arguments against linux because you’re personally invested in windows and/or consoles. Windows 8 and Apple have killed Microsoft’s desktop OS. There will no longer be a preferred singular operating system in the near future. I would very much welcome a linux based pc/console hybrid, provided there was a good selection of games.

    Then once that takes off, we can all ditch steam for whatever open source alternative that emerges as a reaction. No more Windows or DRM, trololololol.

  7. I never said they didn’t want people to use metro. wtf man. can’t you understand what i’m saying? apple wants you to use the app stores on ios and osx. that’s not what i said. I SAID THAT THEY WOULD CONTINUE TO ALLOW TRADITIONAL INSTALLATIONS ON X86 WINDOWS PC’S FOR A LONG TIME.

    as for the storefront issue, this whole thing is so ridiculous, and I don’t know why PEOPLE CAN’T JUST ACTUALLY READ THE TERMS BEFORE THEY ATTACK.
    SECTION 5.1
    [quote<] We understand that in some cases, apps provide a gateway to retail content, user generated content, or web based content. We classify those apps as either Storefront apps, whose primary function is to aggregate and sell third party media or apps, or Streaming apps, whose primary function is to aggregate and stream web-based images, music, video or other media content. In some cases, it may be acceptable for a Storefront or Streaming app to include some content that might otherwise be prohibited in a single purpose app. If your app is a search engine that enables users to search broadly across the Internet, then your app must be rated 12+. Apps that enable search for a distinct content set (such as news only or video only), are not search engines under this definition. The age rating for such apps should be determined by the purpose, function and content of the app. If your app is a Web browser, enabling broad access to Internet content, then the app must be rated 12+.[/quote<] from : [url<]http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh694083.aspx[/url<] the only thing stopping a metro steam is steam. Valve is QQing because of competition, not because of a ban. ANYONE who believes the competition about the value of a product is a goof. Go ask apple what they think about google's competing android phones. It'll be similar to the whining Gabe is doing about windows 8. He's complaining because he has a VESTED interest in it doing poorly, as it HAS A BUILT IN SOFTWARE STORE, AND HE RUNS A COMPETING SOFTWARE STORE. STEAM SELLS MORE THAN JUST GAMES NOW. he's not going to say good things about it no matter HOW good it is. i never said they weren't pushing people to make metro apps. OF COURSE THEY ARE. THEY GET 30% OF THOSE. I'm not sure of the specific details regarding HOW MS's cut would work, but section 4.7 deals with using a third party for your commerce. What happens after that is up to them. caps to make SURE you understand what my point is, since you keep moving goalposts.

  8. [quote<]the site you linked even has them listed as 2 different products. windows 8 AND windows rt[/quote<] Exactly!!!!!!! 2 products sharing the same demo videos - the message is the same - use the Windows Store to buy apps! Use Metro! [quote<]you know the metro rules, and you know that storefronts are allowed. [/quote<] Really? I am not clear on that. URL? [quote<]I never claimed that the classic desktop was a priority. I said that x86 windows will allow traditional installs for a a long time.[/quote<] Selling ones product in the 2nd tier space (classic desktop) is not a receipt for continued success. The way forward is the Metro Windows Store. If Steam can setup shop in the Windows Store then I don't see what the problem is apart from Valve having to give Microsoft a cut (which is a big deal). Anyway you slice it Microsoft is pushing developers to make Metro apps.

  9. the site you linked even has them listed as 2 different products. windows 8 AND windows rt

    you know the metro rules, and you know that storefronts are allowed. steam is qqing about nothing.

    I never claimed that the classic desktop was a priority. I said that x86 windows will allow traditional installs for a a long time. You can move the goal posts if you like, but it doesn’t mean you win. GJ EU.

  10. You can hide behind your “RT is not Windows 8” reasoning but that is burying your head in the sand.

    Windows ARM tablets have already shut the door on Steam and Microsoft is pushing Metro big time across the board [url<]http://goo.gl/rmdb0[/url<] The classic desktop in the consumer space is no longer Microsoft's top priority.

  11. Sure, it’s been good “discussing” this with you. You don’t just throw things into the air without an explanation of why you think it would work or worse, resort to name calling like others sometimes do. You always put an argument behind your belief and that’s what drove me to continue the discussion and an healthy one at that 🙂

    I don’t see Microsoft’s push with the WIndows App Store as anything evil, at least no more evil than what Valve does with Steam or EA with Origin or Blizzard with their system, etc…to me they are the exact same thing: companies wanting to monetize digital distribution. I would argue that 30% cut is way too high for any company to impose as a commission, but that’s me saying it. The companies actually creating the service will make the rules and if anyone doesn’t like them, they are free to go elsewhere. That’s why having more digital distribution systems other than Steam is great.

    My problem with this push Valve is making is that it’s something that Valve wants to keep its profit margins high or even higher, disguised in a “I’m a good guy and just want to make PC Gaming better” motivation, which to me is a flat out lie….because that can’t happen with another system on the market. As I mentioned earlier, PC Gaming suffers from poor software i.e. games that were not designed with the PC in mind and that’s what needs to change. If Valve did what I suggested, along with every other company that has a PC digital distribution system, they would be the “saviors” or the current sorry state of the PC Gaming experience.
    Whatever developer refused to provide all those specific PC improvements even though Valve, EA, etc offered them a commission discount, would need to be “punished” by us, PC Gamers, with out wallets, by avoiding those games like the plague. It’s what I believe to be the true nature of a community that supports itself. Certainly I’m not talking about those rage kids (and there are a lot of those around) that say they won’t buy something as protest, but as soon as it’s out, they buy it anyway…as if they were some kind of drug addicts that just can’t live without their “fix”.

    Anyway, I’m going on a tangent here, but regarding the main issue, I don’t believe any of this will change with the steambox. With or without the steambox, the problem is still in the games themselves, that are not tailored for the PC. If everything is kept the same, then PC Gaming will continue to suffer as it has been for a while.

  12. no but seriously. please explain the difference. or you going to stick with personal attacks over winning?

  13. I agree about Valve feeling threatened by the App Store (they should be) and I agree they want to “give the finger” to them. I feel like many devs should be. The direction they went with Win RT is exactly the direction they want to go with their main windows line. Win RT was/is an experiment in what they can get away with, just like Diablo3’s experimentation with the RMAH (which I bring because I’m dreadfully reminded of that game by mseyn191’s back and forth in this same story). Had Win RT been a success (hint: it’s not, stillborn junk), they would have gone that direction with Win 9 (or whatever it will be called).

    Thankfully there is massive backlash on that, but I digress. Valve is certainly trying to be “more than just a game platform”, and they are certainly trying to use Linux as a platform for independence from MS. Their internal experiments found Linux to be very viable, and I feel like all they really need is a push from Nvidia / amd for good drivers for linux (as well as a select number of other manufacturers for sound cards, netcards, etc etc). I bet that’s where a decent bit of friendly financial encouragement are going if anywhere by Valve.

    BUT, even with their intentions of be the new cool kid on the block platform wise, I see them as the best direction for PC as a platform….and sure that’s very fanboyish to say, but it could be a reality… A reality where MS loses their gaming demographic, steam takes it and splits the PC into Valve/MS, and consoles continue to be the lowly peasantry of video games (I had to throw a master race comment in there, I’ve been drinking).

    For an end user, this could mean a number of things, and behind rose-tinted glasses could mean a very healthy relationship of a core PC that is identical hardware wise to a standard PC, with dual booting as a very common practice. One OS is for business (windows) and one is for gaming (steambox). They would have heavy overlap (a user with just a business PC could still load up games and run them just fine, or in reverse, a steambox could still load up an excel spreadsheet), but each would have a certain “spec” that is best for their goals. Just as today you have workstation graphics cards and consumer graphics cards. There are small differences between the two, but they exist as separate entities.

    But like you said, it has to take off. And really I don’t know what will happen. late 2013 through early 2015 will be a huge shift in the videogaming / PC gaming market. New consoles, the steambox, claims from the bowels of the internet (/v/) claiming there will be another industry crash, developers and publishers might take the “wrong” sides and screw it all up, they might choose the “right” path and we have another decade of good games. Who knows.

    At this point arguing it with you only makes apparent that we have zero control over it, and that kinda makes me sad.

    edit: and by “arguing” I mean “discussing” because while this has been heated I’ve valued hearing the “devil’s advocate” side of the discussion, that is how I always discuss things (if not blatantly obvious in my writing style).

  14. 0_o Diablo 3? Why would you even bring up a such a money-grab, minimal effort, phoned-in, piece of trash? The first videos of that game from 2008 looked *better* than it did at release. It in no way took advantage of the PC as a platform…

    “Extreme optimization” happens in the waning years of a console, that I agree. But the original argument was that the capabilities of a console [b<]at release[/b<] surpassed what was doable on a PC at the same time period. This simply is NOT true, and is proven, by benchmarks and otherwise.

  15. UE3 is used often because it has decent support across all platforms while being well understood by developers, not because its the best engine ever. Certainly not for consoles.

    The fact is you would not get that performance out of similar PC hardware in a PC software environment and you know it. The ability to allow for extreme optimization has always been one of the console’s big advantages and to discount that is the very definition of facetious. Especially since it proves my point that you cannot simply just look at the paper specs of the hardware platforms and compare the 2.

    Also actual work was started on Halo 4 in early 2011. It was in development for about 2 years not 5. And there have been PC games that have been in development for 5 or more years before and still didn’t look all that great. Diablo III would be a good example.

  16. But that’s my point. The money they are spending on this console or whatever your definition is for the steambox, could simply be deducted from their Steam commission and improve PC Gaming in the way I suggested.
    Plus Valve would be praised to high heaven for actually providing ways to improve the PC Gaming experience. I would certainly be one of them.

    But the real reason for all this is very simple and has nothing to do with PC Gaming:

    – Valve feels threatened by Windows App Store, because Steam no longer sells just games
    – Valve pushes forward with their “Linux Gaming” and Linux Steam initiative
    – Given that the Linux market is so small, Valve wants to make it into a larger one, so they create a “console” that will run linux as the default steambox

    It’s not about PC Gaming. It’s just about Valve wanting to show the finger to Microsoft, because Microsoft will also want their 30% cut out of all Windows App Store purchases. With a steambox, they increase their market, because the person that buys it, for the most part, won’t care what’s the system running it. They will just want to run games in it.

    Of course all this assumes that Linux Gaming even takes off, which I don’t believe it will. The current ecosystem is mostly based on Windows and DirectX with great tools to work with. Plus the market is several orders of magnitude larger than the linux one, which really doesn’t give much appeal to developers to focus on Linux Gaming. Of course I’m mostly talking about AAA titles. Linux Gaming will obviously appeal to Indie developers, that have very low costs to develop their games.

  17. 95% chance Steam Box will have the top end 28nm Kaveri, which will be far and away the most efficient cpu + graphics solution on the market … and provide the graphics horsepower to run Steam Box games at 1080p at high settings.

    Won’t take a very big box or use whole lot of power = it won’t cost much to manufacture.

  18. Ok, that seems like an ok thing they could do, but it still falls into Valve being “the babysitter” for PC gaming, as well as a million different issues of companies claiming favoritism, demanding certain discounts just to get their title on Steam (which I have no doubt happens already along with NDA related to admitting to those even happening), etc etc. When it comes down to dollars and cents, I have no doubt that Valve wants to hold onto every last bit of that 30%, and I also have no doubt that if I company and do one over on Valve (vying for those discounts) they will. So that gets muddy..but it is an option.

    Second, the “steambox” is not a console. I see a huge difference between an x86 box with specific hardware compared to a console with custom hardware. Yes, devs will focus and target for THAT hardware, but if it’s native x86 code, then throwing in those high-end performance options is a far easier task than PC gamers begging for a game (even a X360 one with very similar code) to be ported.

  19. No, they don’t anything to improve PC Gaming at this point. Steam is just a digital distribution system. It does not improve games…I really don’t understand how you ignore such a simple concept. They don’t cooperate with anyone, except in the distribution services, which is what Steam is…

    And I’m not talking about forcing anyone, but Valve CAN actually make the prospect of making PC specific changes to games appealing to developers. And it goes as follows:

    – Steam is a digital distribution service, the largest at the moment
    – Valve takes a 30% cut out of all purchases
    – To actually do something to improve PC Gaming, Valve only needs to approach developers/publishers and say this: “If you release this game with a high-res texture pack from the start, we will drop our 30% commission to 25%” or “This game is tailored for a specific console controller! If you release a day 1 patch for the game that adds support for all the input method the PC can handle, we will drop our commission to 27%”

    That’s it. No one is forcing anyone and developers actually would have advantaqes in giving some attention to the PC version, instead of just porting it from a console SKU.
    We don’t need more consoles or whatever you want to call it. What I mentioned above is what would actually improve PC Gaming and the PC Gaming experience. If done, then Valve would finally have reasons to be praised for actually improving PC Gaming.

    As it stands now, Valve will hurt PC Gaming even more with another piece of hardware in the wild that developers will need to focus on and forget even more about the PC.

  20. which is a separate product.

    or are you claiming ios and osx are the same? in that case, apple did it first.

  21. [quote<] cooperate with game devs to distribute in Steam a version specifically tailored for PCs and not just ported from a console. I can't be more clearer than this.[/quote<] You do realize they do this already? Also, reread this: [quote<]Valve doesn't "own" the PC market. They are a comparatively small company to the powerhouses of the industry both hardware and software. They can't tell Bethesda, Crytek, whomever to do this or that, they don't own them. The various problems inherit to "bad PC ports" are not Valve's. They are on the devs themselves alone, and are very obvious to anyone who has used a PC.[/quote<] Valve has communicated with Developers / Publishers about improving their market by making changes for PC titles, they can't FORCE companies to do what they want, just as we can't force them. I didn't mean to "change the subject", I meant to show that the people who should have responsibility on many of these fronts are going completely against what you want to happen, and that you don't seem to be happy with many of the very real things that Steam has done to assist these same companies in making them "PC friendly". PLEASE tell me that installing a mod for Skyrim is harder on Steam than without, for example. Because it isn't. It is infinitely easier, and I hope and wish that every title on Steam had similar functionality. Click subscribe, load game, wait a bit, bam game has that mod. That is real progress over going to mod site, downloading zip, reading instructions on install folders, making a new shortcut with command line options, etc. And I don't see the Steambox as "another console" yet you continue to see it as that, and I've been over why in the other posts. But you simply see me as a Valve fanboy, and I see you as someone who is vehemently against them and doesn't believe a word they say (such as not believing that their hardware will be open and able to install other OS's). So I don't think this discussion will go anywhere but +1 or -1 a few degrees... /shrug

  22. As I touched on in the other post, I believe that much of what you are asking Valve to do is in the hands of the developer / hardware team, not them. As a company, making tutorials for someone else’s product (hardware) leads to huge issues of customer support being flooded when a certain solution doesn’t work. “Valve, your Steam is terrible, I plugged my DVI into my computer and then into my TV and now it doesn’t work! What do I do?”. The tutorials themselves take manpower and would have to be highly specific. Ones that aren’t as specific already exist (as youtube howto’s). For the tutorials they CAN reasonably do, they end up being aimed at those who are too lazy/stupid to take the time watch them.

    I agree with it being possible “all in software”, but the financial drive (as a company) is simply not there to take it to the level you speak. The proposal of hardware to house their software platform tips that scale. It screams of “archaic” consolization, but that’s reality, sadly.
    🙁

  23. I said it quite clearly in my post: cooperate with game devs to distribute in Steam a version specifically tailored for PCs and not just ported from a console. I can’t be more clearer than this.

    Also Steam doesn’t make games better……..Steam is just a digital distribution system. Games that have horrible controls tailored to specific console controllers, horrible mouse sensitivity, horrible graphics, etc aren’t made better because they are distributed in Steam…….
    And please do not use Valve games as an example….they are still using the same damn engine from 2004 (albeit with some improvements) in their current games!!! If Valve had their way, we would still be using PCs as weak as current consoles are, because the Source Engine, to put it bluntly, is crap by today’s standards.

    And I find it funny how you change the subject to “How is EA promoting PC Gaming” in a way to protect your precious Valve. You understand that if one does it wrong, the other doing it wrong too, doesn’t make the other one better ?
    But I’ll answer your question: just like Valve, they do nothing to improve PC Gaming, but unlike Valve, they are not pushing a new console into the mix, that will hurt PC Gaming more than help it

    And I have to laugh at the “You can shout all day and night that the Steambox is going to hurt the industry, but they are one of the few companies (aside from much smaller entities) actively looking for solutions to “the pc problem”.”…

    They are not looking for solutions for the PC problem, because the PC problem isn’t solved with another console in the market. Once again the Steambox will NOT improve games, much like Steam doesn’t improve them either. The Steambox will be just like any other console and will have its hardware limitations to which ALL the developers will have to code specifically for, just like they do with current consoles. A new console in the market will NOT solve problems that are related with the software i.e. GAMES that are tailored for consoles and then ported to PC. PC Gamers NEED games tailored for PCs with controls that actually properly use the input methods available to a PC. graphics tailored for a PC that can handle much higher resolution textures than a console and anti-aliasing and all those graphical goodies, etc etc.

    This IS what is hurting PC Gaming: games not being tailored for PCs. A new console on the block will not solve any of that. It will in fact make it worse, since developers will focus even less effort on a PC version, because instead of 3 consoles to code for, they will have 4 plus PC….

  24. You basically said nothing in that entire post. What exactly do you suggest they do to “invest that money in cooperation with game devs to give PC a better experience”? I say that they have, by how steam has matured and how it makes many tasks easier for “the dumb user”. What else can they do, as a company? Send random game devs checks with a note “Make your game better for PC, Love Valve” ?

    Valve’s games ARE tailored for the PC. The server browser of the source engine is near-perfect, and has been, forever. The performance of the Source engine was amazing at the time of release.

    Valve doesn’t “own” the PC market. They are a comparatively small company to the powerhouses of the industry both hardware and software. They can’t tell Bethesda, Crytek, whomever to do this or that, they don’t own them. The various problems inherit to “bad PC ports” are not Valve’s. They are on the devs themselves alone, and are very obvious to anyone who has used a PC.

    Let me alter the question and ask you:
    How is EA promoting PC gaming? (Outdated and Broke Anti-Cheat measures, DLC nickel and diming, Consolization)
    How is ActiBlizz promoting PC gaming? (All above plus Killed LAN support in all titles, Horrible Server support for all titles besides WoW)
    How is Ubisoft promoting PC gaming? (Always Online Activation?)

    Back to the Steambox. This is Valve’s attempt to simplifying some of the issues that lazy devs (such as ones owned by the above mega-companies) have, as well as smaller devs with different issues (being known), and of course the needed compromise of DRM measures. (Which the vast majority of people believe Steam is the next best solution to having none).
    You can shout all day and night that the Steambox is going to hurt the industry, but they are one of the few companies (aside from much smaller entities) actively looking for solutions to “the pc problem”.

    You can dislike their solution, but I disagree with it being an overall bad one. We’ll have to see how these other companies respond and we’ll see what happens with it in the next year(?) i suppose.

  25. The more I think about it, the more I think that this a really bad concept.

    The #1 factor that affect potential performance is heat dissipation.
    Also if you look, higher TDP part are usually cheaper.

    So why Make a box that require expansive part with lower performance?
    So it can fit in your hand ? whats the point?

    Give me a box, even if its the size of a PS3, that can dissipate 200+w.

    This seem just like a big sacrifice and a step backward for ‘PC’ gaming.

    Upcoming consoles will render this $1000 toy ‘worthless’.

  26. Ok buddy, Sure thing. Last time I checked Vegas was made with Unreal Engine 3.0, which is BY FAR the most used game engine in 360 titles, had it’s first title from the engine released on 360 (gears of war). If there is any engine that has been optimized for the best performance on consoles, it is UE3.0.

    And It’s not like Halo 4 or Uncharted 3 are 2012 (not 2006) titles on highly optimized engines that took FIVE years of optimization to push out those “superior” visuals, that are still a lower resolution, lower effects, and have regular framerate drops compared to 2006 era computer games on 2006 hardware. Had the quality of Halo4 or Uncharted 3 been on the consoles on release day or within in a year of console release, sure, you may have had an argument. But that isn’t the case.

    I’d show a PC dev that continued to optimize for the same 2006 hardware, but they don’t exist, aside from the ones who concurrently optimized for console (COD’s modified Q3 engine, UE3, etc), and in ALL of those cases, the PC on hardware from the same year continues to perform better.

    So yeah.

    Also: [url<]http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facetious[/url<]

  27. [quote<]The point is to bring PC gaming to the living room,[/quote<] 1) That's what the Xbox is. 2) The catch is that if Steam Box runs a Linux distro, it *isn't* bringing PC gaming to the living room, it's bringing a very, very small subset of the PC catalog to the living room.

  28. Uh that game wasn’t focused on console development at all, it was meant to be multi portable between all the consoles and the PC from the get go. Pretty much ALL the ports in the last few years are the same way.

    You really have to look at what the top tier games (ie. Halo 4 for X360 or Uncharted 3) for each of the consoles to see what they’re really capable of. When you consider the sorts of visuals they’re able to achieve on such old hardware, which would be totally impossible to do on a PC with similar specs, then you’ll actually begin to have some understanding of how to compare the hardware.

    Until the best you can do is snark and facetious comparisons.

  29. Unfortunately for GabeN (and I suppose myself), when he risks Valve he isn’t simply risking his own wealth and his employee’s jobs – by forcing me onto his platform (Steam) he risks my entire content catalog, because if (when, at this rate) Valve goes under I lose access to my entire catalog. So I don’t have the luxury of applauding GaveN’s quixotic windmill charges.

  30. “How exactly is Valve not promoting PC gaming right now?”

    I answer that in two ways. First with another question: What are they doing to promote PC Gaming, especially by creating a console of their own ?
    And second, they could easily dismiss this new console thing and invest that money in cooperation with game developers to give PC a better gaming experience i.e. actually have a version made for the PC and not just ported from the consoles.

    That IS the biggest problem for PC Gaming. Games that are NOT tailored for the PC, is it in controls, graphics or something else. If Valve cooperates with companies like Bethesda or Crytek to release high-res texture packs for games like Skyrim or Crysis 2 from the start in the version distributed through Steam, that IS the best option that PC Gaming can get. Same goes for weird FoV settings, mouse sensitivity or games optimized solely for the use of a specific controller. ENOUGH WITH THAT! Bring games that are tailored for the PC and PC Gamers will be happy. That’s it!

    The Steambox is not a step over those at all…it fragments the market even more and will NOT in any way, make things better for PC Gaming.

  31. I personally don’t understand how they’re going to maintain this supposed ‘hardware baseline’ with more then a dozen configurations, which looks like it’s in the works. Unless they artificially throttle the performance or simply have a white paper somewhere with target hardware and a reference system.

  32. Average consumer doesn’t have a professional AV stack or a rackmount in their closet for their switches, patch panels, or routers. I actually thought the aesthetics of this thing are actually pretty cool and it would like a bit of blind, if a bit out of place while sitting next to a HDTV.

  33. You can even with traditional topologies, mostly depending on how much power output you want. But with topologies like Class D and its derivatives you most certainly can get smaller.

    If by ‘amp’ you mean ‘A/V receiver’ instead then yeah, you end up with the input backplane as a limit to size although I’d argue receivers these days have way too many inputs. Who honestly has 5 HDMI sources, 4 digital sources, 5 analog sources, etc?

  34. Why would they use a neutered mobile gpu? The biggest issue with those is dropping power and temps. Desktop equivalents (price wise) are way higher in performance.

  35. Well, honestly any decent amp needs minimum 15x15x4in dimensions to fit all the circuitry, inputs, and proper shielding. You simply cannot shrink down quality audio equipment.

  36. Even Gabe doesn’t know what he’s intending. Seriously, read the interview, it’s all ‘well, we could do this or that, or envision this thing that’s using technology that isn’t invented yet.’ This whole Steam Box thing is all quite silly and embarrassing at this point, Gabe just needs to stop talking about it and slowly let it fade away. (Unfortunately since it’s Valve that will merely spawn all kinds of baseless internet rumors.)

  37. Meh, it will likely use a mobile GPU. If they go for APU on this one I think people may be upgrading a little too quickly to keep upo with playing games with any detail. Nice FF but nothing special. if people we’re not lazy they’d build it themselves. Hopefully Valve will subsidize the device. The Xi3 retails at 500 for the base model

  38. Well, I am talking “mainstream” gamers, not “casual” gamers, if that makes a difference. For casual gamers, I’d say APUs are definitely already good enough.

  39. Is it still a Steambox if it comes with Windows 8, as is an option for the X51? I don’t think that’s what Gabe was intending…

  40. Thumbs up to this… Consoles used mid-range components from the current/prior gen on launch.

  41. I don’t think anyone was debating the price/performance, rather just how far ahead the graphics are compared to seven year old consoles.

  42. You’re right, I should have used an example that shed the PC in a good light, so you would then go back and forth for 9 more posts about how the game was actually a PC focus and a bad xbox port.

    Instead I chose a game whose development was absolutely focused on the console, having little similarity to it’s former titles and multiplayer that was broken (due to lack of attention).

    whoops!

  43. I’d say that it’s already ‘good enough’, but the answer more likely than not lies in DDR4. With that, a hopefully better-optimized two-module Bulldozer-based part should be a good match for what goes for a mid-range GPU today.

  44. Correct in sentiment, but wrong on one detail. Because there is, in fact, one rule when working at Valve: NO WASTING TASTY BAKED GOODS!

  45. Well then, time to prove someone wrong on the internet!

    Rainbow Six Vegas, a 2006 title was released on the Xbox360 as well as the PC.

    The Xbox360 version runs at 1280×720 ~30fps (I don’t have a source for fps)

    The PC version, reviewed in the link below using various cards, including the memorable 8800gts
    runs the game at 1600×1200 ~32fps, maxed settings (read: better than the 360). Throw SLI into the mix (which I didn’t throw in as it’s “cheating” for comparison), runs it at even higher fps.
    [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/2141/4[/url<] So while there was a massive price difference between the two, in 2006 the Xbox360 was a dated piece of hardware compared to a high-end pc.

  46. Gabe has at long last flipped his lid. It’s really heartrending to see senile dementia wrapping its tentacles around the minds of people a fair bit younger than you are. I urge all compassionate TR members to donate to the mental-health charity of their choice. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” It seems now as if the rumors of Gabe’s best days of HL and HL2 being behind him are true, and HL3 has been usurped by raving mad, drooling visions of chrome-plated, steam-powered, piston-driven Linux consoles the size of grapefruit and costing $1k. Goodbye, my friend….*sniff*….*choke*…*gurgle*

  47. If you’re talking about paper tech specs of the GPUs sure. If you mean actual real world performance, which is what actually matters, then no. You’re completely wrong.

    I can’t believe after all these years of console releases, and on a tech site no less, people still get hung up on comparing paper specs.

  48. This has Kaveri written all over it with it’s Steamroller cores, GCN 2.0 and unified memory providing high end performance while sipping power. Newly updated roadmap says Q4 availability. 32nm Richland to keep the OEM and retail channel refreshed while 28nm lines churn out stock and modified Kaveris for the consoles and Steam Box.

    The hardware will be ready for Xmas sales, the question is if the software will be ready.

    A full AMD console/Steam Box hat trick, almost by definition, puts a spike in the heart of Nvidia consumer graphics.

    Be a good time to invest in AMD stock.

  49. Ok, I’m with you on the last post

    As this product stands, steam box or otherwise, it sucks.

  50. They were surpassed BEFORE launch. Really. All of the technology used in those consoles was old by the time they hit the shelf.

  51. It’s a middleground for what? Why does compromise need to be given? I’m pretty sure developers aren’t thrilled with paying for rights to publish on a Xbox or being charged to publish patches to make their game better.

    That’s the thing. The argument for consoles is so flawed, so out of date, that it’s completely based on principles that don’t exist anymore… Like all the gamers are on consoles, which simply isn’t true. Or a PC has no place in the living room, which is also simply not true…

    Perhaps users just want a easy experience? That’s Valves job and they can do ALL OF THIS through software, without ever touching a piece of hardware. You can easily insert a tutorial or help section in Steam that show’s people easily how to hook a PC up to a TV, with Valves data-mining capabilities they could even show customized tutorials based on their video card model and OS.

    Valve has so much data available to them, that the point that too much variability makes developing games hard is entirely stupid and moot. They have the ability to do what Nvidia is doing with optimizing PC gaming settings for a specific hardware configuration 10x – neigh 100x better.

    The only good reason that existed to have a console was console specific games and a gaming experience that is slowly dying out. The gamers average age has risen to the point where they can buy a $500 computer instead of having to beg their parents to buy one piece of hardware. The only person who will escape this undeniable convergence is Nintendo as they not only maintain a very niche product, but cripple their product so it wont actually compete with PCs. There is simply no comparison between a PC and a Wii, just the way Nintendo intended. It really amazes me how much forethought they had when they made the Wii with subpar hardware (on purpose) and people pointed at it and laughed.

    Oh and consoles allowed developers to be lazy as they could develop for subpar standards that console gamers were simply used to… But we have enough ‘good’ developers now days that simply want to make good games and not CoD21 that they’ll continue to develop for the better system and they’ll make CoD21 look like ass for it.

    I think the intentions with the Steambox were good, they just didn’t think any of this out before it went to execution. Someone at Valve was just sitting at their desk one day and decided they needed to completely change the PC landscape… even though that’s what their software is already doing and could do better.

  52. Agreed, glad someone else is pointing out the Steambox is simply a console with newer hardware.

  53. Hmm… good point on the bandwidth issue. Now that you mention that, even AMD’s current APU is starved for memory bandwidth, isn’t it? The future just keeps coming, though. How long will it be before an APU and the bandwidth available to it is good enough for mainstream gamers?

  54. There is a Steam Box spec. I suspect Shuttle or Zotac don’t have a current box that reaches that spec. Shuttle XPC’s still have ugly 5 1/2″ bays… I don’t think Valve is looking for that.

  55. If it weren’t for the memory bandwidth, that would probably already be the case. But AMD’s APU market is driven by laptops, and they’ll likely wait for DDR4 to “fix” it.

    However, with tablets already up to 2560×1600, the ARM crowd has motivation. Smartphones will be one of the first commercial applications of memristors.

    Memristor caches would open the bandwidth floodgates for the tiniest, most frugal chips.

    But will traditional PCs keep up? They are having a harder and harder time when a $10 ARM chip can be used to “beta test” the newest technologies with limited risk.

  56. Not their hat, but a marketing sticker that they can just slap onto their existing products because that’s all a Steam box is.

  57. If ideas like a ‘Steam box’ – a full-on x86 PC without Windows – start to gain any kind of traction, MS will just allow Metro Store apps to have pass-through revenue whereby MS gets no special cut (get the app for free, pay directly to the app owner), but doesn’t have to do anything like hosting or managing the app. Heck, maybe they already do that, I don’t know, if so Gabe is really just being a big baby.

  58. It’s not the idea in theory, which is honestly rather nebulous, but it’s the idea in practice. If a ‘Steam box’ is merely a boutique PC with a free Linux distro, wtf is the point?

    I am going to have to side with l33t on this one, Then go take a shower because that makes me feel dirty 😀

  59. Your second to last paragraph is a good distillation of Valve’s stagnation. Their ‘do what you want’ work style sounds great, and they undoubtedly make lots of money as a distribution platform, but it’s not special enough in the grand scheme – the only thing that makes a distribution platform special is momentum, or game exclusivity. That’s why Gabe hates Windows 8 so much, but it’s his own fault for resting on laurels. Steam has added a lot of fluff with the community and indie/greenlight/mod stuff but that’s all just fluff.

  60. Nope. Not even close. You can’t just look at the specs when comparing a PC to a console to gauge performance. If that was true the X360 or PS3 would’ve been surpassed by PC’s within 1 yr of their launch.

  61. The form factor looks very similar to a billet case SFF case someone put out about 10 years ago, albeit much smaller. It was called something like Hoodoo or Goojo. Anyone remember the case I am talking about (I want to say the manufacturer was based in the UK)?

  62. WTF are you talking about? The Xi3 isn’t the steambox, and yes the Ouya would likely be a better choice for value. Duh. I really doubt that valve would sell an overpriced and severely performance and storage limited system, just because it was small. No, the Xi3 is just an independent project that could be independently used as a steambox.

    People are dissatisfied with consoles because the hardware and software has stagnated for too long. They want next gen, and the PC is the only option that delivers, therefore the steambox is an idea that could really take off as long as they beat next gen consoles to market.

    Yes the only one currently worth getting is the windows one, therefore the X51 I mentioned. However, linux will be more of a player moving forward, and I certainly see valve having the muscle to make it work, and that would likely perform more like a console than windows would, not to mention that would also open up the arm platform (and bypass the windows app store).

  63. My $0.02 on the subject:

    If you have a target platform (ex AMD A series APU) developers can target that with pre-defined eye candy while hitting X FPS. No muss, no fuss. If you buy a Steam “console” you know what you are getting. If you up the GPU that’s all well and good and you can up the eye-candy, if you are into that kind of thing.

    A base spec means more companies can build it, which is why I think there is more than one floating around. And they use the word “console” because they are likely targeting the living room. I don’t think every person that has a 360 or PS3 is a computer person like us so they may be aprehensive about a PC in the living room. But a console, well, NOW we are talkin’!

    And it’s not going to be locked down, either. So any Ubuntu nerd can buy one and do what they want with it. If you have a PC you can DIY. IMO they are still developing the what I think will be the spec, not everythign will have HDMI because they are using COTS hardware, for now.

    I think this adressess some of the isseus brought up in a recent blog about gaming PC’s on TR, actually.

    Natually, this just my theory on why they are doing things this way.

    EDIT: it wasn’t a blog, but here’s the link
    [url<]https://techreport.com/blog/24114/improving-the-pc-as-a-gaming-platform-the-hardware[/url<]

  64. [quote<] the point is the bring pc gaming to the living room [/quote<] at 500$+ for an integrated gpu? You think that makes sense? you're willing to pay THAT much for "openness" vs the 99$ ouya?! yea, the steam box is faster, but not by THAT much. I understand they want gaming in the livingroom, but i can't imagine anyone pay that price. How many people are looking for a more open platform? do you think many xbox players are? I can't imagine that many people are dissatisfied with the consoles given the massive sales they've been seeing. 6-7 million xboxs in the last 3-4 months. [url<]http://xbox.about.com/od/news/a/Ces-12-Xbox-360-Sales-Numbers.htm[/url<] i personally have a system i use in my livingroom, i can appreciate the interest. I don't get the point of making an expensive machine that can't run half the crap they sell, and charging up the ass for it. as for open, the only one worth getting is the windows one. there are only 40 linux games on. i realize it's not launching today, but i don't imagine HALF the games supporting linux at launch time. the entire idea is an silly.

  65. [quote<] MS says "guess what, we're Metro only now, you must put your apps on our store or it won't run at all" [/quote<] not for a loooonnnnnggggg time.

  66. [quote<] withn the ecosystem is (from what I see) more restrictive than Steam. [/quote<] it isn't. the TOA allows for store fronts even. you can pretty much do whatever you want. Valves hatred is silly.

  67. [quote<]]It's a chicken-and-egg scenario for developers, it's possible there will be enough people who buy it based on hope and hype to gain critical mass for devs use resources to port to Linux but it's a low probability imo.[/quote<] Sadly, I can't deny this. If any company were going to do, it would be Valve, right? What I hope to say with this whole set of walls of text is that there may come a time when MS says "guess what, we're Metro only now, you must put your apps on our store or it won't run at all" and we then must choose as consumers to either suck it up or go to another option. Without something like steambox, what other viable options are there? It comes down to a paranoia over a reality that may never happen. But it might... edit: made his quote a spoiler on accident whoops!

  68. The image that I imagine Valve wanting to have for Steambox is one like Android on smartphones.

    It works pretty good from the start, and if you really want to, you can make it better or tailored to you.

    That being said, I will not deny that Android’s umpteen versions amongst umpteen phone models is scary at times. But it works good enough that the “typical stupid user” gets by and the “smarter than average power-user” gets to really tinker.

  69. I don’t know what your point is either, aside from asking rhetorical questions and promoting closed systems that further disrupt the gaming market, which the steambox doesn’t do.

    The original question here was derived from what the point of the steam box was. The point is to bring PC gaming to the living room, that’s it, and the steambox is just an “official” way to do it. Will it succeed? Quite possibly. Consoles have stagnated for too long, and people are looking for a more open platform. There are a lot of people talking about moving to the PC, and a steambox would make things really easy for those on the edge.

  70. Here’s the problem a ‘Steambox’ will have:

    It will either be

    1) basically a boutique, open PC with unsubsidized hardware. The only cost advantage will be no Windows license but low volume production might evaporate that entire advantage. If that’s the case, what reason do people have to buy it rather than another boutique PC which comes with Windows? Just because it’s from Valve? Because they have super nerd-rage against MS like Newell (in which case they probably already build their own PC and use Linux anyway)?

    2) a subsidized hardware platform. Valve could do this and pray that people buy a lot on Steam to make up for it a la Amazon Kindle or Google Nexus tablets…except those two are rather less open platforms (ok, Android is pretty open if you want to hack it but the vast majority don’t do that) If that’s the case, but Valve really does leave it open, they’re just tilting at windmills with a bag of money and praying it works out rather than focusing on core competencies.

    # 1 seems more likely based on what Newell says in the Verge interview and that’s already got enough going against it. On top of that, if it doesn’t come with Windows it doesn’t come with the vast majority of games on Steam. It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario for developers, it’s possible there will be enough people who buy it based on hope and hype to gain critical mass for devs use resources to port to Linux but it’s a low probability imo.

  71. Valve has whipped a lot of cupcakes at the wall just to see which ones stick, and sometimes even the ones that stick are not pursued with much fervor (HalfLife episodic content, anyone?).

    If the SteamBox concept takes off, then great — Valve is perfectly positioned for the “sell hardware at loss/margin, recoup on game sales” model, and piggyback on the popularity of the HTPC by letting customers roll their own system. If not, then at least they threw pinecones at Microsoft, which seems to be Le Gabe’s larger motivation anyway.

  72. How exactly is Valve not promoting PC gaming right now? What could they possibly do other than just blindly throwing money into advertisements? How are they NOT cooperating with game devs, is Steam Workshop and Greenlight not a step in the right direction?

    Conversely, Is cooperating with (large) game companies (who own the devs) even a good thing? These companies, due to their own interests, decided to not use Steam and instead create their own versions, yet didn’t learn from some of the key mistakes Steam made when cutting it’s teeth. Both sides want that 5% or 10% cut or whatever it is from customers using their special service. That they won’t budge on. But going to say, Origin, I have ZERO options for modding or user content. It wasn’t there on day 1, and almost 2 years later Origin still has no options for it. That right there is a huge thing.

    How exactly has MS and Sony made their platforms “better” for their system’s games? Xbox Live with a required-to-play-online service that fills 50% of the screen filled with ads? No options for “independent” development on the hardware?

    And what are the alternatives?

    -There are the “standard” consoles which are completely closed. I’ve already discussed why this is a step over those.
    -Next there is Win8 (and whatever Win9 becomes). MS seems to be pushing for a semi-closed ecosystem, which within the ecosystem is (from what I see) more restrictive than Steam. Outside of the ecosystem, within the same box, they are about equal (you can dual boot a windows machine and/or run the standard desktop and load up whatever).
    -The only other “viable” option I see is to promote a “vanilla” Linux distro, but why would Valve be interested in that? Why reinvent the wheel when a bunch of great “vanilla” linux distros already exist, who are already trying to deal with Dev and Hardware support?

    I’ll say it again: Valve’s option isn’t the best, but looking at the future, it is the best one. Hardware makers and Software devs alike simply don’t have a large enough financial interest in simple “PC gaming”.

    If both sides don’t compromise, the platform WILL die out. I don’t like the idea of it either (as Valve’s platform and all the others promote DLC / Nickel+Diming out the ass), but this is the sad reality of the present.

    And yes, I believe Gaben when he says that it will be an open system. He has a pretty good track record of being honest.

  73. RIGHT. THERE WILL BE AN OFFICIAL SYSTEM. THAT’S THE PART WE’RE ALL TALKING ABOUT. ANYONE CAN MAKE A TOWER RIGHT NOW. STEAM ISN’T CLOSED, BECAUSE IT RUNS ON OTHER PEOPLE’S OS’.

    i don’t know what you’re point is. obviously there will be other companies selling steam capable boxes. derp.

  74. You are the one that has it wrong. It is the A/V components that needs to change with the times. They are way too big and ugly. I refuse to have them in my living room.

  75. Another “design win”, where AMD can dump their miserable x86 processors. I would rather see such boutique PC paired with proper CPU architecture, like the upcoming Broadwell by Intel. Of course, then the price would be even more ridiculous…

  76. No, it clearly is the idea, and you apparently didn’t read the rest of my post, or gabe’s interview. I don’t know where you get there is no product, because the product clearly is steam and the hardware is just the medium to run it, but there will be an official system.

    You seem to be basing your argument (if that’s what you want to call it) on that the steambox is without actual hardware, which is clearly not the case. Valve will be releasing a steambox, but it will not cut out competition like consoles do, because the point of the steambox is STEAM. The steambox is an open concept for a system that brings PC gaming to the living room, and replaces your console. It doesn’t matter how it gets there, or who you buy it from. The point is to take over the console market with the PC via steam. It isn’t to enter the console market with yet another console and further divide the market, although I know you’d love that idea, being an enthusiastic supporter of closed systems.

    Valve’s steambox isn’t exactly a PC though, since it”ll be running a custom linux distro and be specifically designed to behave more like a console. That doesn’t mean you can’t build your own, or even format the steambox with windows, because you can. This is in no way a bad idea, except to people who want to further destroy the gaming market by dividing it more than it already is.

  77. I’m going to go ahead and disagree with you there, I really wish A/V manufacturers would get with the times and make gear that is smaller than the traditional 19″ width, and shallower too. My current A/V stack consists of an HTPC, and that’s it, that’s the only source I need. When our TVs are 1″ thick and mount on the wall it’s hard to stomach a gargantuan A/V receiver underneath. Even if I had a BD player, Xbox, and PS3, the receiver or amp would still be far and away the largest component.

  78. Slashgear made the comment that these may be used by Valve in their server farm, not as a game console. Doesn’t make sense to me… thoughts.

  79. And if you think you’ll be able to do any of that with this you are wrong. It’s called “Steam” box for a reason. But you blindly believe whatever Gabe tells you, which is why you«re setting yourself up for disappointment.

    The ONLY ones that might even have the slightest interest in this steam box for the features you praise, are PC Gamers which are better off actually maintaining their PCs than this. EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD that isn’t computer savy will NOT use any of the upgrade options for this Steam box or even know how to switch between different OS.

    Steam is the best because it had little to no competition when it started and had far more time than the others to actually be good. If you don’t remember, Steam is only “good” for a couple of years now. Before that and especially when it was released it was quite crappy and that’s actually an understatement). The other distributions systems like Origin or UPlay are quite good from the start (much better than Steam was), but just lack some of the polish that Steam only attained through several years of improvements. But that’s how things work and they take time to improve.

    Again, this is not the best solution. The best solution is for companies like Valve to put their money where their mouth is and PROMOTE PC Gaming, cooperate with game developers to make the PC Gaming experience a better one, just like Microsoft and Sony do for Xbox and PS3 games. This WILL NOT accomplish that and will in fact fragment the market even more, hurting the platform that’s been hurt with that fragmentation the most: the PC.

  80. You could argue that in many cases, a full size (19″ ?) A/V rack is overkill these days?

    A friend of mine with picky ears recently bought a pair of full-range, $1000-ish a piece wireless speakers which each come with a built-in digital power amplifier and which receive a wireless signal from a small, non-A/V rack sized proprietary wireless streaming unit.

    With a setup like that, why would you even need a full-size A/V rack? My point is that the A/V standards that we are used to are changing rapidly due to the miniaturization of components and shifts in tech (e.g. small, efficient, high quality digital amplifiers for instance).

    I’m not saying that A/V rack sized components are going away, just that the younger generation won’t necessarily [i<]demand[/i<] A/V rack sized components if they can buy smaller, more efficient (possibly 'designer') units with less darum and daran (cables, pre-amps, power-amps etc.)

  81. [quote<] The steambox is a PC (with steam), not a console. Anyone can make it, and it can be any size, shape, or form. Arguing what you think constitutes an "official" "steam box" is pointless and stupid. [/quote<] then the entire conversation is nothing. if a steam box is a computer, than valve has nothing to talk about, and no product to show, besides being another OEM. i think, somehow, that's not the idea.

  82. I don’t think discreet GPUs are going away. But I think your [i<]mainstream Steam gamer[/i<] is soon going to be able to do just fine with an integrated GPU. If AMD is on their 2nd gen "APU" now, and their 3rd or 4th gen APU is 2-4 times faster than their current one, then the broad portion of the market will probably be quite happy with that. That's not to say that the end of discreet GPUs is approaching anytime soon, though.

  83. I’m not missing the point. There is none. The steambox is a PC (with steam), not a console. Anyone can make it, and it can be any size, shape, or form. Arguing what you think constitutes an “official” “steam box” is pointless and stupid. The steambox is everything, and it is nothing, all at the same time because it is whatever you want it to be. The only real requirement is steam, and the ability to run games on your tv. I don’t believe this is going to be a locked down platform since valve will be allowing competition to offer alternatives alongside their own box. Valve’s version will likely be last to market, regardless of hardware, simply because they are considering linux. If the real steambox runs linux, it will take time to debug drivers, customize their distro, and also bring games to the platform. Meanwhile, you can buy a X51 right now that does everything you could want a steambox to do. People are interested in steamboxes because it combines the convenience of a console, with the hardware of a PC, and because of that I don’t see things like the Xi3 actually being a credible product. The X51 is sized like a current gen console, but gives you several times the power, and future adaptability, all at a decent price, and that’s what I would consider a real steambox.

  84. Consoles, or even the ecosystem that is Win8’s App store is completely different from what Valve is proposing.

    Yes, they are similar in that they *want* their service to be the ONLY one on the box. But do you see MS or Sony outright saying “You can install windows or linux or whatever on this, there will be no restrictions”. In fact the PS3 had that capability (to install linux) and they took it away in a firmware update.

    Hardware will ALWAYS be a limiting factor, no matter the platform, and there are no solutions to that whatsoever. It is ALWAYS a compromise. People only have so much time and money, both on the dev and user side.

    The Steambox is the best solution that exists, it won’t be a perfect one, but it is the best there is…Just as Steam is currently the best platform on a standard PC for distributing games/content (legally).

    If EA, Activision, all the other big dogs want their distribution platform, then they are welcome to write their own custom linux kernel and make it a free option to install on a steambox. Valve is not stopping them from doing that. Or to make it even easier, a quick OS switch from Steambox to Windows w/ their already existing apps loaded ready to go.

    Show where I can do this on the Wii, PS3, or Xbox360.

  85. “Up to 1TB” means you can customize to get that if you pay extra for it. “Priced at 100USD” means the baseline price with all bells/whistles removed.

    Standard stuff.

  86. Thanks 🙂

    And yeah that’s pretty sad. But money talk and console money seems to talk even louder. Except for Bethesda. Bethesda is all-in Microsoft’s money only.

  87. So everyone else’s closed system is bad, but Valve’s closed Steam ecosystem is good ? It’s baffling that this logic even makes sense to anyone…
    So what about the game that are not on Steam and are in fact attached to other distribution systems ? Oh right, I forgot, anything non-Steam is evil….right…

    In short, give me a break. Valve isn’t doing this to improve PC Gaming and a steam box is no middle ground, because it brings the same set of limitations that other consoles do. Sure, you can upgrade some components apparently, but who will buy a steam box with the idea of upgrading it ? The only ones I can see doing this are PC Gamers and they already have a PC that they can upgrade that will be a zillion times better than any console or steam box. Everyone else will buy the steam box and leave as is.

    And since developers will need to optimize for some hardware configuration, otherwise the games will run like crap on such a weak hardware, that means lowest common denominator once more…so everyone that does INDEED upgrade their steam box with newer components will once again receive the shorter end of the stick, like PC Gamers currently do.

  88. SSK’s helpful suggestion notwithstanding, that was my point – for people to connect this to their HDTV (I’d guess 90+ % of users), it should have a standard HDMI port, and it doesn’t appear to.

  89. I see the steambox as Valve being fed up with the push towards completely closed systems, which ALL of the newest consoles are pushing towards (and MS with Win8 app store), and providing a solution that is, as he said, a middleground.

    Without the compromise, big publishers won’t get on board. Without the steambox (In Gaben’s eyes) the PC platform will continue to shrink. Obviously, his drive is towards a big steam ecosystem where “modding” is capitalized on. Your modding scene of yesteryear is now an economy. User makes a great mod, charges $3.00 for it, which drives sales of the core game (as it will be required to run the mod), but also gives a cut to Valve. The biggest argument against systems like this is that cut that Valve takes.

    Where I think Valve will succeed is that they embrace (most) of the openness that PC gamers demand, whereas on say, Xbox Live’s Indie Game Channel (or whatever it is called), there are massive amount of expenses, restrictions, purposeful hiding of content AND the cut to MS to factor in.

    Plus, for us “hardcore” types, we’ll likely be able to just have a newer version of the Steam app itself have all of the same features of the Steambox, with no additional cost.

    I can see where you are saying that games will stagnate to some regard or another, but compared to how they will with another generation of consoles that appear to be ALREADY underpowered and out of date, it is the best option.

  90. You only get to control your own destiny with the consent of users. Pretty universally all statistics agree that Win 8 uptake is huge (even if not as great as Win7); what’s more pretty much everyone expected that – except for a few zealots. I don’t know that you can say the same for a Linux-enabled Steam platform.

    The real potential winner in a Valve Steambox platform is Linux, because it will for the first time legitimize Linux gaming with a real developer dedicating resources to releasing new games there. The catch is that Valve tends to be very much a follower rather than a leader. Most new games run on UE3 or Publisher’s in-house engines, meaning that even if Valve ports Source to Linux, or even a new version of Source, it will have a beast of a time getting other developers to port their games to Linux. The key for Linux is whether or not Valve builds a wall around their garden – which there is every indication that they will.

    What Steambox/Valve is missing is a killer app – and one game, even one exclusive game, does not a platform make. Nintendo has been trying this for years, with varying success. For every Wii, there is a GameCube or 3DS.

    At best Valve will capture a small fraction of Apple’s PC market share – and they will end up like Apple’s Mac unit – profitable, but basically irrelevant.

    When was the last time Valve released a truly relevant game? Portal 1? We all rushed out and bought Portal 2 on its hype, but did it even approach the sales of the biggest games of its era? No. Valve, due to – in large part – GabeN’s mismanagement and lack of interest in being a game dev – is dying. Steam is doing great, no doubt – but the catch is that other Publishers can build sales apps too. Without a world-class game development studio Valve is irrelevant to the PC industry now.

    And they’ve released nothing since 2007 that indicates they are a world-class anything.

  91. I view it the other way around.

    GPU circuits continue to expand, while CPU cores and controllers shrink and become obsolete. The only way to keep higher power computers more energy efficient than piles of SoCs will be to integrate everything into a “system on a graphics card.”

    Look at where Nvidia is headed with Project Denver. Even if the ARM part has a defect, today’s ARM chips have so many copied and pasted circuits that it can still be die harvested and not ruin their yields.

    Tacking a CPU onto what is otherwise a large GPU is no longer financial suicide.

    But that’s not just the future for PCs. HPC is already going down that road with things like the Tesla rack units and Xeon Phi cards.

    Cut that down just one step further and a server rack becomes a “motherboard” that’s just a big panel of next generation PCIe slots.

    Yo dawg, I heard you like computers, so we put a computer inside your computer?!?

  92. Eh…I don’t know how much stock I would put into what is probably a dev unit. Recall that the initial dev kits for the Xbox 360 were Powermac G5 workstations – and how much did the final 360 end up looking like a powermac?

  93. because there is a picture of steam’s big picture?

    you’re missing his point. he doesn’t understand why anyone would bother buying one. saying “another company wants you to buy one too!” doesn’t answer his question.

  94. i also don’t understand why i’d pay a fortune for a box and still have to deal with all the crap that comes along with pc gaming. fred’s comic did a great job summing it up, and i’m not sure why i’d pay for the cons of the console with the added cons of the pc thrown in with none of the positives.

  95. Ah someone without the usual double standards and hypocrisy!

    No, you are not missing anything, because that IS the point. Consolitis is bad for PCs and a Valve “steam box” is nothing more than another console that will further ruin the PC experience, which is already quite ruined with some atrocious ports from consoles. We continue to be greeted with either timed exclusives (where consoles or just one console gets priority over the PC) or total exclusivity for consoles. With another console in the market this gets even worse as you more or less pointed out.

    PC IS the best platform for gaming, because it has no limitations, but consoles have their place too, since not everyone can assemble or wants the hassle of assembling a good enough PC for decent gaming. However, supporting a Steam box is not making things better for the PC, since games will have to be optimized for that particular hardware or the platform will simply fail.

    Plus, this Valve push for linux gaming is only Valve’s way of giving the finger to Microsoft because they are threatened by the Windows App Store. Unfortunately some PC Gamers are falling like idiots in this scheme that Valve is creating just to get more money, with the idea that somehow this will actually improve PC Gaming…

  96. As someone who doesn’t understand “steam box” well, that cleared up very little.

    So we have 3 tiers of steam box specs:
    good = streaming
    better = “dedicated CPU and GPU and that’s the one that’s going to be controlled”
    best = anything better than better?

    Currently, consoles periodically define “better” and PCs are always “best”
    Versus, steambox periodically defines “better” and PCs are still “best”

    Given that “best” is amorphous, games will stagnate around the “better” CPU/GPU. In other words, we hate consolitis, but should embrace Valve consolitis?

    Maybe I’m missing something? As a consumer, if I see something stamped “steam box”, what is the message I’m supposed to get?

  97. On paper, but not in real world performance.
    At $1,000 it’s nothing more than a neat looking curio.

  98. Alienware is already advertising the X51 as a steambox.
    [url<]http://www.alienware.com/landings/x51ugs.aspx[/url<]

  99. [quote<]Though I still don't get the point of a steam box.[/quote<] Valve gets to control its own destiny by abandoning the sh1tshow that is Windows 8 and The Windows Store. The Steam Box will be based on Linux/OpenGL.

  100. Since this doesn’t seem to be getting through to console makers, I’ll try again:

    These devices need to be able to live in an A/V stack. They should be the same profile as normal A/V components. Stop making a bunch of oddly sized crap that I cannot stack!

    Seriously, there is no value in making it small or pretty. It’s going to go into a stack of similar devices behind a closed door where noone will be looking at it. Stop wasting resources on making it strangely sized and shiny!

  101. Xi3 is modular? PCs are already modular! This just means another form factor that either no one will support or will be insanely expensive.

    Anyways, this is one of many steam boxes.
    [url<]http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3851734/valve-steam-box-prototypes[/url<] (at least one looks like an Antec ISK-310) Though I still don't get the point of a steam box. Perhaps Valve should explain it better... The only thing that makes sense to me is a "console", which it doesn't seem to be since there's more than one in development (and is undesirable anyways).

  102. Because SSK’s comment with the link was inexplicably minus’d, here is the story people should be reading for info on the real steambox:
    [url<]http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3852144/gabe-newell-interview-steam-box-future-of-gaming[/url<] Gabe touches on a metric ton of interesting points and paints a pretty clear picture of where he wants to see the platform going.

  103. The story you linked should be a front page post. That interview has a HUGE amount of info on the steambox.

  104. Funny, everyone is complaining about the lack of graphics horsepower, but nobody picked up on the phrase “[u<]Modular[/u<] Computer Chassis." That makes me believe that they will offer an external grahpics module.

  105. There are hints and then there are -hints-. Not my fault you can’t tell the difference and also probably totally can’t detect sarcasm. Also FYI I blew up and printed out your “you got me” comment. Hanging on my wall right now.

  106. [quote<]im also wondering what's "steam optimized" about it?[/quote<] It's a hardware baseline for game manufacturers with hardware cherry picked by Valve. The release doesn't mention software, so I'm going to guess that Valve will later release a Linux distro that has massaged graphics drivers along with a stable kernel and libs. This could be a "Remix" of Ubuntu or something else. Having Canonical do all of the heavy lifting makes sense.

  107. You got me there. Nothing resembling a detail could possibly have been omitted from [b<][i<]The Great CES Hint of 2013[/i<][/b<].

  108. Barely better than existing consoles…which are due for replacement late 2013/early 2014.

  109. For high end PC gaming… sure… Barely above consoles? Not so much.

    It does seem expensive though… A laptop, you could do a mini-itx HTPC for much less too.

  110. Given the purported specs of this thing it sounds about in line with the next generation consoles – in my complete and utter guesstimation.

    I’m still wondering if PC gamers want to play on the big screen. Competitive FPS gaming can’t be much fun when pitted against players with keyboards and mice, RPGs will vary but you’ll probably still need a keyboard on the couch regardless, strategy games likewise, platform and adventure games should work well and sports and other traditionally controller based games similarly. That makes you wonder though – sports, adventure and platform games are already big on consoles and plus you can play competitive FPSs without getting totally dominated if you just use a console. I guess the niche will be the people who want to play RPGs and platformers developed exclusively for the PC on their TVs, alongside traditional console type games – and people who don’t know any better.

  111. It’s the oldest marketing scam in the book. Read it again:

    [b<]"UP TO"[/b<] 1 TB of solid-state storage.

  112. What’s that port at the bottom, next to the mic? Could that be a connector for an external GPU?

    I would have thought that would be the way to go with these..if not then I can’t see it being man enough even for current (at least the more demanding) games at 1080p, let alone future releases.

  113. Yea they’re around $300+. 1TB SSD’s are still $2K+ AFAICS. And that is for 2-3.5″ form factor SSD’s. I can’t find any mSATA SSD’s with that capacity. They seem to top out around 500GB or so right now.

  114. It would be really hard to fit a decent GPU and CPU in there, unless the case acts as a heatsink and it’s ribbed on the inside with flow through airflow (pull in one direction out the other).

  115. It’s good it’s not the steambox… hopefully steambox will get killed off by solutions like this before it hatches.

  116. The rumour is that it is going to come with a 35W Richland APU from AMD. 384GPU cores, quad CPU cores, up to 3.2GHz.

    Should be fine for 1080p gaming on a TV, although it won’t be anything like a half-decent PC.

    But not for $1000, it needs to be cheaper. $400 max.

  117. APU is essentially just an A10-4600M under a new name. Certainly not enough performance for high-end gaming, barely above current generation consoles.
    $1000 seems a lot given that you could get an equivalent laptop for quite a bit less than that, with the benefits of a screen, battery, etc.

  118. it likely IS the steam box.

    edit: i thought the comments he made here were suggestive, but after reading again, i guess not too much. [url<]http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3852144/gabe-newell-interview-steam-box-future-of-gaming[/url<] [quote<] Valve has made it explicitly clear that this partnership with Xi3 is not not not monogamous, and just because these two are mackin' right now, it doesn't mean their love-child will keep Valve from courting some other prospective mates. [/quote<]

  119. there is NO way a 1tb ssd is in that machine for 1k. if it were, buy the machine for 1k, and keep the ssd and throw the rest away. it’s a mistake. there might be an SSD or Up to 1tb of storage (would be a laptop drive, wahoo!) but not a 1tb ssd.

    anyway. looks lame, and slow, and expensive.

  120. [url<]http://www.amazon.ca/GTMax-Premium-DisplayPort-Female-Adapter/dp/B002CSRFD8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357735640&sr=8-1[/url<]

  121. MiniDp-HDMI cable.

    I would’ve preferred if they just dumped the DVI for the HDMI, though I believe HDMI demands royalties.

  122. They should have stackable (design-wise) drive bays and/or graphics card [b<]housing[/b<] module, if only eSata can manage its own power draw (can it?). If it pulled it off it would finally be the dawn of modular computing.

  123. How can there possibly be a 1TB SSD in there? Seriously, a 512GB SSD is approximately $500. There’s no way.

  124. The DVI port is obvious, but it looks like the one beside it is DisplayPort. i.e, no HDMI??!!?

  125. According to the Verge ( [url<]http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/7/3849636/xi3s-steam-funded-hardware-is-codenamed-piston[/url<] ) and Joystiq ( [url<]http://www.joystiq.com/2013/01/07/valve-pc-steam-box/[/url<] ), the system specs are the following: * AMD R-464L APU. According to [url<]http://www.amd.com/us/Documents/RSeries_ProductBrief.pdf[/url<] it is a 35 watt CPU with 4 cpu cores, 2MBx2 cache, 2.3/3.2 GHz cpu speed, AMD Radeon™ HD 7660G 686MHz/ 497MHz speed * 8GB of DDR3 RAM * up to 1TB of solid-state storage * four USB 3.0/2.0 ports, four eSATAp ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port, Priced at 1000 USD

  126. im not going to say i called it. i’ll leave that up to you guys.

    you get a linux based (wahoo! 40 possible steam games!), and on die graphics (i heard AMD)!!! how much? 500+$?! SIGN ME UP!!!!! that’s only double the cost of that system in itx form, with less upgradability!

    seriously though. you’re tied to the manufacturer for new hardware, since the board is custom. The graphics power is going to suck. plus, it’s an ugly color. who would buy this? I’m seriously wondering if any of you are seriously considering this as a purchase, and why? what about it makes it worth that massive price?

    im also wondering what’s “steam optimized” about it?

  127. I really don’t get it. Sure its kinda cool given how small the thing is but that will severely limit what sort of GPU/CPU they can cram in there while also giving it a (probably) very high price. Maybe it’ll perform as well as the Wii-U…but then the Wii-U already is filling a certain niche quite well, leaving no room for a Steam “Casual Gamer” Box to fit into.

    Doesn’t make any damn sense at all. Especially with the hinted $500-1000 price.

    A M-ITX form factor based system would give them a lot more options while still being plenty small and cheaper I bet too. None of this customized proprietary hardware that they’ll have to do all the support for or rely on one company to do for them.

  128. A flashy Cappuccino PC… but that’s what consoles and, well, actual PC’s, too are these days.