Zotac shows tiny Steam machine prototype

Valve and its partners showed some of the first commercial Steam machines at CES this week. One of the systems on display hails from Zotac, and it looks awfully familiar. See for yourself:

Yep. That's a Zbox all right.

Now, don't let the small chassis fool you. This may look like an Atom-powered mini-PC, but Zotac says the Zbox Steam Machine will in fact feature an "enthusiast-class" Intel Core processor as well as an "upcoming performance-class" GeForce GTX GPU from Nvidia. (The official press release doesn't go into much more detail about the specs, unfortunately.) Looking at the photos, I can see dual Ethernet controllers, HDMI and DVI outputs, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There's also a VESA mounting bracket, so you can slap this thing on the back of a monitor, and a smaller bracket that lets the system stand upright on its own.

According to Zotac, the Zbox Steam Machine will come out in the second half of 2014. It will ship with Valve's Steam OS pre-installed, and it will be bundled with Valve's Steam Controller. There's no word on pricing yet. For reference, though, that iBuypower Steam machine we heard about last year will cost $499—and that's with a multi-core AMD CPU and a Radeon R9 270. I wouldn't expect the Zotac system to cost much more. Heck, it might actually wind up cheaper.

See the image gallery below for more pictures. Other than the orange lighting and all-black paint job, there isn't much going on there that we haven't seen before. The really exciting stuff is under the hood.

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