iBuyPower’s $499 Steam Machine

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iBuyPower, a boutique builder of PCs, unveiled their $500 Steam Machine today.

I’m not fan of the case but I am fan of the price. Apparently $500 will net you the following specs:

Processor:  a multicore AMD CPU
Graphics:  AMD Radeon R9 270
Communications: Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
Storage: 500GB hard drive
Operating System: Steam OS

Peripheral: Valve controller

The Radeon R9 270 can run Battlefield 4 at 1080p 60FPS and is easily the most costly component of this build at $180 MSRP.

At first I was pleasantly surprised by this revelation but then I took a closer look at these parts. Building a competitive build like this for under $500 is certainly possible if you sacrifice performance and choose lower tier motherboards, memory and storage. They didn’t mention which CPU they’re including in this box which should be an indication of something cheap.

This iBuyPower Steam Machine is a step in the right direction but I can’t help but think people would be better off building a $700 – $900 machine that’s far more powerful and capable. How about something with and Intel CPU, more sizeable hard disk and solid state drive?

It’s fantastic to know you could play Battlefield 4 at 1080p 60FPS with this but how long will that last? How long before this box is outdated by unoptimized console ports? At least with a console, you’re guaranteed performant games for half a decade.

Thoughts on the Future of Steam

steam_logoLast week Valve rolled out teasers and announcements concerning their future plans for Steam. After a week of contemplation and speculation, I thought I would pen down some of my thoughts.

At first blush

I have to stress that these announcements were leaning closer to the teaser side. Specifics? There were none. Most of what Valve announced could fit within Twitter’s 140 character limit and you have the complete picture.

It felt like these announcements were premature and were drawn out for no good reason. Valve started with Steam OS, which was light on information already, and then moved onto something with even less info, the Steam Machines. On the bright side, the Steam Controller divulged the most information but it was also the one that caused the most ruckus on the forums.

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Steam Machines announced

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As they promised, Valve unveiled another piece to the Steam ecosystem. As predicted, it was a hardware announcement related to Steam OS. Thus far, these “Steam Machines” have no specifications nor any pricing.

So what do we know thus far then?

  • There will be multiple manufacturers putting out their own Steam Machines
  • They will come in different performance grades
  • The will debut some time in 2014
  • You can apply to be 1 of 300 testers of Valve’s in-house developed Steam Machine.

I found this “announcement” to be a crock of shit. There’s so little info about the OS as it is and now we get an even more nebulous hardware unveiling. They couldn’t even tease a few manufacturers? How about some price ranges or even a mockup of their own box? Hell, why didn’t they just thrown out a TFLOP number for us to work with?

At least they hinted at one thing. Their next announcement will likely be controller related.

Am I going to be using a mouse and a keyboard in the living-room?


If you want. But Steam and SteamOS work well with gamepads, too. Stay tuned, though – we have some more to say very soon on the topic of input.

Hopefully that’s more exciting than their previous announcements. This whole exercise appears to be premature.

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