Steam Hardware Is Out
Two years after the initial announcements, Steam Hardware is finally here. In the classical Valve time fashion, they are released an year later than initially planned. Steam Controller, Steam Link and Steam Machines can now be purchased in shops and directly via Steam in US, Canada, UK and Europe. November 10th is the official release date, but the people who have done their pre-orders very early have received their devices sooner. Later pre-orders have arrived on the designated date, even in small European countries that are hard to find on the map.
Currently, Steam advertises Steam Machines from 3 vendors: Alienware, Syber and Zotac. All of them come bundled with Steam Controller and are running SteamOS.
Alienware has three tiers of its Steam Machine. All of them are very similar to last year’s Alienware Alpha and use mobile components with GPU similar to 860M. The cheapest $450 version uses i3-4170T CPU with 4 GB RAM. Such specifications were not great last year and seem too little now. A more pricey $650 version has i5-4590T CPU with 8 GB RAM and should be a little more ready for the present and future. Finally, the $750 version upgrades CPU to i7-4785T and also has 8 GB VRAM. Compared to other manufacturers, Alienware’s main advantage is a tiny package, but they should have tried to fit in more powerful current hardware.
Syber offers its Steam Machine in 3 versions: I, P, X. Version I is the cheapest one at $499, with dual core i3-4160 3.6 GHz, 4 GB RAM and GTX 750 with 1 GB VRAM. While it is not completely outmatched, it will often fall behind consoles in performance and may not have enough RAM for newer games. Version P is better equipped for $729, with i5-4460 3.20 GHz, 8 GB RAM and GTX 960 with 2 GB VRAM. Finally, version X is Sybers top Steam Machine for $1419. It has i7-4790K, 16 GB RAM and GTX 980 with 4 GB VRAM.
Zotac offers a single Steam Machine configuration for $1000. It is based on mobile components, and has i5-6400T 2.2 GHz, 8 GB DDR3L RAM and GTX 960 (while it is named as such, it is a laptop GTX 970M with 3 GB VRAM).