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The internet calls it the Steam Box. Valve is calling it the Steam Machine. But whatever you call it, it’s clear that Valve has some ambitious goals for its latest console gaming project.
The Steam Machine was recently released to a special group of about 300 beta testers. These beta testers have been encouraged to share their early experiences with the internet, which has given all of us a glimpse into Valve’s latest magical project.
Here are the most important bullet points you need to know about the Steam Box:
-It’s an open, Linux-based gaming system designed for use in the living room
-Valve is currently beta testing the Steam Machine by sending it to 300 lucky Steam users
-Nvidia GTX 780, GTX 760, or GTX 660, depending on which version you buy
–Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU depending on which version you buy
–16GB of RAM for all versions
–1TB of mechanical hard drive storage
–8GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage
-Six USB slots, HDMI output slots, DVI output slots
-It comes with some funky controllers
-Manufacturing partners will be able to release their own types of Steam Machines, including hardware makers like iBuyPower, Piixl, and Digital Storm
Basically, this is a console that is trying to change the way people think about their consoles. Instead of being locked into a certain type of hardware specifications, users can choose to pay more for a more powerful system. At the same time, Valve will try to reduce fragmentation and make things easier for developers by giving PC users some common traits.
What does the Steam Machine look like?
The console looks like a mix between a small desktop PC and a console. It’s actually quite aesthetically pleasing, although I’ll leave that up to individual users to decide. I like the copious ventilation along the side – it doesn’t look like the Steam Machine will encounter too many overheating problems!
You see all those holes along the side of the console? There is one hole for each member of the beta and 300 holes in total. Now do you see the larger hole towards the bottom of the case? Valve drilled out a unique hole on each beta console in order to keep track of who was sharing what information and who was selling their console on eBay. Smart thinking.
Test out the Steam Machine today at home
You can download the beta version of Steam OS here: http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/
However, installing the beta version of Steam OS isn’t as easy as you might think. You can follow the FAQs and installation instructions from Valve’s official website here.