If you’re one of the many hopefuls who signed up to beta test the Steam Machine prototypes from Valve then you might want to take a look at this, as Valve has released images of the Steam Machine and shown off how it has managed to cram such powerful hardware in to something the size of an Xbox.
The console sized PC is built so that each individual part has its own breathing space meaning no particular part is stealing cool air from another:
The Verge got to take a good look at the insides of the Steam Machines and wrote a pretty in depth article on everything they learned.
You can see that the airflow has been very specifically planned out, with the CPU blowing air out of the top while the power supply directs air out of the side and the reference cooler on the Nvidia Titan exhausts out of the back. If you were to upgrade the graphics card in one of these you would probably have to go with a blower style cooler to keep that hot air directed out of the case.
Along with the actual Steam Machine we also got to see a bunch of controller prototypes with some rather odd designs. Valve designer, Greg Coomer talked through the different design choices that were being experimented with: “The trackball became the thing that we spent a lot of time developing. Higher mass means you get more momentum and a little more area to play with, you get finer grain control.”
Ultimately though, Valve had to start focusing on how it would incorporate its new controller with the current library of Steam games and how the company could control the experience through software, “You can’t ship a software update to change the diameter of the ball or the mass or anything”, Coomer continued. This is what led to trackpads becoming the final design choice.
Amongst all of this Valve revealed that it would announce its hardware partners at CES in January along with a list of new games that will come to the platform. Valve expects to see some Steam Machines on sale by mid 2014 and hazards a guess that some partners will be able shrink a Steam Machine down to a quarter of the size of the prototype. When The Verge asked about AMD making special APU style chips like those found in the next generation consoles, they were told that there wouldn’t be an answer to that question before January.
Last thing on today’s list of Valve news is Steam OS exclusives, there has been rumors of Half-Life 3 debuting on Steam OS as an exclusive to help get the operating system off the ground but Valve’s Doug Lombardi has now set us straight: “It’s against our philosophy to put a game in jail and say it only works on Steam Machines.”
KitGuru Says: Lots of info came out of Valve today but I think that might be it now until January so mark your calendars because i’m sure we’ll be hit with even more exciting news then. Let us know what your thoughts are on everything we know so far about Valve’s new venture.