Valve have finally lifted the lid off the Steam Machines once and for all, releasing the full list of available models, prices (up to $4999.99!) and some of their specifications too.
To be honest, it's a confusing and somewhat embarrassing shambles. Instead of one clear message, over a dozen machines are desperately trying to claw their way into the limelight, most of which have similar specs or even upgradable in and of themselves, making for a bit of a nightmare for consumers.
Great. Still, in an effort to make things as easy as possible, here are all of the Steam Machines announced so far, how much they'll cost, their specs where possible and a bit of commentary. Bear in mind that only US prices are currently available and we've got no word on a European rollout yet (but the Gods of VAT will not smile on us, no doubt).
Starting at $479.99 USD
Big power, tiddly form factor. "The Alienware Steam Machine combines the awesome experience of console gaming with a massive library of over 980 games, all in full 1080p HD on your TV. You’ll experience powerful and immersive gaming with the high performance NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX GPU 2GB GDDR5 graphics and Intel® Core processors."
So basically it's an Alienware Alpha, then. Specs here. Chances are you'll need to spend quite a lot more than the base price to get future-proofed bang for your buck.
$1,099.99 USD to $1,999.99 USD
Available in multiple specifications from basic Intel® Core™ i3-4130 to 'Ultra' Core 15 with 2TB SSHD, the Alternate Steam Machine has a lot of options. Will it have anything to set it apart from the crowd, though, especially since an i7 option isn't on the table?
Starting at $699.99 USD
Damn but this thing is pretty. Decent specs too - hopefully the ultra models won't be too expensive. If they're at least vaguely reasonable then the ROG GR8S could be the one to beat.
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i5/i7 processors
- GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® 9-series graphics
- Memory: DDR3 4GB ~ 16GB
- Storage: 500GB/1TB 7200rpm HDD, or 128GB ~ 512GB SSD
I can't find a single interesting thing to say about the Digital Storm Steam Machine. The specs aren't bad for the price, if accurate, but again I don't know how this will rise above the rest of the pack.
- Price: $699
- CPU: Intel® Pentium® G3220
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 960 2GB
- RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Storage: 1TB 7200RPM Machnical
$1,999.99 USD to $4,999.99 USD
Here's one of the premium machines. Starting at near enough $2000, we're talking some serious upgradeable grunt alongside liquid cooling in a relatively compact form factor. Mind you, most PC gamers will tell you that they can assemble a competiting machine for less, and they're right.
- CPU: Intel® Core™ up to i7-4790K
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 900 series, including Titan and Titan-Z class
- Memory: Up to 16GB of DDR3-1866 MHz
- Storage: Up to 8 TB of SSD or SSDs and a standard HDD
- Completely customizable configurations
- Liquid cooled CPU
Awww! It's so tiny! The Gigabyte BRIX Pro is insanely small, but still includes a Core i7 processor and Intel Iris 5200 graphics. Whether it's actually worth anywhere near that sort of money remains to be seen, though, or whether it's basically a cute novelty.
- Ultra compact PC design - 0.79L (62 x 111.4 x 114.4 mm)
- IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 4.0 Mini-PCIe card
- HDMI plus Mini DisplayPort Outputs (supports dual displays)
- 4K resolution output (4096 x 2304 via HDMI)
Starting at $459.99 USD
The "Nuclear Sandwich" is back, though looks much less appetising in black. As a budget option, the starting specs aren't great, but a fair few people will probably enjoy having a Cylon in their AV cabinet.
- CPU: AMD Athlon™ X4 840
- GPU: ATI Radeon™ R7 250X 1GB GDDR5
- RAM: 4GB Ram (Up to 8GB Ram)
- Storage: 500GB HDD (Up to 1TB HDD)
Starting at $849.99 USD
Here's another "highly customisable" steam machine, packing a range of processors, GPUs, storage solutions and closed-loop liquid cooling. It's an attractive piece of kit, though again, we don't know how much we'll need to spend for a decent future-proofed model. Probably a lot considering that it starts at $849.
- CPU: Up to Intel® Core™ 4790K
- GPU: Up to NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 980 and AMD R9 290X
- Storage: Up to 2x 1TB SSD and 1x 6TB 3.5’ HDD
- RAM: Up to 16GB of DDR 3 Memory
- Other: Epic 120 Liquid Cooling
This piece of kit is designed to be "elegant, easy to use, powerful, and scalable." The jury's out on the first two, but the specs are pretty decent at under $900.
- CPU: Intel® Core™ 4440
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 960 OC
- Memory: TBD
- Storage: SSHD - 1TB To (8GB Nand)
$799.99 USD to $1,299.99 USD
Uh-huh. We see what you did there. Vaguely amusing name aside, it's yet another 'decent if unspectacular' option.
- CPU: Intel® Core™ I5 4460
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 970
- Memory: 8Gb DDR3
- Storage: 512GB SSD
Up to $4,999.99 USD.
Origin don't mess about. Their PCs are bleeding-edge, superbly made and cost a frankly obscene amount of money. If you need three GTX 980s, 32GB of high-end RAM and 14TB of storage, this is the one you want.
Also, we need to hang out some time.
- CPU: Up to an Intel® Core™ i7 4770k
- GPU: Up to 3-WAY NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 980
- Memory: Up to 32GB of 1866Mhz
- Storage: Up to 14TB
$999.99 USD to $1,299.99 USD
Yet another middle-of-the-road option that only goes up to core i5.
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i5
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 970
- Memory: 8GB of Corsair DDR3 as standard, with 16GB available
- Storage: 120GB SSD as standard, with larger options available
$499.99 USD to $1,399.99 USD
Cool looks aside, this could be quite an interesting option, starting at just $499 if you basically just want an HTPC or streaming station. You really, really won't get much for that base edition though.
- Price: $1,399
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-4790K
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 980 4GB
- Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz
- Storage: 1TB 7200 RPM HDD
Oh thank goodness, a non-upgradeable option with locked in specs. The bad news: they're unspectacular but the 1TB SSHD is a nice touch, and the case is rather cute.
- Bitfenix Pandora chassis – sleek profile and aluminum construction
- Intel Core i5-4460 – four core, high powered CPU with low power consumption
- GeForce GTX 960 2GB – cost efficient, high graphics with low power consumption
- 8GB DDR3 1600MHz – high speed memory
- 1TB SSHD – hybrid SSD/HDD provides short loading times
- H97-based mainboard – fully fledged mainboard provides all the performance and upgrade options needed
- 500W PSU – low noise PSU with stable operation
A thousand Dollars for a laptop/notebook graphics card? Not convinced.
- CPU: Intel® 6th Gen Processor
- GPU: NVIDIA® Geforce® GTX 970M with 3GB GDDR5
- Memory: 8GB DDR3 SODIMM bundled
- Storage: 2.5” 1TB HDD + 64GB M.2 SSD
So there you have it: a confusing mess of machines with no clear differentiation or niche. Come on Valve: you have to pick it up.