Steam Machines are coming before the end of the year

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I’ve never really understood the appeal of Steam Machines – other than that they’re really nice looking, small form factor PCs that are great for plugging in to TVs. Announced what seems like forever ago, Valve’s PC/console hybrids are finally set for retail release. They’ll be coming to those who pre-order the things in October, and on store shelves in November this year.

Steam Machines will run on SteamOs, a Linux-based operating system that puts Steam’s Big Picture mode at the forefront. Unfortunately, they’ll only run games that have Linux compatibility – but they’ll allow you to stream your games from another local PC. According to Valve, over a thousand games will be natively supported at launch.

Joining the Steam machine on store shelves will be the Steam Controller and Steam Link. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, it looks like neither of those will be available locally – but hopefully that changes, because the controller looks amazing.

Steam machines start at $449 (far more than consoles), while the controller sells for a reasonable $49. The first two Steam Machines out of the gate come from Alienware and CyberPower – though you can bet your behind that other manufacturers will jump on this soon. Alienware’s Steam Machine will come in four configurations, and are upgradeable – except for the important bit: the GPU. It’s built in, and runs comparably to a GeForce GTX 860M (which, if you ask me, just isn’t good enough).

Here’s each Alienware system, according to Polygon:

$449

  • Intel Core i3 – 4130T DC
  • nVidia GeForce GTX GPU w/2GB GDDR5
  • 4GB DDR3
  • 500GB 7200RPM HDD
  • 1×1 802.11 Wireless Card
  • Steam Controller

$549

  • Intel Core i3 – 4130T DC
  • nVidia GeForce GTX GPU w/2GB GDDR5
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • 1×1 802.11 Wireless Card
  • Steam Controller

$649

  • Intel Core i5 – 4590T QC
  • nVidia GeForce GTX GPU w/2GB GDDR5
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • 2×2 802.11 AC
  • Steam Controller

$749

  • Intel Core i7 – 4765T QC
  • nVidia GeForce GTX GPU w/2GB GDDR5
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • 2×2 802.11 AC
  • Steam Controller

“We have collaborated for years with Valve and GameStop to develop a platform with the best content, the best performance, and the best value compared to anything else on the market. Finally, with this preorder, we have a chance to address the building anticipation for the latest and greatest gaming system,” said Frank Azor, general manager of Alienware and XPS, Dell.

And I’m still not sold on Steam Machines. I love the heck out of the controller, but I can’t help but feel that anybody who really, really wants a small form factor PC is more than capable of building their own and dual-booting SteamOS and Windows for a more rounded experience.

Last Updated: June 5, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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