STEAM MA­CHINES 101

GAX (Malaysia) - - FEATURES -

So what ex­actly are these Steam Ma­chines, you might be ask­ing. Well, they aren’t any hard and fast rules on what con­sti­tutes a Steam Ma­chine, or how they should look or per­form, but what they all share in com­mon is the SteamOS op­er­at­ing sys­tem they run on. SteamOS is pretty much a Linux-based op­er­at­ing sys­tem at heart, but has been specif­i­cally cus­tom­ized around Steam’s Big Pic­ture in­ter­face to make it com­pat­i­ble with the huge HD tele­vi­sions of your liv­ing room.

The pur­pose of Steam Ma­chines then, ac­cord­ing to Valve, is to “pro­vide the best liv­ing room ac­cess to the great­est games and user-gen­er­ated con­tent avail­able.” To put it bluntly, Valve wants you to get out of the man-cave where you and your gam­ing rig are al­ways cooped up in, and get your game on in the liv­ing room in­stead. Pay a quick visit to Valve’s ded­i­cated Steam Ma­chine site and you’ll no­tice there are al­ready quite a num­ber of com­pa­nies who have made, or are in the process of mak­ing, Steam Ma­chines of their own.

Such com­pa­nies in­clude main­stream PC man­u­fac­tur­ers like ASUS, Alien­ware, Gi­ga­byte and Zotac; as well as cus­tom PC builders such as SY­BER Gam­ing, Fal­con North­west and Ori­gin, the lat­ter three of which are based in the U.S.

As main­stream brands like Alien­ware have an obli­ga­tion to cater for a wider con­sumer base com­pared to their cus­tom PC coun­ter­parts, their Steam Ma­chine of­fer­ings are priced more sen­si­bly. Take the Alien­ware Steam Ma­chine as an ex­am­ple. Its base model starts at a price of just US$499 (ap­prox. RM1,860), while the top-spec model will cost you a slightly higher US$649 (ap­prox. RM2,414). In re­turn, you’ll get a ma­chine equipped with an In­tel Core i7-4765T pro­ces­sor, a mod­i­fied NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU, 8GB of DDR3 mem­ory, a 7,200RPM 1TB hard drive and a Steam Con­troller – Valve’s ren­di­tion of the tried-and-proven PlayS­ta­tion or Xbox con­troller which, in­stead of re­ly­ing solely on but­tons and ana­log sticks, also makes use of two touch­pads to em­u­late a key­board and mouse.

If you’re look­ing for a Steam Ma­chine that goes all out on hard­ware, you’d have to check out Fal­con North­west’s Tiki Steam Ma­chine as it packs one heck of a punch, es­pe­cially so when you de­cide to go crazy with its com­pletely cus­tom­iz­a­ble spec­i­fi­ca­tions list.

For a cool US$4,999 (ap­prox. RM18,600), you’ll get a Tiki Steam Ma­chine that sports an In­tel Core i7-4790k pro­ces­sor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX Ti­tan GPU, 16GB of DDR3-1866 mem­ory, and 8TBs of stor­age space. The best part? All of said hard­ware is fit­ted into a chas­sis that is just 4-inches wide, and 13-inches tall.

If that’s a lit­tle too ex­ces­sive for your tastes (and wal­let), have a look at SY­BER Gam­ing’s Steam Ma­chine X. It’s much more down to earth, and yet still very well ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing its own weight. It’s equipped with noth­ing less than an In­tel Core i7-4790 pro­ces­sor, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPU, 16GB of DDR3-1600 mem­ory, and a 1TB 7,200RPM hard drive – all of which are neatly packed into a chas­sis that’s only 13-inches long and wide, and 3-inches thick. You can ex­pect to pay a more palat­able US$1,419 (ap­prox. RM5,323) for the Steam Ma­chine X.

4 SY­BER Gam­ing Steam Ma­chine

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3 Zotac Steam Ma­chine SN970

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2 Steam Link

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1 Alien­ware Steam Ma­chine

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