SteamOS is a Linux-based operating system designed around Valve’s popular Steam game platform. It’s been in development for a few years, and you can download and install a beta version of the software on your own computer to create a Steam Machine.
But if you want to buy a PC with SteamOS pre-installed, well, now you can finally do that. Or at least you can pre-order one. It won’t ship until October.
The first two Steam Machines to go up for pre-order are Dell’s Alienware Steam Machine and the Syber Steam Machine from CyberPower PC. They’re both relatively small desktop computers with prices starting at $449 and $499, respectively.
If these computers look more like game consoles than traditional desktop computers, that’s intentional. They’re designed to hang out in the living room next to your big screen TV.
Entry-level models are still reasonably powerful devices with features including Intel Core i3 Haswell chips, NVIDIA graphics, and at least 4GB of RAM and 500Gb of storage space. Spend more money and you can get up to 8GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, a better graphics card, and up to a Core i7 processor.
More PC makers, including Zotac, Gigabyte, Falcon Northwest, Origin, and iBuyPower will begin taking orders for their Steam Machines in the coming months.
Valve is also taking pre-orders now for a $50 Steam Controller, which is a gamepad designed to let you play many PC games without touching a keyboard, and the $50 Steam Link, which is a box that you can plug into your TV and connect to your home network so you can stream games from a PC in another room.
The base Cyberpower unit is using like a $120 graphics card and a Haswell i3, also about $120. Makes the big question how much it would cost to just build my own.
Answering that question, it costs as much as a PC costs to build. It’s just a PC, simple as that. I think the interesting parts are the controller and its software, maybe combined with the increased number of living-room worthy cases that can fit a powerful PC (a lot of mini ITX cases are still large because of the graphics card).
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