The new wave of Steam Machines
The new box from Zotac, dubbed SN970, is a compact PC akin to Alienware’s Alpha, except a little bigger. The following are its specs:
- “6th” gen Intel CPU: Zotac writes this on its spec sheet, but we reckon it’ll be an Intel “Skylake” CPU, manufactured at 14nm
- NVIDIA GeFoce GTX 970M MXM with 3GB GDDR5
- 8GB DDR3
- 64GB M.2 SSD
- 1TB 2.5″ HDD
- 2 x Gig-E Ethernet
- 4 x HDMI 2.0 ports, supporting 4K @ 60Hz
- 1 x HDMI In
- 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
- 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
According to Zotac, the SN970 will ship with Steam OS and a Steam controller from the get-go, although users are free to install Windows if they so choose. Zotac also mentioned that Valve “wanted” the new round of Steam Machines to all have HDMI input, because Steam Machine will offer the ability to control and manage your television feed as well as offer the ability to record shows.
Zotac tells us that they will offer different Steam Machines that step down from the SN970, letting users integrate their own hardware options, but the SN970 will ship fully equipped for $999, although Zotac says the price may be lower.
The chassis is unlike anything Zotac currently has on the market, and the motherboard is custom too, supporting two 2.5″ SATA drives, and an M.2 slot that’s fully customizable by removing the bottom cover. This tells us that the cost of the SN970 is largely due to the custom hardware design.
Steam Machines have gone through several major bumps since their announcement back in 2013. With delays, pre-mature launches, as well as the continual dedication by Valve to make a perfect controller, they’re turning out to be better than when initially launched. However, NVIDIA just announced its living room Shield console, which streams games from NVIDIA’s Grid cloud delivery service. NVIDIA’s CEO, Jen-Hsun, announced today, that “NVIDIA would do what Netflix did for movies, and Spotify did for music.” Valve itself announced the Steam Link, which streams from any PC running Steam on the same network.
It remains to be seen how the Steam Machine platform will pan out, but for now, it looks like Steam Machines have direct, and serious competition, from both NVIDIA and Valve themselves.
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