Those looking to get some Steam hardware early are out of luck. Valve has announced that all the Steam hardware for the “get it early” offer with delivery set for October 16 have sold out. Any orders from today onwards for the Steam Controller and Steam Link will ship nearly a month later with delivery on November 10th.
Pre-orders of Steam Machines, custom PCs with the Linux-based SteamOS, have also sold out from most vendors. Again, the delivery date from the likes of Alienware has shifted from October 16th to November 10th. This shortage though is less pressing as SteamOS is available to download and install on any PC really. Some Steam Machine partners also have Windows versions of the same machine so it’s not much effort to simply order one of those and install SteamOS yourself.
No numbers have been given as to how much hardware Valve has sold so far. Given the delivery date has just been pushed back by less than a month, there likely is decent amounts of stock ready for wider availability on November 10th. It will be interesting to see how Valve does on their first foray into the hardware realm, which unlike the digital marketplace, has limited supply.
Valve and its partners have just announced that the Steam Hardware will be made available shortly for anyone who wishes to pre-order them. Though the hardware will roll out this fall in North America and Europe, fans may reserve their gear starting today. Aside from Steam, customers can head over to GameStop, EB Games, Micromania, and GAME UK to check out if the manufacturers have made their offerings available for pre-order and if not, they will be doing that shortly.
US customers will be able to pre-order the Steam Machine, Steam Link, and Steam Controller from either Steam or GameStop starting today and will get them after the 16th of October, which is a few weeks ahead of the official release on the 10th of November. GameStop, EB Games, Micromania, and GAME UK will also join the pre-order deal in Europe and Canada, but offering only the Steam Link and Steam Controller at first.
Word is that GameStop, EB Games, and Micromania have already started accepting pre-orders for Steam Hardware in more than 5,700 worldwide retail stores and even CyberPower started taking pre-orders for their Steam Machine directly from their website. The prices for a Steam Machine range from $499 and can even go up to $4,999.99, while the Steam Link and Steam Controller is said to be priced at $49. If you wish to get familiar with what hardware is available, head on over to Steam’s hardware section or the appropriate manufacturers’ website.
GDC bring a lot of announcements, one of them being from Valve. The company has announced its new Steam Link, which is a gadget that will “extend your Steam experience to any room in the house”.
Steam Link is said to work by streaming content from Steam, providing that both Steam Link and the streaming source are on the same network. The device is said to be compatible with the PC, Steam Machines, Mac and Linux.
Judging from what steam has made here, we can safely say it is a receiving device for its In-Home technology, which lets you stream and play on your low-end notebook, for example, all your games straight from your high-spec PC. The only difference is that Valve wants you to hook up its new Steam Controller, which was also advertised at the event, and your TV to it.
In terms of hardware specs, Steam Link comes with three USB ports and a HDMI output. It is able to output video at a resolution of 1080p and 60Hz with “low latency” and will be available in November for a price tag of $49.99 .
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Alienware has announced it is now selling its Alpha “PC console”, starting at $550.
The Dell-owned gaming arm is selling its Alienware Alpha PC with an entry price of $550, going up to around $900. It ships with an Xbox 360 controller, features its own user interface dubbed Alpha-UI, is designed around Valve’s Steam Big Picture mode, and controller-enabled games. As for its operating system, it ships with Windows 8.1 from Microsoft.
The cheapest Alienware Alpha machine includes an Intel Core i3-4130T dual-core processor, a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB mechanical HDD. Dell is offering a bundle of games worth around $100 for those who managed to pre-order it, or purchase Alpha during its launch period.
Alienware General Manager Frank Azor explains “We’ve been working hard this past year to break the mold and develop a system that finally brings hundreds of Steam games, including some really fun indie titles, to TVs. The team and I are excited to finally deliver our vision for big screen gaming and give our fans a console that delivers true next-gen performance with the flexibility to choose how, what and where they want to play.”
A lot of rumours had been circulating about the Steam Machines and the latest news regarding the non-Windows powered machines refer to the Steam-based gaming machines being pushed back until 2015.
Some prototypes have been revealed in the past, including the Alienware version powered by NVIDIA. From what is known so far, the machines will run on Steam OS, giving users the ability to run Steam games while having the machine plugged into the living room TV. They also have the option of installing Windows in a dual-boot configuration, having the operating system run on a separate hard drive.
Valve has recently announced that they are going to push back the launch date, having set a 2015 release date. Steam machines are reported to be quite tricky to sell, since we already have PCs and consoles for gaming and other computerised activities. The launch date push might be the sign of Valve attempting to implement new features to the Steam OS or even the machines themselves.
The delay also comes at a rather strange time, since NVIDIA, AMD and even Intel have working drivers for the Linux-based Steam OS. However, it might also indicate the complexity in making the drivers work with all games running in a Linux environment. AMD has also updates its Steam OS drivers to the latest version, namely 14.4, indicating that AMD cards should run without any significant issues.
In addition to the driver releases, reports also indicate that more than a dozen manufacturers have announced their own Steam OS machines. Alienware, GIGABYTE, Origin PC, iBuyPower, Zotac, CyperPowerPC, Maingear and Alternate are just a few of the manufacturers announcing their dedication towards manufacturing Steam OS machines.
AMD might even have an advantage with the current pushback, having more time to prepare their hardware and software for the final release. However, there is also no guarantee that the Steam OS machines will ever be launched, since the concept of the Steam Machine is seen as nothing more than a PC not powered by the Windows operating system.
On the other hand, since users use Windows-powered PCs to surf the web, access their social media applications or use multimedia applications for music and movies, Steam OS machines can offer all of that including gaming without the need to deal with Windows or even pay for the operating system. However, the success of the Steam Machine will remain to be seen.
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SteamOS has not been so user-friendly of late, not to mention the major flaws it has. From not being bootable on DVD, to nuking hard drives clearly mentioned with the ‘install at your own risk’ warning, it did not look so amazing, not to mention worthy of giving it a try.
A recent announcement states that Valve added Steam Music features in the operating system, which basically searches for your music content on the hard drive and lets you play it inside the Steam interface. It is said that there is also a version in Steam’s Big Picture Mode as well to give it a try if you are too afraid of installing the SteamOS.
According to Valve, randomly picked beta participants will soon get early access to the Steam Music player. The company also confirms that a desktop version of the player is ‘en route’ as well. There is no news about implementing any multimedia offerings such as the ability to buy songs, manage and integrate online accounts such as Google Play, or other features you see on modern music players nowadays.
It may not look much at first, but keep in mind that it is still a beta version, and as Valve states on their intro page, the next steps in the Steam Player evolution will be mainly decided by the early beta feedbacks given.
We were all excited when Alienware announced their Steam Machines, which we all though of being Linux-based and upgradable as PCs. The perfect consoles. However, recent news uncover that Alienware Steam Machines will have the same principle as consoles. And yes, they will not be upgradeable as previously expected.
Alienware has long been known for its high-end gaming PCs and while overpriced in some opinions, the company’s wares have always been fully upgradeable. Frank Azor, Alienware’s general manager said in an interview that “There will be no customization options, you can’t really update it.”
For those that desire the flexibility of self-installed hardware upgrades, Azor suggests getting a more traditional home computer. He specifically points to Alienware’s X51, a small form factor gaming PC, as a potential option. The smaller case places some restrictions on how much an X51 can be upgraded, but the unspoken points comes across clearly enough. The Steam Machines housed in tiny cases that we’ve seen so far appear to be priced competitively with consoles.
This means that Alienware’s Steam Machines are most likely being built with AMD APUs or custom GPU solutions that are hard mounted to the motherboard, much like how Microsoft and Sony are doing with the next-gen consoles. While Steam Machine are largely being appreciated for their upgradeability, Alienware might be losing in the long run with this announcement.
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Personally I can’t say I’m a big fan of Alienware, I’ve often found them to be seriously overpriced given their specifications, but I do understand that there is a market for them given that not everyone knows how to, or can be bothered to build their own system. However, their SteamBox which was revealed at CES 2014 does look fantastic and I have to give them credit for their design. Of course, you know as well as I do that Steam Machine or SteamBox is just a clever marketing term for a normal PC with a different OS.
During the recent Valve Steam Dev Days Conference in Seattle, Alienware announced their their little box of gaming joy will feature some form of Haswell chip, given that Haswell will be getting a refresh later this year, we can only assume it will be one of the newer chips, not a current one. Alienware promise the system will “perform on par with a gaming notebook”, which is no bad thing, given that many gaming notebooks on the market today are impressive gaming machines in their own right.
The company will be aiming to hit several market segments, most likely a vague way of saying we’ll sell some cheaper models as well as some high end / more expensive models. The final date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Dell have said that they’re targeting a September release, so stay tuned in the coming months for more details on the hardware and price of the latest SteamBox to join the party.
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Alienware has announced that their Steam Machines will be available only from September 2014 at Valve’s Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle. In addition to the release date, we get more insight on what specs we are looking to find under the hood.
Alienware’s Steam Machine is Intel and NVIDIA based, with a Haswell-generation processor. Although Alienware did not get into more details about the Intel and NVIDIA chips, other companies were more opened about their specs. For example Origin and their dual-Titan Steam Machine had revealed that it will operate on up to two GeForce GTX Titan GPUs, while having 14 Terra-bytes of hard drive space available. Therefore, Alienware’s Steam Machine should be in the same performance spec as well.
Also, September is known as the start of the newer tech release every year, from consoles, to games and other components and gadgets. It also gives Alienware and others a nine month deadline to get all the bugs out and prepare it for consumers, and then try to perfect it for the upcoming Christmas sales and game releases. In addition to that, Valve needs to get things right from the very start with the Steam Machine releases or else users will just ignore them and stick to the normal Xbox and Playstation consoles, having the Steam Machines trend burn out in an instant.
Having spec details scarce, the price cannot be known as well. That depends on the actual Steam Machine configuration and brand (of course). What we do know is that given the current information, they will not come cheap at all.
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Valve showed off their new Steam Machine prototype to the Verge yesterday and it all looks pretty impressive. While the specifications of the Steam Machine will vary – for instance lower end models will have a GTX 660 and an Intel Core i3 – the top end model is quite an impressive creation. Given that from the outside the Steam Machine doesn’t look that different to your average chunky entertainment centre or HTPC you’d be surprised to know you can cram in up to a GTX Titan and a full desktop class Intel Core i7.
The secret to being able to cram such high end hardware in to a small space comes with Valve’s decision to let each component operate in its own individual cooling area. The graphics card, power supply and CPU cooler are all separated and can all intake and exhaust air separate from one another allowing the inside of the Steam Machine to stay relatively cool. At 12.4 x 12 inches and 2.9 inches the Steam Machine is similar to a slim Xbox 360 but with a tonne more power.
The top end system comes with a GTX Titan and Core i7 4770, the middle system comes with a GTX 780 or GTX 760 and a Core i5 CPU while the entry system comes with a GTX 660 and Intel Core i3. All three systems will share 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hybrid drive that uses 8GB of SSD with a 1TB HDD platter.
Hardware side there are an absolute tonne more features and details to cover. We encourage any interested readers to go and check out the Verge’s exclusive hands on with the Steam Machine, the Steam controller and how it all performs in some real world gaming. You can check out the very interesting report here.