Steam Machine prototypes detailed: limited, tiny, customizable

To usher in SteamOS to the gaming universe, Valve has let it be known that a total of 300 prototype machines in the Steam Machine category of devices will be issued to gamers of all types. These prototype machines will be rolling out in a variety of configurations, each of them appearing with the same custom-made case. This case is a mere 12 inches wide, 12.4 inches deep, and 2.9 inches tall.

The prototype Steam Machines will work with NVIDIA inside working right alongside 4th-generation Intel core processor technology. RAM will be standard at 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU) and 3GB GDDR5 (GPU), while storage will be set with a 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD. The power supply (obviously the most important part of the whole device), will be a slick Internal 450w 80Plus Gold.

In the Intel processor range, this prototype machine will have one of three units: some units will come with an Intel i7-4770, some with a i5-4570, and some with an Intel i3. This means that Valve is not aiming for the biggest and the best in every single unit. Different configurations will yield different results – and perhaps more importantly – different builds will cost different amounts to the end user. This information will be valuable to Valve and the manufacturers aiming to make Steam Machines in the near future.

These prototype machines will not cost the lucky testers who work with them a dime. They'll be sent out by Valve with the understanding that the users who receive them will be providing the whole gaming universe with valuable information and feedback for weeks and months to come – therein lies the payment.

As for the graphics in these units, NVIDIA will be running the show. Here you'll find some units working with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX780, some with a GTX760, and some with a GTX660. Others still will be working with the beastly NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN. We must assume that the users that receive the build with the TITAN paired with an Intel i7 processor will consider themselves to be the luckiest of the bunch.

"So high-powered SteamOS living room machines are nice, and fun to play with, and will make many Steam customers happy. But there are a lot of other Steam customers who already have perfectly great gaming hardware at home in the form of a powerful PC. The prototype we're talking about here is not meant to replace that.

Many of those users would like to have a way to bridge the gap into the living room without giving up their existing hardware and without spending lots of money. We think that's a great goal, and we're working on ways to use our in-home streaming technology to accomplish it – we'll talk more about that in the future." – Valve

Next we'll end up seeing additional details on the Steam Controller. This controller was detailed in brief quite recently, but we're still set to see more information on how it'll interact with the many games that already exist in the Steam universe – not to mention those outside of Steam, if that's something Valve wants to speak about.

Don't forget to have a peek at our recent chat with NVIDIA on their work optimizing SteamOS as well!