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Valve reveals Steam Machine prototype details

More information emerges on what Valve will be offering in its initial 300 Steam Machine prototypes.

Two weeks ago Valve let loose with a slew of announcements: the Steam OS, the Steam Machine and the Steam Controller.

Valve hints at the Steam Machine's possible form factors. (Screenshot by Nic Healey/CNET Australia)

At the time there were few details about the Steam Machine, only that an initial 300 prototypes would be seeded to Steam users for testing and the fact that Valve weren't looking for a "one-size-fits-all" fix.

Over the weekend, a few more details of the Steam Machine emerged from Valve HQ.

According to Greg Coomer, product designer at Valve, the prototype is "something special":

The prototype machine is a high-end, high-performance box, built out of off-the-shelf PC parts. It is also fully upgradable, allowing any user to swap out the GPU, hard drive, CPU, even the motherboard if you really want to. Apart from the custom enclosure, anyone can go and build exactly the same machine by shopping for components and assembling it themselves.

Interestingly, there will be a few different configurations, presumably to help Valve test a range of different specifications. On the Steam community blog, Coomer said the components for the 300 test units will be:

  • GPU: some units with Nvidia Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760 and some GTX660

  • CPU: some boxes with Intel i7-4770, some i5-4570 and some i3

  • RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB GDDR5 (GPU)

  • Storage: 1TB/8GB hybrid SSHD

  • Power supply: internal 450W 80Plus Gold.

The size of the case for the Steam Machine is roughly 305x315x74mm. Valve will be making the computer-aided design (CAD) files for the case available for people to fabricate one for themselves if desired.

Coomer also reiterated that a number of different manufacturers would be working on their own Steam Machines, with a variety of PCs being built for a wide range of user requirements.

"The hardware specs of each of those machines will differ, in many cases substantially, from our prototype," said Coomer.

The Steam Machine isn't expected to arrive in general retail until early 2014.