Take a Look Inside The Steam Machine

Take a Look Inside The Steam Machine

Those lucky Steam Machine beta participants are already getting their hands on, and subsequently taking apart, their new consoles.

Valve shipped out the beta Steam Machines last Friday, and some lucky participants have found themselves with an early Christmas present over the weekend. Being that the "console" is really just a PC disguised as a console, the first thing some people did was pull it apart to see just how all its innards fit inside the box.

Youtuber Corey Nelson is someone did just that, uploading his video of the Steam Machine tear-down for all to see. Right from the get-go, it's pretty obvious that the machine is very tightly packed. That said, one of the key advantages of a PC is its limitless upgradiblity, and the Steam Machine certainly does not disappoint in that regard.

Both the HDD and the graphics card can be fairly easily removed and upgraded. There's even room for a second 2.5'' hard drive below the first one.

The other components seem to be a bit harder to get at, but Nelson comments that there are plenty of screws if you wish to pull the whole thing apart. Every component, possibly bar what appears to be a custom motherboard, should be replaceable.

For the record, these were the official specs Valve said the prototype Steam Machines would have:

  • 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 DDR5 (GPU)
  • Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
  • Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold

Nelson did not specify exactly which components his particular Steam Machine had.

Source: YouTube

Permalink

That looks like it's going to have heat dissipation issues off the bat, and I hope they've got high temperature plastics, otherwise it's going to warp horribly.

Well great. So it's a PC shoehorned into a tiny case. Might be cool for some but I personally have zero use for one of these. Hope the OS is worthwhile.

Elate:
That looks like it's going to have heat dissipation issues off the bat, and I hope they've got high temperature plastics, otherwise it's going to warp horribly.

It looks fine for heat dissipation to me. The power supply and processor fan pulls air from the top and dissipates it out the right side. The video card appears to pull air in from the left and dissipates it out the back. Plastic sheathing prevents hot air leaking into other parts of the box.

The video poster apparently has a 780 according to his 3Dmark scores.

I'm really interested how they'll be priced. Especially the ones with high end graphics cards. Usually all premade PCs in stores around are ridiculously overpriced when you look at their components, but if this somehow ends up cheaper than the sum of its parts I might end up buying a high end model.

Before people spend too much time analysing this machine, remember it's purely for the beta testers. This isn't something that'll be mass market, Valve will be relying on external companies to make those machines rather than doing them themselves. The only purpose of this machine is to give the beta testers a stable platform to show off the OS and controller.

That said it looks like a nice box, they've obviously put some effort into engineering it well, I'd guess it's providing a benchmark for the 3rd party manufacturers to look to.

Elate:
That looks like it's going to have heat dissipation issues off the bat, and I hope they've got high temperature plastics, otherwise it's going to warp horribly.

Actually that plastic is there to permit better heat dissipation, has each component don't share air flow.

I'm more interested in one of the shipping boxes they used (they look awesome) than interested in the innards of the beta Steamboxes.
Other than that is looks like they eliminated a lot of the unused space in PCs, which is good. If the flow-through is good, cooling might even be better than a normal PC case because a lot of the excessive air in a PC just spends a lot of time being whirled around and generally spending too much time in places you don't want it rather than actually being blown out. Depends on the case and fans, of course.

Steven Bogos:

There's even room for a second 2.5'' hard drive bellow the first one.

Yes, I would bellow at that too. Probably as an impersonation of Brian Blessed attempting to whisper.

But the thing looks interesting. And probably a better choice than an XBone or a PSser.
And I gotta say, I like those specs. The top model looks pretty similar to my desktop PC, although my video card and processor are just slightly better. But seeing as the Steam Box is also upgradable, that doesn't seem to become much of an issue.

[edit] Don't you just hate it when you make a funny comment on a slight mistake and they quickly edit it? :P

LovsBatl:
Usually all premade PCs in stores around are ridiculously overpriced when you look at their components, but if this somehow ends up cheaper than the sum of its parts I might end up buying a high end model.

Pretty much this. It's a PC. If it's cheaper than other equivalent PCs, great. If not, it's completely pointless. The OS is already available, so price is the only thing that can differentiate this from any other PC.

its almost the same thing i build for my mobile desktop rig.
only that i watercool it.

Now when they said it was basically a PC, I didn't realise it was literally something you could buy from PCpower or build yourself, I guess the case is nifty though.

Kahani:

LovsBatl:
Usually all premade PCs in stores around are ridiculously overpriced when you look at their components, but if this somehow ends up cheaper than the sum of its parts I might end up buying a high end model.

Pretty much this. It's a PC. If it's cheaper than other equivalent PCs, great. If not, it's completely pointless. The OS is already available, so price is the only thing that can differentiate this from any other PC.

It may fly close to the retail price of parts but it will not be cheaper because they don't get a cut from Steam games.
The point of it is that your random granny/mom/dad can go in the shop and pick up a SteamBox Standard / Advanced / Super(or whatever) and gift it to a child that will immediately be able to use it (or use it themselves), a knowledgeable PC user really doesn't need that but an unknowledgeable one does.

From the looks of it being tightly packed, I'd expect it to raise to quite the temperature for some models.

Still I don't see this enticing me any time soon with saving up for a Wii U and new parts.

JEESUS!, that's one beffy little PC based on those specs!, I wonder how hot may get in there with so little room to breathe. I'm definitely getting one of these when it gets released.

And seriously?... people have been calling it a "console"... it was never meant to be one in the first place...

Revolutionary:
Now when they said it was basically a PC, I didn't realise it was literally something you could buy from PCpower or build yourself, I guess the case is nifty though.

Pretty much. That's why Valve has made SteamOS available to the public. For those that want to build their own box, load up SteamOS and boom, personalized Steam Box.

I won't be trading in my PC for a Steam Box any time soon though.

People need to realise that yes, this thing in the video is just a PC with a custom case but this is a beta model. It's just Valve giving people new computers to test out the OS with various known specs because testing it on the vast array of setups that the many users will have won't yield much valuable information. They'll probably see how it runs with these various cards and CPUs and decide what to actually go ahead and manufacture from there. I would say that the final version will have special deals set up with nVidia and Intel to mass produce maybe 1 or 2 different setups that will be smaller and cheaper than something you could just buy at any shop that sells PCs. The main difficulty will be pricing since it will probably need to keep in the same range as the One and the PS4 but hopefully competition from other manufacturers will help that.

Psychobabble:
Well great. So it's a PC shoehorned into a tiny case. Might be cool for some but I personally have zero use for one of these. Hope the OS is worthwhile.

Could it have been anything else than this?

The idea of having the option to play some of the steam games I have by controller instead of keyboard is something that I would like to see. Not all of them work for this, but a number of them I feel would be less awkward for me in that case. So, go Valve.

Psychobabble:
Well great. So it's a PC shoehorned into a tiny case. Might be cool for some but I personally have zero use for one of these. Hope the OS is worthwhile.

So- pretty much like the current console generation? I'd like to see what the end price point is like, I wouldn't mind having my steam library in the game room with a 360 controller without having to cart my PC out there, but if it's not priced less than retail price of the components or comes close and has an awesome warranty, this will be a DIY affair.

One reason it is cheaper is that you don't need to buy Windows to run it, yes? Load up the SteamOS beta and start downloading games?

Get SteamOS native games, sell an office productivity suite through steam, and you start wondering whether you ever need windows again. Currently I need it for games and microsoft office, and thats about it.

While the case seems a bit tight, I've not truly seen heat issues in a machine not clogged with dust or targeted for overclocking. It looks to me like the CPU/PSU vent right out the top/side for a quick-circuit pass over of air, which is a pretty clever design concept, all things considered. No need to run air through the whole thing, just in the side and out the top is sufficient.

I couldn't see from the video how the air flow management for the GPU was handled. It appeared to be separate from the other sections.

The first comment note that one needs high temperature plastic because "omgheat" sounds quite hyperbolic. I've had fans die and not notice, and seen no degradation in performance. Given, the heat sink was not stock.

Steven Bogos:
Being that the "console" is really just a PC disguised as a console...

Correction: all the "next gen consoles" are just PCs disguised as consoles. The difference is, SteamOS is a Linux distro, while the Xbox One and PS4 are running very limited, custom operating systems.

I am really interested in the GTX760 version performance as this is similar to what i plan to build next year.

Psychobabble:
Might be cool for some but I personally have zero use for one of these.

No, it wont be cool, it will be hot with overheat issues.

Elate:
That looks like it's going to have heat dissipation issues off the bat, and I hope they've got high temperature plastics, otherwise it's going to warp horribly.

We cant tell, this is beta or even alpha machines, not going to look anything close to what the end product will look. this is like devkit, not made to look good or have "strong" plastics, only to work.

JenSeven:

And I gotta say, I like those specs. The top model looks pretty similar to my desktop PC, although my video card and processor are just slightly better.

Top model has a Titan. HOW do you have a better graphic card?

LovsBatl:
Usually all premade PCs in stores around are ridiculously overpriced when you look at their components, but if this somehow ends up cheaper than the sum of its parts I might end up buying a high end model.

Funny thing to say. If you look at the name ones - sure. Not sure about your location, but here pretty much every show builds their own PCs and sell them prebuilt. Result? pretty much same price as getting parts yourself, they earn their profit by ordering in bulk and prebuilding them by 10s and 20s, and people buy those. you look at that and you look at same parts in a "dell PC" and you see that the local prebuilt is 50% cheaper.
So its very doable.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here