The first official Steam Machine from a company other than Valve has been announced by iBuyPower who revealed that their beast will cost $499, which is the same cost as Microsoft’s Xbox One. So far no UK pricing, or availability, as been mentioned.
From a purely technical standpoint iBuyPower’s Steam Machine looks set to offer more raw power than either the Xbox One or PS4, boasting a multi-core AMD processor and a Radeon R9 270 which is significantly faster than than either console currently offers. The machine will come with in-built WiFi, a 500GB hard-drive and a Steam controller as standard.
It will also come pre-loaded with Steam’s very own Linux-based operating system which is geared toward gaming. At this point only the operating system is the only real question mark as nobody is sure just how good, or useful, it’s going to be. At the moment Valve claim hundreds of games are already running on their operating system.
When Valve first announced their Steam Machine plan I was sceptical, declaring that the whole thing would be pointless unless they could offer better specifications than a custom built PC for the same price, otherwise gamers would be better off just building a standard computer. iBuyPower’s machine indicates that this may very well be what they’re planning to do, also positioning Steam Machines to take on consoles directly.
iBuyPower’s machine will launch some time in 2014, but can it really offer better value for money than somebody can get with a little bit of shopping around? Time will tell.