Valve have announced
12 13 new hardware partners shipping Linux-powered Steam Machines at CES.
Only a few companies have previously announced Steam Machines, but Valve’s CES announcement brings a number of well-known vendors to the platform, including Alienware and Gigabyte, and several companies outside the US – bound to please those who felt left out by Valve’s US-only Steam Machine beta. The 13 companies are (with prices if available):
- Alternate ($1,339)
- CyberPowerPC ($499)
- Digital Storm ($2,584)
- Falcon Northwest ($1,799 – $6,000)
- iBuyPower ($499)
- Materiel.net ($1,098)
- Origin PC
- Scan Computers ($1,090)
- Webhallen ($1,499)
- Zotac ($599)
A number of vendors – like iBuyPower and Digital Storm – have already outlined a number of SteamOS devices available to purchase soon. Valve have not announced any release dates at this time, deferring to manufacturers. Gabe Newell has also stated that manufacturers will be able to make their own Steam Controllers, helping to diversify the Steam hardware ecosystem.
Digital Storm revealed their Bolt II gaming rig earlier in the day that will ship with Windows and SteamOS, which may not be available out of the box until Valve’s OS leaves beta.
The Verge report that the Bolt II will go on sale later this month at $1,899 – a bit of a jaw-dropper if you’re only looking for a living room console replacement. Moreover, the Steam Controller won’t be in the base configuration for this glorified Windows gaming rig.
CyberPowerPC have announced their own $499 Steam Machine with an AMD processor, Radeon graphics, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and the Steam Controller. A $699 configuration comes with an Intel processor and Nvidia graphics instead. Unlike the dual-boot Bolt II, CyberPowerPC’s pricing is far more competitive with the latest-gen consoles – $499 for the Xbox One and $399.99 for the PS4.
On the high end of the scale are the Steam Machines on offer by Falcon Northwest, which will range from $1,799 to $6,000 with Nvidia GTX Titan graphics, 8–16GB of RAM, and up to 6TB of storage.
Maingear have also announced their Steam Machine “Spark” featuring an AMD A8 5575M processor, Radeon R9 mobile graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Sadly, no word on price at this time.
Valve first unveiled SteamOS, the Steam Controller, and Steam Machines in September as part of a week-long reveal. A SteamOS beta was released last month when Steam Machine prototypes shipped to 300 lucky testers. Steam Machines will ship with the Linux-powered SteamOS – a Debian-based distribution slimmed down to meet the needs of gaming on Linux.
Even if you never intend on buying one of these Steam Machines, the effects of Valve’s gaming hardware have the potential to be monumental for Linux gamers.
AAA titles coming to Steam Machines are AAA titles coming to Linux, and Valve’s continued recommendation of Ubuntu – even on their Steam downloads page – means the user base is bound to grow over the next few months and years as folks holding onto Windows for gaming have one less reason not to switch.
Valve are also giving developers more reasons to switch. Gabe mentioned that about 250 titles are already working on SteamOS (though the entire Steam Linux catalogue is much bigger) and that the company is working on making better developer tools to help studios bring cross-platform titles to Linux.
Here’s to the future of Linux gaming!