Earlier this year, Valve announced that it would be getting into the "console" market with the Steam Machine. As its name implies, it takes the PC and stuffs into a box that even the PC illiterate can understand. For now, the only Steam Machines in existence are those built by Valve, but third-party manufacturers will start releasing their own hardware next year. We now have our first look at one of the first Steam Machines out of the gate.
Boutique PC manufacturer iBuyPower announced this morning that it will release a Steam Machine in early 2014 that looks very similar to the recently released PS4. It will also feature similar specs with the machine packing a multi-core AMD CPU and a discrete Radeon R9 270 GPU. It also comes equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 500 GB hard drive and an internal power supply. All of it will cost $500 - the same price as an Xbox One.
So, what are we looking at here in terms of performance then? The iBuyPower Steam Machine should be able to compete on an equal footing with the PS4 or Xbox One, and at times even exceed those machines. Valve and other developers will help that along as games are optimized for the Linux-based SteamOS. With the proper drivers and optimizations, a Radeon R9 270 and AMD FX CPU can output 1080p visuals at 60FPS in all but the most demanding of games.
As more Steam Machines are announced, expect them to get even more exotic and expensive as PC manufacturers cram the most high end parts they can possibly find into as little space as possible. Valve is already sending out prototypes equipped with Intel i7 CPUs and Nvidia GTX Titans so it's not out of the realm of possibility to see some Steam Machines costing thousands of dollars. Still, it's nice to see the first machine out of iBuyPower is targeted towards the console market with a sensible price matched with decent performance.
The iBuyPower Steam Machine will be available in early 2014 for $499.[h/t: Polygon] [Image: Polygon]