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The prototype specifications for Valve's upcoming Steam Machines has gone live. Based on these specs some tech savvy individuals have gone ahead and put together a comparison chart so you can see how the hardware measures up, and it's obvious Valve's Steam Machines whip the crap out of their console competitors.
Sidequesting put together the comparison below, which measures the GPU, CPU, RAM storage and power supply.
Well will you look at that? Hm. Almost looks like a specification massacre by comparison.
Sidequesting further notes that they used prices from Amazon to determine the mid and high-range Steam Machine specs, however, one should note that if these are being planned to sell in mass supply the prices will significantly drop.
In fact, his $520 price range for the 660ti unit is way over the limit. If you look on PriceWatch.com you'll see that there's a 660ti available for only $200, where-as Amazon lists it at close to $220. You can also get a dual 8GB DDR3 1600 kit for $100 even, which would bring the total to $300 for the mid-ranged Steam Machine unit. Now even if you wanted to mix the current build with the high-end i7 4770, you can find one for as cheap as $200. Toss in a 1TB HDD for $50 and the power supply for another $50, and that would bring the total to about $600 for a near high-end unit. Switching the i7 4770 for the top of the line i3 CPU would knock the price down to $500.
If Valve was mass producing these off-the-shelf units they could get a huge discount on supplies and pump them out for at least $100 less than the $500 or $600 total. Nevertheless, even with a little shopping around, Sidequesting's price is definitely higher than what you could get if you put the parts together yourself, which would easily mean that Valve could sell the Steam Machines for far less than the SRP from an OEM.
The only thing that would boost the price up to exorbitant amounts is Nvidia's Titan GTX. Then again, there's no real way around that unless Valve decided to go with AMD's R9 290X, which would probably be the smarter thing to do considering that AMD has Mantle support and it would open the SteamOS up to support newer games that won't require DirectX or a Windows runtime environment.
All-in-all, the lower and mid-tier Steam Machines would run you around $455 for the low-tier and around $500 for the mid-tier. If you used that mixed-combo I listed above for a slightly higher CPU combination, you're looking at $600. Of course, if you're looking at a Titan you may as well add an extra $750 on to that for the high-end version.
By comparison, the CPU (even on the lower end of the scale) still outshines the Xbox One and PS4, and the GPU either lower or higher end completely stomps a mudhole in both the Xbox One and PS4, given that the APU's in the XB1 and PS4 are around the Radeon 7790 when it comes to GPU power. That's not to mention that the 16GB of RAM really does trump the 8GB in the home consoles.
In simple terms, for the same price of an Xbox One you could have a mean Steam Machine, and for a little more than a PS4 you could still have a mean Steam Machine. Regardless, you're getting way more in a Steam Machine than what you're getting from the next-gen devices from Sony and Microsoft.
[Update: Check out a possible Steam Machine you can build right now for playing high-end games for only $550]