The free operating system from Valve is constantly picking up Steam, building toward something grand and majestic. The latest bit of news should prove to be very interesting to a great deal of people, especially for those eager gamers out there looking to get away from the tyranny that is Windows.
The news comes courtesy of Ars Technica, where they report that they received an e-mail from AMD, with the article stating that...
“An e-mail from an AMD representative indicated that SteamOS was running Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.9 drivers and that a standalone driver package would soon be available from AMD's support site.”
Now this is huge news because it now means that the SteamOS will provide support for the other half of the major player in the GPU sector. The free operating system from Valve already supports Nvidia and in addition to adding AMD to group they also included the integrated support from Intel GPU chips. This means those people rocking laptops and PCs equivalent to console peasants will still be able to use the SteamOS to play the latest and greatest games, even though they'll probably be on settings equivalent to the Xbox 720p at sub-30fps.
No matter how you cut the custard, this is great news for Valve and those interested in adopting the SteamOS. The operating system is still in its beta testing phase but it's being iterated at a rather quick rate. I imagine Valve is moving along at a rather quick pace because market share of Windows 8 is being adopted a lot faster than some people may have originally thought, and it will make it harder for Valve to usurp share and market valuation away from Microsoft if they wait too long.
Adding AMD so early after the beta of the OS has gone live also means that perhaps Valve's system will be eligible for Mantle support. For those that don't know, Mantle is designed as a low-level API, pretty much the PC equivalent of “metal access” that developers are capable of manipulating and optimizing on consoles.
Combining the free operating system that's specifically designed to make the most use of your hardware for gaming purposes with OEMs providing cases and setups also designed just for gaming, will easily help Valve sell the Steam Machines to gamers either looking to buy a new gaming rig but don't know where to start, or casual enthusiasts looking to dip their toe in the clouds of the Glorious PC Master Race without having to look through endless forum threads to find out what works and what doesn't.
Speaking of the Steam Machines... more than a dozen OEMs have come forward to reveal specs and screenshots of their Steam Machine(s). This means that sometime in early 2014 you'll be able to get your very own machine that will come with the SteamOS and you'll be able to see for yourself just what all the fuss is about when it comes to the PC elitists talking about their gaming rigs like some people talk about their smart and cute and brainy kids (even when they aren't).
You can grab the SteamOS right now from the official website. Be warned: it's still in beta. If you need help installing the OS feel free to check out our walkthrough for the SteamOS right here.