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Steam Box Previews

There are hands-on impressions of Valve's prototype "Steam Box" PCs on Engadget, The Seattle Times, and The Verge, and there are separate articles on the new Steam Controller on Engadget and IGN (thanks nin). There are also impressions along the way of the nascent SteamOS running this all. Here's a bit on the hardware crammed into a box "a little bigger than an Xbox 360 and smaller than any gaming PC of its ilk:"

The secret is actually quite simple, it turns out: Valve designed the case so the parts can breathe individually. The CPU blows air out the top, the power supply out the side, and the graphics card exhaust out back, and none share any airspace within the case.

That might sound like common sense, but it’s remarkably hard to find a case that does so while still making it easy to drop components in. Here, the key component responsible for dividing those three zones is a simple plastic shroud which unscrews in a jiffy. The box we touched was already surprisingly cool and quiet, but Valve's still tweaking the design: we saw Valve printing a couple of the shrouds as we walked through its rapid prototyping lab.

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47. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 18:57 Redmask
 
So it's like every other controller then? Yeah you 'knew' it alright.  
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46. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 18:25 Ladron3dfx
 
IGN article.
Hope explained that while Valve’s controller is obviously designed to work natively with SteamOS, it can also be detected as a traditional controller by a PC running Steam but would have extremely limited functionality. “Steam constantly updates the firmware that is running in this device,” he said. “Even game by game, and eventually moment by moment, it’s going to be updating the code that’s running in the firmware. For that reason and a few other reasons, like updating configs and so forth, Steam is a required component wherever it runs, PC or Mac. Without Steam, if you plug this into one of those devices and run some game that’s not part of Steam, you would only get the most basic functionality. It wouldn’t actually be very valuable as a controlling device.”

“It would basically be a mouse with 16 buttons,” Coomer added.]

BOOM! There it is, I knew it. Wink

Sorry for double post, can't delete.

This comment was edited on Nov 4, 2013, 18:37.
 
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Steamworks
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45. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 18:23 Ladron3dfx
 


This comment was edited on Nov 4, 2013, 18:30.
 
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44. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 18:17 Creston
 
I'd like to see anand or someone test this shroud design. While in theory it sounds nice, it also basically completely nullifies any airflow inside your case, and airflow is just about the most important cooling aspect.

I'm really curious whether the shroud design actually cools better than a properly airflowed case.
 
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43. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 17:43 RollinThundr
 
Suppa7 wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 17:35:
jacobvandy wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:46:
If you don't want Steam "bloat," switch to the already existing Small Mode. It becomes simply a list of your games with the options up top and uses 20-25MB of RAM. Compared to like Chrome, which has about 8 instances open for me and 30-80MB being used by each with only one damned tab open...

Chrome has that many instances so if a web page crashes/freezes it takes out one instance of chrome instead of taking out your whole browser. This is what is great about chrome.

The other great thing about Chrome is everything goes right to the NSA.
 
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42. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 17:35 Suppa7
 
jacobvandy wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:46:
If you don't want Steam "bloat," switch to the already existing Small Mode. It becomes simply a list of your games with the options up top and uses 20-25MB of RAM. Compared to like Chrome, which has about 8 instances open for me and 30-80MB being used by each with only one damned tab open...

Chrome has that many instances so if a web page crashes/freezes it takes out one instance of chrome instead of taking out your whole browser. This is what is great about chrome.
 
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41. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 17:17 RollinThundr
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:56:
RollinThundr wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:20:

I wouldn't use those controllers to play a game if you paid me to.

Well, maybe not the prototype controllers, there are some pretty weird ideas there. But I do like the final controller they came up with. I'm pretty much a mouse and kbd guy, but I like the idea of something that will let me sit on my sofa and play more than arcade racers on my xbox controller. I wouldn't mind something that let me play Portal 2 or BL2 on my TV, coop games vs. AI where super fast twitch reflexes aren't required.

Is the final one the one that looks like it's just two oddly looking touch pads where analog sticks should be? I don't know how that even looks comfortable to be honest.
 
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40. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 17:03 jdreyer
 
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:58:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:51:
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 14:42:
"you won't see an exclusive killer app for SteamOS from us. We're not going to be doing that kind of thing."


Good to know. There was lots of speculation that they might do HL 3 as Steam OS only.

I'm a little surprised they wouldn't try it, but I'm sure they also realize they'd piss off a much bigger potential customer base who's running the steam client.


Yeah, they could do something like "HL3 Free with each Steambox purchase!" or something. It would have a similar effect.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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39. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:59 NKD
 
Raven wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:54:

And yet, anyone who has spent time on the market, searching the catalog for old games, or even just going through their own personal inventory can tell you that it's the exact same experience - just slower. Slower than IE, slower than Chrome...

Yes, the Steam browser is rather slow compared to a regular browser. But it's neither bloated, nor resource intensive, which was the claim made. Steam has its issues but resources is not one of them.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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38. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:58 nin
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:51:
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 14:42:
"you won't see an exclusive killer app for SteamOS from us. We're not going to be doing that kind of thing."


Good to know. There was lots of speculation that they might do HL 3 as Steam OS only.

I'm a little surprised they wouldn't try it, but I'm sure they also realize they'd piss off a much bigger potential customer base who's running the steam client.

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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37. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:56 jdreyer
 
RollinThundr wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:20:

I wouldn't use those controllers to play a game if you paid me to.

Well, maybe not the prototype controllers, there are some pretty weird ideas there. But I do like the final controller they came up with. I'm pretty much a mouse and kbd guy, but I like the idea of something that will let me sit on my sofa and play more than arcade racers on my xbox controller. I wouldn't mind something that let me play Portal 2 or BL2 on my TV, coop games vs. AI where super fast twitch reflexes aren't required.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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36. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:54 Raven
 
NKD wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:01:
Verno wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:50:
To say it's "bloatware thats basically unchanged since its inception" is completely absurd and untrue though.

No way dude. The 80MB of RAM and 0% CPU usage Steam is currently utilizing is totally insane! Nevermind that Chrome is using hundreds and hundreds of MB with a couple tabs open. Nevermind that I have gigs upon gigs upon gigs of free memory even while running a ton of shit.

Steam is clearly the source of the bloat in this equation.

The bottom line for Steam is that the Steam client should be a faster, better experience than just using any old web browser to do it.

And yet, anyone who has spent time on the market, searching the catalog for old games, or even just going through their own personal inventory can tell you that it's the exact same experience - just slower. Slower than IE, slower than Chrome...
 
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35. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:52 jdreyer
 
HoSpanky wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 14:52:
It's been a long time since there's been anything to truly be excited about, hardware-wise, on the pc. Steam Controllers, streaming boxes, and the Oculus Rift all coming in the same general timeframe...whee!

Yeah, it's good that SOMEONE is taking up the PC gaming mantle and leading the charge. Good times.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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34. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:51 jdreyer
 
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 14:42:
"you won't see an exclusive killer app for SteamOS from us. We're not going to be doing that kind of thing."


Good to know. There was lots of speculation that they might do HL 3 as Steam OS only.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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33. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:49 HorrorScope
 
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:33:
HorrorScope wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:31:
Question: Can I buy a Steambox and load Win 7 on it? Any proprietary things holding me back?

Yes, you can.

 
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32. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:33 nin
 
HorrorScope wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 16:31:
Question: Can I buy a Steambox and load Win 7 on it? Any proprietary things holding me back?

Yes, you can.
 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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31. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:31 HorrorScope
 
Question: Can I buy a Steambox and load Win 7 on it? Any proprietary things holding me back?

Comment: Consoles could have learned a few tricks by what they are doing and even more from mobile. MS and Sony should release new versions of their console every year. 100% compatible, just better specs and AT A PROFIT. Then there isn't an end cycle, there isn't a PC is running away from us. There is ongoing profits from HW. There are millions that would upgrade consoles that were better but still 100% compatible.
 
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30. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:31 Eirikrautha
 
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:12:
You know, one of you three could provide links, to back up your side of the argument...


Facts?! FACTS!??!! Dammit, man, this is the Internet! What the hell do FACTS and EVIDENCE have to do with the Internet?

Next this you know, people are going to want "civility" and "common sense" to go with your pretty little "facts". Sheeeesh! Fight
 
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29. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:05 ForgedReality
 
Draugr wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:09:
ForgedReality wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 14:09:
However, I've said it before: OpenGL just doesn't have the chops to compete with the likes of DirectX/Direct3D at this point. Hopefully this will bring the pressure required to finally bring OGL into the current gen.

Microsoft should be patting itself on the back for what appears to be a job well done.

I don't know who told you that about OpenGL, but it's incorrect.
I used to use it a lot, although that was years ago, admittedly. Most games don't even support it anymore.

Kitkoan wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:23:
nin wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:12:
You know, one of you three could provide links, to back up your side of the argument...


Valve states from their experience that OpenGL is better.
No, they say that it's FASTER, not that it's BETTER. Everyone knows it's faster. It always has been. That's partly because it has fewer features. The color saturation always seemed a little better under OGL for whatever reason, but the image quality and feature list was never there for me. I don't care if it's a little bit faster if it can't support half of the current effects of DirectX.

(Edit - To clarify: in DirectX, the features/effects/extensions/shaders/etc. are just there; available for the developers to make use of in-game. With OGL, these functionalities must be written into the game, and as nVidia and ATi/AMD use different rendering techniques, one version needs to be developed for nVidia, and another for AMD. [or at least this is how it used to be--please correct me if this has changed] This adds a lot of additional development effort, making OGL a lot more of a pain in the ass to implement, whereas D3D just has standardized methods for employing graphics rendering techniques already baked-in. For these reasons, while the OGL API may support the majority of D3D's capabilities, they are rarely given the attention they are due by developers because of the additional efford required, and thus, OGL never really ends up looking as good.)

This comment was edited on Nov 4, 2013, 16:37.
 
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28. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 16:01 NKD
 
Verno wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 15:50:
To say it's "bloatware thats basically unchanged since its inception" is completely absurd and untrue though.

No way dude. The 80MB of RAM and 0% CPU usage Steam is currently utilizing is totally insane! Nevermind that Chrome is using hundreds and hundreds of MB with a couple tabs open. Nevermind that I have gigs upon gigs upon gigs of free memory even while running a ton of shit.

Steam is clearly the source of the bloat in this equation.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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