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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 itís 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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67 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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67. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 15:39 RollinThundr
 
Redmask wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 07:15:
Cutter wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 05:56:
Any of you motherfuckers think Steam is a slick, streamlime piece of software I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell you cheap. Negro please.

A bridge that you bought first apparently since you continue using Steam.

It uses a tiny fraction of my computers available memory, doesn't crash, doesn't cos a cent and gives me a wealth of functionality in an easy to use interface. Let us know when you have something better in mind.

He actually lives under the bridge. It gets cold in the winter, it's why he's so bitter about pretty much everything.
 
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66. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 15:16 Creston
 
Jensen wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 12:36:
Creston wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 12:14:
Also, I it doesn't look like it comes with dust covers. That's what killed my 8800 GTX. Now I have dust covers on all of my intakes.
As I said to jdreyer, the 8800 had a high failure rate. That's at least 3 of us in this thread who've had a 8800 die, and I personally know a couple other people who had dead 8800/9800 cards. Dust is bad, but I doubt it was what caused your card to fail.

The cards could actually be temporarily revived by baking them in an oven to reflow the solder.

I never said that, so not quite sure what you're quoting there.
 
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65. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 12:36 Jensen
 
Creston wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 12:14:
Also, I it doesn't look like it comes with dust covers. That's what killed my 8800 GTX. Now I have dust covers on all of my intakes.
As I said to jdreyer, the 8800 had a high failure rate. That's at least 3 of us in this thread who've had a 8800 die, and I personally know a couple other people who had dead 8800/9800 cards. Dust is bad, but I doubt it was what caused your card to fail.

The cards could actually be temporarily revived by baking them in an oven to reflow the solder.
 
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64. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 12:14 Creston
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 22:06:
The only thing I can think of is this: in a current box case, some devices like the graphics card or the CPU cooler might be perpendicular to the airflow, disrupting it.

Right, but then it's not properly airflowed. A good case has all the hot air either blowing straight into the airflow (thus allowing your main fans to expel it quickly) or directly out of the case.


In a shrouded cases like this, they might be able to design the airflow for each section such that the airflow is most efficient. I can't really tell if that's the case from the pictures or not, but maybe that's what they're going for?

It looks to me like the individual sections will have no airflow. They'll be able to blow air out, sure, but there's no air being blown in. That in and of itself is not as efficient as continuously sucking in cooler air and letting it vent through the case. At least, that's what I always thought. I'm sure there's a few smart hardware guys over there that think differently, so it'll be interesting to see it put to independent review.

Also, I it doesn't look like it comes with dust covers. That's what killed my 8800 GTX. Now I have dust covers on all of my intakes.
 
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63. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 07:15 Redmask
 
Cutter wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 05:56:
Any of you motherfuckers think Steam is a slick, streamlime piece of software I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell you cheap. Negro please.

A bridge that you bought first apparently since you continue using Steam.

It uses a tiny fraction of my computers available memory, doesn't crash, doesn't cos a cent and gives me a wealth of functionality in an easy to use interface. Let us know when you have something better in mind.

This comment was edited on Nov 5, 2013, 07:31.
 
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62. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 07:04 InBlack
 
If my PC will run a dual-boot SteamOS & Win7 setup, who gives a shit though?  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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61. removed Nov 5, 2013, 05:56 Cutter
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Nov 5, 2013, 07:58.
 
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60. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 05:12 KilrathiAce
 
This would be very bad news for AMD/ATI if this succeds as then most game development with regards to PC would be tailored more for nvidia tech than amd as far as drivers/hardware etc... SO in a way if this succeeds it will kill the GPU competition on PC I fear. Less competition is always bad for consumer in the end especially PC user.  
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Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
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59. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 02:38 jdreyer
 
Jensen wrote on Nov 5, 2013, 01:04:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 22:06:
Also, I it doesn't look like it comes with dust covers. That's what killed my 8800 GTX. Now I have dust covers on all of my intakes.
Are you sure about that? A very high percentage of 8800/9800 cards died due to solder problems. Mine died, and a couple of my coworkers' cards had failed cards.

Well, it's hard to be absolutely sure. But three years in it started spontaneously rebooting during heavy gaming. Then after a month of that it just stopped working. When I took it out, it was choked with dust.
 
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58. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 5, 2013, 01:04 Jensen
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 22:06:
Also, I it doesn't look like it comes with dust covers. That's what killed my 8800 GTX. Now I have dust covers on all of my intakes.
Are you sure about that? A very high percentage of 8800/9800 cards died due to solder problems. Mine died, and a couple of my coworkers' cards had failed cards.

This comment was edited on Nov 5, 2013, 01:28.
 
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57. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 23:51 Suppa7
 
RollinThundr wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 17:43:
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.

Even if you're not on chrome all they have to do is vacuum up all the packets. You can't get away from the NSA regardless of your browser.
 
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56. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 23:19 RollinThundr
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 21:59:
RollinThundr wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 17:17:
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.

Yeah, that's the design they're going with. Here's a demonstration of it in action.

Yeah that was the same video I saw, still don't think it looks comfortable for any extended playing. Obviously without trying it for an extended period of time who knows.
 
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55. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 22:06 jdreyer
 
Creston wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 18:17:
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.

I had the same thought. The only thing I can think of is this: in a current box case, some devices like the graphics card or the CPU cooler might be perpendicular to the airflow, disrupting it. In a shrouded cases like this, they might be able to design the airflow for each section such that the airflow is most efficient. I can't really tell if that's the case from the pictures or not, but maybe that's what they're going for?

Also, I it doesn't look like it comes with dust covers. That's what killed my 8800 GTX. Now I have dust covers on all of my intakes.
 
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54. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 21:59 jdreyer
 
RollinThundr wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 17:17:
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.

Yeah, that's the design they're going with. Here's a demonstration of it in action.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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53. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 21:59 Qbex .
 
Box looks good, but I'm more interested in steam-os and theirs lan streaming implementation. Basically I'm just waiting for details to finish my own steam box based on imho much better looking and more practical FD Node 304, choice of apu/ cpu and if any gpu depends on streaming viability. Oh, and I'm getting that owl-controller - its going to be cracking with my nexus 7 and dosbox games  
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52. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 21:56 Taskeen
 
If it allows me to simply use the hardware boxes to install regular hardware interchangeably, and run Windows, then I'd get it.  
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51. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 21:48 Redmask
 
Ladron3dfx wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 20:49:
What other controller needs a digital distribution client to update and to function only partially or an entirely new operating system to fully function correctly?

It sounds like it will just be a basic XInput controller without the firmware updates which is like every other controller out there. I'm sure some enterprising sole will hack together custom firmwares too. So yeah I don't see what point you're trying to make here.
 
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50. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 21:16 MajorD
 

Controller having compared accuracy to a KB & M, or not, nothing compares to playing games with a KB & M. If the Steaming Box doesn't support KB & M, then there will be very little interest in it 'for me', as it will be just another console hitting the market. Sleeping

 
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49. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 20:49 Ladron3dfx
 
Redmask wrote on Nov 4, 2013, 18:57:
So it's like every other controller then?

What other controller needs a digital distribution client to update and to function only partially or an entirely new operating system to fully function correctly?

I did have interest in the controller, so it's not as if I'm hating on it because "Valve", I only wanted to play with non-Steam games and I certainly have no interest in Valves SteamOS/Steam Machine experiments.

I'll settle for a shiny new Xbox One controller (tba for windows) or PS4 controller.

This comment was edited on Nov 4, 2013, 20:56.
 
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48. Re: Steam Box Previews Nov 4, 2013, 18:58 Jensen
 
I see there was a prototype with a thumbstick on the left and the pad on the right. It seems to me like that would be a better layout for most games. The only advantage of the dual pads that they show is that you can move the cursor faster in games that are traditionally mostly mouse driven.  
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