Steam Box Catch-All

Yeah, no mention of the video card inside is what I noticed too. It doesn't even say if the ram is DDR3 or not. Not that I was probably going to get one anyways, but I don't feel comfortable committing to a $900 PC that is pretty vague about exactly what type of hardware it contains.

EDIT: Actually, based on that pre-order page, it seems like the processor is the R-464L, which includes a Radeon integrated graphics solution. That might be fine, but it still sounds like if you want to do serious gaming, you still would be better off building one yourself.

I think it was supposed to be an APU. Based on their other offering, the closest I can see is the Athlon II X2 270 at 3.4GHz, the AMD site lists it as an APU but doesn't say what GPU it's paired with and neither does wikipedia.

edit: The page for the X7A lists "3.2GHz quad-core x86-based APU Radeon 7000 series GPU w/384 programmable cores", Which fits a 7660D, which fits a A10-5700 or 5800k APU.

kuddles wrote:

Yeah, no mention of the video card inside is what I noticed too. It doesn't even say if the ram is DDR3 or not. Not that I was probably going to get one anyways, but I don't feel comfortable committing to a $900 PC that is pretty vague about exactly what type of hardware it contains.

EDIT: Actually, based on that pre-order page, it seems like the processor is the R-464L, which includes a Radeon integrated graphics solution. That might be fine, but it still sounds like if you want to do serious gaming, you still would be better off building one yourself.

Gamasutra says:

It'll come with a Radeon 7000-series GPU, and support up to three monitors simultaneously.
Scratched wrote:

I think it was supposed to be an APU. Based on their other offering, the closest I can see is the Athlon II X2 270 at 3.4GHz, the AMD site lists it as an APU but doesn't say what GPU it's paired with and neither does wikipedia.

edit: The page for the X7A lists "3.2GHz quad-core x86-based APU Radeon 7000 series GPU w/384 programmable cores", Which fits a 7660D, which fits a A10-5700 or 5800k APU.

If it's really an extant AMD APU (which is admittedly a logical fit for the form factor) then it's especially disappointing from a value perspective.

cube wrote:

I'm calling bullsh*t on that, unless they actually have the connectors for 3 HDMI or DVI outs. Which they probably don't.

Because nobody does that.

I think 3 HDMI ports has been standard on mid/upper tier AMD cards since the 5000 series. That's their Eyefinity branding.

Gravey wrote:

Gamasutra says:

It'll come with a Radeon 7000-series GPU, and support up to three monitors simultaneously.

I'm calling bullsh*t on that, unless they actually have the connectors for 3 HDMI or DVI outs. Which they probably don't.

Because nobody does that.

Dirty console peasant here: what's an APU?

Gravey wrote:

Dirty console peasant here: what's an APU?

CPU and GPU on one bit of silicon.

Scratched wrote:
Gravey wrote:

Dirty console peasant here: what's an APU?

CPU and GPU on one bit of silicon.

AKA "meh."

I'm aware generally that AMD's current offerings are supposed to be pretty good, but at this price point in a thing that's supposed to be dedicated to playing video games, I can't help but respond with a resounding yawn.

This is not the Steambox you are looking for.

shoptroll wrote:
cube wrote:

I'm calling bullsh*t on that, unless they actually have the connectors for 3 HDMI or DVI outs. Which they probably don't.

Because nobody does that.

I think 3 HDMI ports has been standard on mid/upper tier AMD cards since the 5000 series. That's their Eyefinity branding.

IMAGE(http://cdn2.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/7458007/xi3-piston-09.jpg)

That's two Mini DisplayPorts next to the HDMI, right? Or are those two other port-types that I'm not aware of (honest question)?

WipEout wrote:

That's two Mini DisplayPorts next to the HDMI, right?

Yep

Thanks!

Also, it should be of note that nowhere on the Xi3 site are Valve or Steam mentioned. This is obviously the same box that was touted as their Steambox at CES, name and all, but the lack of Valve branding in any way on the sales page is... conspicuous.

I'm sure they don't mind being unofficially branded 'the steambox' until something else comes along. I think before CES I'd only heard of them in passing.

Scratched wrote:

I think before CES I'd only heard of them in passing.

Weren't they trying to fund the project originally through kickstarter?

shoptroll wrote:
Scratched wrote:

I think before CES I'd only heard of them in passing.

Weren't they trying to fund the project originally through kickstarter?

They were, and it failed, until Valve stepped in and gave them the rest of the funding. It really reads to me as Xi3 cashing in on the fame of the CES reveal, though they were ultimately unable to meet Valve's need for an affordable Steambox (total speculation, but it certainly makes me re-think the Valve hardware dept's layoffs a few weeks ago). Especially considering Newell's idea of tiered pricing-- the Piston sounds a lot like it'd be a mid-tier box according to Gabe's proposed price points, which doesn't really mesh with the $1K price tag.

So at this point? Any press is good press-- remind people that this was once considered a Steambox and hope people buy it as such. Again, pure speculation. Maybe Gabe's idea of "Good, Better, Best" at the prices he alluded to simply isn't possible yet. Still, I'm very curious why Xi3 would make absolutely no mention of Steam or Valve, as it would only serve to increase their sales.

So, Piston and xi3 are not the steambox : http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/12/va...

Manach wrote:

So, Piston and xi3 are not the steambox : http://www.joystiq.com/2013/03/12/va...

They pretty that in their original press release back in January

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...

And Gabe echoed the same a day later:

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...

Between Valve shedding a bunch of hardware staff and the bit of a joke the Xi3 Piston has become ($1,000 for a machine with the guts of a low-end laptop as a game machine, really?), I'm wondering if they've come to a realisation that the Steam Box might not be possible from a cost perspective right now. I mean, I love the idea of it and I think it could be a huge punch against the console makers but it has to be better than the console experience without costing significantly more if they want it to succeed. If $1,000 for something that can in some cases be soundly trounced by even current generation consoles is the best they can do, maybe the idea isn't ready for prime time yet. I hope I'm wrong about that.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I'm wondering if they've come to a realisation that the Steam Box might not be possible from a cost perspective right now.

It's certainly possible, just not in the "grapefruit sized" form factor Xi3 is targeting. Look at the size of the PS3 and 360 form factors. You can probably cram a decent GPU+CPU on a microATX board into one of those shells.

The "holy grail" for me would be getting a decent gaming PC into either the footprint of a Wii or a Mac Mini. I doubt that's ever going to happen due to thermal/noise constraints, but one can dream.

At least in North America, I'm not sure why they're so obsessed with the thing being that tiny. If it's notably more powerful than a 360 or a PS3, what's wrong with it being the same size as those? It's neat and all if it's super tiny but if it means making it overpriced or underpowered, go bigger.

shoptroll wrote:
Parallax Abstraction wrote:

I'm wondering if they've come to a realisation that the Steam Box might not be possible from a cost perspective right now.

It's certainly possible, just not in the "grapefruit sized" form factor Xi3 is targeting. Look at the size of the PS3 and 360 form factors. You can probably cram a decent GPU+CPU on a microATX board into one of those shells.

The "holy grail" for me would be getting a decent gaming PC into either the footprint of a Wii or a Mac Mini. I doubt that's ever going to happen due to thermal/noise constraints, but one can dream.

I don't think it's possible.. if you look at the boutique gaming PC market it tends to be populated with over-priced high end gaming rigs that are starting at $1K. Theres just not much margin in selling hardware anymore... and with Valve not really controlling the ecosystem like a Microsoft or Sony can its not really a money making proposition to sell PC hardware at a loss...especially when you then have to slap a warranty on them and provide customer service.

At the end of the day Valve will simply look at the numbers.. its not cost effective for them to make a $1,000 PC and sell it for $500 to compete with the PS4 and Xbox 720. Unless the Steam Box is really about streaming at the end of the day.

And despite their dominance in DD.. Valve isnt in a position to divorce Steam from Windows and suddenly create a "new" platform.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

At least in North America, I'm not sure why they're so obsessed with the thing being that tiny.

Novelty and because they can. Is there any reason the Raspberry Pi needed to be so small?

Don't forget this is only one design. I'd be very surprised if there was some memo floating around the Valve office saying Steambox branded devices needed to fit the Piston dimensions.

TheGameguru wrote:

Theres just not much margin in selling hardware anymore...

Quoted for truth. If there's any reason for Valve shuttering part of their hardware team, it's probably because they realized the margins are razor thin and they're probably better off letting Dell and the rest handle that side of the equation.

TheGameguru wrote:

I don't think it's possible.. if you look at the boutique gaming PC market it tends to be populated with over-priced high end gaming rigs that are starting at $1K. Theres just not much margin in selling hardware anymore... and with Valve not really controlling the ecosystem like a Microsoft or Sony can its not really a money making proposition to sell PC hardware at a loss...especially when you then have to slap a warranty on them and provide customer service.

At the end of the day Valve will simply look at the numbers.. its not cost effective for them to make a $1,000 PC and sell it for $500 to compete with the PS4 and Xbox 720. Unless the Steam Box is really about streaming at the end of the day.

And despite their dominance in DD.. Valve isnt in a position to divorce Steam from Windows and suddenly create a "new" platform.

From my perspective, the Valve console makes no sense unless they can use it to shake off their dependency on Microsoft. They have to realize that Windows 8 is just the opening salvo; the days of third party app store dominance on Windows are likely numbered now that Microsoft is actually appearing to take this endeavor seariously.

To me, the Steam box looks like a desperation play to become platform owners rather than middle men. As such if it comes to market it would have to be subsidized, because they'll never gain any real traction otherwise.

I just have a struggle being convince that there is any way shape or form anyone can break the dominance that Windows has over PC Gaming. It's hard enough convincing Developers to support Linux and Mac OSX in a meaningful way.. let alone a new x86 compatible OS (platform).

I mean Ouya is attempting it but in essence its not really new.. its the Android OS platform with Physical Controls.

TheGameguru wrote:

let alone a new x86 compatible OS (platform).

I don't think the platform is the problem, what's the PS4 apart from another x86 platform, and then the next xbox will be another. The problem is a business one.

That said, I don't think a steambox, linux, OS, windows or some other OS, would be "world domination tomorrow or bust". I think there's some viability in a mid-way solution that doesn't initially involve the whole steam library.

TheGameguru wrote:

I just have a struggle being convince that there is any way shape or form anyone can break the dominance that Windows has over PC Gaming.

A lot of that has to do with DirectX. Weren't Apple II and Amiga viable alternatives to DOS back in the 80's/90's?

If Valve's serious about breaking away from Windows the first thing to start with is encouraging more devs to use libraries like OpenGL which exist on all platforms.

shoptroll wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I just have a struggle being convince that there is any way shape or form anyone can break the dominance that Windows has over PC Gaming.

A lot of that has to do with DirectX. Weren't Apple II and Amiga viable alternatives to DOS back in the 80's/90's?

If Valve's serious about breaking away from Windows the first thing to start with is encouraging more devs to use libraries like OpenGL which exist on all platforms.

Apple II and Amiga were sorta before the rise of x86 PC gaming.. it wasnt until VGA cards starting becoming the norm on PC's that PC gaming started to eclipse Apple II and Amiga. It also didn't help that Apple started becoming openly hostile towards gaming with the Macintosh.

TheGameguru wrote:

I just have a struggle being convince that there is any way shape or form anyone can break the dominance that Windows has over PC Gaming. It's hard enough convincing Developers to support Linux and Mac OSX in a meaningful way.. let alone a new x86 compatible OS (platform).

It sure seems like a long shot, although I'd point out that Valve would be leveraging Linux and there are several engines with at least some kind of Linux support already. Even so it's hard to see Valve having a chance unless they just throw money at the problem by subsidizing the hardware to at most the price of other next gen consoles.

They may not be desperate yet, though; they're out in front of the problem a bit. They do need the platform established before they're squeezed out by the Windows app store, but the commercial failure of Win8 (and the fact that MS doesn't seem interested in providing the app store on 7) means they have at least one more iteration of Windows before their hand is forced. So they could try experimenting with a costly initial iteration, or they could shelve the whole thing until they can bring costs down more, and they'd still maybe have time to establish themselves.

I think what we're seeing from Valve now, with the lack of real commitment and the really vague ideas of what the console will be, indicates that they're in a holding pattern. They might have been ready to go all in had Win8 succeeded, but they can put on the brakes a bit now that there's no immediate threat.

gore wrote:

From my perspective, the Valve console makes no sense unless they can use it to shake off their dependency on Microsoft. They have to realize that Windows 8 is just the opening salvo; the days of third party app store dominance on Windows are likely numbered now that Microsoft is actually appearing to take this endeavor seariously.

Time will tell on that. The Windows 8 store has not been a success. The number of new apps appearing on it appears to be shrinking and most people are ignoring it. Given how Microsoft's approach is working out so far, I would say there's little threat to third party digital software vendors being phased out. Given how many anti-trust agencies still have it out for Microsoft and Microsoft alone (they just got a huge fine from the EU because they didn't let people pick a different default browser on Windows 7 SP1, Apple has not been fined a cent for iOS), I think trying to push out the other guys will only get them in more trouble.

Xi3 speaks up on the SteamBox/Piston "mix-up."

More and more, the Xi3 guys are coming across to me as opportunistic DBs. The "Gabe, the ball is in your court" comment really reads like there is a lack of humility in their company (or at least their upper management). Honestly-- what does that get them? It's basically saying, "Valve, you backed us, and this is the result-- take it or leave it, but really take it, don't leave it, because you paid us to see it and we need your clout to sell it. Please come back!!"