Let's See What's Inside A Steam Machine (And How You Swap Stuff Out)

Let's See What's Inside A Steam Machine (And How You Swap Stuff Out)

Valve's Steam Machine may have its eyes on your living room, but it's not a console. It's still a PC at heart, so if you're curious how easy it's going to be to open one up and swap out/upgrade parts, take a look at this.

Corey Nelson is one of the lucky 300 to be testing the new hardware, and he's filmed this helpful guide to opening a Steam Machine up and removing its components.

It's...well, it's a PC, a very cramped PC, though it's interesting that there appears to be room for a second HDD in there.

Steam Machine Tear Down [YouTube]


    It's interesting, but the design is too proprietary for me. It's great they left room for a 2nd hard drive, a very smart move. I can see it being just what some people need for an entry level gaming PC, but I prefer to mod my PC, upgrading and such, so I need to stick with what I have. But that being said, I can see a market for cheaper versions of this, the more expensive version? Probably not honestly...

    I'm very interested in trying the gamepad for it though and I really want to get a 2nd HDD and try out SteamOS on my PC.

    Last edited 16/12/13 3:10 pm

      There's nothing proprietary about it, it's simply an mATX board with the video card mounted in a different position and hooked up using a PCI-E extension cable. The chassis layout has simply been optimised to fit as much into as small a space as possible without it all catching on fire.

      There wouldn't be anything preventing you from putting a different GPU in there, provided it's no longer than a Titan (which would be quite a feat).

        provided it's no longer than a Titan (which would be quite a feat).

        If it is, there's a problem. Proprietary was the wrong word to use, it's just too limiting for my likes. The form of it isn't what I'm after but it's definitely a good option for others and I can see why others will find it appealing.

          I don't think it's a massive leap to think that once these Steam boxes come out there will be third-party parts designed to fit within the smaller cases

        You mean Mini-ITX right?

          Apt user name is apt, yes I meant that :P

        Looks like it may be an easy (maybe cheaper?) option for those looking to build Mini-ITX gaming rigs themselves

        That is a titan in his SteamBox. Check out some pictures, it even says Titan at the back right corner around 1:57

    Unless these Steamboxes are insanely cheap, I'd rather build my own gaming pc with a full size case.

    @weresmurf I'm very interested in trying out the gamepad as well, no doubt they'll be available seperately.

      I think these are lounge room boxes designed to be hooked up to the TV, with the eventual goal market being the type of people who don't build their own.

      But also, it makes me wonder if Valve could actually subsidise these Steam Machines. Imagine if they were actually cheaper than even building your own? If they took an initial hit and sold them at a loss, they could potentially grab a share of the console market and make the money back from having more people using Steam and splurging on Steam Sales. I don't think that's what they will end up doing, but who knows? Valve understand the value of free and/or cheap in getting loyal users that are happy to pay more down the line.

        Yeah, I realize that this isn't really aimed at DIY PC builders, it's aimed at console gamers, to get them to come across to the PC side, and PC gamers that don't want to build their own.

        If the lowest spec Steambox has a fair bit more grunt than the new consoles, and is only a few hundred dollars dearer ($750 - $900), coupled with the cheaper games on Steam, it might be enough to win a lot of console gamers over.

        Hell, I'd probably buy one at that price, but if the lowest spec'd one is $1000 - $1200 plus, I'd rather build my own.

        Last edited 16/12/13 5:09 pm

          Then it's really not for you. I think if you're capable of building your own computer, you'd be more interested in using Windows with KB + Mouse rather than a proprietary OS and a controller.

    This thing is exactly what I want, silent, small, connect it to my TV, leave the fileserver elsewhere in the house. The perfect Multimedia setup but with a total beast of a video card.

      I'm going to load SteamOS up to my PC, I'm extremely interested in seeing what it can offer and if it increases performance of my games. If it does, Windows will become my workhorse, SteamOS, my games-go-to. I like your description of why, it emphasises why those who would be interested in this would use it, simple and to the point (not a bad thing at all).

    So does everyone realise that the SteamOS only runs linux games natively? The list of linux games on steam is significantly less than windows games.... like... a lot less.

    To play windows games it says:
    "You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have - then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!"

    My point is that anyone thinking they can just pickup a steambox for roughly 1k and have the best steam experience is nowhere near accurate. Here's a quick 2 second list of games not compatible with linux:

    Bioshock (any)
    Fallout (any)
    Arkham City / Asylum
    Dragon Age
    Mass Effect

    Obviously there's heaps more I literally spent 15 seconds scouring the store.

    So now the prospect of spending 1k+ on a steam box just to have another computer in the house streaming these games to my tv is a lot less appealing than just building a pc and dealing with standard windows maintenence (heck, steam big picture mode is great).

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