Steam Machines will finally be coming to Australia as of next year, and while there won't be a massive amount of surprises with the one major sticking point is the GPU.
Like the Surface Book, it's a custom chip that NVIDIA has put together for Alienware — and you won't be able to upgrade it if you want more grunt.
Alienware's planning and development manager Joe Olmsted sat down with me at PAX on the weekend to talk through the specifications and hardware of the Steam machine, when it'd be available in Sydney and what it'd ship with.
There's no surprises with the machines though: it's the same hardware as the Alienware Alpha boxes, which you can purchase from Dell right now. Those come in multiple configurations, but you're generally dealing with an Intel i3/i5/i7 with either 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 memory, and so on.
There are some slight changes with the Steam machines, with Olmsted confirming that the top-end Steam machine configuration will come with 16GB of DDR3 RAM. The custom 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA chip that shipped in the Alpha will be the same here, although the Steam machines will come with the SteamOS installed.
Alienware's website says the custom chip "does have similar performance to an NVIDIA 860M class card", although
The baseline Steam offering comes with a 500GB hard-drive and the top-end will have around a 2TB drive, with Olmsted adding that Alienware is looking at adding some SSD options to the configurations as well. The Steam Machines will also ship with 10 games, one of which would be the Melbourne-made Screencheat.
Olmstead added that the baseline Steam machine configuration would be sold over $700 in what he called the "premium console" price point. The minimum model of the Alpha is currently available through Dell for $799, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see their Steam machine at the same price (although that's not confirmed as of yet).
Alienware's Steam machine will also come with PAYDAY 2's Game of the Year Edition and Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball, an indie game featuring robots throwing around a dodgeball like it's a rocket launcher.