The Big Questions: Are You Buying A Steam Machine

For a while there it felt as though a Steam Machine would be right up my alley. I prefer working with Macbooks, and I don't really have space for a big desktop PC in my house. Why not get something small that snuggles up nicely with my TV.

But now I'm not too sure.

The price, the convenience of a big chunky desktop PC, the ability to easily upgrade. Maybe I'll just go the extra mile and get the PC.

Anyone here planning to get a Steam Machine?


    If by steam machine you mean a humidifier for my bedroom, then most definitely yes, cos I've been having really bad sinus problems lately.

    As for the game console, I'm leaning towards no at this point. The only thing that really intrigues me atm is the controller...

    No. Barely have time for my 1 console and PC and nothing about this machine screams 'buy me! '

      The steam machine is like a pre packaged pc that runs the SteamOS... That is literally it. You could easily just install SteamOS on a second hard drive (know as dual boot) and the controllers can be ordered. The small design is made for a living room, but small form factor PC's have been around awhile now and are gaining popularity.

      If I remember correctly the whole point of the steam machine was to get more people onto PC, with so many hardware choices it was intended to lower the learning curve and offer and easy to upgrade platform for new PC gamers or PC gamers who are not interested in the hardware side of things and bring it too the living room.

      Unfortunately it seems to have the opposite effect. With so many different variations and brands bringing out a steam machine the choices are just as complex as building your own pc and worst yet people seem to think they are their own entity like xbox or playstation.

      This is a pretty sick build from 2 years ago with a massive Titan built into it from linus Tech Tips, its an expensive built and it was made to showcase just how high end a small form factor build can be of course their are plenty of better priced options.

      And lastly here is a example of the small form factor GPU's on offer, almost every single price bracket has a version from the 960 to the 980 and AMD variants.

      I know this is not a PC site, but dang man the way you word this article gives people the impression you only have two options a full size PC tower that is as big as a desk or a small Steam machine. You have full sized towers, Mid sized, mini towers, Slim line (think DVD player), with motherboard form factors like ATX, Mini ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX down to even smaller less popular sizes, all of these options give you a massive range of sizes that you can tailor to the size of PC you want. Big and chunky is out, i recently changed from a massive full sized tower that was chunky and neon lit to a more subtle black mid tower R5.

      Last edited 04/11/15 1:52 pm

    I'll have 'something' under my TV that I can stream PC games to.

    Not sure if it'll be a Steambox, steamlink, or something else entirely.

    Last edited 04/11/15 11:27 am

    Probably not if I can't upgrade them like a regular PC. Sure they're pretty good for how small they are, but I think I'd spend that little bit extra for a m-itx PC that I can swap parts out as I want to upgrade.

    The thing that makes the steam machine so unattractive is the fact that you can't upgrade the gpu. Why would you bother paying 700 when in two years time that modified 960 will be obsolete?

    Lol, no.

    Steam Link maybe, not even for the game streaming, but the other shit it has if it's a good price here.

    I already have a PC with Steam on it hooked up to my TV so I don't really need another one. The controller has my interest piqued but only from the perspective of wondering if it's actually going to be a revolution or whether it's going to end up like trackballs.

      Yeah. That sums up my interest in the controller. I want to see if they've actually done something but even if it works it's not really filling a need.

      For some reason its just occurred to me that "trackballs" sounds like some kind of testicular condition

    I wouldn't mind playing with one but I don't really see any reason to buy one when I've already got Steam on my PC. I think they're going to struggle to find people who want a limited gaming PC rather than a console, custom machine or pre-made gaming PC.

    I'll grab the handheld one if it turns out ok, otherwise I'll just pay @welbot to make something better for cheaper


    Can we please get a poll for this article? Ta mate.

    Personally i plan to pre-order the Steam Link as soon as i can. No intention of buying a Steam machine. I'd much rather buy a $600 PC and have it stream to a $100 Steam Link, than buying an underpowered "Laptop-In-A-Black-Box" for $700.. Which can't easily be used for work/study etc.

      This. I don't understand why you would drop $700-$1,000 on a Steam Machine when you can get a better desktop for the same price, not be locked in to the hardware, and be able to stream to the TV with a Steam Link.

    I still haven't figured out the market they're going for with this. A PC but shittier. Can't wrap my head around it.

      So basically a console. As far as I can tell that is the market they are hoping to capture

        Right... but those people have consoles.

        The PC people have the competency to build their own, for cheaper... and the console people will just buy a console. I don't think there's actually a middle ground on this.
        I just don't see their target audience... is it the people who go on message boards and talk about how much better their games would be with uncapped frame rates and higher resolutions?.. Those people, admittedly this is only my experience, but they tend to be PC people anyway.

          Yeah it seems strange. When I first heard it I thought Valve was going to mass produce them so that the price was more comparable to console. When you are getting the bulk price discounts it becomes more pointless. Even more so when you consider the steam link. I might have been half tempted to get one just so I didn't have to worry about setting up another PC connected to the TV.
          But when I can have access to my full library of windows games and just stream to the TV, that is so much better than a 2nd box under my TV.

            It's not strange at all. The PC has an enormous library, generally cheaper than equivalent console titles, especially when Steam sales roll around. Even if you limit it to titles playable on Linux, it's still probably more games than you can get on any console.

            Valve gets a cut for every game sold, but the cut is almost certainly smaller than Sony and Microsoft get for game sales on their systems, so that makes it somewhat attractive for developers. On the other hand, every sale they get on a Steam box is one they probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

            I think the hope is that people who think PCs are hard to set up for games (not really true now, unless you factor in abortions such Uplay and the now-defunct GFWL) will see something with the apparent ease of use and configuration of a console and pick one up.

            Steam has some level of casual brand awareness; my nephew has been pestering my sister to set it up on her PC for a few weeks.

            However, I don't think it's where they really need to be for this. PC nerds will stick to their tower boxes; casuals will hesitate at paying for a box with very little brand recognition that's selling itself into the console space.

            Ultimately I don't think it's a strange idea, but it is one that has been handled badly. I strongly suspect that sales will tank, because native PC gamers will stick to their current boxes and the potential new market will hesitate at spending the asking price for something they don't really understand.

            It's fundamentally a Valve over-reaction to Microsoft's app store for Windows 10. If the Windows 10 app store takes off, it could seriously bite into Steam's near-monopoly of the online PC game sales market. Valve needs to avoid that at all costs. I suspect the rest of us would not be happy with that outcome either.

    Yeh.. no. I might get the controller.. might.. but for a console experience in the lounge room, I'll stick with PS4/XBox1 etc

    Hell no. If Valve isn't even making a Steam Machine then it shows they don't have a lot of faith in it. And Linux? The OS with a fraction of games compared to MacOS.

      The OS with a surprisingly significant fraction compared to MacOS/OSX. And Linux steam games will overtake Mac games some time next year, at the current rate of growth.

    Nah, looks good, but am happy with my current console. If I was, i'd go the full mile and get a decent PC. Looks cool though, just not for me :)

    Steam machine is a hunk of junk due to steam OS only running linux, all you have to do is look at the library and be instantly depressed.

    If space/looks were an issue but you still wanted this itch scratched then I'd look into a mini ITX gaming rig, they're small and can pull some decent power for similar money.

      There's currently 1396 games on Steam confirmed working on Linux.
      It's nowhere near the number for windows, sure. But moving forward there is an increasing number of games being released with Linux support.

      It's very much been a chicken and egg problem. But Valve's support behind SteamOS really has made a huge difference to the linux gaming environment.

      I hope that SteamOS is eventually a success. I run only Linux systems in my house and office, and until recently had one Windows 7 system for gaming. I've now completely removed that system, too, and have found more than enough games on Linux to keep me satisfied [yes, even AAA titles].

        It seems hard to count exactly how many Linux games are available. reports 1396 games confirmed working.
        Search on the Steam store for "SteamOS + Linux" returns 3115 entries, although that does include many variants of the same game.
        A few months ago, Phoronix heralded the crossing of 1500 native Linux games available on Steam.

        In any case, there are an impressive number of titles, and it's increasing fast! Amazing when you think that Steam has only supported Linux for not even 2 years.

        Still don't see the appeal shelling out for esentially a low to mid end PC and then being restricted by what linux has to offer (which for the most part is indie games and valve staples like CS, TF2, DOTA2 etc etc).

        I'd rather get the mini or micro ITX running windows 10. If my intention was to use it primarily as a steam machine then I'd boot it into steam big picture mode. That way you've got the option of running ALL steam games, origin, windows live etc etc.

        Can also use it as your download/streaming centre for the primary TV. Having a fully fledged PC connected to your main tv is awesome, endless amounts of stuff to do.

        If these steam machines were like $300-400 for the same hardware then sure, it's total bang for buck. When you're hitting $700+ then that's pretty damn rich for such limited use.

    No. Left PC behind a while ago, and this looks like it'll be no different from the two consoles I already own, and that I know can play any game I buy for them in the way they were intended.

    Can you install windows on it or is the hardware specifically made for their Linux distro? If the hardware was distinct and I could get one cheap, I might be tempted to see what the hardware can do but ultimately I'm that guy who loves building machines so there's several points against it.

    I'd like a Steam Controller, but not a steam machine. There's no good argument for just the Steam Machine.

    No. But may try building a mini atx based one in the future.

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