When Valve ships its own prototype version of a Steam Machine later this year to 300 beta users, those folks are getting relatively tiny and powerful gaming consoles. At very least, it'll have an NVIDIA GTX 660 (all the way through Titan), and anywhere from an Intel i3 CPU to an i7-4770. All prototypes come with 3GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD for storage. A 450w battery powers the 12 x 12.4 x 2.9in. boxes, which is internal (no external power supply! alright!).

Valve says it isn't ready to show off the box just yet, but offers more details than the prototype's initial announcement: the prototype is built entirely from "off-the-shelf PC parts," and is "fully upgradeable." In fact, aside from the prototype's custom housing, Valve says, "anyone can go and build exactly the same machine." The company even plans on sharing the CAD files for the housing, should you wish to directly replicate Valve's efforts. The forum post also says we'll see the box soon, before the beta units head out to 300 lucky folks. Head below for the full range of specs.

Of course, the worry here is pricing. We still don't know how much any of this will cost, and it certainly smells like it won't be cheap. For example, Xi3's modestly powerful Piston gaming PC carries a $1,000 price tag. On the low end, just Valve's prototype's NVIDIA GPU costs around $200 (with the high-end Titan coming in around $1,000), which is to say nothing of the custom work required to fit said NVIDIA GPUs and Intel CPUs and everything inside a custom 12 x 12.4 x 2.9in. enclosure. If nothing else, beta users are getting a relatively pricey piece of tech for free -- an endeavor that no doubt engenders a lot of love from Valve's loyal community. What we'll see available for sale some time next year, however, may look a lot different than what we're seeing in this prototype.

Valve's Steam Machine prototype specs:
  • GPU: some units with NVIDIA Titan, some GTX780, some GTX760, and some GTX660
  • CPU: some boxes with Intel : i7-4770, some i5-4570, and some i3
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3-1600 (CPU), 3GB DDR5 (GPU)
  • Storage: 1TB/8GB Hybrid SSHD
  • Power Supply: Internal 450w 80Plus Gold
  • Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high

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Valve's Steam Machine prototype is tiny, potentially powerful