Earlier today, Valve released specs for the 300 Steam Machines it will be sending out to steam hardware beta testers later this year. They include:
- 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
As you can see by the specs, there are going to be at least three tiers of hardware that will almost certainly vary in price. The i7-4770 + NVidia Titan being the most expensive, with prices decreasing as you go down the list. It's very unlikely that the top tier, or even the top two tiers will be cheaper than competing next-gen consoles like the Xbox One or PS4.
However, because Valve is open-sourcing pretty much every step of the process, including their SteamOS, it's likely you could build a box on your own with similar specs and design for less money depending on where you source the parts.
Now that we have some idea of the specs Valve is looking at for these things, is the $999 Xi3 piston diminished in your eyes? Do you think having an easy to upgrade, easy to purchase, Steam compatible box would be something you'd buy for gaming in your living room?