Valve's prototype Steam Machine benchmarked with Windows 7

While technically anyone with the skills can create their own Steam Machine with Valve's version of its SteamOS right now, only 300 people in the US got a chance to get Valve's own prototype box that was shipped on Friday. One of those 300 people is Corey Nelson and since receiving his Steam Machine this weekend he has been quite busy posting up videos of his experiences on YouTube.

The first unboxing video shows that Valve spared no expense in packaging their Steam Machine; it was shipped in a wooden crate with lots of odd symbols. Inside the box there's the black Steam Machine itself which definitely resembles Microsoft's Xbox One. It also comes with a prototype of the Steam Controller, a USB cable, a HDMI cable, a power cord, a Wi-Fi antenna and manuals.

Yet another clip shows Nelson tearing down the Steam Machine box to show what's inside. It's basically a PC box with parts that can be purchased off the shelve, with a massive NVIDIA GeForce graphics card taking up much of the case. The tear down shows that there is room for a second hard drive.

Nelson also showed how the included Steam Controller can be used in a Windows-based PC, as he plays Saints Row IV. Windows apparently sets up the controller as if it were a mouse which makes some sense.

The latest video shows that Nelson has now installed a second hard drive inside the Steam Machine and has installed Windows 7 Enterprise, allowing the device to boot and run both operating systems. Nelson also ran 3DMark benchmark demos on the Steam Machine with Windows 7. The high end Fire Strike demo scored a 7858, which according to 3DMark is a little slower than a high end gaming PC mark of 9131. The Steam Machine's benchmark is still better than 70 percent of all PCs tested by 3DMark.

The demo shows that third party Steam Machines will likely be able to run Windows 7 in addition to SteamOS with little problem, which might be a big selling point when they go on sale sometime in 2014.

Source: Corey Nelson

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From the article title I thought they were going to compare Windows 7 and Steam OS benchmarks. I'm disappointed.

+1
I was hoping to see Linux out perform Windows or vice versa. Until this is highlighted then this benchmark means nothing to me.

I still don't get what Valve is going for here. Let me spend $1,000 or more on a machine that runs only part of the Steam library, requires another $1,000 machine running Windows for the rest, and restricts me to a custom OS that won't run any other Windows Apps.

Why not just get one Windows computer, an Xbox 360 controller, and run Steam in big picture mode?

Exactly. Unless there is some new miracle Windows emulator for Linux coming soon, there is no point, right? Other than all-things Windows/MS hatred, I guess. lol

Because, shocking I know but Valve want to offer customers disenfranchised with Microsoft's current direction another option. A new OS that's still in beta stage won't run as many games as an OS that's been worked on for years? gee that's so shocking. It's a long term commitment.

benjimoola said,
I will build my own machine and run windows 8.1 thank you... I see no point in this

True, but some people don't like to build machines and just want something pre-configured that will run all the steam games. If the price is good I can see it selling ok.

incendy said,

True, but some people don't like to build machines and just want something pre-configured that will run all the steam games. If the price is good I can see it selling ok.

It will only sell if there are games to support it. Right now, if you look at the vast majority of the most popular games on Steam, they do not run on Linux. I know a lot of the indie releases do, but when you look at the big sellers, it's hit and miss.

Ones that do run, don't often do it well. If you look at the forums for Metro Last Light, a lot of Linux players are very unhappy with what is apparently a very average port.

Valve will find itself in a tricky situation, no matter how good the Steam Machine is, it all depends on the game devs supporting it, which of course costs them money to make their games Linux compatible, and then run more testing. Catch 22.

incendy said,
True, but some people don't like to build machines and just want something pre-configured that will run all the steam games. If the price is good I can see it selling ok.

Then... let it be... let it be...

incendy said,

True, but some people don't like to build machines and just want something pre-configured that will run all the steam games. If the price is good I can see it selling ok.

Except it won't run all the Steam games, only ones that work in Linux.

Wow, one would think that Valve would have put in a do-not-take-system-apart clause in the agreement somewhere... LOL

They already know who he is 300 holes on the top because 300 testers, one of the holes is drilled out (you can see the shiny metal), that identifies who the tester is.

That way if someone tried to sell it on eBay and posted pictures, Valve would know exactly who it is.

Overall though Valve want people to take it apart, talk about it etc. They just don't want you selling it.

neonspark said,
ha ha ha. nothing says more about what's wrong about the steamOS than the fact it can't even benchmark itself...

The only thing funny here is that there are still people in the world that think benchmarks mean a damned thing...

Benchmarks are nice, but I'm more interested in real world performance. Looks really promising though. The build quality looks pretty good in the video.

This is such a weird review.

"A little slower than a high end gaming PC." The Steam machine is made of standard off the shelf PC parts. If you install Windows on it, it will perform as a normal PC with the same configuration.

It's not a console with unique hardware.

Not to mention the Steam machines have varying hardware specifications. Some have Titans, some have 760s, some will have even lower specifications.

they actually just want to tell you that you get hardware in this particular machine that is better than 70% of the rest.
so you have 30% tested machines that are faster. This means when the price is 300$ you get a nice machine for a bargain - and you don't need to bother with SteamOS

This means when the price is 300$ you get a nice machine for a bargain - and you don't need to bother with SteamOS

Pretty sure these machines won't sell for anywhere near $300. Microsoft and Sony can get away with selling consoles at a loss because they're the publisher and they make money of each game.

Steam machines, however, will be made by a bunch of manufacturers that won't be able to offset any of the cost. So they'll end up costing just as much as PCs do.

LaP said,
Care to elaborate ?
SteamOS is basically steam big picture mode with a few more options. Plus you can only play games in Linux, so you might as well only use windows rather than dual boot.

link6155 said,
SteamOS is basically steam big picture mode with a few more options. Plus you can only play games in Linux, so you might as well only use windows rather than dual boot.

You might as well just use Android and skip iOS and WP8 too. What if Steam OS is enough for the needs of someone and this someone wants to use it ?

Mr. Hand said,

What does the Steam OS bring to the game? It seems to be only a subset of the functionality from running Windows and Steam on it

It doesn't need to bring anything new to the game. It just needs to be enough for a particular use case. Will it be enough ? I don't know. It's in early beta and we don't have any final hardware/price to evaluate. You will be able to answer this question about 1 year or 2 after the first SteamBox hit the retail market.

SteamBox and SteamOS are not made to replace a desktop PC. It's made to be used as a gaming (and i hope htpc) OS under the TV. I think it could very well be a viable option for this particular use case as long as the price is good and devs support it with apps and games.

Personally i consider the streaming feature highly interesting. If it works well this means i could build a cheap htpc running Steam OS and stream my adventure/action games à la Tomb Raider from my more expensive desktop PC to my TV without running a long HDMI cable across my walls. As long as Steam Os support apps and there's enough apps to make it a viable htpc i think it could be an interesting alternative to windows under the TV.

link6155 said,
SteamOS is basically steam big picture mode with a few more options. Plus you can only play games in Linux, so you might as well only use windows rather than dual boot.

From what I read on steam's site, you can steamOS as a full general purpose OS.

LaP said,
You might as well just use Android and skip iOS and WP8 too. What if Steam OS is enough for the needs of someone and this someone wants to use it ?
For those that make that decision then sure. However, the vast majority of all computer user's doesn't understand what exactly it means to limit access to your hardware to just SteamOS.

In the grand scheme of things that's what we're talking about. An OS is the tool that allows you to extract value from your hardware. If you choose to limit yourself to Linux (yes you are limiting the usefulness of your hardware for the average user at that point) then good for you. I, on the other hand, love extracting the most usefulness out of hardware and Windows has always been that best answer for me and anybody I've ever advised.

n_K said,

From what I read on steam's site, you can steamOS as a full general purpose OS.
yes you can enable gnome 3 desktop on it and use it as a pc, but again it's designed for gaming and you're limited to Linux apps.

LaP said,

You might as well just use Android and skip iOS and WP8 too. What if Steam OS is enough for the needs of someone and this someone wants to use it ?


Then they wouldn't be dual-booting then would they?
There is no point in dual-booting Steam OS and Windows. Either Steam OS is enough for you or it isn't. If it's not and you want to put Windows on it then there is no point in keeping Steam OS as you can just run Steam under Windows.

Asmodai said,

Then they wouldn't be dual-booting then would they?
There is no point in dual-booting Steam OS and Windows. Either Steam OS is enough for you or it isn't. If it's not and you want to put Windows on it then there is no point in keeping Steam OS as you can just run Steam under Windows.

oh i was not really refering to the dual booting part. I was replying to this part of his post "There's simply no point behind using it.". Yeah i agree if you build a Steam OS machine then there's no point running Windows on it. If you build a windows desktop PC there's no point running Steam OS on it either. I agree with that. But i think it's a little bit early to say "There's simply no point behind using it.". That thing is not even final yet it's at the very least 1 year away from retail market maybe even a little bit more.

absolutely, steam box is nothing but an expensive piece of junk where you can buy a windows PC with much less price and better specs and install steam. and you can hook it to your TV too. what else you want?

n_K said,

From what I read on steam's site, you can steamOS as a full general purpose OS.

Because Its Linux smart ass. guess what? nobody uses linux and its free. what you should pay for steam OS now?

LaP said,
You might as well just use Android and skip iOS and WP8 too. What if Steam OS is enough for the needs of someone and this someone wants to use it ?

Then they sure paid a higher price tag to run less games.

trojan_market said,
absolutely, steam box is nothing but an expensive piece of junk where you can buy a windows PC with much less price and better specs and install steam. and you can hook it to your TV too. what else you want?
trojan_market said,

Because Its Linux smart ass. guess what? nobody uses linux and its free. what you should pay for steam OS now?

Gotta love neowin... I get banned because I saw things like 'if you`re no good at a subject you should fail uni' and twits like this get... Nothing?
Superb job mods, keep up the fascism.

I agree.
I've tested it over the weekend in both VM and dual boot scenarios and TBH, it just sucks.
Steambox is very likely going to fail, especially if the prices are too high.

n_K said,

Gotta love neowin... I get banned because I saw things like 'if you`re no good at a subject you should fail uni' and twits like this get... Nothing?
Superb job mods, keep up the fascism.

Since when speaking truth is fascism? All I am saying is that you can build a PC with same equipments thats unboxed here with less price and install Steam on it. What is wrong with my statement?

Spicoli said,

What does the Steam OS bring to the game? It seems to be only a subset of the functionality from running Windows and Steam on it

A custom environment tuned for games as opposed to a generic OS, supposedly. They've customized the kernel and compositor. When they said there'd be benchmarks I figured they would have this comparison.

Geezy said,
A custom environment tuned for games as opposed to a generic OS, supposedly. They've customized the kernel and compositor. When they said there'd be benchmarks I figured they would have this comparison.

There are already two competitors doing this: XBOX One and Playstation 4. and unlike steambox they have good gamepads and good games plus they are 3rd and 4th generation as opposed to beta. Plus Linux (Steam OS Core) was never made for gaming, Playstation and XBOX have custom OS made for gaming

Kalint said,
The answer that nobody got was: Living Room. Yes... living room...

DAMN IT!! I really needed that compliment today. You don't even know.....

I can't wait to try a steambox controller, they seem very innovative to me and I've been wanting to try a controller that uses haptics in this way ever since I heard of the technology, I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Geezy said,
I can't wait to try a steambox controller, they seem very innovative to me and I've been wanting to try a controller that uses haptics in this way ever since I heard of the technology, I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Don't know why but I feel quite the opposite. I think Its just a prototype controller though, but I found many who put their hands on the controller share my opinion that the controller is like two round touch pad which is not intuitive at all

It won't feel like two round touchpads. Haptics will simulate the feeling of trackballs or d-pads or analog sticks, or whatever the developer can come up with. It could be revolutionary if done right and I'm interested to try it out myself.

GreenMartian said,

There have been indications that PS4 is running on a BSD-based OS.
http://www.extremetech.com/gam...ebsd-thats-similar-to-linux
If there's anything that's LESS designed for running games than Linux, BSD would be one of them.

PS4 DOES NOT RUN BSD, stop spreading FUD.
PS2's debugger is a Redhat PC Host, PS3's debugger is (I don't know) and PS4's debugger is a *BSD PC Host, that does not mean that anything of BSD or linux made it's way into retail kits just like the gamecube development kit to the side of me with a full ATX PSU, motherboard and hard drive is nothing like a retail GC which contains none of that.


No mention of it using BSD, just mention of _SOME_ PS4 hardware using those libraries which is standard.
A bit like how nintendo acknowledge GCC and cygwin because all their build tools are modified versions of them.
SN systems made development software for PS2 using modified GCC code, if you email them (they're now part of sony) and ask for the modified code, by the GCC license and by law they have to send you the code them modified.

GreenMartian said,

There have been indications that PS4 is running on a BSD-based OS.
http://www.extremetech.com/gam...ebsd-thats-similar-to-linux
If there's anything that's LESS designed for running games than Linux, BSD would be one of them.

PS4 runs custom Sony's Operating System which is based on Orbis OS which is a modified version of FreeBSD which itself is much highly optimized/Modified OS for gaming specifically compared to Linux. It has a better more unified driver support, which is the primary issue with Linux. Steam works on Linux, Linux (any version) is different OS than FreeBSD. They are both on UNIX Family though so is Windows

Edited by trojan_market, Dec 17 2013, 4:30pm :

n_K said,

PS4 DOES NOT RUN BSD, stop spreading FUD.
How is that FUD? That's a good thing! No bloat, highly optimized for x86 which is the PS4's architecture, very robust, capable, and customizable to the needs of the application.

Geezy said,
How is that FUD? That's a good thing! No bloat, highly optimized for x86 which is the PS4's architecture, very robust, capable, and customizable to the needs of the application.

It's FUD because it's a bogus claim backed up with nothing.

SteamOS is going to appeal to certain consumers while Windows 8 appeals to others. Windows, in general, is going more towards the social media and casual gaming users, while SteamOS is focusing more on the hardcore gamer (and Linux, in general, is focusing more on the productivity user).

A lot of people are saying that the average user gets more use out of Windows than Linux. That is because most people don't want to take the time to learn how Linux works. Once you do, many tasks are faster and easier on Linux (installing the OS, for example).

Just to clear up a couple of things: SteamOS is free (I saw one person saying it was not). Also, SteamOS is a fully featured Linux distro. You can enter desktop mode and start using it as you would Ubuntu or Fedora.