Author:
Manufacturer: Valve

A not-so-simple set of instructions

Valve released to the world the first beta of SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system built specifically for PC gaming, on Friday evening.  We have spent quite a lot of time discussing and debating the merits of SteamOS, but this weekend we wanted to do an installation of the new OS on a system and see how it all worked.

Our full video tutorial of installing and configuring SteamOS

First up was selecting the hardware for the build.  As is usually the case, we had a nearly-complete system sitting around that needed some tweaks.  Here is a quick list of the hardware we used, with a discussion about WHY just below.

  Gaming Build
Processor Intel Core i5-4670K - $222
Motherboard EVGA Z87 Stinger Mini ITX Motherboard - $257
Memory Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB 1866 MHz (2 x 4GB) - $109
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB - $999
EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB SuperClocked - $349
Storage Samsung 840 EVO Series 250GB SSD - $168
Case EVGA Hadron Mini ITX Case - $189
Power Supply Included with Case
Optical Drive Slot loading DVD Burnder - $36
OS FREE!!
Peak Compute 4,494 GFLOPS (TITAN), 3,213 GFLOPS (GTX 770)
Total Price $1947 (GTX TITAN)     $1297 (GTX 770)

We definitely weren't targeting a low cost build with this system, but I think we did create a very powerful system to test SteamOS on.  First up was the case, the new EVGA Hadron Mini ITX chassis.  It's small, which is great for integration into your living room, yet can still hold a full power, full-size graphics card.

evga_hadron_hero.jpg

The motherboard we used was the EVGA Z87 Stinger Mini ITX - an offering that Morry just recently reviewed and recommended.  Supporting the latest Intel Haswell processors, the Stinger includes great overclocking options and a great feature set that won't leave enthusiasts longing for a larger motherboard.

Continue reading our installation and configuration guide for SteamOS!!

Phoronix Already Starts to Benchmark SteamOS Beta

Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2013 - 03:24 AM |
Tagged: SteamOS

Have you been trying, unsuccessfully, to install SteamOS? If you get the '/dev/sda device or resource is busy' error: check out the fix on our Youtube channel!

Some people do not have wrist cartilage anymore. Somehow Michael Larabel has already managed to install SteamOS, run several benchmarks across eight separate NVIDIA GPUs, and type five pages about the results. Remember your carpal-tunnel exercises!

7-TuxGpu.png

Note that none of these benchmarks were using the Source engine. He briefly references two other articles to explain why before continuing on with the bar charts. The GeForce Titan and the GTX 780 Ti were the only two cards to push Unigine Heaven 4.0 past 60 FPS (mind you they almost reached 80 FPS).

He expects to release a second article, within the next couple of days, to compare SteamOS performance to other Linux distributions. He also discusses using the Steam Controller in another, already released, article.

Source: Phoronix

PiixL Jetpack Mounts To Your TV

Subject: General Tech, Systems | December 7, 2013 - 04:04 AM |
Tagged: SteamOS, PiixL Jetpack

This is what an open ecosystem does best.

piixl-jetpack-outside.jpg

The Jetpack, by British PC developer Piixl, is a computer that can attach to the back of a TV. If your TV stands on its own, the Jetpack clings to the television's unused wall mount point. If you were intending to mount your TV on the wall, the PC can reside between the two. These are the user needs that can only be addressed by allowing organizations (large companies, small businesses, hobbyist groups, and individuals) to explore in the niches either to "scratch their own itch"or differentiate their product.

The computer is branded mostly for SteamOS but can also be installed with a full version of Windows or Linux (which you can then install a Steam Client on). It is looking more and more like Valve is successful in herding OEMs.

piixl-jetpack-inside.jpg

The internals of this computer are quite interesting. It looks like they are attaching a 2-wide videocard 90-degrees to a mini-ITX motherboard with the other components spaced out around those two parts. Their official media claims that they will support any GPU (I assume they are not considering ones with extra- thick coolers) which should make future upgrades easy.

I may never purchase a Steam machine but I am excited that they exist. The purpose for the PC ecosystem is that every user with any need can find or create a solution. That is why general purpose computation devices exist: perform whatever information storage or manipulation the user desires. I do not have many of the needs that these boxes satisfy... but some people do and there should be systems available for them.

The Verge claims that the Jetpack will be available in January. I can sense a theme for CES 2014.

Source: PiixL

Valve, Cloudius, and HSA Join Linux Foundation (Separately).

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 03:03 AM |
Tagged: linux, valve, SteamOS, hsa foundation, hsa

Valve may very well produce one of the near future's most popular non-mobile, consumer, Linux distributions. SteamOS will be marketed for gaming PCs (some very compelling ones at that) starting next year. CES will definitely be interesting. With such a popular distribution, and as an existing member of the Khronos Group, it makes sense for Valve to join the Linux Foundation... and they just did.

linuxfoundation.png

It is still unknown to what extent Valve joined Linux (members are classified by level of contribution from Platinum to Silver) and we likely will not know until their list is updated. While they probably will not be hanging out with Intel and others in the platinum category, Silver is not the most noteworthy of statuses... alongside Barnes and Noble (likely because of the Nook) and Twitter.

Another addition is the HSA Foundation. AMD is already a Gold member (y'know... HSA's faja) and ARM is Silver so I cannot see HSA being much more than that. Still, Linux will be an important focus for the heterogeneous computing architectures to endorse: both in terms of back-end server optimization and customer-facing devices.

Of course I am not belittling any contribution. Still, there is that desire to see Valve lead the pack. Ultimately, though, it is not the size of the badge: it is how you wear it.

Source: LinuxUser

iBuyPower Steam Machine: $499?

Subject: General Tech, Systems | December 5, 2013 - 02:38 AM |
Tagged: amd, r9 270, Steam Machine, SteamOS

I cannot see how they will be making any money at this but, next year, iBuyPower will launch their first Steam Machine. At the price of $499, the same as an Xbox One, you will get an AMD CPU bundled with a discrete Radeon R9 270 graphics card.

ibuypower-steam-machine_0.jpg

Image Credit: The Verge

Oh, and Valve's controller will be included in that price.

Sure, they can save money on the free operating system, but that still looks pretty awesome. In terms of actual dimensions, the case is said to be between the size of the PS4 and the Xbox one. Frankly, if you like the look of home theater appliances, this could be a nice twist on that aesthetic. It will also come with a 500GB hard drive. Don't worry, though: it is a PC. If there is a USB 3.0 port anywhere on it, you can attach a giant drive for your games.

And the power supply is internal, too!

iBuyPower is expected to ship this device at some point in 2014 along with a wave of other Steam Machines. Prepare for many of these innovations to come out of CES.

Source: The Verge

Podcast #273 - Corsair 750D, a XSPC Watercooling Kit, the Steam Controller and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2013 - 06:35 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, corsair, halloween, costume, contest, XSPC, watercooling, radiator, steam, SteamOS, Steam Controller

PC Perspective Podcast #273 - 10/17/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair 750D, a XSPC Watercooling Kit, the Steam Controller and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

 
Program length: 1:10:56
  1. PC Perspective Halloween Hardware Giveaway - Brought to you by Corsair and Gigabyte

  2. Week in Review:
  3. This episode is brought to you by Carbonite.com! Use offer code PC for two free months!
      1. Skylake (2015) reportedly not affected
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  5. podcast@pcper.com
  6. Closing/outro

 

Podcast #272 - Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, Steam Machine Specs, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 10, 2013 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: video, SteamOS, Steam Machine, Steam Box, R9 290X, r9 270x, r7 260x, quark, podcast, Intel, ASYS G750JX-DB71, arduino

PC Perspective Podcast #272 - 10/10/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, R7 260X, Steam Machine Specs, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

 
Program length: 1:16:43
  1. 0:01:35 Batman: Arkham Winner and new contest!
  2. Week in Review:
  3. 0:36:00 This episode is brought to you by Carbonite.com! Use offer code PC for two free months!
      1. iBuyPower and CyberPower too
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: O'Reilly Media
    2. Allyn: Nest Protect
  5. podcast@pcper.com
  6. Closing/outro

 

Thinking about the Steam Machine

Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2013 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: steam, SteamOS

The Tech Report got to thinking about the future of the Steam Machine and how likely it is to be more like a line of PCs than a single console.  While some are currently awaiting a response to their request to participate in the beta, TR is already looking to the future of the Steam Box.  With the open source SteamOS and Steam's vast knowledge of the hardware people use in their gaming machines TR envisions a line of Steam Machines from a lower end model for light gaming on a TV all the way up to high end versions that will sport the latest and greatest hardware.  Can Valve be as successful at selling pre-built machines as it is at selling hats? 

Steam.jpg

"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior gets all worked up about Valve's upcoming Steam machines and explains why they're another example of the company playing to the strengths of the PC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Valve Hardware Pt. 3: Steam Controller

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2013 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: SteamOS, Steam Controller, reverse-consolitis

Steam Controller is the third, and final, announcement in the Steam Hardware event. Sure, the peripheral looks weird. It looks very weird. The first thing(s?) you will notice, and likely the driving influence for the iconography, is... or are... the touch pads which replace the expected thumbsticks. The second thing you will notice is the "high resolution" (no specific resolution or dimension was provided) touchscreen.

steam-controller.jpg

The most defining aspect of the controllers, as previously stated, is its pair of trackpads. This input method might actually stand the chance of precise controls while maintaining comfort for a couch. To start, I will quote Valve:

In addition, games like first-person shooters that are designed around precise aiming within a large visual field now benefit from the trackpads’ high resolution and absolute position control.

The emphasis was placed by me.

Last year, almost to the date, I published an editorial, "Is the Gamepad Really Designed for Gaming?" In it, I analyzed console controllers from an engineering standpoint. I blamed velocity-based joystick control for the need to enable auto-aim on console titles. Quoting myself, which feels a little weird to be entirely honest:

Analog sticks are a velocity-oriented control scheme where the mouse is a relative position-oriented control scheme. When you move a joystick around you do not move the pointer to a target rather you make it travel at some speed in the direction of the target. With a mouse you just need to move it the required distance and stop. It is easier to develop a sensitivity to how far you need to pull a mouse to travel to the target than a sensitivity to how long to hold a joystick in a given direction to reach a target. Joysticks are heavily reliant on our mental clocks and eye coordination.

Each trackpad can also be clicked, like the thumbsticks of current controllers just probably more comfortably, to provide extra functionality. From a User Experience (UX) standpoint, I can envision a first-person shooter which emulates a (velocity-based) joystick when the right trackpad is pressed (assuming it is very light to press and comfortably to rub your thumb against while pressing) but switches to position-based when touched but not pressed.

The implication is quick rotation when firing from the hip, but positionally-based targeting when precision is required. Maybe other methods will come up too? I find the technology particularly exciting because Valve, clearly, designed it with the understanding of position-based versus velocity-based control. This challenge you rarely hear discussed.

steam-controller_bindings.jpg

The touchscreen is also a large clickable surface. The controller recognizes touch input and overlays the contents of the screen atop the user's screen but it will not commit the action until the touchpad is pressed. This is designed so the gamer will not need to look at their controller to see what action they are performing.

Personally, I hope this is developer-accessible. Some games, as the WiiU suggests, can benefit from hiding information.

Haptic feedback also ties into the trackpads. Their intent is to provide sensations to the thumbs and compensate for loss of mechanical sensation with thumbsticks. Since they are in there, Valve decided to offer a large, programmable, data channel to very precisely control the effect.

They specifically mention the ability to accept audio waveforms to function as speakers "as a parlour trick".

The devices will be beta tested, via the Steam Machine quest, but without wireless or touchscreen support. Instead of a touchscreen, the controller will contain a four-quadrant grid of buttons mapped to commands.

Thus wraps up the three-pronged announcement. Valve directs interested users to their Steam Universe group for further discussion.

Source: Steam

Podcast #270 - AMDs new GPU lineup, SteamOS, the Steam Box, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: video, valve, SteamOS, Steam Box, steam, razer, R9 290X, R9, R7, podcast, Naga, corsair, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #270 - 09/26/2013

Join us this week as we discuss AMDs new GPU lineup, SteamOS, the Steam Box, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

 
Program length: 57:42
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: A pair of coconuts supporting a beautiful
    2. Jeremy: Portable OS
    3. Allyn: Remote Mouse
    4. Morry: AT&T U-Verse
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. Closing/outro