(The Verge) Valve's Steam Machine and Steam Controller

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | November 4, 2013 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: valve, Steam Machine, steam os, CES 2014

I guess The Verge, with its Steam Machine photos, prove all three next-gen consoles (trollolol) are designed to look like home theater devices. Of course you will never be able to purchase a Steam Machine from Valve but, since they are releasing their CAD files, I am sure at least one Steam Machine will be exactly to reference spec.

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Image Source: The Verge

And, for the record, I think the reference enclosure is classy. Living room appliances suit a lot better than kitchen ones.

On a serious note: pictures of the internals. The beta Steam Machines will contain full desktop components aligned in such a way that each has its own sector to breathe from. The hottest parts intake and exhaust as far away from one another as possible. This makes the chassis relatively wide and short: a video card's length, in depth; about 3 expansion slots, tall; and about 3 PCIe cards height, wide. The actual measurements are 12" x 12" x 3" (W x D x H).

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Photo Credit: The Verge

This is mostly possible because the GeForce Titan GPU is mounted upside-down and parallel with the motherboard. I have never experienced a 90-degree PCIe extension slot but, according to Josh Walrath, this is a common accessory in servers (especially 1U and 2U racks). The Titan intakes downward into a relatively unoccupied section of the case and exhausts out the back.

The Verge also had some things to say about the Steam Controller. The design motivations are interesting but I will leave that discussion to the original article (this news post will be long enough when I'm done with it). There are two points that I would like to bring up, though:

The first is a clarification of the original Steam Controller announcement: Valve will produce and sell Steam Controller on its own. This was originally a big question mark as it could water down how "reference" Valve's controller actually is. With Valve taking all-the-reins, the hardware looks more set in stone.

Will Valve still allow OEMs to learn from their design? Who knows.

The second is also interesting.

What Valve left out of the Steam Controller is almost as intriguing as what went in. Though Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told us that the company wanted to put biometric sensors into game controllers, the team discovered that hands weren't a good source of biofeedback since they were always moving around. However, the team hinted to me — strongly — that an unannounced future VR headset might measure your body's reaction to games at the earlobe. Such a device could know when you’re scared or excited, for instance, and adjust the experience to match.

Seeing Google, Valve, and possibly Apple all approach content delivery, mobile, home theater, and wearable computing... simultaneously... felt like there was a heavy link between them. This only supports that gut feeling. I believe this is the first step in a long portfolio integrating each of these seemingly unrelated technologies together. We should really watch how these companies develop these technologies: especially in relation to their other products.

Stay tuned for CES 2014 in early January. This will be the stage for Valve's hardware and software partners to unbutton their lips and spill their guts. I'm sure Josh and Ryan will have no problems cleaning it all up.

Source: The Verge
November 4, 2013 | 01:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I avoid The Verge like the plague.

November 4, 2013 | 02:37 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Yeah, disappointing that Gabe chose The Verge over an enthusiast site; but I guess he sees it as a console, appliance type thing and wanted to get as much exposure as possible.

November 5, 2013 | 12:55 AM - Posted by mLocke

Valve posted a comprehensive list of all publications that were allowed to preview the device.

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/steamuniverse#announcements/detail/1966...

November 4, 2013 | 01:47 PM - Posted by RoboGeoff (not verified)

I've noticed that in all of the pictures of the Steam box internals so far that nothing is cabled and connected.

Not much room for those 6 and 8 pin GPU connectors in that case!

November 5, 2013 | 12:53 AM - Posted by mLocke

Engadget has an image of one powered on and you can see the green glow of the GTX logo through the side vents. One would assume that they're using right-angle connectors to avoid putting stress on both the cables and the card itself. At least… that's what I would do.

http://www.blogcdn.com/slideshows/images/slides/129/059/0/S1290590/slug/...

November 4, 2013 | 01:53 PM - Posted by wizpig64 (not verified)

The shroud idea is cool, but it limits the motherboard/cpu cooler to the ones they designed the case around. I doubt we'll be able to buy a standalone case (maybe a bare bones setup) at launch.

November 4, 2013 | 05:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

1) can someone link to the 90 degree PCI-e extension from mobo to videocard? I've not seen one of these before. Wonder if they would be useful in a home build.

2) Is Valve actually taking responsibility for distributing this hardware themselves (thus I assume going to provide tech support if something goes wrong) or are they just putting out paper references for OTHER manufacturers to take up the reigns and build and distribute themselves?

November 29, 2013 | 12:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Found this, but I'm not sure if it would work:

http://www.soarland.com/PCI-Express_16X_Riser_Card-product-234.html

Really would love to buy or build my own case similar to their design!

November 5, 2013 | 03:54 AM - Posted by mLocke

Even the freaking prototypes of the controller have micro-switches. Meanwhile Sony and Microsoft can't be assed to move away from rubber membrane.

http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/9243817/2013-10-23_05-19-41_...

November 6, 2013 | 09:03 AM - Posted by Patrick3D (not verified)

The only thing that concerns me so far with the prototype is the white light, presumably to indicate power. If they seriously intend for this to be in the living room they either need to nix the light or provide a switch or software setting that can turn it off.

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