When Valve laid out a range of performance tiers for the 300 Steam Machine prototypes it would be sending to beta testers, the company was clear that other hardware makers would be revealing their own designs for SteamOS-powered gaming rigs in the future. Custom PC maker iBuyPower has now become the first company to unveil a prototype for one of those designs, laying out a $499 white box with a GPU that’s comparable or slightly better than those found in the recently launched PS4 and Xbox One.
The Verge reports that iBuyPower’s console-sized prototype box (“bigger than a PlayStation 4 but smaller than Microsoft’s Xbox One”), which it plans to sell next year, includes an AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card. That card was launched earlier this month at a starting price of $179, and it’s intended to replace AMD’s 7850 and 7870 GPUs—close architectural relatives to those inside Microsoft’s and Sony’s nearest consoles.
The R9 270 does deliver slightly better benchmark performance at a lower cost than its predecessor line. Aside from the GPU, though, we don’t know much about the core specs of iBuyPower’s prototype, except for the vague notion of a “multi-core AMD CPU.” The precise speed and architecture of that CPU, in addition to the size and speed of the RAM in the system, will be crucial to how its final pixel-pushing power measures up.
With a $499 total asking price, we probably shouldn’t expect too much from those unknown specs, especially considering that the price includes one of Valve’s new handheld Steam Controllers and a 500GB hard drive. Then again, the SteamOS-powered box doesn’t need to make room in the budget for a Windows license, saving money but also limiting the system’s native out-of-the-box library of games to those that run on Steam for Linux.
In any case, the iBuyPower says its box will run those Steam for Linux games at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second, which seems like a safe bet given the GPU. Even with the limited details we have so far, it’s interesting to see a hardware maker aiming to match newly launched consoles in both price and general power level with its first SteamOS prototype.
Reblogged from: arstechnica.com