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Old 5th Mar 2012, 13:23   #1
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Valve linked to possible 'Steam Box' console

Rumours suggest Valve is looking at producing a PC-console hybrid device dubbed a 'Steam Box.'

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/...ve-steam-box/1
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 13:30   #2
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And if they do what a perfect time to release Half Life 3 along side it!
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 13:54   #3
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As I have said elsewhere, the idea is good especially given the spec they are rumoured to be using and the possible upgrade potential.

There are however major issues I can see with it.

1: Download speed's, they have probably the worst download speed's out of the companies around that offer the same service of purchasing a game and then downloading, it to a hard drive. For me they would have to sell games on disc's and allow them to be installed for it to work properly, considering the maximum download speed you can get from them is between 20Mb and 25Mb.

2: What anti cheat system would they use? They seriously cannot use VAC because it just doesn't work other than if it stand's for Valve Allows Cheaters. I think they would have to introduce something better or fix VAC so it atleast works.

3: The controller, they have to allow a Keyboard and Mouse to be used because other wise it's a waste of time other than to be a better spec'd PS4 or Xbox 720 or what ever they intend on calling them.

4: Due to the spec that is rumoured to be used in it, the price is going to be quite high considering you will be looking at around £500 - £600 for the console, and considering the next consoles are probably going to be around £300, there is no real way for kid's to buy this console.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 14:23   #4
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If these rumours turn out to be accurate, the timing for such a PC Console specification (I say specification because I don't believe Valve will release actual hardware, but just set a certification standard + controller) couldn't be any better.

In the recent years technology has stagnated. The Cryteks of this world have given up trying to push PC hardware to it's limits. The massive length of the current console cycle and the prevalence of the Unreal Engine pretty much means you can build a gaming PC that will last 3+ years on even a shoe string budget (and that's not even factoring in the lower TV resolutions - even 720p will look better than the current consoles).

I don't think I've been more excited about a particular piece of PC gaming news in a long time.

EDIT: Also, I hope the manufactures involved really inform the public why these machines cost more than 'normal' consoles and the benefits of not having to pay Sony/MS/Nintendo a 10 fee per game. Welcome to a world where you can get Saints Row 3 for 15!
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 14:49   #5
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Rumor, Valve console controller:
http://kotaku.com/5890372/is-this-va...sign/gallery/1
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 15:12   #6
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For something designed strictly for gaming, it seems like valve's demands are overkill. 4GB is plenty if all you do is gaming and nothing else - 2GB on a 32 bit system can work, bit you'll take performance hits. An i7 is also overkill - an i5 would easily be sufficient for all modern games. And why strictly nvidia? Considering nvidia is more power consuming and hot, I don't know if that's the best choice for such a small enclosed area that people will likely cram into a cabinet. Sure nvidia has more reliable drivers but I consider them and AMD to be about equally as good, in different aspects.

Valve is being pretty unreasonable with these demands. If they want something like this to be a success, they can't charge such a high price when there are cheaper alternatives that aren't really worse. Its not hard to install steam by yourself. Unless they optimize the OS to work best for gaming, TVs, and interaction using a gamepad, I'd rather just get a computer that costs less and gets the job done just as effectively.

I don't think this is a bad idea, I just think valve is approaching it wrong. Keep in mind, one of the things that made PS3 so unpopular was price.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 15:21   #7
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I think the spec is fine, simply because it may not be aimed at just gaming as they could do it so that you can record gameplay while playing and convert and upload it on to Youtube all of the 1 unit, meaning no real need for a desktop pc or laptop for such usuage like most console users have now.

With the high ram amount the could quite easily allow access to it for higher textures and sharing of the ram between the system and the graphics card.

In term's of the graphics card maybe they want only Nvidia because of the Cuda thing and maybe they will, give a copy of Badaboom with each console for video converting on the machine meaning less time spent converting videos.

All speculation really until they actually announce it though but still the issues I posted about earlier will stop me buying it, until they actually resolve them because otherwise I might as well just carry playing games on my pc as it will, just be the same experience of slow downloads and cheat infested games.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 15:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag View Post
For something designed strictly for gaming, it seems like valve's demands are overkill. 4GB is plenty if all you do is gaming and nothing else - 2GB on a 32 bit system can work, bit you'll take performance hits. An i7 is also overkill - an i5 would easily be sufficient for all modern games. And why strictly nvidia? Considering nvidia is more power consuming and hot, I don't know if that's the best choice for such a small enclosed area that people will likely cram into a cabinet. Sure nvidia has more reliable drivers but I consider them and AMD to be about equally as good, in different aspects.
It could be for different reasons. It could be that Nvidia offered the best deal during negotiation. It could also be Nvidia sponsoring in part the console.

Based on leaked pictures, the system is really an Nvidia ION platform, but with a more powerful GPU, and Core i7 instead of Atom (most likely a low voltage i7, which are less powerful than the real one by far. So they picked the fastest one to try and help. It would be probably comparative to a low-end Core i5). More or a reason why Valve picked Nvidia over AMD offering.

If they have Nvidia and Intel sponsoring for the console, then the console won't be expensive at all. 400-500$ tops. Game console, as saw from what is currently on the market, sales millions. Even if Intel sales their CPU at cost +10%, so really peanuts, compares to what we pay, and even what OEMs pay. That is a lot of money in their pocket, PLUS it introduce them to the gaming console world, so that means it opens door for the after this new coming up generation consoles, in the market. Imagine the XBox 4 or PS5 with an Intel CPU, that is massive profits there.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 16:29   #9
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@damien c
You don't need an i7 or 8GB of RAM to record gameplay and browse the web.
I agree with your 2nd point about the GPU having insufficient memory, but in that case, that's a GOOD reason to NOT use nvidia, since they tend to have lower amounts of VRAM. Also, if what goodbytes said is true, then that means neither the CPU nor GPU would be good enough to process such textures.
CUDA is now open source (with certain privelages), meaning, if someone spends the time to do it, you can get it working on intel or amd GPUs. I'm starting to notice openCL getting a little bit more popular for at-home tasks - CUDA seems to be much more popular on server end.
You do make some pretty good points in your previous post, although for me, my internet connection isn't fast enough to notice if steam's is bad.

@goodbytes
Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if it was some sort of agreement. I feel like if they were gonna go for something that mid-range they'd have just used a Llano APU, along with a descrete GPU in crossfire for that extra kick.
I suppose 2 companies sponsoring a console would end up being cheaper than one, but both nvidia and intel are more expensive, so in the end I suppose they wouldn't save much if they were to use an APU. $400-$500 is a pretty decent price for a gaming computer, but it's still mid-range. You can pay less for current generation consoles and get similar performance and quality.

Next generation consoles will NEVER use x86 - its already pretty easy to run other OSes on current gen consoles, even when they're not designed to. These consoles are PPC based. Making an x86 based console (or even ARM console for that matter) would ruin microsoft, sony, and/or nintendo because as soon as people figure out how to hack the system to boot w/e they want, it becomes a dirt cheap computer with decent specs. Linux is the only modern OS that will run on PPC, and most people are not willing to use it so it isn't a popular thing on modern consoles (also, modern consoles don't have much memory).
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 16:38   #10
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I think this Ctrl+Alt+Delete comic says it all:

source: http://www.cad-comic.com/cad
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 16:46   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
I think this Ctrl+Alt+Delete comic says it all:

source: http://www.cad-comic.com/cad
Now, if it were shapped like the companion cube, that WOULD be a great selling point. But, it's not, so I'm still unimpressed haha.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 17:37   #12
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this could be a boon to pc gaming and to valve, but if its not upgradable and keyboard compatible then
valve can keep it as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 17:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag View Post
@damien c
You don't need an i7 or 8GB of RAM to record gameplay and browse the web.
I agree with your 2nd point about the GPU having insufficient memory, but in that case, that's a GOOD reason to NOT use nvidia, since they tend to have lower amounts of VRAM. Also, if what goodbytes said is true, then that means neither the CPU nor GPU would be good enough to process such textures.
CUDA is now open source (with certain privelages), meaning, if someone spends the time to do it, you can get it working on intel or amd GPUs. I'm starting to notice openCL getting a little bit more popular for at-home tasks - CUDA seems to be much more popular on server end.
You do make some pretty good points in your previous post, although for me, my internet connection isn't fast enough to notice if steam's is bad.

To be honest while ATI may use more Vram than Nvidia generally Nvidia use there ram in a smarter way iirc.

I have 8gb in my pc simply because of the cost, as it is not worth putting 4gb in when for a extra few 's I could get 8gb and not to mention, when I convert videos I use up to 5gb of ram anyway.

The cpu maybe a low voltage I7 but it could be a Ivy Bridge that they want to use, I know it's probably not but still it could be as they are low voltage and low tdp chips.

It could be though that Nvidia and Intel wanted in on the console market, because rumours have it that the next Xbox and Playstation are both going to use AMD parts.

Xbox apparently will use a unnamed 6 core, and dual AMD gpu's with 2gb of system ram split between the cpu and gpus.

Playstation apparently is going to use one of AMD's all in one chips like the A8 3850 or 3870 to deliver all it's power all I can say is to Sony don't do it.

Maybe though that Nvidia and Intel are seeing a fall in hardware purchases because there is nothing really pushing the hardware at the moment, because games are being wrote for the weakest of the 3 platforms (Xbox 360) and they want developers to start writing for the pc again.

As for downloads though they really need to sort out there backend and servers, because while I know most people in the uk who buy consoles are kid's and have to use there parent's broadband which is usually ADSL, there are some of us with better connections who don't want to wait days for a download.

MW3 took me 6h 30m to download on Steam BF3 took me 12 minutes on Origin, both downloaded on a 100Mb connection, so you imagine someone trying to download a game on 3Mb ADSL lol.

Keyboard and Mouse has got to be supported otherwise it will fail to capture some of the people that they want to capture.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 19:17   #14
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[QUOTE=damien c]
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag View Post

MW3 took me 6h 30m to download on Steam BF3 took me 12 minutes on Origin, both downloaded on a 100Mb connection, so you imagine someone trying to download a game on 3Mb ADSL lol.

Keyboard and Mouse has got to be supported otherwise it will fail to capture some of the people that they want to capture.
Change your download location on steam to a less utilised server. You can check steam server status and chose another, for example if you're in the UK, Germany and Romania tend to offer constantly higher download rates due to less load.


http://steampowered.com/status/content_servers.html

I consistently max out my 100Mb connection using Steam content servers.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 19:20   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damien c

To be honest while ATI may use more Vram than Nvidia generally Nvidia use there ram in a smarter way iirc.

I have 8gb in my pc simply because of the cost, as it is not worth putting 4gb in when for a extra few 's I could get 8gb and not to mention, when I convert videos I use up to 5gb of ram anyway.

The cpu maybe a low voltage I7 but it could be a Ivy Bridge that they want to use, I know it's probably not but still it could be as they are low voltage and low tdp chips.

It could be though that Nvidia and Intel wanted in on the console market, because rumours have it that the next Xbox and Playstation are both going to use AMD parts.

Xbox apparently will use a unnamed 6 core, and dual AMD gpu's with 2gb of system ram split between the cpu and gpus.

Playstation apparently is going to use one of AMD's all in one chips like the A8 3850 or 3870 to deliver all it's power all I can say is to Sony don't do it.

Maybe though that Nvidia and Intel are seeing a fall in hardware purchases because there is nothing really pushing the hardware at the moment, because games are being wrote for the weakest of the 3 platforms (Xbox 360) and they want developers to start writing for the pc again.

As for downloads though they really need to sort out there backend and servers, because while I know most people in the uk who buy consoles are kid's and have to use there parent's broadband which is usually ADSL, there are some of us with better connections who don't want to wait days for a download.

MW3 took me 6h 30m to download on Steam BF3 took me 12 minutes on Origin, both downloaded on a 100Mb connection, so you imagine someone trying to download a game on 3Mb ADSL lol.

Keyboard and Mouse has got to be supported otherwise it will fail to capture some of the people that they want to capture.
I haven't heard nvidia being better at RAM usage but I guess I wouldn't be surprised if it was, nvidia does do a GREAT job at writing drivers.

See, you have a reason for getting more than 8GB. I'm not exactly sure how much you would've saved by going for 8GB, but it could have something to do with the RAM surplus.

Sandy bridge is pretty power efficient, I don't see why it couldn't be SB.

ATI products have been used in consoles for over 10 years now. Gamecube uses them, Xbox 360 uses them, Wii uses them, the next nintendo console will use them - and the fact that MS and sony don't want to use nvidia anymore after xbox and PS3, there must be SOMETHING nvidia does that turns them off. They in the past showed interest in AMD's CPU division, and Intel shouldn't feel threatened by it. Nvidia had 2 chances to do things right and apparently they blew it. Maybe nvidia just belongs in the PC market, but I don't mind because that means more for my dollar whenever I get one of their products.

If the next xbox is compatible with 360 games (which I doubt because MS is greedy), it will most likely use another PPC based CPU.

First of all, I thought sony was affiliated with intel, so I feel like they wouldn't just slap an AMD cpu in their new console. If sony uses a current generation A8, then ya that's a terrible idea. But, next generation might be a major step up and worthy of being in a console. But, I would bet that if sony uses AMD for both CPU and GPU, they would require them to create a new instruction set that would be incompatible with x86. I feel like if AMD made bulldozer PPC based and made it become an APU, that would be a pretty nice console right there. The bulldozer architecture IS really good, but its not suitable for nearly any x86 programs out there right now so it just seems kinda crappy. But, console games are heavily optimized for the system they run on, so developers could optimize games to work perfectly with that CPU.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 20:04   #16
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I'm thinking LanBox if the price is right and it can network.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 20:21   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech View Post
If these rumours turn out to be accurate, the timing for such a PC Console specification (I say specification because I don't believe Valve will release actual hardware, but just set a certification standard + controller) couldn't be any better.

In the recent years technology has stagnated. The Cryteks of this world have given up trying to push PC hardware to it's limits. The massive length of the current console cycle and the prevalence of the Unreal Engine pretty much means you can build a gaming PC that will last 3+ years on even a shoe string budget (and that's not even factoring in the lower TV resolutions - even 720p will look better than the current consoles).

I don't think I've been more excited about a particular piece of PC gaming news in a long time.

EDIT: Also, I hope the manufactures involved really inform the public why these machines cost more than 'normal' consoles and the benefits of not having to pay Sony/MS/Nintendo a 10 fee per game. Welcome to a world where you can get Saints Row 3 for 15!
I had to highlight those phrases because it seems to be lost on a lot of people: this is a PC. Based on the specifications of the Alienware PC as a Steam Box basis it seems that it will come with Windows and Steam installed. Its features and capabilities will be the same as any other PC with similar hardware and software. It might come with a controller, not exactly shocking news as any typical USB controller can be used on a PC and is not mutually exclusive with keyboard and mouse use.

What anti-cheat will it use? That's up to the game just like on a PC because if it hasn't sunk in yet, this is a PC. I really can't stress that point enough.

Will it be upgradable? See above, it's a PC. Are you personally capable of figuring out how to ect applicable components, open the case, and install them? If so then yes. The only potential problem is unique designs that could possibly be used which would be hard to find new components that matched.

Download speeds? Two points. First, a big problem which such a system will face is download speeds as has been brought up, but most important is the user's own download speed. You can't get more than 20Mb from Valve's servers? That's already faster than many people's max download speed. These are the people that Valve already has a hard time getting to use Steam on their main PCs, getting them to buy a Steam Box will be just as tough. The second point: It's a PC. There's a very high chance that it will come with a DVD drive based on the Alienware specs. For someone transitioning from console gaming this will likely be a selling point.

The only drawback which I see that doesn't seem to have been mentioned is that, yet again, it's a PC. For PC enthusiasts such as the people on this forum there isn't much need to buy a pre-built PC with Steam (and you can bet a couple of Valve games) already installed. Most of us are perfectly capable of building a SFF gaming PC capable of playing modern games and using wireless KB/M+controller, likely for cheaper than a Steam Box would be. But then again, that's not the target audience. There are a great many people in the world who don't know how to and don't want to learn how to build a PC, even people who play PC games.

Another aspect which will be interesting to watch is if the Steam software changes to support this, or if an alternate layout is created. The current PC layout would be ungodly hard to use on a TV across a room and would be near impossible to navigate with a controller. I wouldn't be surprised if a modified layout looking something more like XBMC was created. The keener readers might have also noticed that it should be entirely possible to install XBMC on such a device.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 21:50   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damien c
As I have said elsewhere, the idea is good especially given the spec they are rumoured to be using and the possible upgrade potential.

There are however major issues I can see with it.

1: Download speed's, they have probably the worst download speed's out of the companies around that offer the same service of purchasing a game and then downloading, it to a hard drive. For me they would have to sell games on disc's and allow them to be installed for it to work properly, considering the maximum download speed you can get from them is between 20Mb and 25Mb.

2: What anti cheat system would they use? They seriously cannot use VAC because it just doesn't work other than if it stand's for Valve Allows Cheaters. I think they would have to introduce something better or fix VAC so it atleast works.

3: The controller, they have to allow a Keyboard and Mouse to be used because other wise it's a waste of time other than to be a better spec'd PS4 or Xbox 720 or what ever they intend on calling them.

4: Due to the spec that is rumoured to be used in it, the price is going to be quite high considering you will be looking at around 500 - 600 for the console, and considering the next consoles are probably going to be around 300, there is no real way for kid's to buy this console.
1. wtf is your piss poor download speed? I download TF2 in 20 minutes.

2. you're joking? I have seen a large number of hackers banned from Steam in recent years.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 22:08   #19
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I'm wondering if this will in some way be superior to a gaming pc otherwise I can't see the point.

Will it perhaps dual boot to either a windows OS or a striped down less api laden gaming OS?

I guess if your using standardized hardware/os/drivers then you should at least have a better chance of games working out of the box as with consoles.

Other than that I can't see the point...but it may be a nice cheap route to get a decent speced pc if they subsidise the the hardware costs as they do with consoles.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 22:26   #20
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I think, that the point is to offer a low-cost gaming system that can play PC games, attached to your TV or computer monitor (you pick). In other words, I think it aims at consoles players (which usually don't have a gaming PC... probably still have an old P4, or first gen core 2 Duo with a low-end GPU or worse Intel graphic solution), that want to play PC games.

The system will most likely run Windows, but highly modified to make it look like a console. Kinda like Dreamcast, which actually runs Windows CE.

If Steam wanted they could use the Microsoft never used feature which allows games to be played directly from disk (the disk needs the game to be extracted on it). Basically it's a system that offers game studios to support a similar system as gaming consoles. This technology is in Vista and up.
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