When it comes to Valve's highly anticipated Steam Machine concept we are finally in the last stretch. Versions of the gaming alternative to the traditional concept will start to appear from multiple retailers in November this year, just in time for Christmas.
But how much should you put aside for your ultimate gaming machine? Will it cost roughly the same as an Xbox One or PS4 equivalent? Or will it be more in the high-end gaming PC category?
The answer, it seems, is both.
The Steam Machine concept allows for interpretation by the manufacturers. There is a minimum specification standard that they must meet in order for the SteamOS user interface and games to run correctly, but it doesn't look like there is a maximum. That means manufacturers can build Steam Machines that cater for all audiences and budgets and, considering the prices of the launch boxes, that's exactly what's intended.
Alienware and iBuyPower, for example, plan to start their Steam Machines at the lower end of the scale, from $459.99 (around £305) for the iBuyPower SBX and $479.99 for the Alienware Steam Machine. They will each also offer more expensive models as, like with PCs, you can upgrade different elements of the final build for extra cost.
At the high end of the market you can expect to pay anywhere up to $4,999.99. Both Origin and Falcon Northwest will be happy to sell you a super-charged model for that. At that price you can expect to be able to run compatible games at 4K resolutions, have 14TB of hard drive space to play with and the very best in graphics cards and processors.
To be honest though, we've been impressed with the tech spec of the less expensive boxes and for the cash, you'll be getting a very decent alternative to conventional console gaming for sure.
Here is the full list of Steam Machine boxes announced so far and their prices:
- iBuyPower SBX - $459.99
- Alienware Steam Machine - $479.99
- Syber Steam Machine - $499.99 to $1399.99
- Gigabyte Brix Pro - $599.99
- Asus ROG GR8S - $699.99
- Digital Storm Eclipse Steam Machine - $699.99
- Maingear Drift - $849.99
- Materiel.net Steam Machine - $899.99
- NextBox - $799.99 to $1299.99
- Webhallen S15-01 - $949.99
- Zotac Steam Machine SN970 - $999.99
- Scan 3XS ST Steam Machine - $999.99 to $1299.99
- Alternate Steam Machine - $1099.99 to $1999.99
- Origin Omega Steam Machine - $899.99 to $4999.99
- Falcon Northwest Tiki Steam Machine - $1999.99 to $4999.99