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Intel PC Games (Games) Games Hardware Linux

Steam Machine Prototypes Use Intel CPUs, NVIDIA GPUs 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-long-as-i-can-play-quake-3-on-my-tv dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Valve has revealed their first Steam Machines prototype details. The first 300 Steam Machine prototypes to ship will use various high-end Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs while running their custom SteamOS Linux distribution. The Intel Haswell CPU + NVIDIA GPU combination should work well on Linux with the binary drivers. Using a range of CPUs/GPUs in the prototypes will allow them to better gauge the performance and effectiveness. Valve also said they will be releasing the CAD design files to their custom living room console enclosure for those who'd like to reproduce them." Valve is careful to point out that these specs aren't intended as a standard: "[T]o be clear, this design is not meant to serve the needs of all of the tens of millions of Steam users. It may, however, be the kind of machine that a significant percentage of Steam users would actually want to purchase — those who want plenty of performance in a high-end living room package. Many others would opt for machines that have been more carefully designed to cost less, or to be tiny, or super quiet, and there will be Steam Machines that fit those descriptions."
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Steam Machine Prototypes Use Intel CPUs, NVIDIA GPUs

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @04:50PM (#45039299)

    By using Intel or AMD, they'd be giving the finger to the GPU vendor with the clearly superior hardware. Some of use actually just want the best computing package and don't care so much about the open source religion.

  • Re:Intel i3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday October 04, 2013 @04:51PM (#45039307)

    Intel i3 is now a high-end CPU?

    It runs some games faster than an 8-core AMD...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @04:51PM (#45039309)

    This is a big thumbs up to GAMERS, who this hardware is designed for. NVIDIA is simply the best GPU for gaming, and Intel is laughable in the serious gaming GPU space. Kudos to Valve for making this choice.

  • by ichthus (72442) on Friday October 04, 2013 @04:53PM (#45039337) Homepage
    Their objective is to maximize and/or evaluate possibly maximal performance -- not make people feel good about the work they're doing for the open source/Linux community. Calm down.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @04:57PM (#45039377)

    What GPU would be better for Valve's Linux based OS? Intel is irrelevant, AMD/ATI Linux drivers are far beyond terrible, and all the open source drivers have terrible performance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @05:07PM (#45039467)

    This is why open source is a stupid idea. With closed source software, people have to PAY you for your WORK. With open source, everyone rips you off and you're left complaining about how they didn't contribute, with no recourse because you were dumb enough to work for free.

  • by Joviex (976416) on Friday October 04, 2013 @05:23PM (#45039599)

    This is why open source is a stupid idea. With closed source software, people have to PAY you for your WORK. With open source, everyone rips you off and you're left complaining about how they didn't contribute, with no recourse because you were dumb enough to work for free.

    Man if I had points, you'd get em. Complaining about doing work (free), that everyone uses, is anathema to open source. Either get on the boat or off - straddling the middle just makes for a good youtube video.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday October 04, 2013 @05:47PM (#45039795)

    Nvidia hardware isn't really clearly superior to AMD.. they rotate on who has the best hardware at various price points.

    But sure, the point is that this hardware should do a specific job for gamers at a specific price point, if Nvidia GPU's are the best bet for that in this product price segment there's no reason to be an ideological crusader about it. The point is to be able to play games, not make the average couch potato start writing driver code on his TV.

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Friday October 04, 2013 @05:47PM (#45039803)

    A week of news on this, and I still don't get it.

    Other than promoting Linux, why do I want a new "Steam Machine" rather than simply upgrading my desktop, and running an OS that a larger percentage of the AAA games run on? I've already got HDMI out. Can't I just buy a controller? What do I actually GAIN by running this machine over just downloading the next Steam title to my existing desktop -- or building a machine of my choice (on Windows) and putting it in one of a dozen cases that look nice next to the TV?

    A prettier case?
    Fewer native games?

    I'm not nagging. Help me understand what I get here...

  • by Kielistic (1273232) on Friday October 04, 2013 @05:57PM (#45039881)

    Personally, I can't wait until the GPU goes the way of the math coprocessor.

    Probably shouldn't hold your breath on that...

  • by s13g3 (110658) on Friday October 04, 2013 @06:02PM (#45039929) Journal

    Nice fallacy, namely your assertion that commercial vendors actually do any work, especially after-the-fact... you know, like all the updates MS has made to the registry editor over the years, or the extensive CLI functionality, and let us not forget their impressively powerful and flexible search/scheduling options they built into Outlook. /sarcasm

    You keep using that word ("you")... but I do not think it means what you think it means. I believe the word you're looking for is "I", because if your assertion were true, Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, FreeBSD and many others wouldn't exist - or wouldn't exist as they do today - with a huge amount of software being continuously developed by people who are happy to keep doing it so they have the tools they want/need to do what they want to do.

    Maybe *you* kept getting ripped off because you were doing it wrong. Meanwhile, I'm going to go have drinks with my buddies from Redhat who get paid perfectly well.

  • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <> on Friday October 04, 2013 @06:16PM (#45040051) Homepage

    Other than promoting Linux, why do I want

    I'm gonna stop you right there -- you're assuming this is for you. Well, it's not. It's for people who do have a use for this stuff, like e.g. people who want a good PC to play PC-games on and want it to be useable from the couch with a controller, but who don't want to have to go through the hassle of building one themselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @06:17PM (#45040063)

    Everything Valve is doing is based on open source software. And yet you have the nerve to complain that open source is "stupid"?! It could never work, eh? Do you have even an inkling, even a smidgeon of intelligence, enough insight to notice that the very product your are bleating about would even be possible if it weren't using open source / free software? Even the site you are posting on uses it. The only complaining I hear is your own. The people who actually, you know, DO REAL SHIT THAT YOU USE AND BENEFIT FROM are not complaining. Just you. Idiot.

  • by ichthus (72442) on Friday October 04, 2013 @06:28PM (#45040147) Homepage

    That shit matters in the long term for interoperability...


    That security part in particular should have your attention if you've been paying attention to the Snowden releases.

    Yep, good point. That's why I use Nouveau at home. But again, remember, this is a gaming device -- and a beta release one at that. They're after benchmarks, and their primary objective is to legitimize the Steam Box as a viable gaming device to the gamers -- people who have a particular interest in performance, not long term open source altruism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 04, 2013 @07:16PM (#45040455)

    surprised no one mentioned that nvidia promised more documentation for the nouveau driver

  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Friday October 04, 2013 @07:54PM (#45040711)

    Intel is starting to plateau in the CPU business (they have no real competition), so I wouldn't be surprised if they looked at the current market and decided to put serious effort into the GPU biz.

    They already have a loyal enthusiast following.

  • by VirtualVirtuality (2895477) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @08:33AM (#45043379)

    Quick what do BSD,OSX,Solarius, Windows, and OS/2 have in common that Linux does NOT have? Why a stable ABI so that GPU makers don't HAVE to constantly crap out drivers to fix what Linus Torvalds breaks this week!

    Bullshit, none of those listed has a stable ABI, for example the windows driver ABI changed from XP to XP64 and of course Vista and forwards, with a crapload of drivers no longer functioning as a result (the 'compability mode' sucks in general but even more so for drivers).

    And since you don't have the source code to Windows drivers (99% chance they are proprietary) and the hardware vendors want you to buy new hardware instead of using your old they see this as a great excuse to drop support (cue the Vista driver fiasco), a ton of fully functioning older hardware was effectively deprecated when users moved from XP to Vista/Windows 7.

    Windows gets support for all new hardware from vendors due to it's desktop monopoly, what has a more stable ABI benefited OSX, Solaris, OS/2 in terms of driver support? None of them has near the driver support Linux enjoys.

    tell me can YOU take the driver that AMD or Nvidia released in 2008 and install it on the latest Linux with ZERO fuss or muss?

    Beyond those two GPU drivers I never even have too, practically everything else is supported out-of-the box. Meanwhile those proprietary drivers are just a package manager command away, and automagically updated when I update the rest of the system. So I don't need no driver from 2008, thanks anyways.

    Now its a bad joke. the ONLY reason you have any working drivers AT ALL is that companies like Nvidia shell out the ass for a dev team to do nothing but fix Torvalds messes!

    Are you high? Are you equaling two discrete GPU drivers with 'any working drivers AT ALL' ?

    Furthermore you seem to think that the proprietary vendors have to rewrite their entire drivers when the ABI changes, typically they need to make some changes to their shim code.

    And the sad part? the part that just sticks it in and breaks it off? it was NOT done for design reasons, NOT done because he thinks its better on memory, or CPU or anything else, nope it was done for POLITICAL reasons!

    It is PRACTICAL, as a proprietary driver is nothing but a black box which means it can't be fixed, debugged nor vetted against security issues, and then we have the fact that open source drivers can then be supported on all architectures where Linux runs (which is basically EVERYTHING), and not just the architectures which the proprietary vendor sees fit to support.

    So yes it is by DESIGN. It is designed to be difficult (or at least not easy) to develop proprietary drivers against the kernel as it gives nothing but problems (again PRACTICAL) to the kernel developers and they want to make it clear that they don't want to support proprietary out-of-tree drivers.

    And this 'hard stance' has delivered in droves as Linux has a staggering amount of hardware support out of the box, nothing else comes close, the only real holdouts these days are those discrete GPL vendors like NVIDIA and to a lesser extent AMD, meanwhile both NVIdia and AMD has recently started/increased their commitment to provide documentation for open source drivers, so things are moving in the right direction here aswell.

    This in turn also helps the entire open source ecosystem, as open source drivers can be ported to other systems aswell, systems which would never see an official proprietary driver.

    And finally it just makes sense, why the f*** should I be prevented from using the HARDWARE I BUY in the operating system of my choosing just because the hardware vendor doesn't find it worthy of support?

    You can keep your proprietary-friendly, more stable driver ABI. I'll take open and thus: debuggable, improvable, security-examinable drivers (heck, entire system actually) and the largest-by-far hardware support out-of-the-box.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss