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back to article Valve pal iBuyPower touts cut-price Steam box as powerful as PS4 or Xbox

Californian games PC maker iBuyPower has become one of the first vendors to take the wraps off an upcoming box based on Valve’s Steam OS. It is, of course, a high-end PC in a console-style box - which is, after all, what today’s next-generation games consoles are. It just happens to run Linux rather than Windows, though the …

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Linux

Has Ethernet ?

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It has steam so it will likely not boot unless it has an internet connection and your mums bra size to hand.

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You know Steam has had offline mode for longer than I can remember, right? Yes, you need to be online to activate and download games - obviously - but past that I can always play offline.

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Greg J Preece is correct. Steam does indeed have a functional offline mode. I know because I have used it.

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Anonymous Coward

"It just happens to run Linux rather than Windows, though the latter is the foundation of the Xbox One OS."

Presumably you can upgrade it to Windows if you want the faster graphics performance. Linux devices are near universally crackable...

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@AC 09:18GMT

Oh, you've woken up, have you ?

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Yes, Steam does in fact have an offline mode. This does not work for all games though. This may not still be true, but I know for a fact that games that rely on cloud storage won't save progress, etc, but in addition to that, I was on vacation in northern Maine back in the summer of 2011 and not one of the games I'd had installed at that time would play in offline mode at all. I think it really does depend on the game, unless Steam has updated offline play since that time.

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"It is, of course, a high-end PC in a console-style box - which is, after all, what today’s next-generation games consoles are."

No. No they are not. My four year old gaming PC that I'm thinking about replacing is higher end than any of these consoles. Hell the work PC under my desk that I've just bought a replacement for has more RAM, HDD and a better GPU.

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Anonymous Coward

"My four year old gaming PC that I'm thinking about replacing is higher end than any of these consoles"

Does it have 8 cores and 8 GB of DDR 5 RAM? Or do mean you spent £300 on a graphics card 4 years ago and are now going to have to spend another £600 on a new PC to put it in?

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JDX
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Ooh, 8Gb of RAM, how novel. Or not... pretty standard spec on a decent workstation and not expensive at all.

8 core CPU is a bit unusual but you don't simply compare number of cores to see which CPU is more powerful.

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Anonymous Coward

DDR5 for main memory is however slightly more novel.

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Unhappy

was looking for a bargin

Have to agree the low end hardware doesnt look appealing to me and I still can't justify the price.

If its cheaper I would be tempted to replace the os with an os of my choice as its just a pc.

Also GDDR5 is based on DDR3 SDRAM memory

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Higher spec

A console doesn't need to be as high spec as a general purpose system, although the idea of steambox gives up some of the traditional console advantages in favour of flexibility...

On a system which is designed solely for gaming, you won't be running all kinds of other cruft in the background so at the very least you need less memory, less cpu and less disk space. It's also likely that SteamOS, although linux based will be significantly stripped down to remove things which are not necessary for gaming - similar to what MS have done with the xbox.

Ofcourse on a traditional console the hardware is static, so you can do away with the overhead of an OS and driver layers entirely. Many Amiga games did this because performance was significantly better, and AmigaOS is considered extremely lightweight and efficient compared to modern systems.

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Re: Higher spec

Seems odd as consoles seem to require to run more and more taks now as they aim to be the centre of everyones digital world, I think they are going more general purpose.

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Anonymous Coward

It looks like a jam butty with a cock crudely drawn on it.

I want one.

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Brilliant. In the midst of all that technobabble, the voice of reality! It doesn't matter what its got or hasn't got, if it does what you want...

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Can it run Windows 7/8 ?

Might make a good dev box and its cheap.

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At the risk of being a negative nelly,

that looks to be a large, ugly box, and not the sort of thing I'd want occupying space in my living room (much like the XBoxOne).

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Re: At the risk of being a negative nelly,

@Lamont Cranston:

I think it looks pretty nice. It probably would be a bit awkward to situate, but I think it would look fine.

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Re: At the risk of being a negative nelly,

Better a choice of devices/designs than the black-box-or-nothing approach of regular games consoles, I suppose.

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I wouldn't mind a games machine/media centre PC that was no bigger than an xbox 360 with a big HDD in it.

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Ew.

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Anonymous Coward

I have 126 Steam games currently and am hoping this lets me finally get rid of my WinDoze PC. Gaming is the only thing I cannot do on Linux and if I can port all 126 games over to a Steam Box then bye bye Win7.

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Anonymous Coward

Umm

That's not a "high-end" PC. That's budget stuff.

Still, nice to see it, may it be the first of many.

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like crap, has no games.

Thanks, but I will stick to a PS4.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks like crap, has no games.

Huh? Has no games?

At 50GB a pop, the PS4 can load about ten high end games max. I have 97 games loaded taking up 157GB or a third of your PS4 drive. Expect that to drop on a native Steam OS.

You keep your PS4. Saves me from avoiding you online.

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The downside of either machine might seem to be a relative lack of games, at least compared to the next-gen

Errrrrr, what? The Steam for Linux store just broke the 400 entry mark. How many games are currently available on the PS4? Sure, Linux is missing the AAA market right now, but that's changing*, and Steam, PSN, XBL long since proved the market for the games that are available.

*Metro: Last Light and Arma: Tactics being recent high-profile converts, as well as Serious Sam before them.

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Yeah, but most of those 400 games are slightly pants indie titles.

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And of course, those more inclined will be able to somehow source games from the official Ubuntu repo (SteamOS' just a Ubuntu respin after all). Or install binary freewares like OOLite (highly recommended for those who're into space sims, especially Elite).

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Yeah, but most of those 400 games are slightly pants indie titles.

Can't agree. My Steam for Linux list includes the Double Fine games, the Valve games, the Introversion games, Mark of the Ninja, Bastion, X3, Hotline Miami, Penumbra, Amnesia, Strike Suit Zero, Serious Sam, FEZ, etc. These games won awards for a reason. Hell, I'm currently replaying one of my all-time favourites - Psychonauts!

Every platform has its share of shit games, but the Linux set has more than enough games worth playing, especially compared to a freshly-launched console.

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Zot
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It doesn't say if the CPU and GPU share the ram, or even how much there is.

But if they do share the RAM then this will go in my shopping basket, no problem. Along with some masking tape for that hideous pink jelly side glow, and some board to cover up the cock on the lid - Ha!

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Re: It doesn't say if the CPU and GPU share the ram, or even how much there is.

It's not a very good pic, but that's clearly the Steam logo.

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So despite all that is said ......

...... it is still a pc in a small box, like a Shuttle pc, that have been around for years and years.

Will stick to regular pc with raid thanks.

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I really like the idea of the steam box, but it needs to be cheaper or better than the console, not slightly more expensive for a similar spec?!?!

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Anonymous Coward

Umm, no.

"I really like the idea of the steam box, but it needs to be cheaper or better than the console, not slightly more expensive for a similar spec?!?!"

Just no.

You're aware that console hardware, with parts bought in the millions, is still generally sold at a loss, and then the money clawed back through game licensing, which makes every single game more expensive, right?

Personally, I'd rather not be stung for those console prices, even if it requires the ability to see past the end of my nose.

Also, punctuation is a finite resource, use it carefully.

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Hoe

Can anyone see EA (to name but one) getting behind it?

Getting behind Linux more to the point?

I just can't, I really hope I am wrong but I just can't see it happening.

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Zot
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I don't think it's as negative as 'will the big companies back it'

It's all about attracting the creative individuals, that see it as a way out from their slave working conditions under EA and the like. Many will fail, but many will like it far more than the minor Android devices out there. So I have some hope for it, especially if it shares the RAM with the GPU. If.

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What PC games apart from FPS will actually work well on steambox?

I know that Valve are aware of the problem that a lot of PC games are click fests as they have designed a fancy new controller to enable this in front of the TV but... I just don't see their touch pad controller working anywhere near as well as a mouse.

Also, if I am going to be clicking on small objects on the screen, I prefer to be sat in an upright position with my face about 1.5 feet from the screen, not leaning back on the couch a few meters away.

I think I will always play PC style games at a desk, and console FPS, third person shooters, and driving games on the couch in front of the TV.

I'm happy to be proved wrong by Valve, but this device looks like falling between two stools.

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Re: What PC games apart from FPS will actually work well on steambox?

"I know that Valve are aware of the problem that a lot of PC games are click fests as they have designed a fancy new controller to enable this in front of the TV but... I just don't see their touch pad controller working anywhere near as well as a mouse."

It's a PC. If you want to use a mouse, just plug one in.

As for the article:

"iBP’s hardware incorporates a multi-core AMD processor"

Is this really something we still need to say? I'm not sure it's even possible to buy a single-core processor any more. What that sentence actually boils down to is "PC has a processor". Yeah, no shit.

"Output is 1980 x 1080 for modern tellies"

Wouldn't it make more sense for the output to be the 1920x1080 that modern tellies actually use?

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