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Hardware Expectations For Valve's Steam Box

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  • Hardware Expectations For Valve's Steam Box

    Phoronix: Hardware Expectations For Valve's Steam Box

    Based upon my extensive Linux hardware testing of enthusiast and gamer grade hardware over the past nine years on Phoronix and immense amounts of performance benchmarking, plus having been involved with Steam on Linux, here's some of my thoughts, expectations, and hopes for the hardware comprising Valve's official SteamBox...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTMyMTU

  • #2
    Obviously nvidia gpu is the only sensible choice at this time, but considering most next-gen games will already be better optimized for multi-treading due to PS4 and xbox720 octacore cpus and the price difference, I wouldn't discard an amd cpu, probably "octacore" piledriver.

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    • #3
      My thoughts too, probably an AMD APU. Richland the Trinity reboot would probably be okay here.

      With an Intel CPU & SS drive included I don't see how they could sell these things as the price would be ~500 US.

      AMD richland, 4 GB 256 Gig, controller, headset and a stripped Ubuntu distro is my bet.

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      • #4
        Source benchmarking http://steamcommunity.com/app/221410...1175392820380/

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        • #5
          I don't think an Optimus style is feasible or even needed, with current GPU's idle as low as it is, a mid-high -end card can be kept cool and quiet without taking much space, adding optimus adds complexity and very little gain. Maybe there's something I've missed, but how does the brand of the CPU affect OpenGL? Problem with Intel CPU's is you often have to pay out the nose to get what you suggest, while in most current games you don't need that much power.

          I do hope AMD start putting more work into their Linux drivers, so far I've had positive experiences with them on my Llano based laptop, but I don't use it for that many graphic intense applications, and even to me it's obvious it's not quite as smooth as their Windows drivers currently are.

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          • #6
            I think the main driving factor is going to be matching PS4 e XBox720 hw.

            My guess for their middle tier
            Graphics/CPU: AMD, something near PS4/XBox720. Despite current driver quality, it would be a cheaper solution.
            Memory: 8GB
            Disk: Standard HDD 1TB. SSD are to expensive and games are taking 5-20GB. A 128GB SSD can hold something like 10 big games, it won't cut it.

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            • #7
              You think they're going with NVidiad rather than with AMD, because of the better working drivers and then you guess, they might end up with an Optimus device?

              lol :P

              Since AMD already delivers Hardware for the big two next generation consoles, they'll probably be able to provide a far better offer than NVidia. And I really wish Valve decided in favor of AMD just to kick some distorted heads back into reality:

              If something is wrong with your AMD GPU setup, it's the Catalyst which sucks. If something goes wrong with an NVidia GPU it's just a particular case. Noticing anything?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by alexThunder View Post
                And I really wish Valve decided in favor of AMD just to kick some distorted heads back into reality:

                If something is wrong with your AMD GPU setup, it's the Catalyst which sucks. If something goes wrong with an NVidia GPU it's just a particular case. Noticing anything?
                So you would go for the clearly inferior solution because you don't like the attitude of some people?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Vim_User View Post
                  So you would go for the clearly inferior solution because you don't like the attitude of some people?
                  So you didn't notice anything? Ok, let's put it this way:

                  http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/...in-tomb-raider

                  I just got the game and are happy to have inferior AMD hardware :P
                  Last edited by alexThunder; 03-08-2013, 09:06 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alexThunder View Post
                    So you didn't notice anything? Ok, let's put it this way:

                    http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/03/...in-tomb-raider

                    I just got the game and are happy to have inferior AMD hardware :P
                    I think he was refering to the state of AMD's Linux drivers, AMD's hardware is without doubt amongst the best, but yeah their drivers on Linux aren't great. On Windows they in my experience work just as well as nVidia's drivers.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Medallish View Post
                      I think he was refering to the state of AMD's Linux drivers, AMD's hardware is without doubt amongst the best, but yeah their drivers on Linux aren't great. On Windows they in my experience work just as well as nVidia's drivers.
                      I know, but I have two points:

                      1) On Linux, every quirk someone gets with the Catalyst is seen as evidence for the bad quality of the drivers. If quirks appear with NVidia's blobs, it's seen as single and particular cases - the overall quality isn't questioned.

                      2) Assuming NVidias driver quality really was that much better on Linux, what's it good for? For everyday, non-3D usage, Intel's open-source driver outclasses both blobs. And for 3D-demanding stuff (like Games) it won't help if case such as Tomb Raider appears.

                      I've been gaming for around two decades and following AMD (or ATI) and Nvidia since I ATI rage 128 and Riva TNT (before that I wasn't aware of what hardware I got) and both companies sometimes just suck. Mostly I (try to) ignore the tendency of the Linux users to see everything either black or white (good/bad, savior/villain, you name it), but gaming goes beyond the Linux world's nose.

                      So right now, it's hard to tell whether Valve will go with NVidia or AMD. The only point I can see from here is, that AMD already delivers the hw for PS4 and the next XBox, so they may offer further hardware off the shelf for Valve. I think, everything else is just wild speculation and/or fanboyism. The gaming scene still is (in general) very childish and pubertal, but even they managed to get over this (mostly).

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                      • #12


                        Intel APUs rock the world with opensource driver!
                        If I were Valve, I would definetily go Intel, no exceptions!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by brosis View Post


                          Intel APUs rock the world with opensource driver!
                          If I were Valve, I would definetily go Intel, no exceptions!
                          If it only was about the driver (quality), I'm with you, but I'm afraid they won't be able to compete with PS4 and the next XBox then. Intel GPUs still ain't too powerful and they still didn't reach OpenGL 4.x.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah amd will surely design apus for new xbox and ps, but it will not sell/manufacture them. Sony and ms will carry the schematic to chosen fab and buy chips from there.

                            Maybe steambox will be some custom build intel socket G2 mobile motherboard(if haswell fit it) and upgradable with full size pciex16 graphics card...

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                            • #15
                              Let's try an i5, 8GB of RAM, a GF 660, 32GB SSD + 1TB HDD. But the main problem is the cost + miniaturization of the thing. So we'll see.

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