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Steam Machines Prototypes: Intel CPU, NVIDIA GPU

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  • #31
    Originally posted by sarmad View Post
    When you say it can be achieved, are you talking theoretically or practically? In terms of drivers and graphics stack, is Linux in its current status capable of achieving this?
    Theoretically. AFAIK there's (currently) no way of using both integrated and dedicated graphics at the same time.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by sarmad View Post
      When you say it can be achieved, are you talking theoretically or practically? In terms of drivers and graphics stack, is Linux in its current status capable of achieving this?
      How about toolkits rendering via one GPU and wayland compositing the whole using built-in one? Since end-compositing is just a matter of blitting several bitmaps, contents of which were precalculated on more powerful GPU, it would be possible. Everything is possible, sans enteroperability due to one driver being proprietary and unable to communicate efficiently due to "secrets"...

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      • #33
        Originally posted by hajj_3 View Post
        exactly, their upcoming apu's are supposed to be getting 20% cpu improvement, they could stick a highend gpu on the chip too and we would have a terrific chip. AMD's lack of funds results in lower quality linux drivers though.
        As a user, who recently bought a Radeon 7850, I have to confirm that. I did buy an AMD graphics card with the hopes to use the open-source driver rather sooner than later, but I have to admit that serious gaming is impossible with the radeonsi driver at the moment. So, now I'm left with a sub-par closed source driver, which doesn't work well regardless if I use Windows or Linux. Sometimes the frame rate completely breaks down to a few frames per second...I have to alt+tab the game and afterwards it often works again (recently played: Dota2, Risen). The Catalyst Control Center offers fewer options than under Windwos...I can only hope that AMD can improve the driver situation soon
        IMHO, your choices for Linux gaming at the moment are: Intel Iris Pro, AMD R600 based (both Open source drivers), or Nvidia (Closed source). All 3 drivers have good support under Linux. Considering the raw power, the Nvidia route does make the most sense and I think Valve made the right decision here. Now, if AMD can improve their open source driver for newer generation graphics fast, things could change...

        Originally posted by sarmad
        So, with these machines having two GPUs (intel + nVidia), can games make use of this somehow? i.e. can the two GPUs work together to render a single frame? I'm talking Linux software wise. Does Linux currently support such thing?
        There are also Intel CPUs without integrated GPU (for example Intel i5-3350P). There's no need for a integrated GPU + dedicated GPU in a SteamBox in my oponion.

        But I really like that Valve plans to publish even the CAD files for the casing. Let there be as much user input as they get for their games.

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        • #34
          So this gaming machine won't work out of the box? I'm guessing that since it's illegal to distribute a Linux kernel with Nvidia's binary drivers, when you get your new box you'll have to connect to the Internet and, under your own responsibility and at your own risk, download and install Nvidia's drivers after accepting the license terms. If you don't do this, then your gaming machine will work using the Intel GPU and disabling the Nvidia GPU to avoid unnecessary power consumption and heat? Or will it actually attempt to offer you a gaming experience with Nouveau drivers?

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          • #35
            Originally posted by xeekei View Post
            No one is surprised by this choice. AMD could've had this one in the bag with their APUs if they just kicked themselves more in the ass when it comes to their drivers.
            APU's used as main graphics in a steam box? A console meant to be on par with a PC? Ridicules!!! About as ridicules as those wanting opensource drivers. Wake up people. 99.9 % of people buying and using the steambox will be windows folk. Windows gamers want high end best performing hardware with the best drivers for the job.

            What's confusing is valves choice of i7 cpus. for years its been known that i5 is on par with i7 for gaming since hyperthreading often hinders rather than help gaming. It may be future proofing but how many games actually take advantage of hyper threading ? I know of only 2 and even the newest intel i7 cpu's only give an additional 3 to 4 FPS over i5 which really isnt worth the extra $$.
            Last edited by DDF420; 10-04-2013, 08:33 PM.

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            • #36
              I hope that they at least would use their own standard for components form factor. Using standard ATX form-factor will make their Machine look bloated in comparison.
              Last edited by krasnoglaz; 10-04-2013, 08:08 PM.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Luis View Post
                So this gaming machine won't work out of the box? I'm guessing that since it's illegal to distribute a Linux kernel with Nvidia's binary drivers, when you get your new box you'll have to connect to the Internet and, under your own responsibility and at your own risk, download and install Nvidia's drivers after accepting the license terms. If you don't do this, then your gaming machine will work using the Intel GPU and disabling the Nvidia GPU to avoid unnecessary power consumption and heat? Or will it actually attempt to offer you a gaming experience with Nouveau drivers?
                Do you really think Valve doesn't have a direct connection to NVIDIA and that NVIDIA doesn't want Valve using their closed source drivers on it? You have to be realistic here, NVIDIA engineers are working with Valve on this and they want Valve to use their closed source drivers.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by brosis View Post
                  Thats actually a tad stupid from Valve. Maybe.

                  Could have supported opensource drivers instead
                  Nope, They couldn't make any use of open source drivers today or or in foreseeable future. Opensource driver for todays top bracket of GPUs simply doesn't exist. Even r600 series opensource driver, for older models, the best we have today for somewhat powerful GPUs, is not competitive with binary blob in terms of functionality or shader performance. If by "support" you mean, write open source driver from scratch for different' company's GPU -- well they are not a hardware company and I don't believe it's possible to do in a year. And I doubt they could provide incentive large enough to force AMD or NVIDIA put large amounts of human recourses into such task, or even make this task attractive for them.
                  Last edited by krasnoglaz; 10-04-2013, 08:23 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by krasnoglaz View Post
                    I hope that they at least would use their own standard for components form factor. Using standard ATX form-factor will make their Machine look bloated in comparison.
                    From http://steamcommunity.com/groups/ste...8928746175450:
                    Dimensions: approx. 12 x 12.4 x 2.9 in high
                    I imply that the unit given here is Inch, then converted to centimeters 30x30x8 ain't that bad if you ask me. Should be comparable to most console dimensions
                    I'm pretty sure they are using mini-ITX mainboards here.

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                    • #40
                      The specs look so extreme that it is hard to believe that you would use that rig only for Linux. I do not know a Linux game that would require such expensive gfx cards, ok maybe a GTX 660, but never a Titan. A i5-4570 is a good gamer cpu, but the highend gfx cards are most likely not needed for the living room with just a full hd tv - ok, you could use 2 of em if the multihead feature would be better (games like kf need manual adjustments for that). Those steamboxes are definitely no competition to the 400-500$ systems you will get from sony/ms soon, the minimum price seems to be more like 800$+. Ram is not that expensive anymore but more than 8 GB are most likely not required - most games run with 32 bit executeables anyway. I would definitely like to test one of those systems, but without Win in dual boot i don't think anybody could make real use of that hardware, but if it is quietly cooled i am sure some gamers will buy em. The cooling solution is the most critical part to create useable systems for a living room - small cases often require high spinning fans, would really like to know what tricks they want to use. a titan with 250w max + cpu with 84w + board, hd (lets count 16w) would be 350w and that in a small case, i want to see/hear this...

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by krasnoglaz View Post
                        Nope, They couldn't make any use of open source drivers today or or in foreseeable future. Opensource driver for todays top bracket of GPUs simply doesn't exist. Even r600 series opensource driver, for older models, the best we have today for somewhat powerful GPUs, is not competitive with binary blob in terms of functionality or shader performance. If by "support" you mean, write open source driver from scratch for different' company's GPU -- well they are not a hardware company and I don't believe it's possible to do in a year. And I doubt they could provide incentive large enough to force AMD or NVIDIA put large amounts of human recourses into such task, or even make this task attractive for them.
                        As a huge contractor, Valve may have made arrangements on target future platform of their choice. Todays opensource driver, especially r600g is quite apt in terms of performance and functionality. Only some improvements had to be made to SI driver and that would be achievable, if Valve would secure a contract for a batch of cards. The fglrx blob is even today quite inefficient (slow 2D, slow response, slow kernel support) and is not future-proof(Wayland would minimize the overhead a lot, GL ES missing, Wayland integration missing). I am not talking about nvidia or Valve writing drivers here.

                        Originally posted by Kano View Post
                        The cooling solution is the most critical part to create useable systems for a living room - small cases often require high spinning fans, would really like to know what tricks they want to use. a titan with 250w max + cpu with 84w + board, hd (lets count 16w) would be 350w and that in a small case, i want to see/hear this...
                        Cooling is not big deal. Take copper or riffled case, few good large heatpipes here and there and stirr a large slow rotating fan to the mix. Thermal waste up to 500W can be easily battled by conventional cooling, upwards there is water cooling available - since long time also as standalone, hands-free.
                        Last edited by brosis; 10-04-2013, 09:53 PM.

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                        • #42
                          Are you really sure you read that the prototype case is only 12x12.4x2.9"? With 2.9" you can not really use huge cooling solutions and for water cooling there is absolutely no spare place. Btw. i dont get how you can use a fullsize pci-e card with that, low profile cards are usally only up to gt 640 available. Maybe they turn em 90 degree?
                          Last edited by Kano; 10-04-2013, 10:34 PM.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Kano View Post
                            Are you really sure you read that the prototype case is only 12x12.4x2.9"? With 2.9" you can not really use huge cooling solutions and for water cooling there is absolutely no spare place.
                            Take a miniITX case (like e-OTONASHI) made of riffled sides, insert a low-profile or PCIe 90degree adaptor card, insert a large, highly efficient cooling block with large slow rotating blowing out fan (Scythe big shuriken is a nice example), finally drop 6-8 heatpipes going from CPU to GPU via this block. The 10x10x1.5" space is sufficient to house a very high efficiency custom cooler together with fan. The cooling area will be similar to that of modern high-end GPU plus CPU. Sure, its technological challenge, but nothing of impossible. Ofc at 500w+ waste it will be difficult. The limiting factor is always total cooling area of the cooler that will need larger surface for efficient convection. All hardware will OFC be custom made in custom form factor.

                            Originally posted by Kano View Post
                            Btw. i dont get how you can use a fullsize pci-e card with that, low profile cards are usally only up to gt 640 available. Maybe they turn em 90 degree?
                            You can't, but they were partnering. Large enough batch and one gets Titan in a the playcard format. But they will just have to downclock it. It won't be loud, but it will surely be barbecue-friendly.
                            Last edited by brosis; 10-04-2013, 10:38 PM.

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                            • #44
                              The SteamBox is meant as nothing more than an officially sanctioned device with which you can expect a reliable product to just work. Or at least get the fastest updates if something's wrong! That's support and the expectation as a consumer who's forking cabbages would expect. You get some extra feature's thrown in to the SteamOS like the streaming to telly deal (sounds like a software thing, anyway). As far as I know, nothing's stopping any of you from running an integrated AMD unit with SteamOS (or Mint, or Red Hat or whatever with the Steam Client overlay). Steam are being pretty damn open about wtf you can do with their stuff. The more they can give to people to as they please their way means more customers. They dont really have to do this. You just have to meet them 3/4 of the way in order to access their/your content. Give and take. They're mostly giving from what I can tell.

                              And sure the i7 might be overkill, but mayhap Intel offered Valve a price they couldn't refuse. IT happens all the time. Take for example how MS react to companies threatening to go linux. In come hte sales teams and cut a better deal. Mayhap Intel i7 stocks were building up and this can clear the warehouse? Or maybe it's just sales and propaganda! Regardless, it might still yet be a cheap way to get a fully funtional i7+TITAN PC with the added benefit of being consoley. I'll likely still prefer my AMD-based OpenELEC machines for a while yet. Maybe Steam can come up with an ultra-lowend base (just iGPU) for the casual gaming market and do away with the likes of Ouya-nah.

                              Until then, I'ma just gonna wait and watch everyone else's crazy idea's about this device fly by!

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                              • #45
                                Nice try Canonical looks like Valve Wins this one Steam OS FTW!!!!



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