Steam Machine: which Steam box should you buy?

Steam Machines roundup: which one should you buy?
There's a storm comin'

Valve's Steam Machines stole the headlines at CES 2014, with Gabe Newell unveiling an impressive roster of third-party machines all hoping to nudge your current gaming machine out of the living room.

There will certainly be more to come, but for now we've rounded up the Steam Machines that have been announced so you can pick through the details and find your favourite.

Some of the specs have been confirmed, some haven't been locked down, but it's worth remembering that many of these Steam Machines can be customized. The idea is that it works for you.

Steam machine

Valve's Steam Machine

Valve sees itself as an enabler for third parties to swoop in and offer SteamOS on their devices, but that hasn't stopped it welding a Steam Machine of its own. Valve's black box reminds us of the Xbox 360 Elite but a darned sight more powerful.

The 300 prototype units shipped in December came varied in their organs.There was a mixture of Nvidia Titan, GTX660, GTX760 and GTX780. Meanwhile processors varied between Intel i7-4770, i5-4570 and i3.

Now for the bad news: Valve has no plans to release its own Steam Machine on the market for now.



The CyberpowerPC Steam Machine is one of the better looking of the crowd. It comes in two flavours, both with 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500GB HDD as standard.

The $499 (about £305, AU$550) 'A' model has a 2GB AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card with an AMD 3.9GHz dual-core processor.

The 'I' version is more expensive at $699 (about £425 AU$780) but will come with a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 GPU and holds a 3.5GHz Intel Core i3 processor. Expect to be able to get your hands on these in the second half of 2014.


Digital Storm Bolt II

Digital Storm's liquid-cooled entry is a high-ender, but the Bolt II could be worth the cash if you're looking to harness maximum power. It's also going hybrid, letting you choose to boot either Windows or SteamOS.

Completely customizable, the Bolt II has four configurations, one of which packs an Intel Core i7-4770k processor, Nvidia GTX 780 Ti graphics card, 16GB of RAM, 120GB SSD, 1TB hard drive - and a steep price of $2,584 (about £1,574, AU$2890).

However we're told the starting price for the most basic configuration will be slightly less at $1,899 (about £1,157, AU$2,120).

For that, you won't be sacrificing any of your Windows games in the process. It'll be arriving later in January so earlier than most others.


Alienware Steam Machine

Alienware would be crazy not to get in the Steam Machine game, and sure enough it could be spotted with its glowing Alienware and Steam logos adorning its case at the CES press conference. (Check out our hands on review)

Alienware is keeping quiet on the exact specs – there's a good chance it hasn't locked them down yet -but we do know it will come with an Intel processor and an Nvidia graphics card of some form.

The Alienware Steam Machine has been confirmed for a September 2014 release. Nothing on price but Alienware plans to price it competitively with the next-gen consoles - though it plans to refresh its Steam Machine every year.

Meanwhile, the Alienware X51 desktop will also be made available as a Steam Machine at around the same time as its more compact box hits the market.


Falcon Northwest Tiki

Falcon Northwest's Tiki desktop will be transforming into a Steam Machine in 2014. The specs are hazy on this one for now, but we can expect a wide range of customized options. RAM is available in configurations between 8 and 16GB while storage can go as high as 6TB.

The sprawling custom options will also mean a sprawling price range, starting at $1,799 (£1,095, $AU2015) and moving up to an eye-watering $6,000 (about £3,654, AU$6,27).

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.