Steam Machines are being announced

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My question is one further though: what happens in two years time - the people who have the 720p class devices, will they suddenly be "unsupported"? Will the 1080p devices become 720p devices? How would they handle the creep of system requirements?
They would just change out their Steam machine video card if the games became more demanding.

And for someone that bought a 1080p or 4K TV, then could always upgrade to a better card whenever they want to.
 
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Some listings and pictures of the R7 250 (65 watt TDP) in single slot low profile form:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150713&ignorebbr=1



http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129297&ignorebbr=1



Now if only we could see the 750 GTX (55 watt TDP) and 750 GTX Ti (60 watt TDP) in the same single slot form factor. If this happened I think it would open up a lot more possibilities for Linux Steam machines using low cost Core 2 quad (and Xeon LGA 771 to LGA 775 conversion) SFF Pre-builts that formerly ran Windows XP.
 
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RampantAndroid

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They would just change out their Steam machine video card if the games became more demanding.

And for someone that bought a 1080p or 4K TV, then could always upgrade to a better card whenever they want to.
How many console gamers want to do this? How many steam boxes will have a "opening this voids the warranty" sticker? All you're doing now is telling me that this is a SFF gaming PC rebranded. That is zero innovation. It's nothing new - nothing that cannot be done already.

I would *never* put a core2 in a current gaming system....talk about a waste of a modern GPU.
 
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I would *never* put a core2 in a current gaming system....talk about a waste of a modern GPU.
A Xeon E5450 has the ~same passmark score as the Athlon x4 840 found in two of the Steam machines (both priced between $450 and $500).
 
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How many console gamers want to do this? How many steam boxes will have a "opening this voids the warranty" sticker?
Swapping a video card wouldn't be hard.

Not sure how the warranty is affected on OEM machines, but I am skeptical there would be a problem (even companies like Dell allow customers to install video cards into their new Pre-built Windows desktops).

All you're doing now is telling me that this is a SFF gaming PC rebranded. That is zero innovation. It's nothing new - nothing that cannot be done already.
On the former Windows XP Pre-builts and low cost DIY hardware I think omitting the Windows license helps a lot with total cost. So the innovation occurs mainly through reducing price.
 
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RampantAndroid

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Swapping a video card wouldn't be hard.

Not sure how the warranty is affected on OEM machines, but I am skeptical there would be a problem (even companies like Dell allow customers to install video cards into their new Pre-built Windows desktops).



On the former Windows XP Pre-builts and low cost DIY hardware I think omitting the Windows license helps a lot with total cost, so even if it is not exciting or innovative with hardware.....it could be in terms of cost of ownership.
Many people you're talking about don't want to open their case. Simply advertising about a XB1/PS4 "doesn't need an upgrade!" will win them over...

On the Windows license, too many games have no support in Linux; Many more older games like those found on GoG simply will never have support. A Windows license might well be worth it.
 
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RampantAndroid

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They have 967 total games (or at least, 967 DRM free games.) Of that number, 250 or less will run on Linux. Look at the page count.
 
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They have 967 total games (or at least, 967 DRM free games.) Of that number, 250 or less will run on Linux. Look at the page count.
My mistake, they have 202 games.

Still that is quite an improvement from the 50 available Aug 2014 and the goal of 100 they announced for (October/November) Fall 2014.
 

Idontcare

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Many people you're talking about don't want to open their case. Simply advertising about a XB1/PS4 "doesn't need an upgrade!" will win them over...
Am speculating, but if we continued the "take the lower 80% of the spectrum" line of discussion and ask ourselves what the lower 3 quartiles of customers are motivated by, I suspect it has less to do with a "no need to upgrade" and more to do with "dude, did you get the latest XYZ!?"

Just anecdotally sampling my own family and friends, they are clearly motivated by the simple marketing concept of "it is what's next".

Tell them it is an XB2/PS5 and they are interested. Doesn't matter what makes it next generation. All that matters within their social circles is that it is.

Mind you I am not ignorant of the fact that the lower quartile represents people who do not have the disposable income to upgrade willy-nilly just because someone comes out with "what's next". That quartile is probably sold on the idea of a "doesn't need an upgrade" marketing...for about 4-6 business quarters until they too decide to upgrade to the latest console hardware "just because".
 
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Tell them that they can't play GTA5 on it and it almost certainly won't get GTA6, and has no CoD or Battlefield games. Then see if they are interested.
Or tell them that they can buy it now, but it might not be fast enough for the next instalment of XYZ and they might need to upgrade it.
 

tviceman

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This. So much this. My question is one further though: what happens in two years time - the people who have the 720p class devices, will they suddenly be "unsupported"? Will the 1080p devices become 720p devices? How would they handle the creep of system requirements?
Valve gives their hardware dominations with fairly regular updates (maybe every 18-24 months). So Valve releases the Steam A1, B1, and X1 with A1 being low end and X1 being high end. Then in 2017 Valve releases the A2, B2, and X2..... or something like that. Also another way to make the upgrade cycle easier to understand is to make the new low end be (hopefully) at least as competent as the previous gen mid-range. That way the new refreshed low end always at least equals the previous gen mid-range.
 
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Xbox One's CPU: eight jaguar cores @ 1.75 GHz.

Based on the Passmark score of 2052 for Athlon 5150 (four jaguar cores @ 1.6 Ghz) , I'm thinking that would work out to be a passmark score of ~4500 (4489 by my math) for Xbox One.

Athlon x4 840 found in two of the lower priced steam boxes has a passmark score of 4345.

Xeon E5450 has a passmark score of 4315.

So the cheapest Steam machines (and a Xeon capable of being installed into a Core 2 machine via LGA 771 to LGA 775 mod) are capable of hanging with the octocore console chip in this passmark benchmark, but with half the cores.
 
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With PS4's eight Jaguar cores at 1.6 GHz that should work out to a passmark score of around 4100.

Some other chips capable of around that same score:

Q9550; 4071 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core2+Quad+Q9550+@+2.83GHz

Xeon E5440: 4012 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5440+@+2.83GHz

Xeon X3363: 4300 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+X3363+@+2.83GHz (I expected this score to be around 4000 to 4100)

Athlon x4 740: 3953 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+X4+740+Quad+Core

For lesser Core 2 quads and LGA 771 Xeons, a passmark score of 4000 (or close to it) should be achieveable via stock cooler overclocking.
 
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RampantAndroid

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With PS4's eight Jaguar cores at 1.6 GHz that should work out to a passmark score of around 4100.

Some other chips capable of around that same score:

Q9550; 4071 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core2+Quad+Q9550+@+2.83GHz

Xeon E5440: 4012 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+E5440+@+2.83GHz

Xeon X3363: 4300 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Xeon+X3363+@+2.83GHz (I expected this score to be around 4000 to 4100)

Athlon x4 740: 3953 cpu marks http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+X4+740+Quad+Core

For lesser Core 2 quads and LGA 771 Xeons, a passmark score of 4000 (or close to it) should be achieveable via stock cooler overclocking.
OK? Matching the xbox shouldn't be a goal. And your first CPU, the Q9550, isn't even sold anymore.

Am speculating, but if we continued the "take the lower 80% of the spectrum" line of discussion and ask ourselves what the lower 3 quartiles of customers are motivated by, I suspect it has less to do with a "no need to upgrade" and more to do with "dude, did you get the latest XYZ!?"

Just anecdotally sampling my own family and friends, they are clearly motivated by the simple marketing concept of "it is what's next".

Tell them it is an XB2/PS5 and they are interested. Doesn't matter what makes it next generation. All that matters within their social circles is that it is.

Mind you I am not ignorant of the fact that the lower quartile represents people who do not have the disposable income to upgrade willy-nilly just because someone comes out with "what's next". That quartile is probably sold on the idea of a "doesn't need an upgrade" marketing...for about 4-6 business quarters until they too decide to upgrade to the latest console hardware "just because".
I think it'd be super easy to advertise that the existing consoles don't need to worry about hack (SB will), upgrades/not being able to run games (SBs will), what settings to run at (SBs will) - etc. It's so easy to pick away at negatives of an SB and why a console is "easier" which is what drives the success of consoles, to a degree.
 
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I think it'd be super easy to advertise that the existing consoles don't need to worry about hack (SB will), upgrades/not being able to run games (SBs will), what settings to run at (SBs will) - etc. It's so easy to pick away at negatives of an SB and why a console is "easier" which is what drives the success of consoles, to a degree.
1. ) PC game hacking is not something I see a lot of on either Steam or Origin.

The main problem I see with an open hardware spec is one player having better hardware than the other and getting a competitive advantage thru higher FPS. This, in contrast, to console hardware were everybody has the same 30 FPS hardware.

2.) As far as "upgrades/not being able to run games" actually I think this is more of a problem with consoles. For example, with Battlefield 3 Xbox 360 could only handle 24 players whereas the PC version could handle 64 players. For console players there was no way to upgrade to the full 64 player experience.

3.) As far as settings go, many PC games will detect hardware and adjust settings accordingly.

Now with that mentioned, I see the major advantage of consoles being one of lower upfront cost. The idea of using older SFF Pre-builts and older DIY hardware (or new budget DIY hardware) is to reduce or elimate that price advantage the Microsoft and Sony consoles have. Fortunately for Valve there is quite a bit of cheap, but still strong hardware floating around out there that no longer carries a MS license. This was not the case when the Xbox 360 launched as PC hardware obsoleted so much faster back then.
 
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Some advantages of PC gaming over Console gaming: 1.) Ability to use free community designed mods which adds lots of content to existing games (Maybe a good example is this Skyrim total conversion --> http://www.moddb.com/mods/enderal ,http://sureai.net/projects/enderal/). 2.) Strategy games not available on Console (eg, Rome II total War, Civilzation V, etc) 3) No Xbox Live fees which further lowers total cost.
 
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Interesting article.

I still see the danger of splitting the market. What about Ubisoft and EA, who do not use Steam? Will all games be designed for DX and then ported to SteamOS? If so, that just seems like a lot of extra work for devs. Or can you run a DX game on SteamOS?
For games from origin and ubisoft that don't run on Steam, I would think both those companies would have to release Linux clients for SteamOS's Gnome desktop if they wanted to run on SteamOS. (As mentioned earlier, these games would also have to use OpenGL or Vulkan rather than DX)
 
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sm625

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$500 for what looks to be a cat core... Why would anyone buy that? Why not jsut buy a PS4?
 
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Xbox One release date: Q4 2013
PS4 release date :Q4 2013

PC processoers (Xeon E5450, E5440, Q9550, etc) capable of the same projected passmark score as the the current consoles came out Q4 2007 to Q1 2008. This is PC hardware that was released ~6 years previous to these current generation consoles.

Xbox 360 release date: Q4 2005
PS3 release date: Q4 2006

Thinking back to the era of the previous generation consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) , PC hardware that was six years older (ie, released Q4 1999) would have been an early Pentium III. Unfortunately, it might have been this six year old PC hardware was even slower the 733 Mhz Pentium III found in the original Xbox (released Q4 2001). Therefore using old and cheap PC hardware back in 2005 to 2006 to compete with Xbox 360 or PS3 was out of the question.

So its a unique situation we have today with old desktop processors being comparable in CPU processing power to the newest consoles. Further, encouraging the use of this older hardware IMO is the fact that Microsoft no longer provides support for the original XP licenses found on Core 2 era machines.

P.S. I would even make the argument that a processor such as the Xeon E5440 is a better CPU than the octocore found in PS4 (re: it gets the ~same passmark as the PS4, but with half the cores....meaning single thread on the Xeon is twice as good. The downside, of course, is higher power consumption...but 80 watts TDP for the Xeon is still not bad)
 
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NTMBK

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It's really not unique. 360 generation was the exception, not the rule.
 
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It's really not unique. 360 generation was the exception, not the rule.
If we went back to the original Xbox (released Q4 2001), choosing a processor six years older would have been the Pentium Pro.

The 733 Mhz Pentium III vs. 150 Mhz to 200 Mhz Pentium Pro..... that is a pretty large gap in peformance.

Meanwhile, I actually think the Q9550/E5440/X3363 is a better processor than that PS4 octocore.
 

RampantAndroid

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If we went back to the original Xbox (released Q4 2001), choosing a processor six years older would have been the Pentium Pro.

The 733 Mhz Pentium III vs. 150 Mhz to 200 Mhz Pentium Pro..... that is a pretty large gap in peformance.

Meanwhile, I actually think the Q9550/E5440/X3363 is a better processor than that PS4 octocore.
Processor advancement has sped up quite a bit. You'd be pretty short sighted if you missed that. Moreover, it seems intentional in these latest consoles to create devices not likely to have a RROD and to be a more compact unit that is cheaper. Likely in no small part due to TVs still being 1080p. 4k is starting to gain power, but it's by no means going to be predominant for another 5 years at best.
 


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