Steam Machine Disappointment

Discussion in 'Computer Software and Operating Systems' started by PityOnU, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. PityOnU
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    PityOnU GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Just wanted to start a thread here discussing the recently unveiled "Steam machines" to find out if everyone else was as disappointed as me with them.

    I was really looking forward to Steam machines as I hoped they would open up a new sector in the PC market. The idea (in my head, at least) was that these machines were supposed to be smaller, stylized PC's that would look really great under or next to your TV.

    What I was hoping this would mean was mobile-class chips in small, desktop-like enclosures. It made sense in that 1) those chips already have all of the super power-saving features built into them, so they would run quiet and could be left on all the time to double as a media server in addition to a gaming rig 2) they would strike consumers as closer to a console where you could just take your little box, plug it into your TV and be done with it and 3) you'd still get good gaming performance out of them when needed as you could beef up the cooling and assume that they could suck as much power out of the wall as they wanted.

    Instead of capitalizing on this idea, we get bullshit like this:

    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    What. The. Fuck. Those are just gaming PC's!? How would any of those look like they belong in an entertainment system? Who the hell (who isn't already a PC gamer) is going to look at those and be like "Wow, I want to buy that because it looks new and interesting"? Nobody! These machines bring nothing new to the table at all, except for a new, and probably really buggy, OS. There is nothing about these systems that has been designed for a living room.

    Now that little rant is out of the way, there were some that were okay and didn't miss the boat entirely:

    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    These at least look like consoles. My question here, though, is: "Where is the IR receiver?" There's no way to turn these machines on other that to actually press the power button. Not a huge deal, but the Xbox and PS3 and really nice in that you just grab the controller, press the button, and it turns the thing on. Perhaps you can set these to wake on USB with a controller you have attached (never tried it before, but maybe you can), but still, these are living room PC's. Why can I use them to stream my media as well? Also, these things won't be left on all the time as they suck too much power, but consoles are the same, so I supposed that's okay.

    Finally, there were some that were along the lines of what I was hoping for:

    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Those are more like what I was expected. Even then, though, the Zotac and the Gigabyte one only have integrated graphics. What the heck? Integrated graphics are used to save power, why use that here? Of them all, the Alienware seems the most promising. Apparently it's going to have Intel+nVidia mobile parts. The Maingear is similar, but with AMD. Still, two out of 14? Come on guys, what the hell.

    Am I the only one that feels this way?
     
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  2. pwsincd

    pwsincd Garage Flower

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  3. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Oh so that's why they're overpriced pieces of shit, Alienware is collaborating
     
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  4. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    Gaming PC's looking like gaming PC's? Who would(n)'t have thought? :P
     
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  5. RPG Hacker

    RPG Hacker GBAtemp Regular

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    Since when do you need IR to boot up your console from the couch? Wii and Wii U don't have that and still can be turned on with the controller.
     
  6. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    It would seem that PityOnU hasn't read the memo about WiFi and Bluetooth yet. :tpi:
     
  7. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Sleep on inactivity, wake on input from the Steam Controller. I haven't done any research on the topic, but these should seem like basic enough functions to implement on any OS.
     
  8. PityOnU
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    PityOnU GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I specifically mention the Aleinware one and talk about it's one of the only models I think is innovative?

    Steam machines aren't supposed to be traditional gaming PC's. They're PC's for the living room. If they were just supposed to be regular gaming PC's what was the point of hyping the machines? Why not just push the OS and have OEM's offer it as an option?

    In this case I think IR is desirable because then you could have a remote control and have your Steam machine double as a HTPC. Limiting a PC to just play games kind of defeats the purpose of getting a PC, no?

    Probably, yes. Can you do that with an Xbox 360 controller now?
     
  9. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    They're still PC's though. They're not marketed as consoles because they aren't consoles. We've had "living room PC's" for years now and with Windows 8's tile-based desktop, they've been comfortable to use for quite a while.
     
  10. Ericthegreat

    Ericthegreat Not New Member

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    I agree your much better off just building your own gameing PC. These are just overpriced PCs with a shit os.
     
  11. Dork

    Dork Newbie

    Steam Machines are just supposed to bring the greatness of PC gaming to living rooms with the simplicity of a console. I think it will do a great job filling up that grey area. I have spoken to so many people and friends who are interested in PC gaming but don't want to deal with the issues of owning a multimedia Windows PC, they just want to pop in a disc and play.
     
  12. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    They're doing a pretty sh*t job so far, and I explain that point further here. It's not a console gaming experience if it's connected with the exact same PC gaming woes people don't want to deal with.
     
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  13. Dork

    Dork Newbie

    Unless games were to be optimized for Steam Machines. That could work, right? Optimizing a game for a specific hardware configuration without hindering performance on other configs?
     
  14. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

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    How2windowsPC for Steam games:
    1. Install Steam
    2. Insert disc/select title in Steam
    3. Click install
    4. If disc, keep hitting next
    5. Play
    What's the problem there that Steam machines don't have? The only thing I can think of is driver updates, and if you have a prebuilt brand PC, those generally come with some sort of updater.
    Also, about optimization: you can't optimize it for a specific hardware setup if said specific hardware setup does not exist. Every Steam machine is different.
     
  15. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    At the very core of the Steam Machine idea lays the capacity to upgrade. Games will not be optimized for hardware configurations - this much we know. They will be optimized to work under SteamOS, which isn't really saying much.

    You can't optimize software for hardware configs that are constantly fluctuating and vary so much from one another. There's Intel-based Steam Machines, AMD-based Steam Machines, Steam Machines with Radeons, Steam Machines with GeForces, and all that not even within the same chip families - this isn't something you can wrap your head around, this is the exact same thing as developing for PC.

    Your only advantage is that the SteamOS will have a small footprint on performance and will be optimized towards gaming, that's it.
     
  16. DaggerV

    DaggerV Archmagi of the Emerald Moon

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    I don't remember who made it, but there's one that was released in very small batches that resembles the x-box 1 (360?) been about a month ago since i've seen it though, might have been Steam's prototype.
     
  17. PityOnU
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    PityOnU GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    ...but we haven't really had living room PC's. And for the most part we still don't.

    We've had a PC that you put in your living room. I.E. a generic desktop PC that you just dragged into your living room and hooked up to your TV. It looks out of place. There have been very few PC's that have been specifically designed for the living room (the only one that comes to mind is the Alienware X51).

    My issue here is not with the software. I very rarely use Steam, and I'd just wipe the OS and put Windows on it anyway. The point of this thread is how hardware manufacturers had a chance to innovate under the premise of a Steam machine (i.e. one that is specifically designed to be placed in a living room) and produce something that is brand new in the market... and ~80% of companies just shat their pants and recycled old designs.
     
  18. Foxi4

    Foxi4 On the hunt...

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    C'mon - HTPC's didn't enter the market yesterday, they just weren't gaming-oriented. This is... so... yay?
     
  19. grossaffe

    grossaffe GBAtemp Addict

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    I do hope they succeed, though. It will help Linux to become a viable gaming platform.
     
  20. PityOnU
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    PityOnU GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Exactly. That's my point. Short of building it yourself, you cannot get an HTPC that can also handle gaming in the market today. Period. Full stop.

    If you do build one yourself, you don't have access to the same resources as a hardware manufacturer, so you have to do the best you can with off the shelf parts, meaning you have to compromise. If you want a small form factor desktop PC that can also play games, right now, you have to do a custom build using a mini-ITX board and an AMD APU. Problem is, those have such weak CPU's your pushing it when you run emulators, and they run hotter than the sun and eat through power.

    For me, what I'm looking for in a PC to connect to my TV does not yet exist. Not because of technological limitations, but because no one wants to build one.