After a soft launch to early adopters last month, Steam Machines are finally available. They start at about a $150 more than a console, but consoles can't be upgraded.
There'll be more Steam Machines launching as the month rolls out, but three are available now. With prices ranging from $449 to $1,499, they come preloaded with the Linux-based Steam OS, which natively supports 1,000 of Steam's more than 6,000 games — those not natively supported can be streamed from a rig.
Alienware Steam Machines ($449 to $749)
The lowest spec'd Steam Machine in Alienware's fold, the $449 box, is the only one in the series to offer under 8GB of RAM and less than 1TB of storage space. The machine comes with 4GB of RAM and 500 GB of hard drive space.
An additional $100 upgrades the base unit's RAM and hard drive up to 8GB and 1TB respectively. A $200 step-up gets it a fourth-gen Intel Core i5 processor. An extra $300, which puts it at $749, gives it an i7.
All configurations of Alienware's Steam Machines come with a custom 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX. The custom hardware seems to be the bread and butter of this line of Steam Machines.
SyberGaming ($499 to $1419)
There's a focus on balanced specs for each of Syber's three tiers: the Steam Machine I at $499 I, the P at $729 and the X at $1419.
The I has 500 GB of storage space, 4GB of RAM, an i3 and a 1GB GeForce GTX 750. The P is a step up with its i5, 1TB hard drive, 8GB of RAM and GeForce GTX 960. And the X is the flagship with its i7, 1TB hard drive, 16GB of RAM and GeForce GTX 980.
For a stack of hundreds, gamers can build a beast of a gaming rig, or they can let Zotac take care of that.
The $999 Steam Machine has a quad-core Intel i5, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and a complimentary Steam Controller. So Zotac's Steam Machine is actually only $949 when the cost of the $50 gamepad is accounted for.