A Variety of NVIDIA GPUs Power Valve’s First Prototype Steam Machines

by Brian Burke

Valve revealed the specs for the first prototype Steam Machines to be distributed to 300 gamers for testing and feedback. NVIDIA and Valve have been working together on the upcoming SteamOS and Steam Machine prototypes for some time now, and we’re delighted to have the NVIDIA GeForce GTX series featured in the Steam Machine prototypes shipping later this year.

For more on this project, we sat down with Mike Sartain, a member of the Linux team at Valve, to talk Steam Machines and the decision to include GTX products.

Q. How did NVIDIA and Valve begin working on the SteamOS and Steam Machine projects?
Mike Sartain: NVIDIA and Valve have been working together for over a decade and engineers from both companies are in constant communication. When the SteamOS and Steam Machine projects first got going at Valve, everyone from NVIDIA showed a ton of excitement and wanted to get involved. It was a very collaborative effort as folks just started tackling issues such as driver support, porting NVIDIA’s content library, and more.

Q. Why is everyone so excited?
Sartain: Everyone at Valve and NVIDIA believe the SteamOS open ecosystem is a very important move for gaming. It has the potential to redefine the living room experience. Also, both companies are very interested in collecting gamer feedback during pre-production, including them in the design process. It’s a chance to innovate in a way that doesn’t come along too often.

Q. What were some of the goals and requirements for the first Steam Machine prototypes?
Sartain: At this phase, we are very much interested in the real-world testing of different configurations with gamers. Their feedback will have a significant impact in shaping further development of these devices and the functionality of the SteamOS. As such, we wanted to test a variety of Steam Machines that explore a range of price performance. NVIDIA has done a ton of work to optimize its GTX GPU series on Linux. That work applies across the GTX product line, which provides a complementary set of GPUs for our desired range of prototype Machines.

Q. What can those lucky 300 people expect when they receive their Steam Machine prototype later this year?
Sartain: The GeForce GTX series delivers the graphics performance, acoustic characteristics, and power efficiency we wanted for the first impression of the SteamOS living room game experience. So, even though they are helping us test these devices, their experience should begin with superior performance and amazing visuals directly on their big screen TV the first day they have it.