UNBOXED: Valve's Steam Machine, The Most Powerful Next-Gen Game Console

Steam machine game console and controllercolbehr/ImgurThe Steam Machine packs more power than the PS4 or Xbox One.

As if the Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One weren’t enough, there’s another major player in the video game industry dipping its toes in the video game console race.

Valve, the company responsible for the immensely popular Steam digital distribution platform and revolutionary games like “Half-Life 2” and “Portal,” is giving 300 gamers around the country a free prototype version of its Steam Machine game console for testing.

The Steam Machine is based on standard PC hardware, just like the PS4 and Xbox One. It runs SteamOS, an operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution, modified for increased game compatibility and performance.

Reddit user colbehr was one of the 300 lucky gamers to receive the first round of Steam Machines from Valve. The Steam Machine is currently being tested in three models with increasing levels of processing power; his came with approximately $US1,500 worth of PC hardware components. He graciously gave us permission to run his photos of its unboxing.

If you like your premium gadgets to come in premium packaging, Valve doesn't disappoint. The first round of Steam Machines were sent in crates made out of real wood.

While it's really big, it allows for a ton of padding for the ~$1,500 worth of hardware in the Steam Machine.

Below the console, we see the innovative touch-based controller Valve has designed for playing games originally meant for keyboard and mouse.

Here's everything included in the box. The lack of cables indicates the simplicity of setting up a Steam Machine compared to a traditional PC.

The Steam Machine looks a lot like the Xbox One, but without the disk drive. Notice that the controller is basically a giant, clickable trackpad.

The Steam Machine has all the ports you could possibly need for a media center setup.

Unlike the Xbox One, it can be set up both horizontally and vertically.

The console is definitely a prototype -- it even comes with a USB for restoring in case of emergency.

It sure looks pretty turned on.

This particular model came with an Nvidia Geforce 780 GTX, a $US500 graphics card. Expect games to look way better on the Steam Machine than the PS4 or Xbox One.

There are 300 holes on the side of the Steam Machine. Each console in this test run has a different hole 'highlighted' as in the photo below.

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