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Let's Recreate the Reference Steam Machine

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Eschaton 64 months ago

You can get a pretty good idea of what hardware is being used with this article, which was so good as to include pictures of the interior as well: http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/04/valve-steam-machine-hands-on/.

So, rebuilding this machine from parts available to us, how much does the reference build of the Steam Machine cost? What would its benchmarks be like? I hope to submit a build approximating this one later, but others can post their reverse-engineering here too.

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Eschaton submitter 6 Builds 2 points 64 months ago

OK, here's the closest approximation I could get; many of the parts are not right or only as close as the grainy pictures provided could help me make out, such inconsistencies have been noted below:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-3770S 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor $279.00 @ Amazon
CPU Cooler Xigmatek EP-CD903 61.2 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $12.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard ASRock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard $140.66 @ Newegg
Memory Pareema 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory $67.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $54.01 @ Amazon
Video Card PNY GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card $503.98 @ Newegg
Case Silverstone ML05B HTPC Case $42.98 @ Newegg
Power Supply Silverstone Strider Gold 450W 80 PLUS Gold Certified SFX12V Power Supply $93.99 @ Amazon
Other Accu-Cable Iec Male To Iec Female Power Link Cable (Eccom-3) 3Ft $4.00
Other PCI-E PCI Express 16X 90 Angle Extender Protector Riser Extension Card for 1U 2U Small Case $5.98
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $1205.58
Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-11 14:50 EST-0500


  1. The motherboard cannot be quite right; although it is the right form factor and has all the same functions, it seems to have its I/O board configured slightly differently. I also find it hard to believe Valve would use an asrock board for a reference build, although I personally have no issue with asrock.

  2. The hard drive is hard to determine; I used a Seagate because that is visible, but the capacity and speed were not visible. I chose a likely capacity and speed. I am surprised they didn't use SSDs for the reference build, considering price was apparently no contest.

  3. The CPU is just the lowest-price i7 I could get; can anyone else help choose a more likely i7?

  4. The CPU cooler fan is from the right company, but probably not the right model. If so, I don't think the right model is listed on PCPartpicker.

  5. The case is obviously not correct, as they are using a custom case; this would provide a similar setup and internal layout though, I think.

  6. The power cable I selected to run from the PSU under the GPU to the back of the case is too long; obviously it wouldn't be hard to find a shorter one. The important thing is you get the point; one of these is running from the PSU to the back of the case internally. How would it be affixed to the back of the case?

  7. The memory is a total guess.

mousseng 1 Build 3 points 64 months ago
  1. It appears to be an ASRock Z87E-ITX.
  2. It's a 2.5" SSHD. So, probably something like this.
  3. They'll be using the 4770.
  4. It's hard to tell with that shroud there, but it does look like a radial heatsink.
  5. They've got 16GB of DDR3-1600.

Edit: PCPP is screwing with my list numbers. #5 = #7 :c

Eschaton submitter 6 Builds 1 point 64 months ago

Thanks for the information; how do you know that it's an SSHD and how do you know it's got 16Gb of 1600Mhz RAM?

That must be the exact motherboard! So it is ASRock; nifty. Did not think they would do that for some reason.

EDIT: Double thanks for the link; that confirms what you said about the 16Gb RAM and the SSHD. Link also essentially confirms that I am exactly right about the PSU; you can tell from the style of its grating especially, but all other specs match.