AMD graphics hardware – the same accelerated processing units (APUs) which power the Xbox One and PS4 next-gen consoles – will be included in commercially available Steam Machines next year, according to a statement from Valve.
The news will be welcomed by AMD fans. When Valve recently detailed the hardware specifications for its initial prototype run of its 300 Beta Steam Machines (compact living room PCs powered by the company’s Linux-based SteamOS), it seemed that the devices would not include AMD hardware at all, instead favouring CPUs by Intel and a variety of Nvidia graphics cards.
This wasn’t an unfounded assumption. Nvidia’s involvement with the Steam Machine was announced in an official statement explaining that the GPU manufacturer was working closely with Valve to optimise graphics rendering and reduce lag in the living room gaming system. The sheer amount of Nvidia engineers currently rooted full-time in the company suggested to a large number of tech websites and gaming enthusiasts that AMD hardware would take second place in Valve’s prototype systems.
This though, is not the case. Responding to an email query from Forbes, Valve’s Doug Lombardi explained, “Last week, we posted some technical specs of our first wave of Steam Machine prototypes. Although the graphics hardware that we’ve selected for the first wave of prototypes is a variety of Nvidia cards, that is not an indication that Steam Machines are Nvidia-only.”
Aware of the rumours, he went on to assure readers that “In 2014, there will be Steam Machines commercially available with graphics hardware made by AMD, Nvidia, and Intel. Valve has worked closely together with all three of these companies on optimizing their hardware for SteamOS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.”
The first official Steam Machines are expected to hit shelves early next year, but those who can’t wait that long are in luck. Anyone can apply to be part of the beta programme that will see 300 of the devices handed out by Valve.