Computer hardware companies have a vested interested in PC gaming, so it's no wonder that so many firms are excited about Valve's
Steam Machine platform. No less than 14 OEM and boutique system builders
announced Steam Machine configurations of their own at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, and if that weren't enough, Intel gave each of the 1,200 Valve Developer Day attendees a Gigabyte Brix Pro
Intel's generosity stems in part from its desire to showcase its Iris Pro graphics. Each Brix Pro system sports an Intel Core i7 4770R quad-core processor (3.2GHz to 3.9GHz, 6MB cache) with integrated Iris Pro graphics 5200 (200MHz base frequency, 1.3GHz max dynamic frequency), along with several other goodies in a mini PC package.
Integrated graphics have never been much to brag about, though Intel changed that perception with the introduction of Haswell
, and in particular Iris Pro, which triples the performance of its previous generation graphics. It even supports 4K Ultra HD displays, though don't expect to do much gaming at that resolution. Still, Iris Pro is pretty impressive.
Most Steam Machines are slated to ship in the second half of this year. It will be interesting to see what developers come up with between now and then.