Steam Machine Teardown Reiterates Why PCs Rule and Tablets Drool

After reading the title, you might be thinking, "OMG why does HotHardware hate tablets?!?!" Don't get us wrong, we think tablets are great for what they're designed to do, but when it comes to servicing and/or upgrading parts on your own, they don't hold a candle next to a traditional PC. Teardown after teardown reveals liberal use of adhesive and other challenging factors, as tablets just aren't built to be cracked open like a desktop. Underscoring this point is iFixIt's teardown analysis of Valve's prototype Steam Machine, a full-fledged PC in a console-like shell.

If the Steam Machine design represents the future of PC gaming, rest assured, you'll still be able to upgrade and replace components with ease. Even taking apart the controller was easy -- just remove a few screws and the plastic casing separates into two halves, iFixIt says.

Steam Machine Motherboard
Image Source: iFixIt

As for the Steam Machine itself, there's no mistaking this for a traditional console when taking a closer look. The back sports a familiar I/O panel with ports galore, along with the inputs for the graphics card. To gain access to its innards, a single screw needs removed, which then allows you to lift up the top panel that wraps around both sides of the device.

Specs will vary, though tucked inside this Steam Machine was a 1TB solid state hybrid drive, Zotac GeForce GTX 780 graphics card, 16GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i5 4570 processor. All of them were just as easy to remove as any other PC, minus the challenge of getting to them. Being a small form factor (SFF) PC, the tight confines made things a bit challenging.

Steam Machine Teardown
Image Source: iFixIt

"The inner cowling is one complex bit of custom-fitted craftsmanship," iFixIt said. "Its two parts were a little tough to wrangle out of their homes."

Be that as it may, the overall experience was very good, earning the Steam Machine a 9/10 "Repairability Score." It received props for being designed to be opened and worked on, as well as its modular construction with off-the-shelf components.