Fanning the flames of Valve's Steam Machine initiative with a Spark
Valve isn't having any trouble lining up hardware partners to build Steam Machine systems of varying power and shapes at different price points. One of those companies is Maingear, a boutique builder out of New Jersey that decided to go with an AMD foundation inside a small form factor (SFF) chassis for its take on a Steam Machine. The aptly named Spark measures only 4.5 inches wide by 4.23 inches deep by 2.34 inches high and weighs less than a pound.
Inside the tiny chassis is an AMD A8-5557M quad-core APU clocked at 2.1GHz (3.1GHz Turbo), Radeon R9 M275X graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, two SO-DIMM slots with support for up to 16GB of DDR3-1600MHz RAM, a single mSATA slot that supports up to a 256GB SSD, and a single 2.5-inch HDD tray (SATA 6Gbps). It also has a GbE LAN port, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, half size mini-PCIe slot, HDMI output, mini DisplayPort, four USB 3.0 ports, a few other odds and ends.
"The SPARK is a first for MAINGEAR, this extremely small and powerful gaming box will make gamers really look at what they want in a small form factor PC." said Wallace Santos, CEO and founder of Maingear. "We have been working with Valve for over a year building what we think is a great performing tiny PC with tons of storage for games and entertainment, we are very excited to be releasing this soon."
Maingear says the Spark will be available in mid to late Q1 2014. Pricing has not yet been determined, though the boutique builder promises it will be an "affordable PC solution."