I built my first PC when I was 12 and believe that if you have any love for the platform, you should learn how to build one yourself. Having said that, however, I realize that not everyone has the time or patience to learn how to build a rig (even though it’s really not hard to do). I’ve been doing a lot of research lately, as I’ve picked up the system reviews beat for Maximum PC, and notice that there’s a negative stigma against people who buy pre-built machines. “Just build it yourself,” these judgmental commenters say. As much as I want everyone to know how to put together their PCs, I’d rather them buy pre-built PCs if it might be their only entrance into our awesome clubhouse. In essence, I think it’s OK to buy pre-built.
Built for PC gaming and entertainment, but don't call it a PC
Valve kind of dropped the ball on the whole Steam Machine initiative when it decided to delay the platform's official launch until next year so that it could have additional time to tweak the controller. The fallout from that decision is that third-party hardware partners are left holding Steam Machine designs that are ready to go now. What's a company to do? Drop the Steam Machine nomenclature and roll with what you have. For iBuyPower, that means announcing the SBX Entertainment System.
MSI joins iBuyPower's customizable OptiBoost program
Your options for configuring a name brand gaming laptop from iBuyPower are expanding. As part of what iBuyPower is calling its Optiboost program, select notebook makers are teaming up with the boutique builder to offer customizable laptops. iBuyPower kicked off its Optiboost program last month with Gigabyte, and now MSI is joining the program with five different laptops to choose from.
Back in November 2013 Valve announced iBuyPower as one of its partners that would be developing and selling a Steam Machine. At E3 2014, iBuyPower has shown its Steam Machine, the SBX, to Maximum PC editor Jimmy Thang.
Customize a gaming laptop just like you would a desktop
Boutique builder iBuyPower is introducing OptiBoost, a fancy name for a customization program that will offer many of the same configuration options when shopping for a gaming laptop as you'll find when customizing a desktop PC. iBuyPower isn't really breaking new ground here, but presumably you'll have more options to choose from than when typically shopping a laptop PC. And to kick things off, iBuyPower will offer its OptiBoost program on select Gigabyte gaming notebooks.
The Steam Machines may not be here yet, but these small form factor PCs may be the next best thing
Ask a civvie what a gaming PC is and they’ll say it's a machine slightly smaller than an HVAC system that breathes fire. That, gentle readers, is no longer the case. Alienware planted the seeds of a revolution with its first X51 by shoehorning a real GPU into a machine the size of a VCR. And in the year-and-change since then, interest in micro-towers has exploded (partly due to the looming Steam Machines, no doubt).
Note: This Article was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.
Updated: Now with specs and even more Steam Machine pictures!
Note: We have since updated the gallery below with more pictures and specs following Valve's CES Steam Machine unveiling.
Up until now, most of the images you've seen of the Steam Machines have been leaked images or renders. With CES 2014 now under way, we decided to round up official Steam Machine pictures and everything we know about the Steam Machines so far. So make sure to peruse the gallery below and let us know what your favorite Steam Machine is so far.