Valve has confirmed that its upcoming Steam Machine devices will include models based on AMD and Intel graphics hardware, following the announcement that all 300 of its prototypes would run varying types of Nvidia GPU.
Based around the company's yet-to-launch SteamOS Linux distribution, an offshoot of Canonical's Ubuntu Linux geared towards running the company's Steam digital distribution system in Big Picture mode, the first official Steam Machines are expected to arrive on the market from a variety of manufacturers early next year. Those eager to get their hands on the devices early, however, can apply to be part of a beta programme and be in with a chance of receiving one of 300 prototypes produced by Valve itself.
The specifications for each prototype vary somewhat, corresponding to Valve founder Gabe Newell's vision of a 'good, better, best' ranking system - but all feature Nvidia graphics cards, leaving some wondering if the company has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Valve to power all official Steam Machines now and in the future.
The answer: no, it hasn't. 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.
'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 optimising their hardware for SteamOS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.
The news will be welcomed by AMD fans: it had long been thought that AMD's accelerated processing units (APUs), which power the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next-generation consoles, would be found in at least the lower two tiers of Steam Machines - hopes that had seemed dashed by Valve's exclusive use of Nvidia hardware in the prototypes.