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?????? The Steamboy resurfaces: SMACH Zero, Q4 '16, pre-orders starting Nov 10, 299€

So, this was last year's thread. Got locked. Then radio silence.

Till a couple of months ago there was a press release including the specs and that they would attend GC, which a couple of sites covered, but there was no big buzz or anything. "I still don't think this is real, they're probably joking" is what I thought and others at SteamGAF also didn't give it much thought other than "neat idea, hopefully it's real".

Now, they indeed had a booth at GC and confirmed its price and estimated launch window. No big site covered it.

pics of the booth: https://twitter.com/smachzero/status/630000187067346944
trailer about price: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TOUc-MCMUE

I have no idea what's going on. Are they running with this hoax too far or it's real? Can anyone just register at GC? Surely it isn't cheap. This is their site: http://www.smachzero.com/ which doesn't offer anything about the company.

This is Stump's take on this

There's nothing implausible about a portable linux machine with those specs and the price doesn't seem plainly impossible. However, manufacturing hardware is very hard and I'm dubious any time a small first-time company claims they've got the situation on lock. I wouldn't give money to anyone who claims they'll give me hardware a year from now because of the massive number of factors beyond someone's control. Even if a company said "We know this is hard, and we've built lots of flexibility into our process so we can still make this if we lose suppliers", etc etc I'd still assume they're underestimating the complexity. I mostly treat hardware projects of any kind as bunk until they're shipping. Not clear to me if the company is trying to make money on the hardware or just exist long enough and get enough buzz to get bought by a large firm.

I think the concept is OK. Interesting that the minimum hardware reqs for low-end PC games have been stagnant for so long that portable form-factor tech have caught up to it. Doesn't surprise me, given that a lot of mobile SOCs are now theoretically in the ballpark of the 360/PS3 (caveat: efficiency losses due to thick, slow mobile APIs versus faster, closer-to-metal APIs on consoles).

Like most specialty portable hardware I can't see it doing huge numbers. This is clearly a company that wants to sell a few tens of thousands in a best-case scenario rather than a few million. The Shield is around 100k in North America based on the recall numbers announced this week, and nVidia is clearly a company with a lot more experience on hardware, better ability to tap supply chains, more marketing (hell, it's in their fucking video card driver control panel). So if you're making something like this that's your "ceiling", roughly

since he didn't dismiss it outright, figured a thread wouldn't be silly. If you think this is real, what's your take on the specs, price etc
 
A 300 dollar Linux based portable that can barely run any of the supported games doesn't sound like a good investment to me.
Saw it this morning, seems weird and/or fake to me
 

I Wanna Be The Guy

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Fuck it. I'm getting hyped. I need to believe in this. With Sony gone from the handheld market after the Vita this is the only thing that can save handheld gaming.
 

I Wanna Be The Guy

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
I find the lack of interest in this disturbing. I mean even if it doesn't turn out to be real this is still worth talking about. If a true portable steam machine ever becomes a reality it would be a godsend to handheld gaming.
 

redlemon

Member
I find the lack of interest in this disturbing. I mean even if it doesn't turn out to be real this is still worth talking about. If a true portable steam machine ever becomes a reality it would be a godsend to handheld gaming.

A portable PC handheld would probably be my ideal handheld. There's too little information on this and no credentials to the team. Hardware has a million ways to fuck up. There's no way I'd buy something from a team like this unless it's already been out for half a year at least to make sure there aren't any serious faults like there almost always is when small teams get included in manufacturing.
 
Fuck it. I'm getting hyped. I need to believe in this. With Sony gone from the handheld market after the Vita this is the only thing that can save handheld gaming.
A random no-name company releasing a portable variant of a steam machine for 300 is likely not going to even sell more than a couple 100 thousand units let alone save portable gaming. Probably best to stick to mobile and whatever Nintendo makes next instead
 

Jebusman

Banned
So considering the presumed size of this device, and looking at the models of the AMD Steppe Eagle line, I'm trying to figure out which one would likely make the most sense.

The only one I can see that would fit would be the GX-412HC. 4 Jaguar cores @ 1.2GHz, 2MB L2, GPU @ 300MHz (can't confirm which one, I'm thinking Radeon HD8210E, which has a measly 80 shaders), all in a 7W envelope.

Every other model is either 2 cores (which would seem woefully underpowered), or above 10W TDP (which I feel wouldn't be doable in the form factor I'm assuming they're going for).

I can't find any real benchmarks or details on performance for any of the Steppe Eagle line. The only thing I saw was from AMD's press releases, claiming more than a 2x advantage in CPU and 5x advantage in GPU over an "Intel Atom processor", but using the GX-415GA, which is clocked at 1.5GHz, with the GPU at 500MHz (and twice the shaders, 160), with a 15W TDP.

Also, that Atom processor was the D525, from 5 years ago.

So yeah, I could be completely off base with all of this, but I really don't see the excitement this could bring. Honestly I'm more impressed with the $100~ tier Atom tablets than I would be with this thing.
 

I Wanna Be The Guy

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
A random no-name company releasing a portable variant of a steam machine for 300 is likely not going to even sell more than a couple 100 thousand units let alone save portable gaming. Probably best to stick to mobile and whatever Nintendo makes next instead
It doesn't need to sell well to save portable gaming. It just needs to exist.
 

I Wanna Be The Guy

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
I think it does.

This is like saying the Ouya will save the console industry. It didn't need to sell well, it just needed to exist.
Why does it need to sell well? Does it selling like shit stop the thing from existing? Does it magically make that god tier library it would already have from day 1 disappear?
 

MUnited83

For you.
I think it does.

This is like saying the Ouya will save the console industry. It didn't need to sell well, it just needed to exist.

It really doesn't. Like, at all. The point is that if the thing comes out will have a fucking huge library available day one, one that will never stop growing. This doesn't happen with the Ouya because it's their own crappy and limited OS. This thing, by having Linux and the possibility of installing Windows, would be the best handheld machine ever made, and support would be continuous. It really only needs to exist. It won't save the "handheld" industry, but it would be the best thing ever for people who like to play on handhelds anyway, with the god-like library.
 
It really doesn't. Like, at all. The point is that if the thing comes out will have a fucking huge library available day one, one that will never stop growing. This doesn't happen with the Ouya because it's their own crappy and limited OS. This thing, by having Linux and the possibility of installing Windows, would be the best handheld machine ever made, and support would be continuous. It really only needs to exist. It won't save the "handheld" industry, but it would be the best thing ever for people who like to play on handhelds anyway, with the god-like library.
I've 100 games right now on my library that are both linux ready and have very low system requirements.

This thing now has my attention.
 

Jebusman

Banned
Thing doesn't even have a d-pad.

I only just noticed they're using (part of) the old steam controller setup with that mockup picture there. The current steam controller has a D-PAD esque imprint on the left "circle", but this is still using the old style "ring" setup they initially showed off. It's not dead on the same, but I'm surprised that's what they're going with.

Old:

New:
 

Nzyme32

Member
Probably fake.

But if there was a nice portable, capable of loading civ v and Sunless Sea, I'd be more than interested. There are plenty of light games on Steam to make such a system useful.
 

Teuoxton

Member
I hope it isn't fake. With all the Nvidia Shields blowing up we need a PC handheld.

The name reminds me of that steampunk movie from the same guy that did Akira. I know it's a reference to the Gameboy but maybe it could have been its own thing.
 

Crub

Member
With dirt cheap tablets getting better and better at running Windows I can see Game Boy-esque Steam Machines getting more and more viable. The questions is if there really is a market for them. Why buy a Steamboy over said tablets?

The tablets will do touch-friendly games as well as any non-gaming activity better. People are better off looking some sort of controller attachment for their tablets.
 

Dolor

Member
With 4G support, it would be god-tier commuting handheld. Would probably make me start taking the bus again.
 

Tunesmith

formerly "chigiri"
The booth at Gamescom they say is theirs isn't. It was run by a company called GameBoosters. Unless that company is the one behind this thing? I'm on mobile so can't check properly.

#tinfoil

And seeing the location of that booth is in the corner of one of the least travelled areas of the convention they could have easily thrown up posters and done photos just for the Twitter post temporarily. :p
 

prudislav

Member
Really love the idea of handheld device capable of running at least half of my library - would be great way to shorten my backlog
 

belmonkey

Member
$300 seems a bit steep. If only there could be something for $150 or less that could unite the steam controller and the steam link in a portable device with an HD screen. I'd love handheld PC gaming / streaming.
 
It's an interesting idea, and if SteamOS takes off in any decent capacity I imagine this product won't be the last that tries something like this.

That said, it's using an AMD SoC and and has pretty meh graphics drivers for linux at the moment which is even more important when talking about lower-end hardware. Though I guess the appeal of the product won't be to play UE4 and CryEngine games since those aren't going to run well on any SoC for a few years at least (aside from stripped-down mobile games/ports), in which case I suppose AMD's linux drivers would suffice for playing all the hottest new indie games. AMD has a plan in place that sounds promising in terms of cleaning up their linux drivers but that only affects GCN 1.2+ GPUs, which I am not sure the SoC here has.
 

RedSwirl

Junior Member
It's an idea I really want to see someone pull off, but we might still be a couple years off. I don't know, we already have sub-$100 tablets that run Skyrim and Crysis to a playable degree. Plus, there are already hundreds of SteamOS games that will run on really low-end devices.

I wouldn't be buying this to play Batman or even Civ though. More like Nuclear Throne, Cave Story, and FTL... without having to buy extra copies on iOS or Vita.
 

cyberheater

PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 PS4 Xbone PS4 PS4
I'm kinda interested in this as a device I could stream my game too.

I hope the screen is really sharp with great contrast and colour.
 

mnannola

Member
If I could install and play a bunch of my steam indie backlog on this thing I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Need to see specs and some more evidence it will actually be a real thing before getting too excited.
 

Mihos

Gold Member
Release it at $300 and I will buy it, warts and all. Even if it ends up a Linux hobby handheld at the end, that is a pretty good deal.
 

FlipCup

Neo Member
http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/11/steam-machine-steamboy-smach-zero/

The Steam Machine invasion is happening this fall. But while these computers are said to be more powerful than traditional consoles, such as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, none of them are exactly portable. Smach Zero's device, however, is. Formerly known as Steamboy, the handheld system runs Valve's SteamOS and features a 5-inch, 720p screen, 32GB of onboard storage (plus an SD card slot), 4GB RAM, HDMI-out and configurable gamepads. In terms of connectivity, you'll find Bluetooth, WiFi and, on the Pro model, 4G for true on-the-go gaming. Smach Zero is also promising access to over 1,000 Steam games at launch, but we'll have to wait and see if that turns out to be true. According to the manufacturer, it will be available during Q4 of 2016 starting at $299. If you'd like to pre-order it, you can do so on November 10th -- the same day as other Steam Machines are launching.

Back in June, Smach Zero said the handheld would be powered by AMD's G-Series system-on-chip (Steppe Eagle) with Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics, which should be good enough to play through SteamOS titles like BioShock Infinite, Civilization V, Half-Life 2 and many more.
 

Sorcerer

Member
This has to be a joke.
What would the battery life for something like this be?
Their website is not reassuring. Something this amazing coming out in 3 months and a webpage that only tells you to sign up and stay tuned.
Also weird combo of Amd and Steam Os. They don't exactly play nice together as Amd driver support for linux is not great.
Referencing the Owl trackpads.
I wonder it this is a joke that Valve is behind. I mean they are releasing the same day as the actual Steam Machines from what I understand.
 
If this is legit (a huge if) then I will buy the fuck out of this or something similar. A portable SteamOS console with Valve's touchpads and the ability to stream from a main PC would be truly fantastic.
 

RedSwirl

Junior Member
Y'know, at the very least this could end up being a really good portable emulator machine, and people buying it as such wouldn't fuck up the manufacturer's profits (like it did with Ouya) because they're just selling the hardware. Same with all Steam Machines really, some people could just end up buying the lower end models to use as beefy emulator consoles.

But for actual PC games, if you look there are plenty of good SteamOS games that don't even need a dedicated GPU to run. The main issue is that list doesn't really include the most popular games on Steam right now. The best games to run on the Smach Zero would be the more niche stuff with retro graphics. Maybe the older Source Engine games will run with a bunch of settings turned down.

This has to be a joke.
What would the battery life for something like this be?
Their website is not reassuring. Something this amazing coming out in 3 months and a webpage that only tells you to sign up and stay tuned.
Also weird combo of Amd and Steam Os. They don't exactly play nice together as Amd driver support for linux is not great.
Referencing the Owl trackpads.
I wonder it this is a joke that Valve is behind. I mean they are releasing the same day as the actual Steam Machines from what I understand.

Q4 2016.

I still think there's a chance we might be another two or three years away from something like this being really feasible though.
 

Alchemy

Member
I'd take a look at this once I see the hardware and see reviews of the units. Not going anywhere near prepurchasing that.
 

Circinus

Member
Would be more interesting if a device like this one would be running Windows 10 imho.

Anyway, looks decent.


I wonder what's the battery life is going to be like though..
 
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