The Valve-endorsed Steam Machines have finally been making their rounds this quarter, with companies like Alienware and Zotac putting out their contributions today. But, of course, the obvious options aren’t always the best, and that applies to Steam Machines too.
That’s because, also starting today, Maingear–a less common contender–is joining the arms race with its power-packed ‘Drift’ Steam Machine. Unlike its competitors, the Maingear Drift doesn’t use mid-to-high-range Haswell processors, nor does it possess a moderately capable Nvidia GPU. While other Steam Machine makers can barely pull off 1080p on the bigger budget games, Maingear advertises a rig that can pull off 4K resolutions, presumably with ease.
As detailed on its website, Maingear’s developed a Steam box with some hardy PC components, some configurations of which gamers might otherwise select on their own in the process of building a computer. The only difference is that a Steam Machine comes without the extra labor.
If you happen to buy a Drift from Maingear, you’ll have the option of either a Haswell-based, or a faster Skylake-based, Intel processor, with up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, along with a host of GPU choices. GPU options start with Nvidia’s GTX 750 or AMD’s R7 360X and ramp all the way up to a Titan X or an R9 Fury.
Depending on your needs, the Drift can be configured with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and, interestingly enough, includes support for up to two 2.5-inch drives, along with one 3.5-incher. Additionally, there’s an optical bay drive for those who wish to install a Blu-Ray or DVD drive. Maingear somehow managed to squeeze all of this into a 14.8 x 13.8 x 4.2-inch chassis.
The Drift looks like a contender if gaming at 4K is your goal. If, however, you’re looking for something more compact and a bit less PC-like, you may want to shop around some more. While the Drift can be configured with Steam OS, it also bolsters support for either Windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Home and Pro, making it more versatile than some of the other Steam Machines on the market.
Gamers looking at the Drift might also want to consider the Origin Omega, which we reviewed earlier this year.
The Maingear Drift is available for purchase now. You can get yourself Skylake-equipped rig for $1,199 and up while the Haswell models begin at $2,399. Regardless of which you choose, the system is bundled with a Steam controller and–for an additional $249–an optional travel case.
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