Zotac Steam Machine ZBOX NEN SN970 Review

SteamOS - What the future holds

Zotac Steam Machine SN970 Review

SteamOS - What the future holds

Like most things that are new SteamOS and Valve's Steam Machines suffer from a few problems, most of which are simply due to the fact that SteamOS is new, different and not like PC gaming as we know it. 

This is very similar to a new games console, and a lot of the issues with Linux/SteamOS gaming can be easily described as the plagues of being an Early adopter. Right now many people will argue that SteamOS does not have many games, to which I will say that neither did the Wii U, PS4 and Xbox One when it was initially launched.

Right now SteamOS has over 1000 compatible games on the Steam Service, which is a lot of games to say the least. While plenty of new games are not released on Linux right not, more are certainly coming, and more and more developers are becoming increasingly interested in PC gaming outside of Windows. 

 

Zotac Steam Machine NEN SN970 Review

 

GPU Drivers and the Vulkan API

On Linux the situation for GPUs is not as good as it is in Windows right now, but it is rapidly improving. AMD has already promised better GPU drivers on both Windows and Linux and Nvidia have already greatly improved their Linux performance over the past year. 

One thing that also needs to be noted is that the Khronos Groups Vulkan API is coming and being a multi-platform, multi-vendor next generation API it has already received the backing from Valve, AMD, Nvidia, Blizzard and many other companies. 

Vulkan is essentially an AMD Mantle based next generation API which is more or less the equivalent of DirectX 12, but unlike DirectX 12 it is capable of running on a Non-Microsoft OS' like Linux, SteamOS, Android and Apple OS X as well as any recent Windows based OS'.  

What Vulkan will do is cause a gaming revolution for non-windows based PC platforms, as current cross-platform API's like OpenGL is considered by most developers to be inferior to DirectX 11, so a new API to power future Linux and Mac OS compatible games will do a lot to improve gaming on these platforms. One thing to also note is that Vulkan powered games will also work on Windows, so making games which work on multiple platforms will be much simpler, allowing more games to be released on SteamOS. 

 

KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API

  

With AMD and Nvidia working hard to improve their drivers and with the Vulkan API on the way the performance situation for games on Linux is set to improve tremendously within the next year. 

 

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Most Recent Comments

20-11-2015, 04:33:27

Wraith
Impressive! I can honestly see these machines becoming the death of consoles in the future, or at least the kick up the back side that Sony or Microsoft need to actually make games consoles attractive to the enthusiasts among us, but then again what would be the point in a console that has a 12 year shelf life, where's the profit in that.Quote

20-11-2015, 04:35:04

King of Old Old School
Can anyone say Console Killer Quote

20-11-2015, 05:19:25

stiff77
Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Old School View Post
Can anyone say Console Killer
It's £799.99

That's an Xbox One, A PS4 and £200 for games.

It's not killing anything. I can build a faster machine that is slightly bigger for less than this.Quote

20-11-2015, 05:28:01

Wraith
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiff77 View Post
It's £799.99

That's an Xbox One, A PS4 and £200 for games.

It's not killing anything. I can build a faster machine that is slightly bigger for less than this.
Aye but PC games are cheaper and have many many early access sites offering better prices compared to the mandatory £49.99 console game RRP, no online subscription fees, Steam library far out wieghs the level of titles available on consoles, with those savings alone it's a bonus. Admittedly Yes you could indeed build a Steam machine yourself for less and greater spec so again win win. I can still personnaly see Steam machines killing the console market.Quote

20-11-2015, 07:15:17

clownfromhell
I would love to see some benchmarks on this machine running Windows 10. I seriously consider buying it (I dig the form factor and I own and love a Zotac HTPC) for 1080p gaming on a TV, but I don't intend to ruin my experience with a subpar OS (and gamepad - Xbox One controller with a dongle is a must).Quote
Reply
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