As promised, Valve released the last Friday to any parties willing to install the beta software onto their own hardware for testing. This is the same software that is installed on the beta Steam Boxes that were sent to those lucky individuals selected for the first round of the public hardware testing. There are a large number of caveats with regards to the beta software which may prevent your ability to even run Steam OS on your own hardware. Most of it is covered in Valve’s that was posted as well. The basic hardware requirements right now are 64-bit x86 processor, 4GB memory, 500GB hard drive, NVIDIA Graphics, UEFI boot support and a USB port for the installation.
Sadly, I’m unable to test out the Steam OS currently as I don’t have a spare system with UEFI or a working NVIDIA graphics cards. It is also important to point out to people thinking about testing this out that the installer currently wipes out any data on the installed hard drive. This means that you can’t really install it on a secondary partition with a dual boot setup from the files that Valve provides. I’m sure that some individuals will find ways to hack different features into the OS as they do provide the source for it and it is a modified Debian Linux distribution.
Personal computers have had a long and rich history of gaming behind them. Most people however do not use their computer for gaming and instead use a dedicated console such as the Microsoft XBOX, Nintento Wii or Sony Playstation. As personal computers have become smaller and more powerful, they now have the potential to be easily integrated into a home theater with a big HDTV. The PC has never really been standardized like a console making this something up to individuals and manufacturers to create PC gaming systems available that would be used as gaming specific home theater PCs. Valve has made two very vague announcements regarding a new software and hardware platform that they hope will turn the PC into a dedicated console. But how will this exactly work? Continue reading