While some think of them as "console killers", Steam's 'Steam Machines' are still very much a work in progress with the first beta testing units shipping tomorrow.
As Steam Machines are a standard rather than a proprietary device, various companies can manufacture them with a whole bunch of them expected to premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Over the past week or so though we've seen designs of the first two debut, differing machines which represent the far ends of the spectrum.
On the one hand there's iBuyPower's budget models - the 'Gordon' and the 'Freeman' which start at USD $499. They come with an AMD Radeon R9 270 graphics card and 500GB hard disk drive. The machines are said to be capable of running all Steam titles at a minimum of 1080p and 60 frames per second, but runs Steam OS only.
On the other there's Digital Storm's high-end model which starts at USD $1469. Optional upgrades include liquid CPU cooling, a GeForce GTX Titan graphics card, advanced thermal management, a chassis slightly larger than an Xbox One, and 700W PSU.
It also can dual-boot Windows and Steam OS - giving the machine a far bigger range of games as SteamOS/Linux is very limited at this point in terms of the available game range.