One year past Valve’s big Steam Machine unveiling at CES 2014 and they still don’t exist, thanks to delays on both the hardware (Steam Controller) and software (SteamOS) sides. But that hasn’t stopped PC manufacturers from trying to move into your living room.
Case in point: Origin’s new Omega PC, which was just revealed at CES 2015. Now, Origin already has a line of living room-ready PCs known as Chronos. You might remember them from last year’s Steam Machine unveiling, actually—Origin’s dual-Nvidia Titan-powered Chronos box was far and away the most powerful system on display.
Talking with Origin, it sounds like the main difference between the Chronos and Omega lines resides with the chassis.
The Chronos line currently lets you choose between four different small form factor cases and two mini-tower cases, but all six look, well, like miniature computers. That’s fine if you’re not picky, or if you’re just looking to own a powerful computer without the massive footprint of a traditional tower. Chronos isn’t exactly designed for the living room though—it just happens to work in the living room.
The new Omega line is housed in dedicated home theater cases, as pictured here:
It’s definitely a very understated aesthetic. No massive light displays on the front, no gaudy logos, nothing but black and darker black, broken by a few ports. In other words, Omega is tailored to fit into your living room without calling attention to itself—even more so than the Xbox One, with its bright white logo on the front.
All machines in the Omega line feature liquid cooling and Origin’s optional CPU overclocking, as well as the latest Nvidia cards (900 series, plus I assume the Titan Black and Titan Z). And if you’re dead-set on a living-room PC that rivals the power of a full tower, you can even get an Omega-line PC with triple-SLI support. That’s… probably enough power.
Picking up Steam?
As I said, we’re still waiting for Steam Machines even though the hype has understandably cooled over the past year. With Omega slated for a 2015 release, could this be the start of Steam Machines Round Two?
I wouldn’t be surprised. Origin’s press release specifically lists “Dual Boot Capabilities With Multiple Operating Systems” as a feature, and that certainly leaves it open for a SteamOS version in the future. Even the base version of Omega has the option to boot directly into Steam Big Picture Mode, similar to Alienware Alpha.
The only catch is cost. While Origin has yet to announce pricing for the Omega line I wouldn’t expect it to differ substantially from the Chronos machines, which start at $1,250 and go up from there. If anything, Omega’s probably more expensive than Chronos, because of the “Pick two: Small, Powerful, Cheap” paradigm in computing. Add in the cost of (potentially) three Titan Z cards and this thing isn’t exactly aimed at the same living room crowd as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
TV and Video
Hayden writes about games for PCWorld and doubles as the resident Zork enthusiast.