Gaming had been a major chokepoint for the Linux platform over the last couple of years. Following its launch in the early ‘90s, the open-source operating system had difficulty competing in the gaming arena for decades. Thanks to the significant upgrades in recent years, gaming on Linux has now improved.
Steam and Feral Interactive are among the premier digital distribution platforms that have made great strides in terms of improving a player’s Linux gaming experience. For its part, Steam built a range of gaming consoles under the Steam Machines family. At its core, Steam Machines are computers that double as a gaming console. In addition to Steam Machines, there are other Linux gaming console products already available in the market today. Without further ado, let’s check out some of these consoles.
Alienware Steam Machine (recommended)
If you’re looking for an immersive gaming experience complete with a vast selection of games in full 1080p HD on your TV, then the Alienware Steam Machine is a nice find. The console packs the high-performance NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU 2GB GDDR5 graphics and Intel Core processors. Players can also have a holistic command of games using the Steam Controller that ships with the console.
Released in November 2015 by Alienware, the console also lets players stream Steam games to their TV from their home network. Players can gain quick access to a massive library of Steam games, entertainment, and a community of gamers worldwide even without a membership fee.
Zotac NEN (suggested)
NEN is a sleek Steam Machine with a discreet form factor. Released in November 2015 by Zotac, the gaming console is powered by the sixth-generation Intel Core i5-6400T quad-core Skylake processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 graphics hardware. Like other gaming consoles, NEN comes with a controller to run a vast array of games, including first person shooters and real time strategy games. The gaming console also packs dual trackpads, HD haptic feedback, dual-stage triggers, and back grip buttons.
Maingear DRIFT combines the latest hardware from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD to provide ultra HD gaming in the living room. The customizable gaming console boasts of its uni-body aluminum chassis that houses the same power as a full desktop PC.
Game storage often requires massive memory capacity. But with Maingear DRIFT, storage doesn’t have to be one of your worries. The console offers several storage options, including two SSDs and a large HDD. If those options are not enough, you can upgrade the console for a richer games library.
Maingear, the console’s manufacturer, designed the gaming device with a small form factor and a closed loop liquid cooling that requires no maintenance. The console also packs an impressive airflow. Users will also be able to personalize the console’s color with Maingear’s automotive paint finish. Powered by Valve’s Steam OS, DRIFT provides excellent performance to players with a smooth interface. DRIFT is available to purchase from Maingear for $1,099.
Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in other gaming laptops, headsets and controllers, check out our wide collection of guides.
Materiel.net Steam Machine
Materiel.net Steam Machine packs a modern architecture that offers an impressive HD visual experience to players. Powered by Steam OS, the Steam Machine allows players to launch Steam games on TV. The console also provides users the ability to share content including music and videos.
The Steam machine features the Intel Core I5 and NVIDIA GTX 960. Its scalability also means you can upgrade the graphics card, RAM, processor, and storage to enjoy the latest games. The console is available to order from Materiel.net’s website.
Scan 3XS ST
3XS Systems worked closely with Valve and NVIDIA to develop the ST-series of gaming consoles, a small form factor gaming PC built to consume little space in the living room. Compared to traditional gaming consoles, Scan 3XS ST is more quiet and only a quarter of a PC’s size, with a dimension of 382 x 105 x 350 mm.
Users can also customize the ST-series system using different GPUs, CPUs, RAM, and storage devices available for the console. You can snag the gaming console from Scan.
While Windows remains the de-facto platform for gaming, Linux now wants to catch up with those gaming consoles. If there are any other Linux gaming console hardware not mentioned above, let us know about them in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.