Zotac Steam Machine ZBOX NEN SN970 Review


Zotac Steam Machine SN970 Review


When Valve first announced SteamOS we knew that the landscape for PC gaming was going to change, firstly that Linux gaming was going to become viable platform for PC gamers and secondly PC gaming was moving towards the living room in a big way, either by making use of Steam's In-Home Streaming or by playing games there directly with a Steam Machine or other small form factor PCs.  

Zotac have sent us their first Steam Machine, the Zotac NEN, first machine of it's kind. Inside it contains both the latest hardware in the form of Intel's Skylake 6400T CPU and Nvidia's Maxwell GTX 960 GPU but also contains the full, non-beta release of SteamOS, Valve's own Debian 8 based Linux operating system.

One thing that must be noted is that SteamOS is a free operating system, which should mean that Steam Machines should be cheaper than their Windows 10 equivalents. This model comes with Valve's Steam Controller, which is a £39.99 add-on, so we will also see in this review how we fare with this non-traditional input method. 


Zotac NEN Steam Machine

What Zotac have delivered here is a machine which is not only smaller than both the Xbox One and the PS4, but is ready for almost anything that you can throw at it. With HDMI 2.0 this machine is 4K ready, which is a feature that both of today's lack and provides all the versatility that a PC can provide. 

What this machine is designed to deliver is options, the option to dive deep into Linux or install Windows to give you an almost limitless amount of customizability or to simply stick with SteamOS, which is designed to deliver the plug-and-play experience that console gamers love.

Unlike today's consoles this machine offers the possibility of hardware upgrades, like adding more system memory or upgrading to a SATA or M.2 based SSD and offers the possibility to connect modern devices with USB Type-c connectors or a large range of memory cards.

Zotac's Steam Machine is highly impressive when it comes to the hardware inside, but what is most interesting about this product is the fact that Zotac claim that this Steam Machine is "whisper quiet", which is something which is certainly not the case for the next generation consoles I have used. Let's see if this Machine can possibly live up to the hype. 


Zotac Steam Machine SN970 Review  

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Most Recent Comments

20-11-2015, 04:33:27

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

Can anyone say Console Killer Quote

20-11-2015, 05:19:25

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

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

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

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