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iConsole.tv Gets Upgraded with Haswell Iris Graphics for the Cost of a PS4 or Xbox One

September 20, 2013 - Written By Lucian Armasu

If you didn’t think  ARM-based consoles are crazy enough (at least those with old dual core processors or with Tegra 3), then you’re about to hear something even crazier. The company behind iConsole.tv wants to sell you a console (that’s basically a full Android/Linux-based PC) with an upgraded Haswell processor and integrated Iris 5100  GPU (not Iris Pro 5200, the significantly faster one with embedded DRAM). Why is this so crazy? Because it will cost between $400-$500, for which you could either a PS4, or if you prefer, an Xbox One.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean nobody would buy an alternative console that costs just as much as a PS4 or Xbox One. The main problem that I see with this one is that it costs just as much as those, and yet it will have much less graphics performance (about 2x less than Xbox One, and 3x less than PS4). It will however have 8 GB of DDR3 RAM (no unified VRAM here), and 500 GB of HDD storage. But again, with that kind of GPU performance, it’s just not worth it.

We may see the “official” Steambox come out from Valve next week, and it may cost just as much, but my guess is it will have much better hardware (probably an Nvidia Maxwell-based GPU, that’s at least as powerful as the PS4). So if you’re looking for some sort of Linux-based “Steam box” option as an alternative to the PS4 and Xbox One, I’d suggest to at least wait for the official one. That one is probably going to have much better support and software optimization, too (at the OS/driver-level).

If you’re looking for an Android-based console, then paying $400+ for one is probably not worth it anyway, because there aren’t any games that need that kind of performance on Android right now. Even then, I’d probably wait for the long-rumored Google console, or until there are some 3rd party ones (like an OUYA 2 perhaps) that come with Nvidia’s Kepler-based GPU, which should support much better graphics and more advanced games.