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Those asking why Valve would put together such an expensive don't get it. Valve has said repeatedly that this prototype is mainly a test bed for the operating system, not an indication of hardware they actually plan to ship.
Sure, you can build something way cheaper than this. Valve wants you to. But these demo models are built to be as powerful as possible so that gamers testing them can run any game specifically for the purpose of making sure everything works. They don't want their beta testers running into issues where the hardware isn't as capable as it needs to be to handle certain games running at maxed out settings.
So yeah, you can (and should) build something cheaper than this if you want to. But you're not trying to beta test a new operating system on the most powerful hardware you can get.
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