Start Your Steam Engines: Xi3′s Piston To Cost $1000

By Nathan Grayson on September 30th, 2013 at 10:30 pm.

A $998 hat with a $1 PC thrown in for good measure? Hot dog! What a steal!

Is Xi3′s Piston a Steam Box? Isn’t it? That’s a bit unclear right now. While Xi3 is specifically avoiding using that label, it points out that SteamOS will run on any living room machine. Thusly: “SteamOS should be able to run on Piston Consoles (PCs) as well, but we’ll have to wait until SteamOS is available to confirm this.” So, with that all (sorta) cleared up, how’s the ol’ outer space grapefruit looking? Well, the short version is “decently potent,” but all that computational mecha-muscle comes at a fairly hefty price. When the tiny marvel launches in November, it’ll run you $999. And that’s just the entry level model.

Here are the specs, straight from Xi3′s significantly-larger-than-the-machine-it’s-advertising announcement page:

“Gaming supremacy starts with a powerful system, and Xi3’s PISTON Console comes packed with a 3.2 GHz AMD Trinity Processor, Radeon 7000-Series GPU, and 8GB DDR3 Gaming RAM. Never lag behind gaming standards with the only console that’s also an upgradeable Modular Computer that keeps up with the latest technology in the industry.”

Among other things, you’ll be able to switch out a base 128 GB SSD for two 512 GB SSDs. As far as the mini-PC’s modularity goes, however, that’s apparently just the beginning. New I/O boards will also be available “as technology advances.” Into the future. Presumably, jetpacks will one day be powered by Xi3 Pistons, and their graphics will be so much better than all the other jetpacks.

The machine’s launching on November 29th for $999, which is at least a couple hundred more than it’d cost to build a regular PC up to the same specs. As evidenced by the above image, there is also a hat for some reason. Maybe it’s a really, really nice hat?

Seriously though, do you think compact form factor is worth a rather un-compact price tag? Moreover, I doubt this sort of piggybank buster will fly with console crowds, but I imagine official Steam Boxes will need to be decently high-spec in order to run triple-A games with any semblance of consistency. That strikes me as quite a conundrum unless companies like Valve are willing to take a big hit on early hardware sales. Or am I missing something? Do super tiny PC parts really cost as much as Xi3 is implicitly suggesting? I mean, I imagine it’s raised the price a bit because it sort of, you know, has to turn a profit, but can early Steam Boxes hit price points much lower than this?

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95 Comments »

Top comments

  1. subshell001 says:

    Initially my response “no way!” but then I saw the hat, and decided it’s probably worth it, as long as you get the hat.

  1. Didden says:

    Ambiguity is such a wonderful marketing device isn’t it.

    • Viroso says:

      Why do they say 7000 series instead of flat out saying which GPU it is. And what the hell is this

      Never lag behind gaming standards with the only console that’s also an upgradeable Modular Computer that keeps up with the latest technology in the industry.”

      • Dowr says:

        Yes, Nvidia, AMD and Intel’s naming conventions are pretty unhelpful, especially so for the non-technically minded.

        • povu says:

          The new AMD naming scheme is supposed to make it clearer but it doesn’t really.

        • airmikee99 says:

          I don’t think it has anything to do with naming conventions, but rather a “PC manufacturer” that uses generic terms like, “7000 series” which covers the entire gauntlet of graphics cards, Wikipedia lists 30 different ’7000 series’ GPU’s, with another 21 different ’7000 series’ mobile GPU’s.

          It’s usually a mild bait and switch, they say 7000 series for gamers, and you get the 7350, the lowest 7000 series card available.

          • wengart says:

            When they say something vague like 7,000 series they generally mean you have an integrated card. Your card will depend on which processor you end up with. So you can just look up the processor

          • skittles says:

            As wengart says this is integrated hence why they are so vague. Basically this is a laptop CPU with integrated graphics, in other words a smelly turd of a ripoff machine.

            http://www.amd.com/us/press-releases/Pages/second-generation-amd-a-series-2012may15.aspx

            Looking more into it, and the little nugget of info on the buy page (they put R464 next to the CPU), I am pretty sure this is the chip they are using:

            R-Series R-464L, 4 cores, 2.3 GHz, 3.2 GHz turbo, 4 MB cache, socket FS1r2, graphics HD 7660G, tdp 35 Watt.

            It has the same specs as the AMD A10-4600M if you want to look that up for performance comparisons. What a crock of ****. Even the GHz they list on the Piston seems to actually be the turbo frequency, not the normal. This smelly thing has more PR spin than politics.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Yeah it’s integrated. 7660D or whatever they called the integrated solutions.

        • Viroso says:

          Yeah I meant what airmike said. For an instance my machine has a 7000 series and it’s no big deal at all, but there are other GPUs in the same series that are super kickass. 7000 series is such a stupidly broad range for them to use. At least give us a second digit.

          But skittles there clarified why they’d use such a vague naming.

      • nimbulan says:

        Because they don’t want you to know it’s too slow to run many games at acceptable framerates even on the lowest settings. It’s an APU with 2 generation old low end graphics that can’t even remotely keep up with my 5 year old GTX 260 that I just replaced because it was getting too slow to handle some games well.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2013/09/30/buyer-beware-the-piston-pc-console-isnt-remotely-as-powerful-as-xi3-wants-you-to-believe/

        • Sakkura says:

          It’s not 2 generations old. It’s VLIW4, which is AMDs second-newest GPU architecture. It’s a Trinity APU, and Trinity is practically the same as AMDs newest APU, Richland. Both use VLIW4 graphics and Piledriver CPU cores (AMDs newest architecture).

          The problem is how low-end it is. If it had more shaders and more memory bandwidth, it would be fine. People are too obsessed with getting the newest generation.

  2. HunterZ says:

    Not these jokers *again*. Will you guys please stop giving them press, and PLEASE stop mentioning them in the same breath as Steam?

    • DPI says:

      ^ Exactly what he said. This Xi3 guy is trolling every tech blog like he did in January. Its one guy working out of his house with a generic miniPC sourced from alibaba.com and a logo sticker slapped on the side. He misrepresented himself to Valve as the designer/manufacturer, they liked form factor and invited him to display it at CES booth along with many other miniPC’s, Valve was generous and gave checks to everyone that came and displayed at their booth to “develop their ideas further”, Gabe specifically told this guy the check does not imply an endorsement, then this guy turned around and trolled the tech blogosphere by very carefully twisting the facts around “That’s right we’re working VERY closely with Valve on THE Steambox!”

      He’s a b.s. artist trying to create perception of Valve affiliation even after they told him to knock it off, now he’s riding Valve’s publicity wave once again. Stop feeding the troll.

      • rei says:

        The strange thing is that this was painfully clear to me even without knowing the details, just by reading the couple articles that have been posted on RPS, so why do journalists keep falling all over it?

        • jonahcutter says:

          Being a gaming writer doesn’t make someone a good journalist. They may good at providing their own thoughts about a video game. They can be talented writers. But none of that makes them understand how to practice journalism well.

          RPS does “wot I think” well, usually (they produce the occasional lemon). It doesn’t do journalism all that well though.

          • airmikee99 says:

            Does that explain why they’re bloggers instead of journalists?

            So sad that there is actually comparisons between people that write stuff on the internet, and people that go to school to learn how to write for the public interest.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            @airmike

            You don’t have to go to school to learn how to write in the public’s best interest. You seem to be conflating character with proficiency.

            I’d rather have badly written article, rife with errors, than a masterpiece filled with bullshit.

          • Baines says:

            “a blogger, not a journalist” is too often and too easily used as a Get Out of Jail Free card. This is particularly true when the person or site in question freely dances between the two descriptions to suit their needs. Want to get invited to an event or speak with authority? Suddenly you are a “professional video games journalist writing for the game site X”. Get caught short and don’t want to take the blame or hold any responsibility? Suddenly you are a “blogger writing for game blog X”.

            Years ago, Jim Sterling at Destructoid was semi-famous for bouncing between such hats. Destructoid made sure to point out that when Jim posted news on Destructoid, he was a “blogger” who was held to no standards or responsibility to accuracy or truth. It was only when Jim posted reviews that he was acting as a “professional game reviewer.” In that era, this distinction was repeated quite often in comments to Jim’s news posts, because his news posts inevitably spawned ****storms. Primarily because around half his news posts were factually inaccurate, misrepresentations due to accident (Jim misreading/misunderstanding the source article), yellow journalism (blowing something out of proportion and/or giving it an intentionally misleading header to generate page hits), or deliberate (when Jim was trolling commenters who “attacked” his other news posts.)

            While Jim has advanced as a more responsible games journalist, he certainly wasn’t alone. Many used the the “just a blogger” label to dodge criticism, and some probably still do it. And defenders will still use it even when the persons themselves won’t.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        You can buy the boards/parts on Alibaba .com? Where?!

  3. Ac1dBuRn says:

    Well I hope they enjoy the very limited amount of sales they will be getting.

    The people willing to spend that kind of money already have Apple’s products to keep them satisfied.

  4. Lemming says:

    Xi3 have got you all dancing to their tune, it seems. I would like to see an article from a media outlet that manages to talk about the Piston without mentioning Steam or Valve, because they are nothing to do with them. Instead we get Xi3 giving knowing nods and winks, Valve saying they aren’t involved, then the media magnifying the ambiguity where none should exist.

    • stampy says:

      well, here is one way to phrase it: “since valve is working closely with nvidia on steamos, one would expect that nvidia will be a better choice than amd in the early going; so it would probably be a terrible idea to buy this, even if it wasnt snake oil.”

  5. subshell001 says:

    Initially my response “no way!” but then I saw the hat, and decided it’s probably worth it, as long as you get the hat.

    • pez2k says:

      Half-Life 2 came with a hat too. Is this an omen?

    • strangeloup says:

      And here is the success of offering Team Fortress 2 items with game preorders in a nutshell.

  6. airmikee99 says:

    Last year I spent $100 less on more CPU, more GPU, more RAM, and more SSD space just going through some guy that advertises on a local news channels classified site.

    I guess if I’m ever desperate for desk space and just can’t find the extra two square footage needed to hold a full tower desktop, then maybe I’d consider buying a Piston. Something tells me I’ll never be buying a Piston.

    • Doganpc says:

      This machine is a PC for people who don’t want to deal with PC components. It’s a living room pc, easier to fit around the TV than a prebuilt tower. Personally I’m considering a miniITX to do what this does, will see where SteamOS goes before buying in.

  7. Hodge says:

    God, now I’ve got this mental image of Gabe Newell urinating on it from a great height.

  8. Freud says:

    Why would anyone want one of these for that cost?

  9. Christo4 says:

    Maybe i’m too annoyed by it, but when looking over other sites console/casual gamers always say that they don’t want to pay 1000$ for a pc as good as a console and these guys getting that much coverage doesn’t prove them wrong so they will keep being ignorant.
    So maybe you guys should make an article showing how much it will cost (only the unit) to build a pc as strong as a next-gen console and one as strong as the piston to make some price comparisons.

    • felisc says:

      If I recall correctly rps did write that very article a few monthes ago. Can’t remember the name of the post though…

    • bills6693 says:

      I feel like they actually did this some time ago. Now time to start digging through old articles for a link… expect an edit shortly.

      EDIT1: Ninja’d! Still looking though

      EDIT2: Found it! http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/06/14/build-a-next-gen-pc/

    • TechnicalBen says:

      “Coverage” does not prove demand or sales. New Coke.

      I’ll leave other real life examples to the students. I’m not doing all your thinking for you. :)

  10. rustybroomhandle says:

    This is a bit on the silly end of sillyville.

    I do hope Valve will give Steambox OEMs some kind of profit-sharing deal so they can lighten up a bit on hardware costs like Sony and Microsoft do.

    • Ravenholme says:

      This is smack in the centre of sillyville because this has absolutely nothing to do with Steam and their steambox initiative, this is someone trying to create ambiguity to exploit the steambox mystique.

      Do NOT give them the press and attention they’re seeking! These guys are basically charlatans.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Weren’t they working for Valve? And then they split, either because Valve wanted something else, or just because someone wanted more money for his cheeseburgers than other side could spare.

        • DPI says:

          Consider the source. It’s the Xi3 trolls that claimed they were working with Valve, not the other way around. Valve even press released that they had nothing to do with this clown back in March because they were getting so much press for this overpriced $hitbox. Xi3 misrepresented himself to Valve as the designer/manufacturer when its really just a generic chinese miniPC off Alibaba and thats why his site is pre-order only (he has no actual stock, it’s a fake company, he’s one guy working out of his house).

          Valve gave checks to the people & companies that they invited to their CES boot. Gabe told everyone “this check does NOT imply an endorsement… simply, keep developing your ideas”. Xi3 guy then turned around and trolled the tech blogosphere with “That’s right we’re working VERY closely with Valve on THE Steambox”. And now they’re doing it again.

  11. marsilainen says:

    RPS is going worse every day.

  12. DanMan says:

    It’s no secret that the smaller you build a PC, the more it’ll cost you. So i guess the price is justified, especially since it’s modular. But i don’t mind if my “SteamBox” was as big as a DVD player – or console, for that matter – so I don’t see why i should pay the extra for such a small box.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      This thing isn’t so small. It looks approximately like three or four miniMacs stacked on top of one another.

      If you look around, you can find some very small form-factor PC cases that you can outfit better than this thing for less than half its price.

      • DanMan says:

        It’s “just over 4-inches per side”. That’s about the size of just one mini mac. (~1000cm³ vs. 1440cm³)

      • Doganpc says:

        Gotta cool that hardware.

        • The Random One says:

          Great, now I imagined an Ouya-sized box with a muscle car style exhaust coming out of it that’s fifteen times as big.

          • Doganpc says:

            Don’t forget the massive intake sticking out of the top of the supercharged cooler add-on component!

  13. kyrieee says:

    Read their press release, they’re so salty, it’s pretty clear why Valve want nothing to do with them.

  14. Phantom_Renegade says:

    Radeon 7000? Isn’t that rather old, or am I missing something? Unless they mean HD 7000, but that’s still be 2 years old. Not even a quad core? I suppose the 8gb of ram is good, but ram is pretty cheap these days right? Which means basically you’re paying for the size. But if size is your only concern then why not just get a nextgen console for half the price? This whole thing seems ridiculous.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Are there next-gen consoles that have Steam on them?

    • Sakkura says:

      It’s HD 7000. Which is technically their newest generation.

      However – this is Trinity, so it’s integrated graphics, and not based on the GCN architecture, but older VLIW (as in the HD 6000 series).
      Trinity isn’t even the newest APU line available from AMD – that’s Richland. But the difference between the two is minimal.

  15. Sploitz says:

    From their FAQ:

    “The PISTON is powered by a quad-core, 64-bit x86-based processor running at up to 3.2GHz,
    includes 384 programmable discrete-class graphics cores and is supported with 8GB of DDR3
    RAM”

    It isn’t using a discrete video card, it’s integrated with shared memory. Which means it probably won’t run games very well at all. At least not at “console” level graphics. Also, it’s WAY overpriced. See here: http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/1navy8/psa_a_word_of_warning_to_anyone_considering/

    • Sakkura says:

      They’re technically right. It does have 384 “desktop-class” graphics cores. The problem is that even a lowly Radeon HD 6670 has 480 of them, plus much more memory bandwidth.

      So this is a lot of money for an underpowered and outdated system.

    • SirMarth01 says:

      The AMD R464 that they are referring to is exactly the same as the AMD A10-4600M mobile processor.

      You’re paying $1000 for what amounts to a laptop without a screen, keyboard, or mouse. This thing isn’t going to be doing so well with games on one screen, let alone three screens.

  16. PopeRatzo says:

    A $1000 generic Linux box?

    I can build one for less than half that, and it won’t look so stupid.

  17. spamenigma says:

    “the only console that’s also an upgradeable Modular Computer”.. rubbish!! I was able to upgrade my xbox with a chip to allow me to run xbmc… I was able to upgrade my xbox360 with a HD DVD which was super awesome for 9mins…

    OK, technically OUYA is also upgradable, and out now.. although no upgrades are out, they are at least released before Pissedone

  18. hypercrisis says:

    Overpriced, outdated, unnecessary

  19. Metalhead9806 says:

    Like it or not this device makes Valve look bad.
    its overpriced and under powered and its confusing a lot of people into thinking Steam machines will be over a thousand dollars.

    There is no way Valve would ever, ever appeal to any non-pc gamer at a price point that high and this is why they probably cut ties with Xi3.

    These guys make me sick…

    • DPI says:

      No kidding. Valve even press released back in March that they had nothing to do with this Xi3 troll, after he was getting so much trololol publicity for this overpriced generic miniPC he’s actually just sourcing from chinese factory-direct site Alibaba.com. That’s why his site is preorder-only. Its a fake company with no stock, just one guy working out of his house.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Just because a company has no stock doesn’t mean it’s fake – not everyone wants to float and lose control of their business. Also, just because a product is on Alibaba doesn’t mean that this person in question didn’t design and spec it in the first place. If you approach a Chinese manufacturer, they will offer discounts to you if they can sell the identical product, unbranded to other customers. For some people, agreeing to those terms, especially when they have no specific protection – i.e. their product is manufactured from commonly available units and there is nothing unique about it, makes a lot of sense. As for them being pre-order only, you don’t know his business model, you don’t know what he’s doing to those units when they get to his address, what software is being pre-installed and what testing he is doing. You don’t know how many orders he needs before he buys and you don’t know how long the factory will take from receiving orders to the units arriving at his address.

        So by all means, criticise where criticism is due (and there are many, many valid criticisms of this thing), but someone not floating a brand new business on the stock market, someone being a sole trader, someone not wasting money on business premises they don’t need and someone taking pre-orders for a product still being manufactured are not really that valid reasons because in your street, there will be at least one trader doing at least 3 of those things on a daily basis.

        • Maritz says:

          I’m assuming by “stock” he meant products “in stock”, rather than stock as in shares.

      • PoulWrist says:

        DPI – Didn’t your mom teach you that lying is bad?

    • Snargelfargen says:

      A Steambox capable of playing current-gen games at smoothly 1080p is going to cost upwards of about $550. $1000 sounds about right if they intend to keep the small form factor and play games at high settings. What makes the Xi3 absurd is that consoles and laptops today are sold at a loss. The profit is recouped on peripherals, subscription-based services and online purchases, but that’s obviously not possible for a small operation.

      It’s going to be interesting to see what Valve comes out with. Chances are it’s either going to be decent hardware sold at a huge loss or some sort of streaming solution connecting desktop PCs to the tv wirelessly. Either way, it’s a pilot project. Valve aren’t expecting anybody apart from hardcore tech geeks and reviewers to be early adopters.

      • PoulWrist says:

        Laptops are not sold at a loss to the manufacturer, and the shops certainly aren’t losing money on them either. If you’re going to make such a statement you will have to back it up.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Regrettably, I was a laptop salesman for 2 years so I can confirm that they were sold at a loss on the retailer level, as opposed to consoles which have been sold at a loss for the manufacturers.

          Edit: point being that the steambox is going to be pretty pricey if it’s going to run games at 1080p. If steam wants the platform to become popular, they will have to take a loss, although they may very well try to push that onto the retailers.

  20. czerro says:

    This is going to be piston…

  21. The Dark One says:

    The modular thing is laughable, since it’s a non-standard form-factor. Any new components will have to be bought from Xi3, at Xi3′s grossly inflated prices.

    • 00000 says:

      Exactly. There’s no advantage to having a modular motherboard, when a module costs more to upgrade then a conventional motherboard costs to replace entirely.

  22. vanturache says:

    Just imagine that Steam does have some contracts with certain hardware manufacturers, which enable them to get the parts for a much lower price than one normally could even as a re-seller. That would make it possible for them to sell the boxes at the same price as you’d spend on retail for the same hardware, if not less.

    Plus, if I’m correct, they’re aiming for more than just making a profit out of steam boxes and SteamOS, they’re actually aiming to change how the market thinks and flows. Which would explain even their supposed willingness to lose some big bucks at launch, but gain the long term war.

    Still, I don’t quite get it how SteamOS could run Windows-only games without some kind of fightback from Microsoft, since they’d have to use Wine or something similar, which, besides not being compatible with 100% of the games, causes sometimes severe performance pitfalls and also makes them liable for using proprietary DLLs. So I’d reckon it’s aimed rather at the future (and current Linux/MacOS line-up).

    Well, as long as they encourage the market to turn to Linux rather than windows, it’s interesting, especially with AMD releasing their direct access technology, which completely bypasses Microsoft’s DirectX – and I expect to see something simiar from nVidia.

    Otherwise, Piston does not really sound compelling, as you can have a better build for far less doughnuts. However, if they do in fact have a jetpack to go with the Piston, I’m totally sold :)

    • Optimaximal says:

      Still, I don’t quite get it how SteamOS could run Windows-only games without some kind of fightback from Microsoft, since they’d have to use Wine or something similar, which, besides not being compatible with 100% of the games, causes sometimes severe performance pitfalls and also makes them liable for using proprietary DLLs. So I’d reckon it’s aimed rather at the future (and current Linux/MacOS line-up).

      They’re hoping to use your main PC to stream it over your network.

      • frightlever says:

        If that’s their best solution then you don’t need a Steam box at all, there are a bunch of Android HDMI stick PCs that’ll do that.

        Anyway. No point being too negative about any of this right now until the “real” hardware starts to show up. We’re talking 2014 earliest I assume. Perhaps next years crop of AAA games will be SteamOS friendly. Perhaps we’ll see Microsoft paying for “Windows” exclusives – hahahaha. I just read what I wrote. I’m an idiot.

        • Baines says:

          Valve wants publishers to release more Linux ports. Or more specifically optimized-for-SteamOS ports. The optimization is probably meant to be one of their big hooks, in a world where publishers look for every gimmick that they can find that makes their game seem just a little bit better than the competition.

          But it is still going to be a rough ride that may never truly work out. Valve has to sell SteamOS to publishers as a money-worthy investment by promising a large enough user base that may never materialize, while Valve has to sell users on using SteamOS and buying SteamBoxes when the vast majority of games are not available on Linux.

  23. rustybroomhandle says:

    The GPU in this makes it terrible as a SteamOS box. AMD’s Linux drivers are not great – to put it politely.

    • PoulWrist says:

      I guess you haven’t been following the news.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        What news… Mantle? Scuse me, I suddenly have a bad case of the chuckles.

        • PoulWrist says:

          That, among other news. You can chuckle if you want, but the point in case is that both consoles are going to be able to make use of that API.

          • Sakkura says:

            But this thing won’t, since it uses VLIW4 graphics rather than GCN.

  24. PoulWrist says:

    Well, the potential is there with SteamOS and Mantle. But really, I’d figure that a next-gen APU from AMD would be idea, not the trinity part.

    Figuring how small it is, we can probably assume that it’s the mobile trinity as well. So what you get is a gaming laptop, without the monitor. At which point a 1000$ is probably sort of an OK price…

    Are small parts really so expensive? I guess the answer is yes, if you look at laptop prices for ones with decent performance.

  25. lizzardborn says:

    That is twice what a proper gaming machine could cost right now even if you not include black Friday prices. And we are talking about micro-ITX board which could be packed in very small volume.

    • PoulWrist says:

      No, it’s about the same as a proper lower high-end gaming build, a.e. something with a 4670k and HD7970/GTX 770.

      Which is ridiculous for something with the power of a mid-range non-gaming laptop.

  26. melnificent says:

    So looking at those specs even PCWORLD (Shudder) has it for cheaper in it’s true laptop form… http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/laptops-netbooks/laptops/laptops/hp-pavilion-g6-2399sa-15-6-laptop-white-21449716-pdt.html

    And it gets better for £200 less than the Xi3 you can get a semi decent laptop from there too http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/laptops-netbooks/laptops/laptops/hp-envy-touchsmart-15-j051sa-15-6-touchscreen-laptop-silver-21449718-pdt.html

    My daughter has the first. So I say with some experience of the components that the Xi3 will NOT run anything even remotely modern with even lowest setting. 30FPS is possible in some games, but the experience is not comfortable, usable or modern.

    ps. It’s quite sad when pcworld outdo you on price with a better spec.

  27. maximiZe says:

    I don’t want to get Piston

  28. bstard says:

    I hereby propose to spell Console as Konsole from now on, to keep a healthy distance between whats good and whats evil.

  29. Gilead says:

    I…can’t really see what new information there is in this article. Aside from a bit more on the GPU, maybe? We knew the form factor and the price and the generally low power level six months ago. Is it just a really slow news day?

    All this article does is say ‘Is this a Steam box???’ To which the answer is ‘judging by the other articles linked to in the post itself plus about ten seconds on Google: no, it isn’t’.

  30. cunningmunki says:

    I must admit that when I first saw the Xi3 devices I was very excited and very impressed. I’ve always been after a small PC so it looked like the answer to all my prayers. Then I started finding out more about it (or less, considering how ambiguous they’ve remained), how much it would cost and how underpowered it seemed, and I became less and less interested. After the stunt they pulled this week, riding on the coattails of Valve’s announcement with an announcement that doesn’t reveal anything at all or even mention SteamOS, I now hope they fail spectacularly.
    I respect what they’re attempting, but I abhor the way they’ve gone about it.

  31. mashakos says:

    I posted this in another site, nine months ago:

    I like the Xi3 as a concept because it’s much more modular than the mac mini. I haven’t seen a lot of details on specs and pricing, so if they went and put in some low power APU and priced the thing at above mac mini value, they’re pretty much dead in the water. The form factor is actually not an issue at that size, I’m sure anyone can manage to fit it in considering it’s so small.

    edit: Just checked the purchase page. This thing is crap! I did hear they were releasing a high end model though.

    EDIT 2: HOLY S#$@! They’re selling a rebranded version of SoftXpand ($49) for $100! Their whole product line is a f***ing scam! So disappointed :(

  32. fish99 says:

    So it’s not a SteamBox, it may not even run SteamOS, it has limited gaming prowess due to an integrated GPU, and TBH it looks overpriced for what you get. Sign me up!

  33. ayprof says:

    Maybe the idea was for Valve to sort of encourage this guy behind the scenes, publicly downplay their relationship, let him release a console at the price point they had discussed before, then see how everyone reacts. Basically, Valve lets this guy test the waters. Plus, now this guy looks like an idiot. Imagine how good Valve is going to look when their own machines cost less (right, Valve, right?).

  34. RProxyOnly says:

    I think a lot of people are coming at this from the wrong direction.

    The $1000 isn’t for top notch performance, it’s for the moderate performance of a fully capable pc you can fit in the palm of your hand.

    Granted I still don’t want one, big, in this case, is beautiful, but this ‘thing’ is supposed to be able to be hidden away in a small space yet still give the full capabilities of pc using… it’ll find a market with ‘some’ people.

    I think it’s a pretty neat machine, pretty much useless or my gaming needs but nice all the same……. fucked up price though but you are paying for custom components.

    • Baines says:

      You are overlooking the “scam” part of the product.

      It was first billed as the SteamBox, created when working closely with Valve. Valve quickly denied this entirely. Despite this denial, Xi3 is still trying to pass it off as a SteamBox via implication and carefully worded disclaimer logic.

      There are a lot of bits in the description that are at best only true on technicalities, but not in practicality. (For example: Yes, the hardware has native triple screen support. No, the hardware is not powerful enough to actually run your games in triple screen.) Some claims aren’t even true by that standard. Xi3 cannot even guarantee that SteamOS will run on the machine.

      It is being presented as a gaming system, but from most accounts the hardware in the machine manages around 10-20fps on *low* settings for some of the more popular games that have been released in the last several years.

      It isn’t expensive just because it is small. At least from what I remember from looking at prices in the past, it is expensive in part because there is significant mark-up on some of the components.

  35. Glentoran says:

    Although i’m pleased that we’ve got a new option on the hardware market, the specs are nowhere near as good as my current 27 month old PC. If i’m going to upgrade, I want to actually upgrade my rig’s capabilities, and the Piston isn’t going to do it unfortunately. And for $999, you’re paying a huge premium simply for its reduced physical size, at the vast expense of potential power.

    I hope it does well, I really do, but it seems like it’s trying to fix a problem (i.e. physical size) that not many people are really that bothered about, seemingly, and sacrificing everything else in the process. I’m not even sure to whom this product is going to appeal. PC Gamers will not want it due to lack of power, and consolers won’t go near it because of the price.