John made me write that headline. And he was encouraged by Jim, who responded with an “arf”. RPS: the site that writes about the biggest things to happen in PC gaming with references to wee wee. And wee it is. Piston that is, the surprise announcement from PC makers Xi3 and Valve that they’re building a tiny, modular PC together. It was such a surprise that when Nathan wrote about it, all we knew was the name, the companies involved, and that the thing is small enough to be held in your hand. But I have more information and a video below. You’ll see just how small it is, and gasp as I did. It’s like the kitten of the PC world.
It’s not until the Xi3’s CMO David Politis grasps the thing that you can appreciate just how small it is. He holds it in one hand, and can easily swap out its base components in seconds. Watch him show off his baby to Machinima.
Piston has eight USB slots (four 2.0, four 3.0), four eSATA slots, two Mini Display Port ports, and an HDMI port in a modular PC. The motherboard is broken into three smaller pieces, with each section providing separate components to the PC. The pieces connect at the edges, forming a box shape. The biggest surprise is there appears to be only two wires in whole PC. It looks to me like there’ll be an external power source.
The company’s current high-end PC, the X7A, which features up to a 3.2GHz quad-core processor with 4 to 8GB of RAM and at least 64Gb of SSD storage, though it can manage 1 terabyte. Looking at the machine in his hand, I’ve no idea where any of those drives will fit. No news on the power of the graphics cards, but it is integrated. I suspect it’s not the best. The lowest of those specs is expected to be around $1100, and the details are worryingly vague. Intel vs AMD is still important to everyone. Anyway, I’ve dug up a few more videos, showing off the innards off.
First up, the motherboard.
Next, how it all slots together.
Nathan’s already asked the sort of questions that this move begs, so I’ll refrain from repeating them. Instead I’d like to know what relationship you have with your home PC. Do you build? Would something that gives up your ability to control every component while simplifying the building process appeal to you?
You want more tech than that? More tech than you can handle? Richard “Digital Foundry” Leadbetter’s got some of his hot scoop over at EG.