Announcing the new Xi3 “Piston”
Rumors were floating around recently about Xi3 providing the hardware for Valve‘s new in-livingroom PC project Steam Box, not a day later the Xi3 Piston was announced. Xi3‘s X7A, their top end model specifically labeled for “power useres and gaming” is looking like it will be the model that the Piston will be based on. The X7A packs a Quad-Core processor with 384-core integrated graphics, which is most likely AMD’s A10 series. It boasts 4GB or 8GB of RAM, oodles of USB ports, and four eSATAp ports for extra external storage. Now, Piston’s specs and price most likely won’t be exactly the same, but this gives us a good idea of what to expect. Xi3 attempted to Kickstart its boxes in 2012, but fell far short of the $250,000 crowd-funding goal. Exactly how much Valve invested in Xi3 and what it gets in return is unknown.
X5A one of Xi3‘s lower end modular computer, much like its big brother X7A, is under 2 lbs, needing only 20 Watts of electricity. It is powered by a 64-bit dual-core 1.8GHz x86 (AMD) processor, w/dual monitor support, 6 USB ports, 2 eSATA ports. 32GB internal SSD, Windows 7 Pro.
The X3A is the companies other new modular computer. The X3A is equipped with a dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at up to 1.65GHz (with 2MB of Level2 Cache), 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 32GB-1TB of internal solid-state SSD storage (with up to 12Gbps throughput speeds).
Perhaps the biggest setback here is that, while the Xi3 PCs are “easily upgradeable and customizable” my personal fear is that any kind of internal hardware would possibly have to be custom ordered specifically through Xi3 thus putting significant financial strain on anyone interested in actually customizing one of these teenie-weenie PCs. It also seem that if Valve wants this to be their “console” it may be a bit too pricey to categorize it as such, though it is possible that the Piston may have less computing power than the X7A and just be… well a Steam Box console right? Something that is able to run Steam and maybe some sort of web browser but is by no means a replacement for your regular PC gaming rig.
I personally have the stance on the matter that console-wise it is too expensive , and I mean, I can run steam on my regular computer why do I need an, albeit super adorable, PC hooked up to my tv? Do you plan on buying a piston? Would it being a fully functioning but pricier PC make a difference in your decision? Do you think it will just be a steam playing box with controller capabilities? Do you think it will, as a console be able to pull its weight against other already established consoles ie. Xbox360 and PlayStaton3? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.