Hardware manufacturer Xi3 has opened up its online store to pre-orders for the Piston
console. Shown at CES
as an example of Valve software's Steam Box
game console concept and the first to officially go on sale, the Piston is effectively an entire personal computer with modular components, housed in a compact case.
Based on the X7A Modular Computer, the Piston uses a 3.2GHz quad-core A10 processor from AMD, supported by 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage, expandable up to 512GB. While no other technical details for it's current form have been announced, it was last seen to have four eSATA ports, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, one full-sized DisplayPort, and two Mini-DisplayPorts.
Though Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, has talked
about the Steam Box concept in the past, suggesting his company's version would adhere to a narrowly-focused set of values and allowing users to change the operating system, others have questioned its possible impact on the gaming industry. Microsoft executive Don Mattrick recently claimed he did not view
Valve as a competitor, suggesting Sony, Nintendo, Apple, and Google as greater competition.
Pre-orders for the Xi3 Piston are open now, with orders placed before the end of SXSW 2013 receiving a $100 discount off the total. Starting from $900 for the 128GB version and rising to $1,650 for 512GB of storage, Xi3 hopes to ship the earliest orders in time for the holiday season.