Valve and Xi3 show off "Piston" Steam Box prototype at CES

By Jos ยท 51 replies
Jan 8, 2013
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  1. Last month, following weeks of hints and rumors, Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell finally admitted that his company will start selling PCs for the living room in 2013. How far along they were on the project was unclear, but...

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  2. RubinOnRye

    RubinOnRye TS Rookie Posts: 57

    Am I the only one that thinks this is a good idea but way to dam expensive?
  3. You'll get a heck of a lot more mileage out of this system--even if it's more expensive up-front. The games sold on Steam are WAY cheaper than any of the consoles, and (IMHO) they're FAR superior!!!

    Now if only they could integrate GOG's games to their platform I'd be sold! :D
    captainawesome likes this.
  4. "Am I the only one that thinks this is a good idea but way to dam expensive?"
    TypeR181 likes this.
  5. spencer

    spencer TS Addict Posts: 202   +22

    This would be great for getting ignorant console gamers onto the platform, too bad they had to put the apple tax on it.
  6. Littleczr

    Littleczr TS Addict Posts: 439   +86

    With one terabyte of SSD I don't think so. I would wish it would cost less but it seems about right.
  7. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    The article didn't say at all how much the 1tb SSD version cost. "Starting at $999" with "up to" X amount of RAM and Y amount of SSD storage means that the fully loaded version probably costs way more than that.

    I wouldn't consider it an "Apple Tax" though. That's the price of fitting performance into such a small form factor + SSDs are still pretty expensive. I'm more concerned about that tiny little case fan's noise when things get really cranking.
  8. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Valve... Steam... Piston... Clever

    But, seriously, I'd be more interested in it (at that price point) if it included a dedicated AMD mobile GPU run in dual graphics (hybrid CrossFire) mode. At least that would give it more high end graphics pop, and potentially increase the longevity of the system.
    TypeR181 likes this.
  9. spencer

    spencer TS Addict Posts: 202   +22

    The apple tax thing was a joke:p , I think they should integrate more affordable means of storage. Hard drives work for the xbox and are cheap so why not put a 500gb hdd in it but leave the space for a ssd. Increase the size a couple of inches or feet(for improved cooling capacity.) and put a hybrid drive in it. and I think it will make the console a lot more affordable for the average consumer.
  10. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    Haha. No.

    Not a 1TB SSD. A 1TB SSD costs more than the whole console.
  11. howzz1854

    howzz1854 TS Evangelist Posts: 611   +94

    think bigger RubinOnRye. to me it won't just be a gaming box for steam. hopefully it'll be a HTPC that I'll be able to replace my current one. I can't wait to plug in a NAS to it, and an external Blu-Ray drive. the nature of customization friendliness also has me drawn to it. imagine 3rd party modifications like moduler water cooling module that you can add on that doesn't require me assembling my own WC system and worry about flushing and bleeding the water like my current gaming system. what this product needs is exactly a big player like Valve to come in and give it a strong boost of funding, marketing and support. come'on valve.. come out with the product, heck, I'll pay the $700, that's cheap in comparison to the cost of my current HTPC in the living room.
  12. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    I think that SSD is the only way to go if they want this form factor and to target it at computer gamers. Load times on the XBOX hard drive can get pretty ridiculous even before comparing them to an SSD on a PC and that has been a recurring theme for cross platform games over the last few years.
  13. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    From the size of it, I'd say it can only take 1, maybe 2, 2.5" drives.

    With such little space for expandability, you don't want to go for SSD's. My whole steam collection would overwhelm a 120GB SSD. What you really want is a 500GB-1TB 7200RPM Cav Black 2.5" drive.

    It's still a fast drive, but it allows you to install as many games as you want.
  14. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,146   +911

    I do wonder what os they'll use for this, maybe Linux? It would make it cheaper and from what I've seen valve games get an extra 10-15 fps running on Linux so it could also have performance benefits.

    Plus it would push devs to create Linux versions.
  15. Jos

    Jos TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 3,073   +97

    Keep in mind that's the price and specs for another system upon which the Piston is supposedly based on. Here's hoping Valve can bring the starting price down a bit.
  16. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    This thing has 4 eSATA ports on it... I'd say storage expansion would be the least of your worries! Heh.
  17. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    Well that's probably why the X7A offers so much SSD capacity. The Scorpio Black is a pretty nifty drive, but as far as I can tell, it's really no better at loading levels than its 3.5" brother or Seagate's hybrid drive. And all mechanical drives wear down which makes a Piston with an SSD a more consumer-friendly option.

    I don't think that total capacity is THAT critical for Piston if it is the supposed "Steambox". I have a pretty ridiculous Steam library thanks to those damn sales, but I'm really not playing more than 2-3 non-indie games at a time. As long as the steambox knows to keep my saves & config files when I delete a game, I would have no problem deleting what I'm not playing. 256gb is just enough for me, though I still have WoW/SC2/D3 taking up space.
  18. jonjonjon

    jonjonjon TS Rookie Posts: 18

    No thanks. ill build my own pc that will own that pos and then ill plug it into my tv.
    Wendig0 likes this.
  19. penn919

    penn919 TS Addict Posts: 220   +71

    I find it interesting that some of you are shocked by the price. What would you expect? It sole purpose is to run the latest steam games which are PC games. How much does a brand new souped out gaming rig cost? Yeah, there's no reason to assume the linux box would cost any less because it's basically just a PC. Honestly, I don't really see the point. Why not just build your own rig with parts from newegg and hook it up to your living room television. Get yourself a 360 controller and Baam! You've got yourself a steam box. No need to wait.
    TypeR181 likes this.
  20. penn919

    penn919 TS Addict Posts: 220   +71

    I meant to say steam box, not linux box.
  21. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    Ugh, this is a bit of a let down. The price needs to be a lot less, considering what this is: slightly-better-than-console-level graphics, with controller-only games.

    Also what's with the form factor? Everyone needs to cut this out! We all have home theatre systems - how does a ridiculous box like that fit in anywhere??
    TypeR181 likes this.
  22. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    You know... The more I look at this thing, the more I'm convinced that it's the love child of a one night stand between a gaming laptop and an OUYA...
    TypeR181 likes this.
  23. Modena

    Modena TS Booster Posts: 143

    OR you can just build you're own PC... It will be better, cost less, and be way more customizable. Sorry but this wanna be HTPC has 0 interest for me and I don't see it being more than a cool toy for a very specific person. I love my PC and would never personally consider getting this for gaming, business, or anything really, just my 2 cents.
    penn919 and Wendig0 like this.
  24. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,657   +1,095

    The video says that the cheapest is around $500, which is for basic computing. If they keep the gaming one under $1000 and it delivers on the performance front then they could market "the hell" out it and will sell decently. With it needing only 20W to run, we can have a winner by the end of the year.
  25. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,922   +630

    How does 20W deliver on the performance front? With today's tech, it literally CAN'T. :(

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