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

By Jos ยท 51 replies
Jan 8, 2013
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  1. Guys stop! You've all been completely misinformed, for example read this alternate article here:

    This is just a mini pc offering from Xi3 with steam maybe installed(you can have that on any pc really). But for crying out loud.! They don't even know what os to put on it yet! And TSpot jumped right to some valve cooperation, not clever.
    TypeR181 likes this.
  2. Ravey

    Ravey TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Im guessing they will call thier OS "Engine" then!
  3. Ravey

    Ravey TS Rookie Posts: 20

    I know a lot of you are saying you should just buy your own rig and link it up to your TV. But I think what you are forgetting is that a large portion of the population simply has no idea about building or setting up an all in entertainment pc. Even worse than that most people just want a setup that they can just plug in and go. This is what the Piston is aimed at. Its a nice mini system that can be connected up to your tv - like a console - and just played with minimal fuss.

    I would be interested in buying a system like this, but then I'm lazy.
  4. This looks quite interesting and I'm wondering how it will pan out. The older Xi3 systems have AMD/Intel options and Windows/Linux (OpenSUSE) options. is currently down, most likely a DDOS due to current popularity. I'd like to see what module upgrade options they have and what they cost. Could you start out with the sub $500 and upgrade over time to the high end system one module at a time and how much more would it cost then buying the high end system out right?
  5. Modeazy

    Modeazy TS Rookie Posts: 27

    Good Point.
  6. j05hh

    j05hh TS Booster Posts: 156   +34

    They say it runs todays latest games.. which games have they tested? Can we see benchmarks?
  7. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    I don't see how something that small can be modular. Standard sized graphics cards aren't going to fit in there. Are they going to have to make custom PCB graphics cards for it?
  8. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    They'll probably run them at some hideous resolution with no AA or detail at all.
  9. PC nerd

    PC nerd TS Booster Posts: 317   +41

    After watching the video, I'm a little confused.

    How the hell can you squeeze any kind of performance into 20W?!

    Seems impossible.
  10. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    There are many ridiculous/dumbfounded comments on this article. Any comment about 'I can build a PC for less money' that person should have a CAT scan. Of course you can, this is a specialized design using Mini-ITx or M-ITx.
    All the comments about Steam in relation to games show that people just comment and don't actually read and comprehend what they are looking at.
    This Xi3 has many great uses I can see already, as I work in the medical industry. For example, this would easily bolt to the back of our Medcarts and use little power which is great because these carts take '12V 26AH Genesis EP Non Spillable - Sealed Lead Alpha Source' batteries and they are not cheap to replace.
    Normally I don't pay to much attention to stuff like this unless it is pretty groundbreaking due to the overwhelming amount of newer mini computers and Mini-ITX (m-ITX) based designs, but this one is quite interesting, and I can see it having succees.
    Use some common sense, obviously the 20watt thing is probably for idle or basic data execution and tasks, a game or demanding app will surely use more but that is still impressive.
  11. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Well, I guess the fact that Valve stepped in financially to take up the slack when the Xi3's Kickstarter attempt didn't quite pan out makes no difference then? Fact is, this is a small PC, backed (in part) by Valve, supports Steam, is being shown off at the CES show actually running Steam... Nothing said in this Techspot article was wrong or misleading, those are all well-documented facts.

    The fact that you are calling all of us misinformed is the very definition of ironic.
  12. mglucas

    mglucas TS Member

    Wish List Mode ON!
  13. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    If the purpose is to mainstream PC gaming for the living room then the price, no matter how spectacular the specs, is going to have to come down.
  14. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    If "Piston" costs anywhere near $900, what's was the point. You can buy a Mac Mini and put Windows on it for ~ $700, and have basically the same thing. You'd probably have better performance with Intel HD Graphics 4000 than an AMD APU. Hopefully Steams version will come with a dedicated graphics card so you can run games at decent settings.

    Hopefully all that's on the system is a steam client (OS) and the games, so the hardware isn't bogged down by a windows OS or apps. I wish steam had just made their own OS that ran all their games, so anyone can install it and build their own dedicated gaming machine.
  15. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 718   +236

    Would be nice of the website was up and running to get some information!

    Still my biggest problem isnt with the 500$ "basic computing" unit, thats on par with a normal cheap desktop that can do the basics.

    My beef is with the 1000$ "gaming" version, I'm sorry but AMD's FX APU series is good but the graphics on those are "entry level" AT BEST.
    They tout all this nonsense about modular designs that will last you 7 years but their modules currently has the video/cpu/chipset all on one card. So basically the only purpose the other modules serve is IO's. This is hardly any different from a normal micro-atx system that actually has a PCI-E slot for a proper video card that can be upgraded.

    I just don't see this as a viable "gaming" solution unless you only plan to play games 4 years old or more on it.
  16. GunsAblazin

    GunsAblazin TS Enthusiast Posts: 75

    Mobile graphics cards are getting up there in performance while driving down power consumption, so I wouldn't be surprised.
  17. Stickmansam

    Stickmansam TS Rookie

    An AMD APU kicks the HD4000 to the curb in terms of graphics. We are after all comparing mobile processors form both sides. The Mac Mini uses a mobile i5 which matches or just about beats the APU in CPU power but would fall well short of the GPU power of the APU (almost 50% ahead). An APU would actually be able to handle 720p @45fps at medium settings in most games (console level).
  18. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    If you are talking gaming and graphics performance of CPUs with integrated GPUs, then you will very seldom have better performance on the HD4000 side of the equation. That is the one arena that the AMD APUs still manage to dominate, when compared side-by-side to similar tier Intel processors. The AMD solution typically wins in cost and power efficiency as well. However, once you put a discrete GPU into the mix, and remove your reliance on the HD4000, the balance starts skewing quickly towards Intel on gaming and graphics performance.
  19. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,040   +678

    It STARTS at $999 and UP TO 1TB SSD.
  20. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,996   +1,316

    You arent going to get into the console market selling a console for $1000.price is why people BUY consoles in the first place.
  21. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,996   +1,316

    while a 4000 WONT have suprior performance to an APU, not in the slightest (my A6-3400M I a 400 DOLLAR laptop can give better performance than my bros 4000 in his desktop) I agree it is incredibly pointless to buy this if it costs upwards of 500 bucks...
  22. TS-56336

    TS-56336 TS Addict Posts: 609   +109

    If the price is right, then it could work. If it sells for more than a high end gaming PC that someone can just cobble together, then this won't make sense, especially since it has a separate OS which won't let you run other non-game apps and programs.
  23. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

  24. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    Yah, Gabe and Valve in general are all over the map lately on comments regarding the Steam Box topic. My take on the whole deal is that this is essentially "A" Steam capable box, not "THE" Steam Box. Other comments from Valve make it sound more like they are taking a Google/Android like approach to the concept, allowing 3rd party manufacturers to build hardware that fits their "Steam Box Spec" or something to that effect. If they do release an actual Valve Steam Box, it sounds like it would be similar to Google's Nexus line, one in a crowd of similar products, maybe used as a reference design.
  25. gingerbill

    gingerbill TS Addict Posts: 233   +59

    To be fair the price was a complete made up number based on a similiar product the company makes . The price hasn't been announced yet , but I agree with you.

    That's were I worry for valve though , MS and sony take huge losses to bring out a console and there new ones are round the corner. Valve is a very profitable company doing brilliantly but even they can't afford those type of losses for long term gain . Though who knows maybe the new consoles won't be made at such a loss.

    I love valve and hope they do well but I just worry it will struggle with 2 new console's coming on the horizon.

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