Xi3's long-awaited Piston 'Steam Box' is finally arriving on November 29 (Black Friday), Xi3 announced today. The small, but modular gaming PC will ship with a range of pre-loaded games, although Xi3 is refraining from referring to the machine as an official Steam Machine.
The Piston measures just four inches square, and comes with a 3.2 GHz quad-core AMD 'Trinity' APU, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 128 GB solid state drive with room for a second. Connectivity ranges from a microSD card slot, three display connectors (HDMI, miniDP and DisplayPort) and an Ethernet connector, to 12 USB ports and digital audio ports.
As far as the GPU goes, Xi3 has revealed that it will feature 384 cores, which indicates that rather than including a separate graphics card inside the box, the Piston will rely on GPU integrated into the Trinity die. Although the IGP performance from the Trinity APU is reasonably good, a $150 GPU - which is unlikely to squeeze into one of the two modular card slots - will provide a significantly better experience.
On November 29 you'll be able to purchase a Piston starting at $999, with pre-orders shipping out on November 15. The concept of a small gaming PC seems interesting, but for those wanting more performance for a lower price, it might be wise to look into our entry-level gaming rig from the TechSpot PC Buying Guide.