Xi3 Corp. has begun accepting pre-orders on its Piston small form-factor personal computers. The systems are optimized for Valve Software’s Steam video game distribution system and will be among the first so-called Steam Box console designed to bring PC video games to the living room. The product will ship only late this year and will be rather expensive: the price of a system with 128GB solid-state drive will cost $999.
“Given the amount of awards, media attention and gamer interest the Piston console has generated since it was unveiled at CES 2013 in January, we have become seriously concerned that we will not be able to meet the demand for Piston consoles this year. That’s why we have decided to begin accepting pre-orders on our Piston console, beginning today,” said Jason A. Sullivan, founder, president and chief executive of Xi3.
Xi3 Piston is housed in the uniquely shaped, grapefruit-size Xi3 Modular Computer chassis and is based on the embedded AMD Fusion “Trinity” R-464L accelerated processing unit with four Piledriver x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz (3.20GHz Turbo frequency), Radeon HD 7660G graphics engine with 384 stream processor as well as 4MB L2 cache. The system is equipped with 8GB DDR3 memory and features an mSATA solid-state drive with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB capacity.
Xi3 Piston PC with 128GB SSD starts at $999, Piston PC with 256GB SSD price begins at $1339, whereas Piston with 512GB SSD starts at $1749. Any Xi3 Piston PC pre-order placed between now and the end of SXSW 2013 (March 17, 2013), will receive a $100 discount off the list price.
The price of Piston PC seems to be prohibitively expensive as usually systems based on AMD Fusion “Trinity” cost a lot less. While Xi3 Piston is small and sleek, its price is just too high for a given performance. As a result, the very first Steam Box on the market will unlikely be truly popular and will be acquired by a fraction of end-users who expressed their interest in the device.
“Clearly, the computer/video gaming market is huge, both in the personal computer and traditional console markets. That being said, we believe there is a crying need for a machine that captures the best of both worlds, with the upgradeability of computer gaming rigs and the design and form factor of consoles. We believe our Piston consoles do exactly that – deliver the beauty and small size of consoles with the upgradeability of computers,” said Mr. Sullivan.