Posted on September 30, 2013, Devin Connors Xi3 Piston SteamBox Details: Specs, Availability, $1k Price
Xi3 has finally confirmed the hardware specifications and release date of its new Piston SteamBox PC.
With all the SteamOS and SteamBox chatter over the last week-plus, Xi3 decided it wants to be the first OEM out of the gate with a PC purpose-built for SteamOS. Or rather, that’s what they want everyone thinking ahead of the Piston PC launch.
The Piston will ship on November 29th for $1,000, and those who pre-order (be it now or previously) will get theirs two weeks before the rest of is. The Piston’s guts include a 3.2 GHz AMD Trinity quad-core APU, which has an AMD Radeon 7660D GPU on-board. While this hasn’t been confirmed, I think the Piston is using the A8-5500, underclocked from 3.4 GHz to 3.2 GHz. It’s one of the only Trinity APUs that has the 7660D GPU component.
The chip is complimented by 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 128 GB mSATA SSD, and more I/O than you will every need — an internal microSD card slot, four USB 3.0 ports, four 2.0 ports, four eSATA/USB combo ports, two Mini DisplayPorts, one HDMI/DisplayPort combo, audio in, out, and Ethernet.
Xi3 is stressing upgradability above all else, which is pretty impressive for a coffee mug-sized machine. The 128 GB of included SSD storage can be upgraded to two 512 GB drives, giving you 1 TB of SSD storage in a package smaller than most external hard drives.
It’s unclear if the Piston has two mSATA slots natively, or if an additional board (or upgraded board) is required.The Piston can support two mSATA drives right out of the box, so there’s no need for a board upgrade. Two SSDs means running two operating systems would be a snap, too — one for Windows, and one for the forthcoming SteamOS.
On top of upgrading the storage (which is an option right out of the gate), Xi3 says you’ll be able to “…upgrade your PISTON with new I/O Boards as technology advances,” which means the Piston will have access to the latest port standards for at least a few years.
So far, the Piston is a darling on paper…except when it comes to the price. The starting price for the Piston is still $1,000 — no lower-priced SKU was introduced today. Is the Piston a completely custom, tiny, and beautiful design? Absolutely. I think the Piston chassis looks fantastic, but $1,000 for an APU-based PC with a so-so graphics component is an incredibly tough sell.
UPDATE: Xi3 has a helpful Piston Q&A/FAQ page up. Check it out!