Xi3 Piston Steam box hardware to be upgradable

Tuesday, 12th March 2013 01:58 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Xi3′s console-like PC, the Piston, will have three modular boards for hardware upgrades.

The $1,000 Piston – which is $100 off at pre-order – is designed with future-proofing in mind. Chief marketing officer David Politis told Siliconera said the system is supposed to be “readily updatable, upgradeable and modifiable”.

As well as the ability to mod or decorate the exterior casing easily, users will be able to replace and upgrade all of the following parts:

  • Processor Board (the middle of the three boards in the tri-board layout)
  • Primary I/O Board (the board containing the majority of the I/O ports and holding the SSD)
  • Secondary I/O Board (the board containing video ports and the power connector and on/off button)
  • The APU itself (the integrated processor and GPU), which is possible because the APU is socketed into place and not soldered
  • RAM

“As new technologies are introduced into the marketplace (USB, eSATA, video standards/ports, etc), we will evaluate these, and as we feel appropriate, we will create new Boards that will be available for purchase by our customers. This also holds true for new RAM and APUs,” Politis added.

“We may also allow other companies to create their own I/O Boards (if the opportunity makes sense to all involved).”

That’s pretty neat; you get the standardisation of consoles with the flexibility of a PC. You don’t need to be an expert – but experts may have the chance to do some really interesting things. The Piston was recently trailered, and is just the first of an expected surge of generic Steam box devices, and has been backed by Valve; the company also has its own Steambox in the works.



  1. Moonwalker1982

    I still wonder who’s going to buy this. I mean…people who want PC gaming, simply go for that and they can have a pretty good gaming PC for like 700 euros or so, why go for a Piston?

    Console folks, like me…they want the easy way. Just buy the system, buy games and play them and that’s it. Why would i want a Piston?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Sanwiches

    hm hm , maybe not a Piston, but once I get older, and own a house, this little box sure can come in handy. It’s all about the size, and like all products, the price will surely go down in the future

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Moonwalker1982

    But basically it acts like a mini-pc? It’s not like it has the restrictions of a console?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    There’s no good reason to buy a Piston beyond the novelty. The pricetag assures that it won’t have broad appeal.

    The thing that makes the Steambox concept viable is that you’re supposed to get all those features for the price of a console. This obviously isn’t it. It is just a thousand dollar miniature PC.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Telepathic.Geometry

    I think that they’re going for casual to moderate gamers with lots of disposable income, and a penchant for pretty things.

    It’s like the difference between the iPhone and Android phones. The iPhone is more expensive, but looks better and is easy to use. The android phones can generally do a lot more for less money if you don’t mind losing the sleek minimalist look and ease of use.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    @5 But there isn’t a difference though. You’re paying for the exact same experience, except it comes in a smaller box.

    When I buy an iPhone I’m not paying for something that looks good, or has a certain size, I’m paying for something that’s awesome to use.

    The same experience in a different package can’t provide me with the same increase in value.

    Which is why the Valve Steambox really does need to be able to compete with consoles on price. Otherwise it’s irrelevant.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. alterecho

    Why not choose an Alienware X51, if some one desires a compact gaming PC? Its probably faster, much more attractive, much more customisable and provides for disc support so does not need to depend on downloads to get content. Some people were able to fit in a HD7950 into that case. If you ask me, thats cheaper and vastly better deal than this.

    If you feel like building your own compact PC, there are many compact cases available, like the Bitfenix Prodigy or the InWin Dragon Slayer.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    Probably because it’s bigger and less attractive…

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Gekidami

    Because the X51 unlike this thing doesnt have the magic “Steam Box” name attached to it that gets so many PC fanboys wet around the crotch.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dragon246


    #10 2 years ago

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