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
“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.