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Steam Box pre-order available from Xi3

The first unofficial Steam Box console is now available for pre-order from Xi3, with the Xi3 Piston sporting a delivery date of sometime before Christmas.

The Steam powered Xi3 Piston console packs the Steam Big Picture mode, meaning that users can play their favourite Steam titles on their TV using a games controller.

“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’ve become seriously concerned that we will not be able to meet the demand for Piston Consoles this year,” said found, president and CEO of Xi3, Jason A. Sullivan. “That’s why we have decided to begin accepting pre-orders on our Piston Console, beginning today with the start of the SXSW Gaming Expo.”

Although the Xi3 Piston console is the first Steam Box to become available, the official Valve console is also set for a release date around Christmas time. The Half Life developer is currently working with more manufacturers to release their own Steam Box, but Valve is helping to fund the Xi3 console.

Xi3 Piston Console Features
The Xi3 Piston Console features a 3.2GHz AMD quad-core processor with 8GB of RAM and the options of an 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD.

Currently on show at the SXSW Gaming Convention, the Xi3 Piston console is meant to be small, compact system to bridge a gap between console and a gaming PC.  The Xi3 Piston Console will be upgradable like a PC, so even the SSD options can be expanded via USB.

Offering one Ethernet port, 3.5 audio in/out port, SPDIF optical audio, four USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0 ports, one dedicated to keyboard input so traditional desktop gamers can still enjoy the familiar tapping of keys rather than mashing buttons. The Xi3 Piston’s specs list is completed by four eSATA ports, two Mini Display Ports and one DisplayPort/HDMI port.

The Steam Big Picture mode brings the full living room gaming experience from a tiny console, and offering PC and Mac based Steam titles away from a desktop platform.

Xi3 Piston Console Release Date and Price

The problem with the Xi3 Piston is that its fairly low entry level specs are offered at a staggering high price, which is vastly higher than any other console. Currently only offered in the US, the price for the Xi3 Piston starts at $999.99 (£672.08), with a $100 (£67.21) pre-order discount. The SSD drive can be upgraded from 128GB to 256GB for $340 (£228) or to 512GB for $750 (£504).

AVailable to pre-order now, It’s not yet known whether the Xi3 will be stocked in the UK stores anytime soon.

Do you think the Steam Box will be a true console rival? Or will you be waiting for the official Valve Steam Box release? Let us know via the TrustedReviews Facebook and Twitter pages or the comment boxes below.

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