large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Xi3 Piston is first Valve Steam Box

The game developer, Valve, and hardware company, Xi3, today announced a partnership to create a gaming system that will eventually be called the Steam Box, and at CES 2013 the two companys were showing off their first attempt, the Xi3 Piston.

Get it? Valve. Piston.

The Piston is a tiny PC completely contained within a box around 20cm square. All that the user will need to do is plug it in their peripherals and away they go. Its modular design makes it upgradeable, with users able to make the most of new connectivity or graphics chips, for instance.

Although a fully-fledged mini PC, the Steam Box will be designed such that it boots into a user friendly console-like interface, i.e. the new Steam Big Picture mode. This will enable users to easily purchase, download and play games without the need to get up off their sofa.

Xi3 Piston / Steam Box Specs

Although neither Valve nor Xi3 is talking specifics about what will be in the final Steam Box, the first Xi3 Piston is based on the company’s existing ‘performance’ system, the Xi3 X7A. This uses an AMD APU and offers up to 1TB of storage, upgradeable CPU and RAM and a plethora of connectivity: one ethernet port, 3.5mm audio in/out, SPDIF optical audio, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports (with one dedicated to keyboard input), four eSATA ports, two Mini Display Port ports and one DisplayPort/HDMI port.

Xi3 Piston / Steam Box Prices and Release Date
Both Xi3 and Valve are keen to point out that the partnership is still at the early stages and that the final Steam Box may go through a number of significant design changes but, for reference, the Xi3 X7A costs $999. We’d be very surprised if Valve were to charge anything like that much for the final Steam Box but as yet we will have to wait and see how much it costs, and just when it will arrive.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.