Jan
08
2013

Valve’s Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far

After multiple rumours, not to mention several hints by the company in recent weeks, it's now confirmed that Valve is working on its own gaming computer to offically bring Steam – its popular gaming platform that brings a gaming library, store, acheivement system and storage (all online) into one convenient package – to the living room. And thanks to discussion from computer manufacturer Xi3, who are working on the custom PC, we now have some details regarding the planned product – codenamed "Piston" – and what will be going inside.

Given Valve's public snubbing of Windows 8 for various restrictions over the sale of apps targeting the system's new interface; and the launch in December of a beta version of Steam for Linux; it should come as no surprise that the system is expected to run a Linux-based Operating System – though which of the various kinds out there it will be, is as yet unclear – which will have Steam pre-installed and setup to run in Big Picture mode by default, offering a very TV-centric interface. As for asthetics, Piston will be coloured in the familiar charcoal grey typically associated with Valve's software. The form factor, however, is unlikely to be anything typical, and may possibly consist of a four-inch cube-like shape with easily accessible and upgradable components – something of a hallmark of Xi3, who specialise in "developing micro-size modular computing without performance tradeoffs".

Being designed to plug into a TV for use in the living room, the Piston will have a 1080p HDMI output jack for connecting any HD display. It will also contain eight USB ports, four using the old USB 2.0 standard and another four utilising the newer, faster 3.0 standard quickly finding favour in modern tech. In an interview with games site Polygon, Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis also revealed that Piston will offer up to one terabyte of internal storage; and is based on the company's X7A system.

The X7A system retails for $999 in the United States, which roughly equates to £622 at current rates; however, it's likely Valve will attempt to lower this price in line with its own specifications; though the company has suggested they expect the computer to sell at a premium. Given the value of other computers within the same line from Xi3, however – the most basic of which being the entry-level X5A at $499, it's unlikely the final price point of the Piston will be below a $500 or £300 level. So, would you pay that much for something like this?

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