Xi3 and Valve have teamed up to design a Steam-optimized PC for use with large high-definition televisions in Big Picture mode.
Dubbed Piston, the system is (currently) housed in Xi3’s modular computer chassis and modeled after the the company’s X7A line, which weighs in at a cool $999.
However, it remains unclear if the (basic) specs or price tag are at all comparable, especially since Xi3 also sells an entry-level X5A, which is priced at a cool $499 and runs Linux.
In the meantime, Xi3 exec David Politis told Polygon that Piston will offer up to 1 TB of interal storage, as well as modular components, thereby facilitating the simple upgrade of both the CPU and RAM.
The prototype unit being showcased at CES 2013 in Las Vegas is powered by an IO board equipped with one ethernet port, 1/8″ audio in/out, SPDIF optical audio, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports (with one dedicated to keyboard input), four eSATAp ports, two Mini Display Port ports and one DisplayPort/HDMI port.
As noted above, it remains unclear what the final hardware specs will be, or even what OS can be expected to run on the device when it hits the market. Remember, Valve has been quite vocal about its support for Linux on Steam in recent months.