Piston, A Valve-Backed “SteamBox” Set For Home Use

Valve, and hardware developers Xi3, will be showing off a “Valve-backed” modular computer, designed to play Steam games in the living room using Steam’s “Big Picture Mode”. In other words, one of the fabled “SteamBox” units we’ve been hearing so much about of late.

The unit is apparently “the size of a grapefruit” and although isn’t ready yet, probably won’t change much in terms of how the chassis looks.

[drop2]”This new development stage product will allow users to take full-advantage of their large high-definition TV displays for an amazing computer game experience,” said Xi3 CEO Jason A. Sullivan.

“As a result, this new system could provide access to thousands of gaming titles through an integrated system that exceeds the capabilities of leading game consoles, but can fit in the palm of your hand.”

It’s currently codenamed Piston.

In terms of tech it’s apparently close to the X7A line, with current rumours suggesting the device will cost around $1,000, and feature 1TB of internal storage with room for RAM expansion down the line.

The unit on show at CES has HDMI out, two mini display ports, eight USB ports, ethernet and regular and optical audio out. These are obviously subject to change.

Via GAF.



  1. …that seems expensive.

    • Especially when you consider that it is only going to consume 40 W (could be idle?), so it can’t be all that powerful! Looks cool though.

  2. Living room form factor will mean non-standard components – you can make your own more powerful Steamboat for a fraction of the price.
    We’ll see a lot of small form factor PCs over the coming months

    • I most definitely mean Steambox.

      • I was about to challenge you to build your own ‘Steamboat’ for less than $1000 :P

      • I would definitely buy a more powerful steamboat!

      • All aboard! ;)

      • I’d much prefer a Steamboat :)

      • i’d love a steamboat, so long as it’s one of those ones with the big wheel on the back, and it holds regular poker tournaments. ^_^

      • Depending on the CPU and GPU Its easy to make a small media PC for between £300 – 400.

        In fact with 400 I could make a media PC with an SSD for OS and an 1TB HDD for games. Default 8GB DRR3 1866 RAM. and all would fit below the television, with a 360 controller plugged and start up rigged on either Media Centre or Steam Big Picture. It would be a damn site cheaper than $1000 and little modification.

      • The difference is, that thing is not meant to be a media PC. It’s a gaming PC. I’m guessing the 3, 5 and 7s in the device code names are referring to the CPU that is used by these versions and I’m sure they come with capable graphic chips respectively. It’s not the RAM or diskspace that drives the price upwards these days.

  3. Expensive stuff, interested though.

  4. I’d take a long hard look at this before I took a dive into the next gen of home consoles, but if that price is anywhere close to the actual RRP, then it way way way out of my price range

  5. that is expensive.

    you could get a decent specced pc for that couldn’t you?

    not using windows is a pro, but it also means less software support, Linux is still not getting really widespread support.

    and will steam be the only way to get software for this thing?
    because that would be a problem for me, i don’t like the idea of buying into a machine when there’s a monopoly supplier.
    it’s not so bad on ios because even though that’s also a monopoly supplier deal, the games are very cheap, for the most part.
    when it comes to full price games, i want choice.

    and what about physical media?
    could you plug in a usb drive and play boxed games?

    there are still questions that need answering.

    of course it’s pretty much irrelevant, this looks some way outside my price range for the immediate future.

    • I’m guessing if SteamBox hits off then Linux will certainly be provided more support.

      There are still a lot of questions and I can’t help thinking that this box is some elitist rubbish to go with $1500 smart TVs.

  6. Where do the blurays fit?

  7. Yikes, that’s expensive. It would be far cheaper to just build your own gaming PC running Linux for living room use.

  8. It needs to be substantially cheaper than that for me especially without the guarantee of it lasting. I can’t sr how they can build one cheap enough that will last more than a couple of years

  9. I haven’t posted in here for a while, but thought i’d say, this looks awesome!

  10. I would prefer to build or buy a midrange-high end PC then spend a grand on the steambox as it is cheaper or costs around the same price to do so. An Alienware PC costs a grand and chances are people would just get that instead of it.

    The 1TB is decent but if they don’t allow users to upgrade their HDD space it could hurt their chances as PC gamers tend to like being able to mess around with their systems. The RAM expansion is a good idea but hopefully, the final product will be a massive improvement over what they have at the moment.

    I think i would rather game on a PC with a HD monitor then use the Steambox as it wouldn’t feel natural to see PC games on the telly. Can see a lot of arguements happening with the wifes of gamers. Damnit Valve, many gamers will risk being forced to sleep on the couch due to them wanting to play a game on Steambox. *alerts the Daily Mail*

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