It’s not cheap, but it's certainly living room friendly.
The Steam Box initiative at Valve is little more than a humble attempt to bring a less offensive looking PC into consumer’s living rooms, but in reality that’s actually much harder than it sounds. I’m guessing most of our readers would rather roll their own Steam Box, but for the mass market gamer (and their spouses), a more discrete and compact solution is probably the way to go. Xi3’s PISTON console has been the most promising OEM Steam Box on our radar, and as of today, it’s finally available for pre-order.
The price of the PISTON starts at $899, and this nets the buyer a quad-core AMD A10 processor, with 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. An extra $340 increases the SSD capacity to 256GB, and $750 bumps it to 512GB. Those SSD prices are a bit on the steep side, but it remains to be seen how easy this will be to upgrade after the fact.
Also missing from the PISTON pre-order page is any kind of steam branding. The consensus around the web continues to be that this is a Valve sanctioned product, but if this is the case, why no joint branding? Either way this looks like a very capable box, albeit at a very high premium for the hardware inside. You’re paying for the form factor, and presumably even a copy of Windows if you really want to make this a serious living room PC.
PISTON consoles won’t begin shipping until the holidays, so make sure you investigate alternatives before plunking down a reservation.