Outside of Valve, arguably no company has been more excited about the Steam Machine (previously known as Steam Box) platform than Xi3, makers of the pint sized Piston Console. Following Valve's trio of announcements last week, we know that that there won't be a singular Steam Machine, but multiple options from third party vendors, and it looks like Xi3 will be one of the first out of the gate.
Xi3 today announced that its Piston Console will be available to purchase on Black Friday, or November 29, 2013. Those who pre-order a Piston Console ahead of time will receive their unit on or before November 15, 2013, a full two weeks ahead of the actual launch.
Though we know more about the Piston Console and Steam Machines in general than ever before, there's still a shroud of mystery that hangs over the whole platform.
"The Piston Console is just Xi3’s first step in what we believe will be a transformative technology revolution for the living room," said Jason A. Sullivan, Xi3’s founder, president and CEO. "Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what I know is coming because it’s not time to tell you. But I will say this: the bar has been raised. Piston is smaller, lighter, and will last longer, provide more gaming options and be more powerful than any other gaming console on the planet. The reason I feel confident in saying this is because we started with a clean slate, unlike competing manufacturers. And that Tabula Rasa approach is what sets Piston apart from other gaming systems today and what will set us apart tomorrow."
Xi3 will hold the first public preview of production Piston Consoles at the Interop New York trade show this week, so expect more details soon. In the mean time, Xi3 reiterates that Piston Consoles will come configured with a quad-core x86 processor running at up to 3.2GHz; 384 programmable discrete-class graphics cores; 8GB of DDR3 RAM; dual SSD connectors; internal microSD card slot; 128GB of SSD storage (upgradeable to 1TB); mini DisplayPort, HDMI, DisplayPort connectors; a dozen USB ports (four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, and four eSATA/USB 2.0 combo ports); digital audio ports; and more.
It will also have an Ethernet controller designed to recognize and prioritize gaming data, which sounds a lot like what Killer Networks does. In addition, Piston Consoles will come with "pack-in" gaming titles pre-loaded, details of which have not yet been revealed.