Xi3 may have found a willing partner in the SFF space
There was quite a bit of mystery and intrigue surrounding Xi3 Corporation's Piston PC at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) two years ago, not to mention confusion over whether or not it would become Valve's rumored (at the time) Steam Box. It wasn't mean to be -- Valve has since launched a Steam Machine initiative, but Xi3 hasn't given up on SFF systems. Instead, Xi3 has partnered with Intel to build and sell next-generation "Micro-Mini PCs," which will include Intel's NUC line, the company announced today.
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.
Unveiled at CES 2013, the Piston console has long been suspected to be a Steam Machine
Utah-based modular computer manufacturer Xi3 created a lot of buzz when it trotted out the diminutive Piston console at CES 2013, leading many to speculate whether it was actually a Steam Machine (or “Steam Box,” as was the preferred term back then). The company’s chief marketing manager David Politis played it coy when online editor Jimmy Thang probed him on the matter. Now, the company says it will reveal additional details about the Piston on Monday, September 30.
A rift may be forming between Piston Console maker Xi3 and Valve.
A partially transparent veil of secrecy hangs over Xi3's pint-sized Piston Console. When first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, some surmised it was the official Steam Box, though Xi3 never came out and said it. And now that Xi3 is taking pre-orders, there's still no mention of it being a Steam Box, though it's clearly intended for living room gaming using Steam's Big Picture mode. Xi3 released a statement today that adds a little insight into its relationship with Valve, and also hints that things aren't as rosy between the two as previously thought.
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.
Further proof that the Xi3's Piston PC is the Steam Box, or at least a version of it.
There was quite a bit of mystery surrounding Xi3's Piston PC at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year. Early reports pegged the PC as being Valve's hotly anticipated Steam Box, and when asked straight up by Maximum PC Online Editor Jimmy Thang, Xi3's chief marketing manager, David Politis, played it coy. Now two months later, a branded version of Xi3's Piston PC has broken cover on Facebook and Twitter.
Utah-based Xi3 Corporation has announced a Chrome OS-running version of its flagship Modular Computer. The company made the announcement in a recent press release. Touting its upcoming ChromiumPC modular desktop as “the world’s first desktop computer running Google’s Chrome operating system,” the company revealed in the press release that it has been working on the machine since 2009. More details about Xi3’s latest modular computer, which measures less than 4-inches per side, after the break.
If you think about it, all PCs are modular, except for maybe supercomputers and certain rackmount systems that we want no part of trying to lift. But Xi3 Corporation takes the concept to a whole new level.
Xi3's new Modular Computer (fitting name, eh?) has already picked up an Innovations Award in the Computer Hardware category for the 2011 International CES trade show, and for good reason. This diminutive, cube-like PC is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet surprisingly functional.
"We reject the concept that computers should have a useful life of only two to four years," said Jason A. Sullivan, President and CEO of Xi3 Corporation. "Instead we believe that computers should be upgradeable and updateable over and over and over again, and that’s how we’ve designed the Xi3 Modular Computer, making it (potentially) the last computer you ever need to buy."
Say what? Each Xi3 board can be removed, modified, or replaced. CrunchGear pooh-poohs the concept, saying that this describes every PC in existence,and that's fair but this one measures less than 4 inches per side. Not only that, but there's a ton of connectivity options, including a pair of eSATA ports, six full power USB 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort, DVI-I (supports HDMI adapter), audio inputs, and more. There's even an external PCI Express port.
Current models include a choice between an Athlon 64 2000+ (1GHz), 3400e (1.8Ghz) or 4200+ (2.2GHz) processor along with 1GB/2GB/4GB of DDR2-667/800 memory.
These aren't cheap, though. Pricing starts at $850 and is available in limited supplies for evaluation and proof-of-concept purposes. General availability is expected for early 2011.