Valve backs PC maker Xi3, announces Steam Box mini-PC

Specifics on tiny PC are kept quiet, but Valve invests an undisclosed amount into PC manufacturer.

by

PC manufacturer Xi3 has announced a modular, grapefruit-sized computer designed around Steam's TV-focused Big Picture mode, and Valve itself has announced an undisclosed amount of investment in the company.

While the oft-rumoured Steam Box was not shown directly, the Utah-based Xi3 showed off a prototype model of its tiny modular chassis, dubbed Piston, at CES Las Vegas. However, the company remained tight-lipped when it came to specs, price, and dates.

Speaking to Polygon, Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis mentioned that the diminutive device would be modular, with the option to upgrade components like the CPU and RAM. The device also allows for up to a terabyte of storage.

While the exact differences between the Steam device and Xi3's current X7A and X5A prototypes have yet to be detailed, the demonstration unit of the Piston showed four USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and eSATA ports, an ethernet port, 3.5mm audio and S/PDIF, two Mini DisplayPorts, and an HDMI/DisplayPort.

Xi3 also confirmed that the upcoming box is based on its bigger and more powerful prototype, the X7A, which will retail for $999. The entry-level device, the X5A, retails for $499 and runs on Linux--the open-source OS Valve engineer Ben Krasnow recently said the Steam box would utilise.

“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.”

Valve's Jeri Ellsworth has previously said she would like to launch an external beta test of proprietary Valve hardware sometime in 2013.

Discussion

308 comments
holtrocks
holtrocks

If i cannot upgrade the GPU then that would be a deal breaker for me upgrading the CPU and ram will only take you so far before a new GPU is necessary i am assuming they know this and we will be able to.

Mrblackmagic199
Mrblackmagic199

i really don't see the point in it maybe if it was cheaper but other wise for a little bit more you could get a half decent gaming pc.


it is nice about the power consumption though

mkdewidar
mkdewidar

So it's approximately the same price as the razer edge, only difference is that the edge has multiple uses and has its own screen. For me personally, I'd go for the edge till the steambox proves its awesomeness, which I have I feeling it will.

viciouskiller
viciouskiller

If this thing costs a $1,000 then what does that mean for the ps4 and new xbox prices? Guess i better start saving for them now.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Does anyone know what kinda of video card the mini pc would be able to support or use? 

the 4" fan could keep the processor cool, but what about or where would the video card go? 

ggregd
ggregd

The Linux thing bugs me.  Steam only has about 40 games that run on Linux and they're not the who's who of AAA PC gaming titles.  How they're going to get more developers to port Windows games to Linux is a serious issue, unless and until this sells dozens of millions of units.

bad_fur_day
bad_fur_day

mouse support, please, please

 

only reason I like PC gaming more is because of the mouse.

 

FPS - needs a mouse and keyboard, fricken please

ClusterBlaster
ClusterBlaster

Just to comment on Steambox, hope this is a really powerful gaming console with an awesome library. For those worried about Linux not having enough games since most games are made for Windows, should be aware that the PS3 runs on Linux & it runs great.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

You know what would be REALLY great?  If game devs and console makers decided enough is enough and make their systems open platform.  That way I could go to the store and there'd be ONE copy of a game and that copy will work on my WiiU, my 360, my PS3, and my PC (obviously it wouldn't work on the current run of systems, it'd have to be the next gen).  Make each version of the game take advantage of each individual console so whatever system you play it on you'll have a great experience but you won't have to worry about rebuying a game if you get a gaming computer or a new system for christmas or something.

 

Eh, well a guy can dream can't he?

Celsius765
Celsius765

so i can rest assure that wee thing is not the steambox?

foxrock66
foxrock66

So is Eddie Mac gone now or just sharing the front page?

 

jhonMalcovich
jhonMalcovich

I like how PC is stealing the show this year. There were only a few details about next gen consoles, and tons of infromation about incoming PC hardware, Steam box and exclusives.

 

PC industry is doing it right  :) 

 

Aria1368
Aria1368

what a big failure this will be!!! ... finally that rich cow, will lose some money !!! haahaha

Jebril
Jebril

W/e it is...I'm getting it.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

I think people forget one thing, " Steam Box is open-platform "

 

for either $ 499 or $ 999 they offer the fair price,, 

all your main data (games) are in the cloud, and all games come in cheap,,

your Steam consoles could perform graphic intense games, superior than other system while the games still affordable for you. that's genius,,

 

or you could buy Sony / Microsoft next-gen that cost $ 399 with mediocre graphic, and cost $60 for games. 

 

The other advantage of the open-platforms is, it's probably backward compatible, and had a wide range compatibility with other open-platform.

when Steam Box ceased to exist (for the next few years i'm pretty sure)

you can still play all your collection either on PC, Linux, MAC or Steam 2 based Consoles "digitally", as long as you had your Steam account, you had the main data you could download anywhere you want.

 

if you have Steam account right now, there's features called Steam-play, features that let you play your games either on MAC, PC, or LINUX, you just need download it on your platform of choice,

 

I think Steam will offer similar offers, let's say you purchased "FarCry 4" through Steambox, i'm pretty sure you already had the MAC, PC, LINUX version available for you. no need to buy other version like PS3 version or Xbox 360 version, or PC version.

 

That's the comfort that you will never had on Older Consoles,

Closed platform like Xbox and PlayStation are shit and works like Dinosaur,

when PS2 production ceased, you sucked,, yes, you own your physical copy,, but you can't play it, the platforms are rare, you either need buy more platform (which will cost you more) or let go your good old collection.

 

Not mention platform like PS3 also had something like PS Timer,

the timer that will activated the internal firmware when the warranty is expired, and kaboom, you need to buy either Next-gen or new PS3. 

 

 

skunkpants
skunkpants

Well at least the size of the component is going in the right direction. I would like to see the large box pc go and start being this small with the same power as a high end spec computers, would be convenient to everyone. Only problem is the hardware technology isn't there yet.

pez2k_
pez2k_

What? Xi3 shows off a new PC, and somehow the headline becomes 'Valve announces Steam Box'? Not exactly the highest standards of journalism...

hedgy1
hedgy1

it LOOKS like an awesome device with a small form factor! I'm excited to see what Valve has in store for us at CES!

TheArcade
TheArcade

It LOOKS lik a joke. I am enthused they put Linux on it there. The same OS native to the original Xbox (which could lead to all sorts of emulators, MUGEN, XBMC, etc.) however that design looks absolutely horrendous.

HKILLER88888
HKILLER88888

X7A is still weak and 1000$ is too much for it " 3.2GHz, integrated graphics with up to 384 share cores, 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and enough power to handle graphics-rich computer games like Crysis 2 with ease.It will also be able to drive up to three high-definition monitors at the same time."

with 1000$ you can buy a good PC that will allow you play Far Cry 3 on high setting

FX-8350(195$)-Sabertooth FX990(180$)-Vengence 8gb 1866(55$)-Cooler master 600W(65$)-Asus 6970 2gb 256 bit(370$)-western digit Black 1TB(104$) and a case (70$) so this is a total of 1040$...40$ more but i think a lot stronger and also you can install any OS you want on it!

jchamman
jchamman

Look up the specs. They use AMD mobile apus. Doesnt seem like a good buy for the price. Especially if your using it for gaming.

mosterslayer22
mosterslayer22

@ggregd This shouldn't be a worry, as the dev said that it should run any x86 based operating system, including windows. Check 1:18. %%s

GamerDad420
GamerDad420

@bad_fur_day MOUSE SUPPORT ?????    what do you think the inputs would be sunshine and farts????

godfather830
godfather830

@ClusterBlaster Wrong...The PS3 games will not run on this device. Even though the PS3 does use a heavily modified version of Linux, it does not operate on x86 architecture.

So it's impossible to play PS3 games on this. So you are in fact restricted to the tiny number of games that work on Linux.

HKILLER88888
HKILLER88888

 @Jedilink109 if you own all of em so what's the bother?it would benefit when for example you just have a PC and want to play Castlevania or Halo (or any other console exclusive titles)now that would be great!but i don't think that would work cuz Sony,Nintendo and Microsoft ain't going to work under the same roof!

buccomatic
buccomatic

 @Jedilink109 that's what the steambox is.

 

congratulations, your dreams have now come true!

 

gratz lol!

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @Ladiesman17

  what the heck are you talking about 1 ps2 production stopped last year and my big ps2 with add on modem and hard drive work fine. your smoking crack if you think that console jsut magically break when they stop making them. also pc level graphics pc's support better res because of the monitors and power for the graphics cards do you think this thing will have an nvidia gtx680 in it? get real that that video card is new big as hell and cost by itself  $1500 it wont even fit in a laptop. they will use something that will be no different than next gen console graphics cards. why because in pc games you can adjust settings so the game runs the only saving grace for this machine is it may utlize memory like a pc which is the main issue with consoles right now. of course you can move you steam games around that is how steam works.

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @Ladiesman17

  um new games on steam also cost 59.99 it was for a time that pc games where about 10 dollars cheaper but not any more. these cheap games you talk about that arent on sale  are the same price every where. example farcry 3 49.99 on steam also walmart, target, frys electronics, best buy pc games are cheaper steam's only true feature is that is a big outlet for dlc and indie games and live still games.

Jebril
Jebril

 @GamerMani You're a blatant Xbox fanboy every comment I see from you is about how all other competitors suck and M$'s gonna win. It's aggravating...hope you change brother! *HANDS YOU A STEAM BOOK*

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

 @GamerMani Maybe but personally I hope the crown goes back to the Japanese.  The kid in me will always root for Nintendo (plus I splurged and got the family a Wii U) but my mind says that Sony, laying the hopes of the megacorporation it is on its gaming brand, finally beats down that Microsoft usurper :D .

buccomatic
buccomatic

 @jchamman no. it's going to have an i7 cpu.

 

the model you are seeing is a generic prototype for everyday pc use. it's not the actual steambox.

Aria1368
Aria1368

 @Spartan_418 hahaha, but i'm guessing we will be seeing that on next-gen consoles plus on their crappy $1000 console that looks like ashtray!

Maxd765
Maxd765

 @deathblow3  @Ladiesman17 What are you talking about deathblow? GTX 680 cost ~$400-$600 not $1500, GTX 690 cost $1500 and some GTX 690 models even go for $999, Source: Newegg

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

 @deathblow3  new hitman game is 49.99 & i got borderlands 2 on PC for 29.99 so whats your point when PC games can go down as low as 75% on steam only a few are 59.99 but during a sale they go to 50% to 75% you'll never see that on a console 

ClusterBlaster
ClusterBlaster

 @Serpentes420  @GamerMani I have been gaming on the PC since early 90's. It beats the console on technology hands down. However it is always convenient to lay on the couch & game on the console on a big screen. It's more convenient than fiddling with the mouse & keyboard. Also I have owned the PS3 since 2010 & it never game me any issue. Prefer it over the 360 for the free online gameplay & larger & upgradeable storage. To be true, the current games have not yet maxed the consoles & better games are more importance than a new console with crappy games.

nu1mlock
nu1mlock

 @buccomatic  @jchamman While it might not have an i7, this is - like you said - just a prototype, and from one manufacturer only. There will be lots more.

Jecoh
Jecoh

@deathblow3 There is most definitely other places that sale games cheaper than steam sometimes. I am not arguing that you just came off as very anti-steam before. I realize that games go on sale on console even if they aren't on sale at target, best buy etc... lol I am a avid deal searcher. I use all different outlets to acquire my games at the lowest price possible. There is a lot of times I find better deals on green man gaming than on steam or any other number of websites. Lol I just realized that I don't care about your argument because I agree with it. I just guess I misunderstood what you were trying to get across originally.

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @Jecoh i'm not i use steam all the time but to think you so called deal are steam only discounts are not done other places is asinine. i could care less about consoles this isnt really about a xbox or ps3 its about if i can get a game cheaper than steam i can because it may not be posible on this over price box. also just because old games can still be found at normal retail doesnt mean you cant get them else where cheaper its also rare that games that are no longer popular stay at 59 bucks. sales even on steam are done to start moving unit that are not moving currently.

 

Jecoh
Jecoh

 @deathblow3  Lol why are you so anti-steam. No one said that only steam does these sales. All that was said is that PC games on steam go on sale for far more than console games go on sale. Example I could buy any number of games that were selling for 59.99 on consoles last week on steam for 14.99-29.99 those same games that "were not moving units" on consoles were not discounted to nearly the same extent or at all. They did not invent the term sale, they are not the only one's who do sales; but they do in fact do them and they have pretty good ones.

 

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @demonkingx5

  my point is pc games are cheap in general and you can get it from amazon for the same price. these other place that you fail to acknowledge also do sales and discounts as well its not just steam is my point. steam didnt not creat the term sale or discount for games that are no longer moving unit this is how the retail industry works.

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @buccomatic  @GamerMani

  also your wrong the wii u isnt a 2year outdate gpu is is 5 or 6. and they added the tablet because of the casual market not to get it back it been a casual market company since they came out with the wii. seeing as how the wii sold more console than any other system ever before it moved on and sales dried up. i doubt they are looking to capture lost customers.

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @buccomatic  @GamerMani

  microsoft will be fine we dont know what they will use for graphics but it wont be that different than ps4 that is for sure and we will know it will be old. as the latest and greatest cards are expensive as heck and no one is going to buy a 800-1000 dollar console. any one remember the neogeo system? exactly

buccomatic
buccomatic

 @GamerMani dude it IS garbage. it's already 2 year old technology, and is already outdated - that's not "next gen". that's last gen.

 

sony's newer technology was flawed, it wasn't better because it was new and microsoft made it simple for people to make games for their system, so it succeeded.

 

but now microsoft is doing the opposite because they're trying to keep a sinking ship from going under - they have no other choice.

 

it's just like wiiu trying to sell their "new console" as a hybrid/cross between a tablet and a console because they're trying to retain or regain all the customers they lost to tablets and smartphones.

 

most people have left windows pc for tablets and smartphones. the only ones who are using pc are gamers, and businesses. BUTbusinesses don't need to upgrade to win 8. so there's no reason for microsoft to even keep making windows OS anymore and that is their whole business.

 

example:

if there is no reason to put a microsoft OS on PC's (because everyone left  PC for smartphones and tablets) = no windows 8 (or any other windows OS) sales

 

if no one buys windows smartphones, tabletsans surface hybrids microsoft has nothing to put their OS onto

 

if microsoft launched xbox720 with outdated 2 year old gpu (just like wiiu did) then they will fail at that as well, and xbox is the only and last thing they're able to sell. so if they fail, they're fucked. and even if the 720 has some moderate success they're still going to crumble because all the other things i just listed (which were supposed to keep them alive and making them billions) have failed as well.

 

if you can't comprehend the reality of the core problem microsoft is facing (which i tried to explan) then everything you say in defense of them is personal desire for them to succeed. no nee to worry man, you can live without them, and life will be better (for everyone) when they eventually die off.

 

there's nothing to protect or defend, and there's no valid point to argue, microsoft is fucked bro.

 

again - i have an xbox and would like them to succeed with the new console, but not if it's 2 year old tech (why would i want that - i want next gen, not last gen) and not if they still try and control everything, $10 gold subscriptions, overpriced games and dlc, an OS that holds back the entire worlds tech industry from rapid advancement = microsoft is just NOT good for the gaming industry anymore. and because of this they are killing themselves off by way of alienating nearly EVERYONE who would otherwise help them stay in business.

 

all this is happening because they want to control everything, and that time has passed, they don't control shit anymore.

buccomatic
buccomatic

 @GamerMani  before xbox there was sony dominating everything, then xbox came along and gradualy took over for a short while, but in the process microsoft put all their eggs in one basket (for too long) and now microsoft has painted themselves into a corner.

 

they have a "new console" coming out which "features" 2 year old crappy amd technology. the 720 "next gen" console, smartglass, windows phone, windows surface that NO ONE wants, windows 8 debacle. = microsoft is fucking finished dude.

 

sorry to break the news to you but they're fucked big time.

 

-ps i own a xbox 360 and have enjoyed it (2 of them actually) since 2007. but the reality is that if they cannot manage to come out with a console that has at least a current gtx680 equivalent, or higher, (which they already said they aren't going to do) with the ability to have full directx12 support when it comes out, they're going to throw themselves into the same predicament that nintendo has put themselves into with the wiiu's overpriced garbage 5 year old technology / hardware in their crappy system that no one wants.

 

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @ClusterBlaster  @Serpentes420  @GamerMani

  they have not maxed at the power but they have the media at least on the xbox it is a reason alot of xbox games are coming on 2-3 disk now dvd no longer has enough room for all the content to make the games longer than 4 hours.

buccomatic
buccomatic

 @nu1mlock also if it's modualr maybe you coukd have an i5!

 

man i love this modular idea!