The lights are on
When the idea of a "Steambox" was first floated, the first look we got at one was from a company called Xi3. Its device, the "Piston," is designed to take advantage of Steam Big Screen mode and put PC gaming in the living room. Today we know when those devices will be available.The Piston, which was announced earlier this year, is available on November 29, 2013, and it comes pre-loaded with unspecified games. It has a quad-core x86 processor (manufacturer undisclosed) and support 4K-resolution. Many of the other details aren't immediately available, though we found that the device sports 8 GB RAM, a 3.2 GHz processor, and a 128 GB solid state drive. The price for this unit, which does not seem to have any configuration options, is $999.After even more digging, we found that the graphics processor in the Piston is a Radeon 7000 series (released in late 2011). There is no comprehensive spec sheet or benchmarks. You can read more at Xi3's website.[Source: Xi3]Our TakeBuyer beware. We know very little about the Piston, and without detailed information about the components and the benchmarks, purchasing one is a risky proposition. Also of note is the $1,000 price tag. We've wondered what a living-room friendly Steam device might cost, and this fits squarely in my own expected range ($800 - $1,200). We still don't know what Valve is targeting for their own Steam Machines announced last week.This isn't the affordable entry PC people were hoping for, at least those who were hoping for something to challenge consoles for living room dominance. I'll reserve final judgement until the full specifications are revealed, but frankly, that should have been part of the press release.