We've been hearing whispers of a standardized "Steam Box" gaming PC for quite some time, and it looks like Valve has decided that this year's CES is best place to finally shed some light on the topic. In a partnership with modular PC company Xi3, the duo have revealed a prototype dubbed Piston. The mini-PC (similar to the one shown above) is designed specifically with Steam and Big Picture Mode in mind, but they haven't been so quick to share specific details.
"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 in a statement to Polygon. "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."
The Piston PC that Xi3 and Valve have brought to CES is only an early version, but Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis tells Polygon that the Piston will offer up to 1 TB of internal storage and modular components, meaning owners could easily upgrade the PC's CPU and RAM. It was also confirmed that the Piston will be based on Xi3's “performance level” X7A modular PC that was part of a failed Kickstarter campaign back in September.
Polygon's photos of the Piston from the CES show floor show the unit equipped with an ethernet port, 1/8" audio jack, optical audio, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, four eSATAp ports, two Mini Display Ports and one DisplayPort/HDMI port.
We'll be updating this post with any new information that comes out, so stay tuned!