Xi3 'Steambox' modular computer pictures and hands-on

Xi3 has gained major backing from both Kickstarter and Valve for its modular computer concept. While Valve was more difficult to get hold of at CES, Xi3 had a big booth showing off its modular computer in all different colours.

Valve's Steambox version will be called Piston and will look identical to those shown in this article, but with the word Piston in place of the Xi3 logo. 

The Xi3 box is about the size of a Rubik's Cube and features a metal grille on the front and metal connections on the back. There are indentations on each side, giving it an unusual shape. Being wrapped in aluminium makes the console very heat resistant, which is probably helped along by its low 40w power consumption.

The size alone is impressive, especially when you think this box is Big Picture ready. Big Picture is Steam's living room-friendly version of its game client and is designed to work on a conventional television. 

On the back of the Piston are lots of connections. There are four USB 3.0 ports and four USB 2.0, two of which are powered for devices such as keyboards and mice. There is also a HDMI port and a pair of display connectors. Finally, the Piston has an audio out, ethernet and four eSATAp connections.

Inside the Piston box is rumoured to be an AMD APU and, for those who pay the big bucks, up to 1TB of storage to play with - amazing, given its size. A modular motherboard is also thrown in, further adding to the clever design of the Xi3 box. It allows you to swap out parts when needed, ensuring your box stays up to date for the best games.

We will have more on the Piston as it develops.



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