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(Pocket-lint) - The Xi3 Piston, the first of the unofficial Steam Boxes, will be launching around Christmas this year with a $1,000 price tag.

Unfortunately we don't have pricing and availability for the UK yet, but can fill you in with more details on what the Piston has planned.

Valve has been helping to finance the Piston, which is designed solely to use Steam via its Big Picture mode, so you can play games while it is hooked up to your TV. The idea is that all the complexity of running a Windows machine in your living room is removed, the Piston instead being a replacement for a conventional games console.

Valve is producing its own box which has also been confirmed as set for launch this year. The Piston is going up for pre-order on 18 March. Putting in an order now will net you a $100 discount. The Xi3's pre-order page is already live, should you fancy getting involved. 

Comparing Nvidia's GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs to its 10-series models

The Piston comes in a basic 128GB SSD package, but can be upgraded all the way to 512GB, which adds $750 to the cost. Also included is a 3.2 GHz quad-core (R464) processor and 8GB of RAM.

We did manage to get a play with the same box the Xi3 would eventually ship in at CES and were impressed with just how small and compact the powerful gaming machine could be.

Expect more on Steam Box plans as we get closer to launch.

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Writing by Hunter Skipworth.