I'm Steven and I got into video games once my mom showed me how to play Super Mario Bros. on the NES when I was five. Since then I have constantly played video games for the last 20 years. I enjoy technology and have a degree in Networking and Network Security..........NERD! Most recently I have switched to gaming on PC and play a lot of older games such as Icewind Dale II.
The Xi3 Corporation brings us the Piston which is the unofficial “Steam Box”, pre-orders are now available as I am sure most you know, for the all low starting price of $1,000. There are many reasons why I believe spending this much money on a Steam Box is out of the question. We live in a day and age where most people not only have a computer but unusually have more than one, so the attraction to a Steam Box to be used for a gaming console and a computer is probably not what most people would call particle. Although it does ship with Windows and you also have the option to install Linux or even Android software to the device is a nice feature it is nothing that my computer cannot already do.
Let us get the obvious out of the way and say that even if your computer cannot run Steam well or does not have the graphical capabilities to play current games then you can upgrade your PC for a lot less than the starting price there asking for the Piston. I would say even if you build a computer yourself or choose the specs and use a company to build it for you, you can still come out a head with a full on PC that will have more functionality then what the Piston has to offer. Even something as simple as including a CD drive is completely absent on this pricey Piston. I can appreciate what they are trying to do in the way of compact innovation, apparently it is roughly the size of a grapefruit and I like that it uses a SSD (Solid State Drive).
As far as customization goes you can choose the size of that SSD and put your favorite stickers on the Piston because that is the only options. Your almost forced to upgrade to a bigger drive because it only comes with 128GB SSD, this may be okay for people now but in the future I see many people deleting games so they can create room for the new ones. You might think that you can just upgrade if needed but I have not been able to find any information on their website or in any interview stating that you will be able to upgrade the Piston.
Well what about the sweet graphic card they use? Good question. Here’s a fun game to play, go the Xi3 Corporation Website and try to look for information on what graphic card they use and make sure its the one for the Piston and not one of their other fruit shaped devices. After that let me know if I missed anything because I did not see any information about it. Even in the specs they talk about their hardware but the graphic card is not mentioned, this leads me to believe there is nothing to brag about.
As you can see here the specs for the Piston are not bad, but for the $1,000 they are asking for I want to know more. You get a Quad-Core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD or more if you upgrade to other expensive options. No mention of the graphic card here but there not really needed to play video games anyways, right? Oh and how nice, for pre-ordering they will take off $100.
I felt the biggest thing they had going for them was the fact that Valve was on board, apparently now they have decide to back out of any deal with them. This also makes me think, how much is this device really a “Steam Box”? What I see is a tiny, overpriced, possibly none upgradable computer that is sold with the main selling point being it can run Steam, which is something my computer already dose. What do you think? If you had $1,000 would build your own “Steam Box” or invest into Xi3’s Piston?