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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:17   #1
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Steam 'console' revealed

Story here

"It Begins: Valve And Xi3 Team For ‘Piston’ Steam Box"

Engadget article here

CNet

Official Xi3 site

No specs confirmed at present, but what we do know is.

Quad Core
Has a 40W power envelope
Fully modular - allowing you to upgrade.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:22   #2
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Not a fan of the looks, but will be keeping an eye on it regardless.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:26   #3
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Looks fugly to me. Could see it being a modders favorite though.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:28   #4
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Looks ok to me, but it's what it can do that will interest me, or not.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:41   #5
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I personally can't really see the market unless its super cheap.

Those that use steam regularly can probably build their own systems, or if not, can buy from one of the many companies out there that can.

Everyone else is going to be a console gamer, and thus tied to either Playstation or Xbox and their exclusives etc.

I'm also surprised that Steam haven't designed and produced the hardware themselves instead of outsourcing it. In fairness, that isn't really their 'market', but I wouldn't be surprised to see them do it in the future (like Apple who now design their own ARM SoCs)
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:43   #6
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With this, Project Shield and Ouya, 2013 is looking very interesting for casual gaming. I'll be picking the cheapest one and using it as a portable htpc/mini gaming system lol.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:49   #7
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Looks fugly to me. Could see it being a modders favorite though.
I assume that's not the final production case for the one they'll be making for Valve.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 10:58   #8
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I can imagine proprietary connectors for graphics cards. I.E. no modular upgrade unless you buy one with a valve connector...
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 11:03   #9
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Was hoping for something flat and sleek, a la a DVD/Blu-Ray player.

Gabe I am disappoint...
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 11:09   #10
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looks good to me. the move away from blu-ray and dvd into streaming and downloads means it doesn't have to look like a flat rectangle. I quite like the cube form factor, plus at that size you can tuck it away so you don't have to see it! Just a question of what it can do now.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 11:15   #11
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It may be 'modular' but I imagine there will be some use of proprietary connectors on the motherboard, forcing you to by special parts from valve and their partners rather than being able to shove a 3570k in there for example.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 11:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN View Post
I assume that's not the final production case for the one they'll be making for Valve.
I would say it would be, Xi3 use the same chassis for all their products

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuus View Post
I can imagine proprietary connectors for graphics cards. I.E. no modular upgrade unless you buy one with a valve connector...
I would say you'd be correct, given the form factor and internal layout

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mankz View Post
Was hoping for something flat and sleek, a la a DVD/Blu-Ray player.

Gabe I am disappoint...
So was I, would have made it much easier to place in peoples TV cabinets which usually have long and thin shelves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrMonkeyChunks View Post
It may be 'modular' but I imagine there will be some use of proprietary connectors on the motherboard, forcing you to by special parts from valve and their partners rather than being able to shove a 3570k in there for example.
I'd say you would be correct, especially given the current power envelope and the fact that the cooling has to keep up with whatever parts you buy.

Also, it will allow them to make money from upgrades (ie: if you upgrade to a GPU that costs 80 in the shops, they might charge 100 for the steambox version)
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 12:05   #13
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I actually like it, not in the purple but the flat black. Hopefully they'll dump the chrome end plates for a nice gloss black.

As for upgrades, I doubt it'll ever be an issue as long as it's capable of the next gen of source engine.

everything done by valve with the current source engine runs fine on hardware as old as the 8800GTX and earlier. That's the beauty of the source engine, which makes it no different that a console really. Spec the under pinnings of the hardware and game engine and release to dev's.

Hopefully it'll see better driver support as well to really milk the hardware for all that's it worth
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 12:21   #14
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Quote:
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Was hoping for something flat and sleek, a la a DVD/Blu-Ray player.

Gabe I am disappoint...
I wanted something reminiscent of the portal designs.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 12:44   #15
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I hope it'll have a fair bit of grunt as it'll need to run games other than just Valve's, it'll need to run all those available on Steam.

I quite like it, but it doesn't need so many of the ports on it. Just a power port, hdmi, optical audio out, GigE nic and a couple of usb ports would do. I presume there'll be space inside for one or two standard 2.5" HDD/SSDs.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 14:18   #16
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I'm guessing the form factors largely so they can just use a single 80/120mm fan?
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 14:28   #17
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Looks like it's APU powered. It's going to have to be outrageously cheap for anyone to want to buy a box that only runs a few source games or indie titles and does nothing else. Then again, the microconsole market seems to have emerged from nowhere, so perhaps that's what Valve is aiming for.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 14:31   #18
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Quote:
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I presume there'll be space inside for one or two standard 2.5" HDD/SSDs.
I think you may be overestimating the size of the thing. It's absolutely tiny, unless that guy has massive inhuman hands...

You may be able to add drives in that way (depends on the OS, really) but I imagine that's what all the ports are for.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 15:00   #19
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I like the aesthetics of it.

This device could be great for linux users, that is if they maintain compatibility across this device's operating system and a mainstream distribution.

On the other hand this device could also add to the further stagnation of the development of PC gaming graphics since clearly its not going to have super high end graphics capabilities (not least because it would be too expensive) If this steam box takes off it could set the upper limit of how elaborate graphics can be for a pc game.
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Old 8th Jan 2013, 15:00   #20
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Just been giving this some more thought.

Valve need test bench hardware that is console sized without the ball ache of developing a platform from the ground up, and without the huge cost of such development. (just think how much sony and microsoft must have dumped into hardware development)

So the little Xi3 is exactly that. Now think about the steam on Linux project, very small kernel on a SSD with "Big picture mode" as the UI. That makes for a very small install footprint before you add games. The drop in SSD's price's could see such a platform with 512Gb of SSD sweetness. Or teh kernel and steam are installed on flash memory on the board, with SSD expansion. (similar to the Xbox 360)

My only fear is the AMD APU. AMD/ATI have been hugely painful since the dawn of time with Linux support being a joke.

I would like to think this is the first stepping stone..
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