Hands up. who remembers the Xi3 Piston mini-computer? It is a diminutive rig that focuses on modularity and tiny computers, with Xi3’s philosophy that computers don’t need to be towering ATX beige boxes any longer. When it was first revealed, it was one of the few machines that Valve mentioned when they first began talking about invading the console space in the living room. Xi3 itself mused publicly on the idea for some time and even sent Valve engineers a couple of prototypes for testing. Now that the Piston has been seeing some decent sales following its launch in November 2013, Xi3 says that it will no longer be a part of the Steam Machines race.
In an interview given to PC Gamer on the CES 2014 showroom floor, Xi3 CMO David Politis said that the company now views the Piston as an all-round machine and markets it as such. Despite the early partnerships with Valve, the company doesn’t want to be seen as allied with any one organisation in the PC Gaming space.
“We believe, and I think the market’s very clear about this, that the biggest concentration today is in the Windows marketplace,” said Politis. “We’re still friends. We still love Valve, we love Steam.”
“We’ve gone separate directions today – that doesn’t mean we’re not supporting Valve. They’ve got 50+ million users on Steam [and a large library of games]. Why wouldn’t you support them? “But the thing is, so does EA, with Origin,” he added.
“So we support Origin as well. In fact, we believe that if you can play it on a computer you should be able to play it on a Piston – and that’s our whole viewpoint.”
This makes sense for Xi3 because as AMD and Intel continue to improve the graphics capabilities of their APUs, so Xi3 will be able to jump in the bandwagon to run other operating systems and market the Piston family to gamers who won’t have to worry too much about performance. As time passes, these little machines will just get more and more powerful.
The Xi3 Piston is a diminutive machine based on the AMD APU and designed with modularity in mind. The Piston Console retails for US $999 (approx. R10,700) and features an AMD Trinity APU with Radedon HD7660G graphics, which makes it the equivalent of the A10-5700 APU. It comes with 8GB of low-voltage RAM, a 128GB mSATA SSD and a standard one-year warranty. Xi3 hasn’t made any announcements on a revamped version featuring Kaveri APUs and hasn’t planned any versions with Intel processors.