Steam Box PC maker Xi3 reveals super-small Z3RO Pro Computer

Last week, PC maker Xi3 announced that it had entered a deal with Valve to create a "development stage system" that's designed to run the Big Picture mode for Valve's Steam client. While details about that product have yet to be revealed, Xi3 has another interesting PC that it will launch in the second quarter of 2013.

Xi3's press release announces the Z3RO Pro Computer, a full PC that the company says is the size of a small paperback book (its exact dimensions are 1.875 x 4.875 x 3.625 inches). The company makes the bold claim that this new PC "marks the end of desktop computing as we’ve known it."

The specs on the Z3RO Pro Computer include an unnamed dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor with a clock speed of 1.65GHz, along with an integrated graphics processor. It holds up to 4 GB of RAM and can support a SSD of up to 1 TB of storage. It also has one HDMI/DisplayPort and another Mini-DisplayPort, along with an Ethernet port and four eSATAp 3.0 port.

Xi3 is taking pre-orders for the Z3RO Pro Computer for $399. While it will come reinstalled with the openSUSE version of Linux, Xi3 says it can run other operating systems, including Windows 8.

Source: Xi3 | Image via Xi3

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34 Comments

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seanv said,
Why would I buy this? Not being snarky but I don't see there this fits in Work or Play?

If you have a LCD/LED TV then the chances are it'll have VESA mounting holes on the back- normally used for mounting to a wall via bracket or swing arm. You can mount most of the small machines in a bracket using the VESA holes and connect it behind your TV.
Out the way and they take up little power and are silent. If setup correctly with hibernate/suspend to disk they become near instant loading, usually a lot faster then blu-ray players or consoles to power on.

Throw in a wireless media keyboard with trackpad built in, and you have a full computer system taking up no space in your room on a big enough screen, and you have a full PC rather then apps or half baked browsers from some modern TVs.

I've installed a few of these setups in small apartments who don't have space for a PC, and people who've got fed up with the kids damaging the laptops.

Mobile ARM Platforms are making leaps and bounds against the X86 platform, but they are at approximately at the level of the original Xbox (Circa. 2001). I think for now, if they are going to have success with their target market of hardcore gamers, they are going to have to go with X86, with upgradeable GPUs, as hardcore gamers generally constantly upgrade their PCs, which Steam is trying to tap into.

I don't get it? PC gamers now want to play with a game controller instead of mouse/keyboard? They want a low end gaming PC that is hard to upgrade and an OS that doesn't have a great selection of games?

Didn't we already go through this fad? Remember the Mac Mini?

It would be neat if you could "stack" these units like you would multiple GPUs to achieve higher performance, but I don't think we're there yet.

SpyderCanopus said,
It would be neat if you could "stack" these units like you would multiple GPUs to achieve higher performance, but I don't think we're there yet.

Comes preinstalled with Linux. We're already there. Beowulf clustering has been around for years and while I've not played with clustering in Linux for a few years now, I'm pretty sure there is good support for clustering out of the box with processes being moved to machine to machine based on the workload.

However, its usually cheaper, gives you better performance and takes up less space if you just get a faster machine in the first place rather then several of these slow machines.

Wow, you just can't let one go, eh people? We are talking here on a very small factor pc. It's like the size of a Hard Drive, but a little bit bigger.

For the size of that thing, and the HDMI output, the little boy is amazing!

Not sure if serious or lives under a rock. Computers of this size have been around for many years now. It's nothing new. My Zotac AD-10 which is used as a HTPC has the same / similar specs - I bought it 2 years ago.

Yawzers! - that dual core 1.7GHz is amazing and will sure replace my desktop! Not to mention the no named integrated graphics! Sounds amazing.

Bazinga!!

Crisp said,
Yawzers! - that dual core 1.7GHz is amazing and will sure replace my desktop! Not to mention the no named integrated graphics! Sounds amazing.

Bazinga!!


I think the most ridiculous part is how it doesn't even have USB.

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

I think the most ridiculous part is how it doesn't even have USB.

GS:mac


What're the two ports on the back with what looks like a USB logo above them?

Glassed Silver said,

I think the most ridiculous part is how it doesn't even have USB.

GS:mac


eSATAp ports are combination ports which you can plug either eSATA or USB into..
I suppose eSATAp 3.0 means that it is USB3.0 but I don't know..

eSATA ports do NOT provide any power for the external device (USB does), so eSATA devices normally need their own separate power supply module. BUT a non-standard version of the eSATA port has been developed that DOES provide power to the external device. Such ports can function as an eSATAp (powered), a plain eSATA, or as a USB port, depending on which specific connector is plugged in.

Glassed Silver said,

I think the most ridiculous part is how it doesn't even have USB.

GS:mac

You should probably educate yourself in the eSATAp standard then.

PsYcHoKiLLa said,
Those specs suck for any serious computing, messing about on Facebook, sure but anything else, useless

They're not made for "serious computing". They would work for a vast majority of people. Not to mention, clock speed doesn't matter anymore.

720i eh?..
Newsflash: 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 Android phones can handle High Profile 1080p video that meets or exceeds Blu Ray specifications.

audioman said,
720i eh?..
Newsflash: 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 Android phones can handle High Profile 1080p video that meets or exceeds Blu Ray specifications.

Newsflash: that is GPU decoding NOT software decoding, please get a raspberry pi without any hardware decoding enabled to see what a pure-software decoder would run like.

n_K said,

Newsflash: that is GPU decoding NOT software decoding, please get a raspberry pi without any hardware decoding enabled to see what a pure-software decoder would run like.

Newsflash: Don't use software decoding.

LauRoman said,
I doubt it can handle 1080p. I honestly doubt it can handle 720i or worse, 360 and 480p flash video.

Then you're literally clueless. My £30 raspberry pi does 1080p no issue and that's a 700mhz ARM chip. I'm sure the gpu in this pc will smoke the pi's no issue.

n_K said,

Newsflash: that is GPU decoding NOT software decoding, please get a raspberry pi without any hardware decoding enabled to see what a pure-software decoder would run like.

Newsflash: You're post is irrelevant. This has a GPU. Even integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics or AMD's integrated GPU's are still significantly more powerful than anything in a tablet/smartphone. All video decoding will be GPU accelerated. This thing can easily run 1080p @ 60 FPS.