Xi3's PISTON mini-gaming PC to launch Nov. 29

As promised last week, PC maker Xi3 has offered some new information on its upcoming PISTON PC. The company said that the PISTON will officially launch on Nov. 29 but that people who pre-ordered the PC during or before the SXSW Gaming Expo in March will have their units shipped on or before Nov. 15.

In addition, the PISTON, which will have a tiny aluminum case (4.27x3.656x3.656 inches), can now be pre-ordered with up to 512GB of SSD storage and can support up to 1TB of internal storage. Inside there's going to be a 3.2GHz AMD Trinity processor, a Radeon 7000-Series GPU and 8GB of DDR3  RAM. It will have three monitor ports (miniDP, HDMI and DisplayPort) and 12 USB ports (4 USB 3.0, 4 USB 2.0, and 4 eSATAp/USB 2.0). The starting price for the PC will remain at $999.

XI3 says the PISTON's Ethernet controller has been made so that it will "recognize and prioritize computer gaming data to the top of PISTON’s network queue." Xi3 will include a number of games that will be pre-loaded with every PISTON, but so far the details about those titles have yet to be announced. The website also has an image of a PISTON branded game controller but it's unclear if that will ship with the PC.

Earlier this year, Xi3 said it received an investment from Valve to make a PC that would work with Valve's Big Picture mode in Steam. Valve later said it was no longer involved with Xi3. Last week, Valve announced plans to offer its own Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, which is designed to be used in living room PCs. Even though Xi3 said earlier this year that it felt it was best to launch the PISTON PC "with a Windows OS at the core" the company is now no longer stating which operating system will be offered with the PC.  In an FAQ page on the Xi3 site, it says that it is still "a bit premature" to answer the question on whether or not it will use the SteamOS.

Xi3 plans to demo the PISTON PC to journalists and attendees at the Interop trade show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City on Oct. 2 and 3.

Source: Xi3 | Image via Xi3

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36 Comments

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I don't understand the choice of an AMD Trinity processor since they include a discrete graphics card. Dual-Graphics do not work with HD 7000 series, unless perhaps it's an HD 7750, but even then the gains are insignificant. Much better would be to get an FX CPU instead.

Are they serious? Still launching with Trinity instead of Richland for $999??? not that it's much better, but as far as I remember the 6700 has slightly better performance at a much lower TDP, and the latter is what matters most in this form factor.

gonchuki said,
Are they serious? Still launching with Trinity instead of Richland for $999??? not that it's much better, but as far as I remember the 6700 has slightly better performance at a much lower TDP, and the latter is what matters most in this form factor.

It really most like lee a A10-4657M Trinity so the device is build around mobile computing parts and from what I heard it run on about 50watts and for A10-5757M Richland there not there much of a performance diff the one to watch out for it Kaveri A-series APU which come with 512 stream processors and GDDR5 memory the only downside is it will require new mainboards that a Socket FM2+.

If the specs were better, the price could be forgiven more easily. It's great that it's small, but mediocre everything else and a high price...won't sell.

I like the looks of this. However, I just built a mini itx beast in a Node 304 with better performance to price ratio. This Piston is slick looking though and smaller.

It not a MiniATX it lot smaller then that and it cost more then $450 to build

AMD A10-6800K Richland $150
ASRock FM2A85X-ITX $110
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB $85
Corsair Hydro Series H80i Water Cooler $88
SeaSonic Platinum Series SS-400FL2 Active PFC F3 400W $120
Samsung 840 Pro Series $134
BitFenix Prodigy BFC-PRO-300 $90
Odds and Ands Parts $23
That set you back cool $800

Spicoli said,
About the same as build you own with average graphics

Based on specs, you could build your own for about half the price. It's way overpriced.

I did a PCPartPicker run, to see what I could get the total out to. A machine matching what they're touting costs less than $490. This isn't including rock-bottom quality parts either. The only thing I couldn't find was a matching GPU. The closest I could get was an ATI 7950, which is actually more powerful than what's in the Piston.

Specs: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/majesticmerc/saved/2ukj

Obviously this doesn't include peripherals and such, but I reckon, mass produced, they could still make a profit selling them for $500.

Spicoli said,

That case is about 20x larger. It's 1134 cubic inches while this box is 57 cubic inches. I don't think the photo really conveys how small this thing is. They should have someone hold it in their hand.

So?

Xi3 Case 4.3 x 3.7 x 3.7 inch vs CM Case 9.4 x 8.1 x 14.9 inch that room for 4 Xi3 Case in one Elite 130 case

Spicoli said,

That case is about 20x larger. It's 1134 cubic inches while this box is 57 cubic inches. I don't think the photo really conveys how small this thing is. They should have someone hold it in their hand.

Who cares what size it is?

It's being marketed for gaming except it's overpriced and underpowered. Two things actual gamers will punish you for...by not buying it.

Spicoli said,
About the same as build you own with average graphics

I love replies like these. Like it's common knowledge how to build your own computer. It's not even common among hardcore gamers, let alone the casual gamers this console seeks.

sanctified said,

I love replies like these. Like it's common knowledge how to build your own computer. It's not even common among hardcore gamers, let alone the casual gamers this console seeks.

I don't know a single gamer that has not built or upgraded their system. It's not very difficult and is part of the hardcore thing.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

Who cares what size it is?

It's being marketed for gaming except it's overpriced and underpowered. Two things actual gamers will punish you for...by not buying it.

A lot of people care about the size of something designed to stick in their living room.

sanctified said,

I love replies like these. Like it's common knowledge how to build your own computer. It's not even common among hardcore gamers, let alone the casual gamers this console seeks.

If you've done any sort of computing or IT course in college or uni there's a fair chance you had a class dedicated to building/maintenance. I know I did and that was over 10 years ago.

All my mates built or know how to build their machines.

It's rather common knowledge if you're not a casual.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

If you've done any sort of computing or IT course in college or uni there's a fair chance you had a class dedicated to building/maintenance.

Yeah, like everyone has taken a course like that. I mantain my original stance, of course we know a lot of people that build their own machines, it's our social circle. But this is a minority. An elitist minority I might add because it seems people have an urge to declare a moral superiority from their compulsive "I can build that for cheaper" statements. Of course you can build something like that for cheap, you dont have to pay for labor, marketing and distribution.

sanctified said,

Yeah, like everyone has taken a course like that. I mantain my original stance, of course we know a lot of people that build their own machines, it's our social circle. But this is a minority. An elitist minority I might add because it seems people have an urge to declare a moral superiority from their compulsive "I can build that for cheaper" statements. Of course you can build something like that for cheap, you dont have to pay for labor, marketing and distribution.

Why does it have to be common knowledge? Your granny probably doesn't care about PCs or gaming so she won't have any interest in how to research, spec and then construct a machine.

I'd say most legitimately passionate PC gamers will - and they can therefore do it for less. Casuals won't...because they need an xbox. If this Piston machine is being targeted at said casuals then that's fine. It would appear from the statements and marketing that they're trying to aim it at the more dedicated PC gamer. With copy like "Gaming supremacy starts with a powerful system, and Xi3's PISTON Console comes packed with...." and "Hard-core gamers will love the powerful, immersive experience PISTON provides.". Unfortunately, it's clearly tripe. There's plenty of other nonsense on display like "OMG MODULAR!" as if a standard PC isn't.

The full specification is notably lacking. Looking at the quoted specs it would need to have some sort of GTX 770 in it to justify the cost. I'll eat my hat if it does. If it packs some middling Radeon or a 6 series GeForce for $1000 you'd have to be bordering on insanity to buy it. It'll not even play BF4 at that rate. This is why it'll crash and burn. It's badly conceived and doesn't offer a compelling price point.

Edited by Sandor, Oct 2 2013, 2:33am :

Indeed..I like the case design but I'm skeptical it will be a decent gaming PC..but Im happy to be proven wrong

Edited by John Callaham, Sep 30 2013, 9:54pm :

John Callaham said,
Indeed..I like the case design but I'm skeptical it will be a descent gaming PC..but Im happy to be proven wrong

Please correct me if I'm wrong on this, but it doesn't seem to have a dedicated graphics card, so I'm skeptical as well.

John Callaham said,
Indeed..I like the case design but I'm skeptical it will be a decent gaming PC..but Im happy to be proven wrong

it says its using a trinity APU. the highest trinity config is the a10-5800k that will play practically anything at 720p on low to high with good framerates (30-60). 1080p is a different story,some games can hit an average of 30fps(batman,dirt showdown,and some games wont (bf3 20fps, crysis 2 10fps).

John Callaham said,
Indeed..I like the case design but I'm skeptical it will be a decent gaming PC..but Im happy to be proven wrong

We already know the gaming performance. It uses an AMD Trinity CPU. Theres tons of game benchmarks around showing how they perform. It's better than Intel HD 4000, but not quite as good as Intels Iris Pro 5200 graphics or a Nvida GT 640.

Basically it will play most modern games at around 1366x768 on medium settings.