Valve has invested in computer manufacturer Xi3 to develop a custom PC in a bold new move to bring Steam to the living room.
Early details suggest the system is codenamed 'Piston' and will be coloured in the familiar charcoal grey associated with Valve's software. Valve's Steam, specifically its Big Picture Mode for TVs, will likely be pre-installed onto the Linux based operating system.
Manufacturer Xi3 is a specialist in developing micro-size modular computing without performance tradeoffs. Its systems are typically four-inch cubes, barely larger than a Rubik's Cube, and also allow for relatively straightforward swapping and upgrading of components.
Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis told games site Polygon that Piston will offer up to one terabyte of internal storage, eight USB ports (half of them using the significantly faster USB 3.0 standard) and a HDMI output for 1080p TV display.
Politis added that the Steam Box is based on the company's X7A system, so while the final Steam Box PC specs are unknown, it could carry:
- Between 4 and 8 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM
- A quad-core 64-bit, x86-based 32nm processor running at up to 3.2GHz (with 4MB of Level2 Cache)
- An integrated graphics card containing up to 384 programmable cores
The X7A starts at $999, so Valve will likely want to reduce the RRP in line with its own specifications. The entry-level X5A, which uses Linux, starts at $499.