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CES 2103: Valve unveils Xi3 manufactured Steam Box

Valve has entered a partnership with mini-PC designer Xi3 resulting in the development of the much anticipated ‘Steam Box’.

The modular computer, codenamed Piston, has been optimised for Steam with a strong emphasis placed on support for the platform’s Big Picture mode, as the new PC box is being positioned as an alternative to console gaming.

Attendees at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show were given a preview of the hardware which runs on a Linux OS and comes with 1TB of internal storage. The demo unit also consists of a IO board that offers a SPDIF optical audio, an Ethernet port, audio in/out, two Mini Display ports, one HDMI port, one keyboard input, four eSATAp ports, four USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports.

Xi3 also highlighted its intention to ensure that its Steam powered rig takes full advantage of its customisable PC architecture by providing an option to upgrade the CPU and RAM.

"This new development stage product will allow users to take full-advantage of their large high-definition TV displays for an amazing computer game experience,” Xi3's CEO, Jason Sullivan, told Polygon.

"As a result, this new system could provide access to thousands of gaming titles through an integrated system that exceeds the capabilities of leading game consoles, but can fit in the palm of your hand."

There is no official word on pricing as of yet, with current estimates being derived from other Xi3 offerings, namely the Utah-based firm's X5A and X7A PC models. Therefore prices are expected to vary between $499 (£310) - $999 (£621) and will be dependent on performance specifications.

Image credit: Polygon