Update: Xi3 Opens "Piston" Steam Box Pre-Orders

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Ironman126:

Evil Smurf:
I'm actually a fan of mechanical hard drives. The're cheaper and have larger storage. Like terabytes large.

They are also far more reliable than solid state drives. I'd take reliability, low cost, and more storage over an (marginal) improvement of data transfer speed any day.

Actually that the opposite, an SSD is more reliable since it got no mechanical part, SSD tend to die very early or at their maximum write durability, HD just tend to fail randomly. So basically just put an SSD into test reliability for a week or two to check if can be integrated. With HD there no point beyond a double pass check, has anything beyond a bad unit is just random.

What a hard drive got is more endurance, has an SSD got a limited number of write possible, while a HD is pretty much unlimited until the mechanical part fail or degrade beyond usability. But that usually beyond the care of consumer, has most don't have enough disk and/or a high enough I/O to disk for endurance to be a buying point.

Everyone should keep in mind, that these are 'early adopter' prices. Like all releases in technology, prices will get more reasonable for your average consumer as popularity increases. Remember how much an LCD TV cost you back in the day?

I see a large amount of potential on a pre-built, Valve-supported turnkey PC. If they can eventually bring in down to console prices, a single, predictable architecture would be a much better way to develop games.

So this and Steambox are just computers for your living room specialized for gaming but can be modified and upgraded like a PC. Makes sense to me. Would be cool if it just ran steam without a need for windows and all the usual requirements of games through windows were somehow intact.

Ironman126:

Evil Smurf:
I'm actually a fan of mechanical hard drives. The're cheaper and have larger storage. Like terabytes large.

They are also far more reliable than solid state drives. I'd take reliability, low cost, and more storage over an (marginal) improvement of data transfer speed any day.

Amen brother. You can even get 15,000 RPM drives.

I understand why. It's because there's nothing worse than plunking down your $400 Steambox and finding out a fifth of the games are too intense for it. Remember, this is Steam, which sells PC versions, which are not well-optimized.

But still, $1000? Tough sell, indeed. Looks like this is the downside of what looked to be a bit of a Holy Grail in console/PC crossover.

Evil Smurf:

Ironman126:

Evil Smurf:
I'm actually a fan of mechanical hard drives. The're cheaper and have larger storage. Like terabytes large.

They are also far more reliable than solid state drives. I'd take reliability, low cost, and more storage over an (marginal) improvement of data transfer speed any day.

Amen brother. You can even get 15,000 RPM drives.

The difference is hardly "marginal". A clean, fresh computer on SSD vs. HDD is something like eight seconds boot versus twenty eight seconds boot.

Source: Personal experience, hardware class I'm acing

Also, the 15,000 RPM drive is not very stable and just as expensive as a standard SSD, and SSD is getting exponentially more stable.

Legion:
I'm not an expert or anything but that seems ridiculously expensive. Considering you could get a pretty decent PC for the same price, and it'd have all of the other functions of a computer as well.

This is a computer. It does have all the functions of a computer.

It's built specifically with Steam in mind, but you can still use it as a regular old micro-PC.

...I think my PC is worth that same amount with the stuff I've added to it (Has SSD and fairly decent GCard) and ...yeah I won't be needing this.

Guess it's good though if you want a mid range 'gaming' Psuedo PC. Seems to fit the bill enough.

OK, I think people are missing the point here. Yes, I too have a PC that is more powerful than this and cost less and probably got more functionality. Then again I can't carry my PC in one hand. It is actually quite big and thus giving me some problems to balance in one hand.

Now I often have to spend a few months away from my computer and it's too big to bring with me. I see this one having a major advantage because I can actually bring it with me. Still this is a bit too expensive for my taste seeing as I already have a PC.

I don't see the advantage of one of these over a laptop. Unless you're playing the very newest games at their maximum settings you can easily get a laptop for these prices. My five year old laptop runs the Batman games smooth as silk on nearly the highest settings. On top of that it isn't all that portable. Sure it's small but you still need a screen and something to control it with so unless you're just going from hotel room to hotel room where there are televisions, than a laptop is superior. I can bring my laptop on the train, plane, or bus and bring it to school to do work but I can't do that with this thing.

I'm sorry to break it for Xi3,but I'l go Pachter on this and predict the future:

Piston will be a commercial failure. The biggest downside it has is that it uses laptop/tablet type of hardware,which might make individual hardware parts smaller,but at the same time they are also weaker than desktop parts,and more expensive.
The processor it has is R464. That's an embed AMD APU. In fact its of the weakest processors from AMD.
It's not anywhere near as fast as a Bulldozer FX chip,it's actually even less faster than Phenom II cores.
The embed gpu of the R464 is an HD 7660.

They tried to demo Tomb Raider on it,and the game lagged awfully. I wonder why they decided to demo the machine with this game,as the machine obviously has a very low frame rate on that game.

But then they also demoed a Call of Duty game,that the machine could play with a decent frame rate:

A seasoned PC gamer,or even console gamers who happen to visit forums and read threads like this, won't give it a thought to buy this the moment they check the specs.
So who is this machine targeting ? Is it the casual crowd that just wants something that can play some games and fits under a big TV,but aren't excited enough to research ?
Then I'm sorry to say it,but this target group is going to focus its interest on OUYA.
The console that will cost 99$ and already has 500 games listed for its launch.

Is this thing gonna be a PC or just a machine to play games? $1000 is not worth it just to play games.

I don't quite understand the point of this, anybody that owns an HD television in their living room should be able to connect their computer to it. I feel the size of a computer case is a distinct advantage because it means there is practically no limit on how far you can upgrade the system, provided the motherboards have the same anchor points.

Tar Palantir:
CPU: 3570K 220$
Mobo: Z77MA-G45 116$
GPU: Gigabyte HD 7950 300$
HD: WD Blue 1TB 80$
SSD: Samsung Pro 840 128GB 134$
RAM: Corsair Low Profile 8GB 1600mhz 59$
CASE: HAF 912 PLUS 70$

979$

Until they can beat this, I'll stick to custom building, thank you :)

As good a system that is, I wouldn't pick the K series processor unless you were gonna throw a in a better cpu cooler later and overclock.

Back on topic, I can see the appeal of a tiny, yet powerful PC. I mean, it would be an awesome LAN box because you can still use a keyboard and mouse. Just a bit costly for a PC.

Steven Bogos:
Standard: Internal 128GB SSD - $1,000

Add $340: Internal 256GB SSD - $1,340

Add $750: Internal 512GB SSD - $1,750

A 512GB SSD costs less than $400. That's one hell of a mark-up.

Custom building your own PC, will always be 4x cheaper then buying some Company made Console. Add the hardware of game controllers to your pc via wireless bluetooth, and you have the most powerful self-made pc console for decades to come.

lacktheknack:
A clean, fresh computer on SSD vs. HDD is something like eight seconds boot versus twenty eight seconds boot.

People keep saying this, and I can't help think how much of an asshole someone would sound like if they said something like this out-loud. It's like something a desperate sales representative would throw out just before losing a sale.

I know it's mostly bullshit since my HDD (last windows install two years ago) boots in about fifteen seconds. I can find something to do for fifteen seconds.

With that price you'll hope they have some diamonds hidden in it somewhere...

CrossLOPER:

lacktheknack:
A clean, fresh computer on SSD vs. HDD is something like eight seconds boot versus twenty eight seconds boot.

People keep saying this, and I can't help think how much of an asshole someone would sound like if they said something like this out-loud. It's like something a desperate sales representative would throw out just before losing a sale.

I know it's mostly bullshit since my HDD (last windows install two years ago) boots in about fifteen seconds. I can find something to do for fifteen seconds.

Congratulations, you have a faster computer than the lab computers I've been working with.

(You know, the lab computers from the computer hardware course I referenced, which you cut out of the quote.)

Regardless of what you say, the SSD cut the boot time by two-thirds, and I passed the lab.

You don't "know" anything on this topic if your only point of reference is "my HDD boots in fifteen seconds", and you know it. Prove that you didn't quote me just to be antagonistic.

lacktheknack:

Congratulations, you have a faster computer than the lab computers I've been working with.

Generally undergrad students aren't allowed to touch anything other than an optiplex. What uni do you go to?

lacktheknack:
(You know, the lab computers from the computer hardware course I referenced, which you cut out of the quote.)

You didn't actually mention anything other than a "hardware course", which could mean anything from a senior's guide to typing class at a community college to programming custom drivers in assembly at a university.

lacktheknack:
Regardless of what you say, the SSD cut the boot time by two-thirds, and I passed the lab.

I don't doubt that an SSD is faster, it's just that the boot time is so miniscule, I don't care too much.

What labs are you talking about? Are you talking about your courses again? You are being very vague.

lacktheknack:
You don't "know" anything on this topic if your only point of reference is "my HDD boots in fifteen seconds", and you know it. Prove that you didn't quote me just to be antagonistic.

I really rustled your jimmies here, didn't I? Why would I be antagonistic toward you? I never talked to you before. Why do I need to prove your accusation?

Since you mentioned your original post, let's look at that.

lacktheknack:
Also, the 15,000 RPM drive is not very stable and just as expensive as a standard SSD, and SSD is getting exponentially more stable.

I want to know what you mean by "exponentially more stable". SSDs require maintenance:

http://blog.superuser.com/2011/05/10/maximizing-the-lifetime-of-your-ssd/
http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/115352/hybrid.pdf
http://forum.notebookreview.com/solid-state-drives-ssds-flash-storage/537292-ssd-endurance-big-lie.html

This is especially true if they are going to be used as the primary drive for an OS. The OS alone is not going to be causing much stress, but amount of writes begins to compound. The statistics that manufacturers tend to bring out are generally the best case scenario. The real situation kind of sucks:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html

I think that SSDs are the future, it's we're not there yet.

CrossLOPER:

lacktheknack:

Congratulations, you have a faster computer than the lab computers I've been working with.

Generally undergrad students aren't allowed to touch anything other than an optiplex. What uni do you go to?

lacktheknack:
(You know, the lab computers from the computer hardware course I referenced, which you cut out of the quote.)

You didn't actually mention anything other than a "hardware course", which could mean anything from a senior's guide to typing class at a community college to programming custom drivers in assembly at a university.

lacktheknack:
Regardless of what you say, the SSD cut the boot time by two-thirds, and I passed the lab.

I don't doubt that an SSD is faster, it's just that the boot time is so miniscule, I don't care too much.

What labs are you talking about? Are you talking about your courses again? You are being very vague.

lacktheknack:
You don't "know" anything on this topic if your only point of reference is "my HDD boots in fifteen seconds", and you know it. Prove that you didn't quote me just to be antagonistic.

I really rustled your jimmies here, didn't I? Why would I be antagonistic toward you? I never talked to you before. Why do I need to prove your accusation?

Since you mentioned your original post, let's look at that.

lacktheknack:
Also, the 15,000 RPM drive is not very stable and just as expensive as a standard SSD, and SSD is getting exponentially more stable.

I want to know what you mean by "exponentially more stable". SSDs require maintenance:

http://blog.superuser.com/2011/05/10/maximizing-the-lifetime-of-your-ssd/
http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/115352/hybrid.pdf
http://forum.notebookreview.com/solid-state-drives-ssds-flash-storage/537292-ssd-endurance-big-lie.html

This is especially true if they are going to be used as the primary drive for an OS. The OS alone is not going to be causing much stress, but amount of writes begins to compound. The statistics that manufacturers tend to bring out are generally the best case scenario. The real situation kind of sucks:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2011/05/the-hot-crazy-solid-state-drive-scale.html

I think that SSDs are the future, it's we're not there yet.

In order:

NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology). It's not a university, it's a hands-on tech school.

Hardware course = total deconstruction of a standard desktop and its components.

The boot time might not matter to you, but do the ridiculously fast access time? Loading times on an SSD are barely noticeable if the software has any degree of optimization.

The lab section in the course, yes. Seeing how there was no other context for it, it was a safe assumption.

OK, I went overboard and read excess hostility into your post. Sorry. (To be fair, you DID more or less compare me to a desperate salesman and basically call me an asshole, but whatever.)

All those sources you gave are nearly two years old, or older. A lot changes in that space of time in a hot new technology.

We have claims like this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/294754-32-long-ssds-last

...which I can support, as I've had two SSDs, one from two years ago (which is dedicated to the OS) and one from a year and a half ago (which has the OS and everything else on it... my sister does install a lot of things). They're both still very alive. And I have a very difficult time finding lifetime stats on SSDs from late 2010 and on. I feel it's safe to assume that this is because SSDs are lasting much longer, and the new ones haven't died as soon as one would expect.

So if you think the future isn't here yet, I'd say that it's coming much more swiftly than you'd think.

EDIT: Missed a word.

Evil Smurf:
I'm actually a fan of mechanical hard drives. The're cheaper and have larger storage. Like terabytes large.

yeah, but they tend to get slower and more corrupted after a while. plus they mostly cant take a fall like ssd's can.

anyways, its kind of a good strategy from valve.

let the idiots/sacrificial sheep step in first and get possibly slaughtered.
if they should survive or not get mauled, get yours out for a lower price..

Occams_Razor:
Everyone should keep in mind, that these are 'early adopter' prices. Like all releases in technology, prices will get more reasonable for your average consumer as popularity increases. Remember how much an LCD TV cost you back in the day?

I see a large amount of potential on a pre-built, Valve-supported turnkey PC. If they can eventually bring in down to console prices, a single, predictable architecture would be a much better way to develop games.

This is a computer. It's not a special new kind of computer or anything, just...a computer. Computers are not a new invention. This is, quite simply, overpriced.

I am still confused as to why they didn't call it the Gabecube.

I thought everyone knew this wasn't really Valve.

"We believe there's room in the market for a 1000$ machine that'll cost you three times as much as a console and not be as timeless or offer you the ability to play console games and not offer anywhere near the specifications you could acquire for that amount of money if you bought a PC"

Brilliant.

ugh. good idea, bad pricing. you can build two gaming PCs with that money.

In regard to SSDs, I've never been able to bring myself to buy one. The speed benefits just aren't that much to compensate for the higher price and lower storage space compared to traditional mechanical hard drives.

On to the actual topic though, $1000 is way too much for what they are offering. I know early adopters always pay more but this is just silly money.

MrPeanut:

Steven Bogos:

Evil Smurf:
I'm actually a fan of mechanical hard drives. The're cheaper and have larger storage. Like terabytes large.

The tradeoff is that SSD's are MUCH faster and much less likely to fail. The update to SSD is probably one of the best upgrades people can make. You only really need the drive that you have windows and your games on to be an SSD, mechanical drives are fine for files. I made the switch to SSD last year and I'll never look back. Windows loads in about 15 seconds and my games load in moments, making 'level loads' almost a thing of the past. It also speeds up your overall performance.

Funny, I got an SSD, timed it in comparison to my mechanical drive.

Games are all the same, windows actually loads faster from a mechanical drive.

And I can assure you it was not a faulty drive :)

I can assure you that either:
1. You got a faulty drive.
2. You have some weird compatibility issue with your motherboard, or
3. You are full of carp.

Any Ssd bought this side of 2012 has sustained throughput at least 4-5 times faster than the fastest mechanical drives but more importantly, it has access (seek time) measured in ns rather than ms. So with those facts in mind, I dare say that any claim to mechanical drives being faster than solid state ones is pure fantasy.

I could build an entire computer for that kind of money...

Then run Steam on it.

Who would buy this, honestly?

An additional 400GB for $750? Nearly doubling the price of the device? They are aware that in this day and age, a two TERABYTE drive costs $150? I mean sure, their drive has to be quite a bit smaller to fit in the Piston, but still, I can't see anyone shelling out that much. Just look at the garbage sales of the PS3 when it first came out, and it cost around $900.

I'm not quite sure what these guys are thinking. They must be delusional.

Who the hell is gonna buy this thing? PC gamers? No, they know better. Console gamers? No, they already have consoles and if they wanted to get into PC gaming they would probably ask around first.

Who the hell is the target audience for this thing?

This does seem a little out there.

The use of an SSD certainly wouldn't help the cost any, but it also doesn't sound like it'd be that powerful.

I mean, I've looked at small form-factor PC's in the past, and honestly, you can get mini-itx boards that take I7 processors and have a pci-X slot.

They still end up being quite large, even though a mini-itx board is about 15 by 15 cm, which is pretty tiny, if you add in a graphics card and power supply you get a box quite a bit larger than one of these pistons.

BUT if you're willing to go with something like an AMD fusion processor, and can find a suitable case, you can get computers like that which have sizes comparable to game consoles.

And you can get boards like that with the processor included (and by extension the graphics card, since that's what fusion is about), for less than $100.

Add in a power supply, ram, hard disk, DVD drive, etc, and you can build a complete small form factor PC in the region of $200-300 or less.

It won't win awards for speed, but it still has power comparable to consoles, and can certainly run a fairly large number of games.

Maybe not as glamorous as this piston design, but it'd do a much better job of competing with game consoles than something which costs over $1000

(plus, these boards still typically have pci-express connectors. So if you need more graphical power, that's still an option. The only downside is the CPU, but again, boards exist taking mainstream Intel and AMD processors. It'd up the cost and size, obviously, but it's still more than possible.

Adam Jensen:
Who the hell is gonna buy this thing? PC gamers? No, they know better. Console gamers? No, they already have consoles and if they wanted to get into PC gaming they would probably ask around first.

Who the hell is the target audience for this thing?

Valve fanboys? You would be surprised at how those sheep would buy anything that has to do with Valve.

In all seriousness though, I can't think of a good market either. The only pro about that device is how small it is. Otherwise, were pretty much better off buying a custom PC.

The Plunk:
It may be pricey, but it's also the SIZE OF A GODDAMN GRAPEFRUIT.

This is probably the most portable gaming machine outside of handhelds and smartphones. Probably a lot more powerful too. If the specs are as good (or better) than a high-end gaming laptop, I can see this being well worth the money for people that travel a lot.

But for $1000 USD you could probably get an "OK" laptop to play games on. For the top end price you definately can.
They can make it as small as they like, it's no better than a laptop for portability. Still got to carry about a monitor/keyboard/mouse/headphones(or speakers).

I'd imagine that the small form factor would make this "un-upgradable" too. Not to mention the cooling issues you get in small boxes like these. May as well just go for something like the "LAN party" portable machines on Overclockers. (or make your own!)

Steam box is going to be a massive flop - and all because Gabe was a bit 'hurt about windows 8. (pretty much)

/me puts up flameshield to Stop angry valve/gabe fanboys

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