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Xi3 reveals tiny Steam-focused PC, Valve investment [update]


The "Steam Box" is coming, though it's not officially called that. PC company Xi3 has announced a "new development stage computer system," to be shown at CES this week. It's designed specifically to support Steam and by extension its Big Picture mode, and will be housed in a chassis similar to the one shown above. Valve has invested in the company, and the computer will be on display at both Valve's and Xi3's booths at CES.

"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," said Xi3 CEO Jason A. Sullivan in a statement printed on 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."

Update: Can it actually fit in the palm of your hand? Engadget goes hands-on at CES.

Update 2: Xi3 tried to Kickstart two new modular computers late last year. However, the project failed to achieve funding on October 28, falling just under $160,000 short of its $250,000 goal. Xi3 refers to one of the computers, the X7A Modular Computer, as a "power user and gaming level machine." Xi3 goes on to detail its specifications:
As we envision our new X7A Modular Computer, we see it powered by a new Quad-Core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at up to 3.2GHz, integrated with up to 384 graphics shader cores, and 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and able to handle graphics-rich computer games like Crysis 2 with ease. The X7A Modular Computer will also run 3 high-definition monitors simultaneously, has four USB 3.0/2.0 ports, four eSATAp ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port, and up to 1TB of super fast solid-state storage inside the chassis, making it perfect for gamers and power users alike. And yet the X7A Modular Computer will be housed in a chassis about the size of a softball (4.27x3.65x3.65-inches) and run on a mere 40Watts of electricity or less. We expect the X7A Modular Computer to begin shipping in early 2013 with a price starting at under $1,000. All within a chassis you can hold in the palm of your hand!
Xi3 confirmed to Polygon that the system being shown at CES is based on the X7A Modular Computer, but declined to elaborate on any differences between the two.

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