Xi3 has announced that its Piston Console will go on sale on Black Friday, 29 November 2013.
Beginning of this year, we mentioned that the company and Valve unveiled a development stage system that was optimized for steam gameplay in big picture mode. A couple of days later, the Xi3 Piston modular PC was revealed at CES 2013.
Now, Xi3 will double the potential SSD storage capacity of the Piston Console by adding a second connector within its Piston design, along with an internal microSD slot. The second SSD connector gives Pistons the capability of having more than 1TB of mSATA 6Gbps SSD storage. Also, the company has designed its Ethernet controller to recognize and prioritize computer gaming data to the top of Piston's network queue, in turn cutting response times for Piston gameplay.
On top of that, Xi3 will ship the Piston Consoles with "pack-in" gaming titles pre-loaded onto its Pistons. More information regarding the publisher and developer partnerships, as well as a list of pack-in titles, will be released before Black Friday.
Built on the modular and patented Xi3 Computer Architecture, the Piston Console is housed in a grapefruit-sized, matte black aluminum chassis with chrome trim. It comes equipped with a quad-core x86-based 64-bit processor integrated with 384 programmable discrete-class graphics cores capable of running the most popular games - according to Xi3. Also mentioned by the company is the console's support for 4K-resolution, allowing users to run three HD displays simultaneously for a more immersive gaming experience.
From what the company has mentioned on its marketing page of using Radeon 7000-series GPU and 384 graphics cores, coupled with the fact of the Piston Console's diminutive size, it's a no-brainer that the processing platform driving this machine is AMD's Trinity APU and is quite likely the A10-4600M. We've tested the the APU's GPU capability and it's unfortunately not as powerful as Xi3 claims it to be. Of course, this is just a performance speculation based on our findings on the desktop/notebook side of things. How it finally turns out depends on how the Xi3 Piston Console is actually designed, implementation of the OS and the specific drivers used. Still, there's only that much an APU of this class can tackle and we've reservations of the claims made by the company.
In any case, the Piston Consoles can now be pre-ordered for US$999, and these customers will receive their unit two weeks earlier than its launch date, on or before 15 November 2013.