Piston Has Three Boards For Hardware Upgrades


Xi3 Corporation’s upcoming Piston PC-meets-console hybrid aims to combine the open-ended nature of the PC with a smaller, portable form factor and custom UI that’s comparable to that of a game console.


Using the UI, Piston users will be able to access game services like Steam, as well as services for movies and music.


Custom UI aside, Piston will come with the Windows OS (although Xi3 haven’t announced which version of Windows), essentially making it capable of functioning like a regular PC that you can play games on. That begs the question: how will hardware upgrades work? We got in touch with Xi3 to ask.


“As we have stated before, the Piston Console is based upon the forthcoming X7A Modular Computer that we have previously announced. As such the Piston Console is also at its core a modular computer and has been designed to be readily updatable, upgradeable and modifiable,” Xi3’s Chief Marketing Officer, David Politis, replied to Siliconera in an e-mail. Politis elaborated:


“This starts with the ability to mod the external metal casing with customized artwork and/or to exchange it for a new casing of a different color or pattern. And it extends to all internal pieces, including the:


  • Processor Board (the middle of the three boards in the tri-board layout),
  • Primary I/O Board (the board containing the majority of the I/O ports and holding the SSD),
  • Secondary I/O Board (the board containing video ports and the power connector and on/off button),
  • The APU itself (the integrated processor and GPU), which is possible because the APU is socketed into place and not soldered, and
  • The RAM


“As new technologies are introduced into the marketplace (USB, eSATA, video standards/ports, etc.), we will evaluate these, and as we feel appropriate, we will create new Boards that will be available for purchase by our customers. This also holds true for new RAM and APUs.


“We may also allow other companies to create their own I/O Boards (if the opportunity makes sense to all involved).”


Xi3 Corporation are looking to have the grapefruit-sized Piston out in time for the 2013 holiday season. Prices will start at $1,000, although pre-ordering a Piston before March 17th will knock $100 off the price.


Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.