The "Steam Box" modular computer announced by hardware maker Xi3 and Valve at CES is codenamed "Piston" and is modeled after the PC maker's X7A line of pint-sized computers, Xi3 reps tell Polygon.
Xi3 brought an early version of Piston to CES, but was tight lipped on details about the hardware currently in development with Valve. Xi3 chief marketing officer David Politis told Polygon that Piston will offer up to 1 TB of interal storage and offer modular component updates, including the option to upgrade the PC's CPU and RAM.
Xi3 wouldn't discuss price for Piston, but commented that the Steam Box is based on its "performance level" X7A offering, which is priced at $999. Xi3 declined to comment on what would differentiate Piston hardware-wise from a standard X7A.
Xi3 also offers the entry level X5A, which is priced at $499 with a Linux operating system.
The demo unit of Piston featured an IO board boasting one ethernet port, 1/8" audio in/out, SPDIF optical audio, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports (with one dedicated to keyboard input), four eSATAp ports, two Mini Display Port ports and one DisplayPort/HDMI port.
Update: Valve says that Piston is one of many prototypes they're showing off at CES.