Xi3 taking pre-orders for 'grapefruit-sized' gaming PC

A couple of months ago, Xi3 unveiled a "grapefruit-sized" small-form-factor PC allegedly designed to run Steam and Steam's Big Picture mode. Well, now, Xi3 says you can pre-order the system, which it dubs the Piston Console, for the low, low price of $899.99.

The base config includes a 3.2GHz quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid-state drive. Upgrades to 256GB and 512GB SSDs are on offer for $340 and $750, respectively. The pre-order page says the processor is a "R464" chip, which appears to be a reference to AMD's R464-L—an embedded APU with four CPU cores, 4MB of L2 cache, a dual-channel memory interface, Radeon HD 7660G integrated graphics, and a 35W thermal envelope. According to CPU-World, the chip is based on Trinity silicon, just like AMD's latest A-series offerings.

With that kind of hardware, the Piston could be a solid option for casual gaming. Heck, the flagship 35W Trinity model can handle Skyrim at 1366x768 with medium detail settings.

Just don't whip out your controller too soon. Xi3 says the pre-ordered Piston consoles will "shipped in time for the 2013 Holiday Season," and that's only if the pre-orders are placed by midnight Central Time on March 17.

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