It was only yesterday that we heard about Valve's Linux box coming sometime this year, but it's today that the world will gets it first official look at CES. However, the boys at Engadget managed to get an early peek at the system, known as “Piston.”
Manufactured by Xi3 and heavily backed by Valve, it's not a console in the traditional sense at all – it's a little modular PC. It'll feature a quad core chip, though we don't know who makes it or how fast it is. Apparently it will also support up to a terrabyte of storage space and will have an energy signature of just 40w – though presumably that's when idling, not at full load.
The most impressive part of the package however, is that it'll be modular. The motherboard will allow for the swapping in and out of new and updated hardware. Presumably this will mean some sort of low profile GPU and CPU package.
The idea of the small form factor system, is for it to run Steam, specifically it's Big Picture mode, making it seem very console like, despite actually being a miniature PC.
What's interesting, is that we've seen these little machines before. During a Kickstarter campaign that was unsuccessful, we saw breakdowns of them. They weren't cheap, coming in at over $1,000 (£620) for the higher end setups that included an SSD and up to 8GB of DDR3.
Kitguru Says: While Valve has yet to come out and say this is the console it's been working on, it seems unlikely that it would develop its own system, as well as investing in something that does exactly the same thing.