43736 xi3 Steam powered Xi3 Piston is now on sale, expected to ship in time for holiday season.After causing a bit of a stir at CES, the first wave of so-called “Steam boxes” is now available for pre-order.  The Xi3 Piston (Steam.  Piston.  Get it?) is now available for pre-order on the company’s official website.  If you’ve been just dying to play the games in your Steam account on your 85-inch hyper-plasma mega-TV, this little box is just what you need

We expect to see more about the Piston at SxSW, but until then, we know that all models come with 8GB RAM, and a 3.2Ghz Quad Core (R464) processor.  I have to say that the engineering that put that hardware in a box the size of grapefruit is pretty amazing, and the designers seem to agree.  They see a need for a console/pc hybrid.

Clearly, the computer/video gaming market is huge, both in the personal computer and traditional console markets,” Sullivan stated. “That being said, we believe there is a crying need for a machine that captures the best of both worlds, with the upgradeability of computer gaming rigs and the design and form factor of consoles. We believe our PISTON Consoles do exactly that—deliver the beauty and small size of consoles with the upgradeability of computers.”

There’s always a catch, though: this little box will cost you a cool grand.  The base 128 GB model starts out at $999.  If you need more storage space, you’ll also be able to buy a 256 GB model for$1240, or a 512 GB model for $1650.  You’ll also have a bit of wait before you’ll be able to test your new hardware, as Xi3 says it plans to ship “in time for the holiday season.”

If you wanted some good news, you’ll be able to save $100 by pre-ordering your Piston before the end of South By Southwest.  You’ve got until 11:59 CST on Sunday, March 17 to decide whether to pre-order if you want the discount.  Better make up your mind quick.