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post #61 of 86 Old 12-09-2012, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pcweber111 View Post

Ok, so what are you bridging? One standardized, closed platform to another? What does this offer that an Xbox or a Playstation doesn't already? I'm not being smarmy I'm actually pretty curious. There seems to be a lot of assuming by some that this is somehow a legitimate alternative to the consoles and I'd be curious to see why they think that is.
All depends on the specs, but I think the idea is to offer a higher performing alternative for comparable price to the next consoles. You'd also get exclusive PC titles available on Steam. And if it is successful, developers who have traditionally stayed away from PC development (like Japanese developers) might be persuaded to give it a shot.

It's a "bridge" device because consumers would be buying into Steam, and they might then want to play those same titles (that they now own) on a higher performing rig. No need to worry about the whole "generation" thing. You just buy a new PC and all of your Steam games would make the jump with you. It's a win win for gaming consumers.

But at this point, we know almost nothing about what Valve's plan is. We don't know the degree to which the hardware will be locked down, or if it will be upgradable with standard PC parts. We don't know just how "closed" the Steam platform would be either. It could be more like a typical console, or it could be like a stripped down PC. No one knows yet.

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post #62 of 86 Old 12-16-2012, 04:09 AM
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Well, Sony and Microsoft are coming out with new systems within the next few years. My biggest gripe is the lack of keyboard/mouse options on the ps3 and 360. The controllers i've seen that try to do something of the sort are a joke.
If this console can play newer games with mouse and keyboard i'll give it a try. Steam has killer deals on PC games. Everything is going digital anyway, and they are even wanting to do away with used games. Steam has the PC version of most games way cheaper then consoles.
I'm an avid PC gamer, but being in IT i would like to be able to play my games in front of my tv and not still be sitting at a PC. I know you can just build a HTPC, but the "guaranteed compatible" idea of consoles is much better in the long run because PC's cost much more then a console and you dont need to upgrade after a few years to play a game. Most high end video cards cost more then any current gen. console.
I just hope they are not going to try to do the streaming video game thing.

I think people like you create a large dilemma, if valve is to make just another console there will likely be nothing interesting about this, and just like consoles we can expect game prices will start rising. For those of us engrained in PC gaming who enjoy the low cost games, high quality graphics and incredibly better performance we are all on the edge of our seat, because this could be the best, or worst thing ever to happen to us. And sadly we have no idea which it will be. It could turn valve into another lame console maker constantly making sacrifices and holding back gaming. Or it could allow us to have an optional device that we can tell out less tech savvy friends, hey just go buy the steam box and hook it up like any console.

The most important thing to me is that valve keep games cross platform. IE whatever this device is, I can sit down at my desktop or laptop and play with or against all my friends who own either a PC or the valve box.

After that I hope for alot of other things. Like I hope that valve gets more companies to support controllers and opens up the market for some innovative keyboard / mice setups that work better in the HT environment. LOL who are we kidding all we really need is wireless keyboards that work at decent ranges. I hope that they implement smart phone controller schemes. And I hope that they allow many other companies to get in on this game so we can have some competition.

But all of this is often not what console gamers want. Console gamers want everyone to be forced to use a horrible controller so everyone who they play against is just as bad, they want the hardware and games to stagnate for years so they are not tempted to upgrade.

As for the success of the device, well its hard to imagine that it will be success honestly. Valve has so many things going against it, the first was the poor choice to go after linux now, this means half their library, which would have been a selling feature evaporates. It means that people cannot make a value play on this device, to elaborate, I can justify spending $1000 on a desktop because it has far more value than just being a gaming machine, its a work machine, an htpc, entertainment, information, and best of all it runs MS office and other programs I need for work. If valve goes linux poof alot of that becomes not possible or reasonable and suddenly I am not willing to dump anywhere near that much money into it. This is why high priced consoles never work or sell well, no one can justify $800 for the kids to play COD. Finally valve is not rich enough to dump billions of dollars into this and I doubt they will try a loss leader model where they sell the device at a loss, so that means one of 2 things, they will either have a high priced device, or a low spec device. Either is not a good idea for competing against the consoles unless the next generation really is not coming out till 2014 or later.
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post #63 of 86 Old 12-18-2012, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by PubFiction View Post

Or it could allow us to have an optional device that we can tell out less tech savvy friends, hey just go buy the steam box and hook it up like any console.

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Like I hope that valve gets more companies to support controllers and opens up the market for some innovative keyboard / mice setups that work better in the HT environment. LOL who are we kidding all we really need is wireless keyboards that work at decent ranges.

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post #64 of 86 Old 01-07-2013, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Steambox announced?



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Just when you were ready to say that CES 2013 has been disappointing, Valve and Xi3 bust out the big guns and send a shock wave through the gaming industry. The two companies have announced a partnership which will yield a “mini PC” that will hook up directly to high-definition televisions and support both Steam and its Big Picture Mode. Jason Sullivan, Founder, President, and CEO of Xi3 states that “Today marks the beginning of a new era for Xi3. This new development stage product will allow users to take full-advantage of their large high-definition TV displays for an amazing computer game experience. As a result, this new system could provide access to thousands of gaming titles through an integrated system that exceeds the capabilities of leading game consoles, but can fit in the palm of your hand.” While details are still trickling in, note that this new hardware, which may or may not be the incredibly hyped Steam Box, is still in the development stage. Despite that, it will be on display at both Valve and Xi3′s booths at CES.

Within the last hour we reported on new rumors circulating the internet about the Steam Box that came out of a conference recently held in Germany. Word is spreading that the so-called Steam Box will run on Linux and will released before the end of this year. It is unclear however if this device in development at Xi3 is indeed the Steam Box that many have speculated about. Valve has previously stated that they have multiple hardware related projects in the pipes, so start forming your theories. Click the link below for the full press release.

Xi3Corporation today announced a development stage system optimized for computer gameplay on large high-definition television monitors.

Housed in the uniquely shaped, grapefruit-size Xi3® Modular™ Computer chassis, this new development stage product is being showcased this week at the 2013 International CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada in booth #20425 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Xi3′s new development stage product is designed specifically to support both Steam® and its Big Picture™ mode for residential and LAN party computer gaming on larger high-def screens.

With more than 50 million subscribers around the world, Steam is the digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications/community platform from Valve Corporation. Big Picture mode allows members to access and play games through Steam on any connected high-definition television display/monitor.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for Xi3,” said Jason A. Sullivan , founder, President and CEO of Xi3. “This new development stage product will allow users to take full-advantage of their large high-definition TV displays for an amazing computer game experience. As a result, this new system could provide access to thousands of gaming titles through an integrated system that exceeds the capabilities of leading game consoles, but can fit in the palm of your hand.”

Xi3 also announced today it has received an investment from Valve Corporation. Xi3′s new development stage computer game system is also being showcased in Valve’s booth (#25730) at CES 2013. No additional details about Xi3′s new system or Valve’s investment in Xi3 will be released at this time.
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post #65 of 86 Old 01-08-2013, 09:52 AM
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I caught this story yesterday, surprised that CES was the place it started. Then again, gaming announcements stand out at CES because nobody else announces gaming things there. Well, except Nvidia...

Tried to do a little research on Xi3 Corporation but of course, their company website is flooded and currently down. Found a write up from Oct. 2012 explaining what they make. Before this announcement they made three different models.

X7A Modular Computer
This is or was the max available

● A quad-core 64-bit, x86-based 32 nm processor running at up to 3.2G Hz (with 4 MB of Level2 Cache),
● An integrated graphics processor (GPU) containing up to 384 programmable graphics cores (or shaders),
● 4 GB—8 GB of DDR3 RAM,
● 64 GB - 1 TB of internal solid-state SSD storage (with up to 12 Gbps throughput speeds),
● Three display ports providing maximum resolution of 4096x2160 (including 1 DisplayPort v1.2 and 2 Mini-DisplayPorts v1.2),
● Four eSATAp 3.0 ports,
● Four USB 3.0 ports,
● Four USB 2.0 ports,
● 1 Gb Ethernet port, and
● Three audio ports (1 input and 2 outputs: 1 copper and 1 optical).

X3A Modular Computer

● A dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at up to 1.65 GHz (with 2 MB of Level2 Cache),
● An integrated graphics processor (GPU) containing 80 programmable graphics cores (or shaders),
● 4 GB of DDR3 RAM,
● 32 GB - 1 TB of internal solid-state SSD storage (with up to 12 Gbps throughput speeds),
● Two display ports providing maximum resolution of 2560x1600 (including 1 HDMI/DisplayPort v1.2 and 1 Mini-DisplayPort v1.2),
● Four eSATAp 3.0 ports,
● Two USB 3.0 ports,
● Four USB 2.0 ports,
● 1 Gb Ethernet port, and
● Three audio ports (1 input and 2 outputs: 1 copper and 1 optical).

X5A-5342 Modular Computer
This was their introductory model (I think)

● A dual-core 64-bit, x86-based processor running at up to 1.8 GHz (with 1 MB of Level2 Cache),
● An integrated graphics processor (GPU),
● 2 GB of DDR2 RAM,
● 16 GB—1 TB of internal solid-state SSD storage,
● Two monitor ports providing maximum resolution of 2560x1600 (including 1 with DVI-DL + VGA / DVI-DL + DP / VGA + DP support, and 1 with DP/DVI support, HDMI optional),
● Two eSATAp 2.5 ports,
● Six USB 2.0 ports,
● 1 Gb Ethernet port, and
● Three audio ports.

Pricing I could find is ballpark. The top line quad core X7A starts around $1,000 USD. The X3A starts around $500. I imagine you can order one in many different configs depending what you want.

With that out of the way we have an idea of what Valve is gonna start selling. My curiosity is piqued and I will be paying attention from here on out. Personally I had been thinking about getting a HTPC for quite a while but am not impressed with what is already out there. Hope we get more concrete info soon.

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post #66 of 86 Old 01-08-2013, 12:13 PM
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Those specs indicate a limp-wristed AMD Trinity system with onboard 7660D graphics. For $1,000??? HA! The next step ($500) appears to be an AMD Zacate system given that it has an IGP of 80 shader cores. Super weak-sauce. Either way, you won't be playing any games well at 1080p.

I especially like the over-inflated bandwidth for the SSD option. "64GB - 1TB (with up to 12 Gbps throughput speeds)". Hmm, that's roughly 1.5GB/sec and the only SSDs that can do that are PCIe SSDs and 1TB PCIe SSDs will add well over $1,000 to any other price tag.

Let's hope that the Steam Box is nothing like either of these. Otherwise, begin with the jokes about "a steaming box of crap".
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post #67 of 86 Old 01-08-2013, 01:09 PM
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The razer edge seems like a more capable "steam box" than this. Though that thing weighs 6lbs and has a hefty price tag. I like what razer is trying to do, but the tech to make it appealing to me personally isn't there yet.

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post #68 of 86 Old 01-08-2013, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Gabe Newell from Valve spills more beans in this interview.
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post #69 of 86 Old 01-08-2013, 07:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

All depends on the specs, but I think the idea is to offer a higher performing alternative for comparable price to the next consoles. You'd also get exclusive PC titles available on Steam. And if it is successful, developers who have traditionally stayed away from PC development (like Japanese developers) might be persuaded to give it a shot.
It's a "bridge" device because consumers would be buying into Steam, and they might then want to play those same titles (that they now own) on a higher performing rig. No need to worry about the whole "generation" thing. You just buy a new PC and all of your Steam games would make the jump with you. It's a win win for gaming consumers.
But at this point, we know almost nothing about what Valve's plan is. We don't know the degree to which the hardware will be locked down, or if it will be upgradable with standard PC parts. We don't know just how "closed" the Steam platform would be either. It could be more like a typical console, or it could be like a stripped down PC. No one knows yet.

Also seems to me to be Valve wanting to somewhat standardize specs for Developers, and tieing this with their huge investment in content delivery gives them the perfect leverage to do so.

Will the PC master race go along with that though; where bigger, faster, more expensive is a badge of honor? That's the $450 question. Then again, valve seems to want this to be a bit above what consoles will pump out, with a bit of upgradeability.

PC gamers have already been furious that big developers are increasingly dev'ing for consoles, and just slapping higher textures on their PC products. So maybe this is a Trojan horse of sorts to grab back some of that.
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post #70 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 06:10 AM
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Gabe Newell from Valve spills more beans in this interview.

Good read, it explains a lot. It's really light on details about the hardware, but it clarifies a lot about the goal. They'll sell their own Linux-powered devices at different performance scales while fully supporting all manner of casual and "hx" gaming via direct view or streaming across local networks. No closed or locked hardware. More support for content creation by users and devs alike. I really liked his comment about the future of local multiplayer: eventually having the ability to virtualize multiple, simultaneous gaming sessions across multiple controls and displays from one GPU - LAN party style from one server in your own home. Also, his comment about biometrics and how it relates to bandwidth: (I'm paraphrasing) "going from 10 digits on your hands using a controller to using just two arms for camera-based motion is like going from cable to dial-up".

I like Gabe. He's clearly butt-hurt about Windows 8, I don't blame him, but the man knows how to make the PC gaming market engaging.
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post #71 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 08:54 AM
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I like Gabe. He's clearly butt-hurt about Windows 8, I don't blame him, but the man knows how to make the PC gaming market engaging.

What was Gabe's beef with Win8?
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post #72 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 09:43 AM
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What was Gabe's beef with Win8?

http://www.neowin.net/news/gabe-newell-windows-8-will-make-people-rage-quit-computing
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Newell is asked what people might think when they start using Windows 8. He answers, "I think that they are going to find that they hate it. I think that they will basically rage quit computing after they use it." He added, "Things that used to be incredibly simple are now very complicated and hard."

http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/8/3852144/gabe-newell-interview-steam-box-future-of-gaming
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Windows 8 was like this giant sadness.

http://allthingsd.com/20120725/valves-gabe-newell-on-the-future-of-games-wearable-computers-windows-8-and-more/
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I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.


Honestly though, my opinion is that a large part of it is that any potential Windows Store game and app sales are sales that his own platform doesn't get.

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post #73 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Wouldn't Steam have to go through Microsoft's approval proccess to be integrated into Win 8's Metro? Wouldn't that require regular Steam payments to Microsoft as a result? And wouldn't that level of approval control negatively affect things like the ability to easily mod games?

If so, Valve's fear may be that the Metro format becomes default in Win 9, so the complaints have to start now from his perspective. The most popular PC OS is becoming more of a walled garden than he is comfortable with.

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post #74 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 11:34 AM
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Wouldn't Steam have to go through Microsoft's approval proccess to be integrated into Win 8's Metro? Wouldn't that require regular Steam payments to Microsoft as a result? And wouldn't that level of approval control negatively affect things like the ability to easily mod games?
If so, Valve's fear may be that the Metro format becomes default in Win 9, so the complaints have to start now from his perspective. The most popular PC OS is becoming more of a walled garden than he is comfortable with.

Desktop applications in the Windows Store do not require Microsoft approval. After all, they're just a link in the store to the publisher's own page.

As for in-app purchases needing to give Microsoft a cut, Amazon's Kindle app is in the Windows Store, and purchases within that application go through Amazon's own billing system and Microsoft doesn't get any percentage of those sales.

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post #75 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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That's why I asked. Random comments have popped up here and there about what the Metro requirements were as it relates to 3rd publishers having the ability to access its features and I didn't know what it all meant. Thanks.

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post #76 of 86 Old 01-09-2013, 03:34 PM
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Everything shown so far seems under-powered. I'm going to stick to building my own systems but at least this will hopefully get more devs to support big picture mode.

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post #77 of 86 Old 01-11-2013, 03:30 PM
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post #78 of 86 Old 01-11-2013, 03:49 PM
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http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ces-2013-show-floor-coverage,3404-2.html

More on the Xi3 modular computer.

Thought so. frown.gif
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post #79 of 86 Old 01-11-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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Everything shown so far seems under-powered. I'm going to stick to building my own systems but at least this will hopefully get more devs to support big picture mode.

Nothing has been shown yet...

confused.gif

All we know is that Valve is partnering with that company, and what they've historically offered. The steambox specs hasn't been revealed yet.
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post #80 of 86 Old 01-11-2013, 09:31 PM
 
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I point you to this thread of mine from September where I played with the highest end laptop APU.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1428976/amd-a10-4600m-laptop/0_60

In short, 720p at a pleasant frame rate is readily achievable in anything modern that is coded worth a damn. Metro 2033 is a bit sluggish, but that game shares the title of "Most poorly optimized game" with GTA4.

If they are using the desktop version of the APU, then 1080p/30 or 720p/60 will be readily accessible. It certainly isn't high-end, but what do you expect in a $400 system the size of an orange? What it is is a system that performs better than any of the consoles that puts Steam in your living room cheaply and easily. It is essentially the perfect use of AMD's APUs.
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post #81 of 86 Old 01-12-2013, 09:17 AM
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I point you to this thread of mine from September where I played with the highest end laptop APU.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1428976/amd-a10-4600m-laptop/0_60

In short, 720p at a pleasant frame rate is readily achievable in anything modern that is coded worth a damn. Metro 2033 is a bit sluggish, but that game shares the title of "Most poorly optimized game" with GTA4.

If they are using the desktop version of the APU, then 1080p/30 or 720p/60 will be readily accessible. It certainly isn't high-end, but what do you expect in a $400 system the size of an orange? What it is is a system that performs better than any of the consoles that puts Steam in your living room cheaply and easily. It is essentially the perfect use of AMD's APUs.

The $400 system will be a Zacate-powered model, which is lucky to play anything well at 720p. Nothing like the mobile or desktop A10, which is the $1,000 model (and still a poor value).
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post #82 of 86 Old 01-12-2013, 03:13 PM
 
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"The $400 system will be a Zacate-powered model"

That's so slow as to be useless then.
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post #83 of 86 Old 01-12-2013, 03:32 PM
 
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Another thing to keep in mind is they're probably shooting for 720P/60 on lower systems / 1080P/60 on the higher. PC's you got to worry about higher resolutions screens and pumping out more pixels, but for something that is meant to be played on a HDTV, you can get by with less power because of the limits.

I don't think 4K will be effecting much of the gaming market for a good long while.
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post #84 of 86 Old 01-12-2013, 03:39 PM
 
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"I don't think 4K will be effecting much of the gaming market for a good long while."

4K won't be effecting much of the TV market for a good long while. wink.gif 1080p already surpasses human visual perception in the vast majority of homes for the size of display at the distance people sit. Attempting to justify 4K to the consumer? Pff, good luck. The only reason the average human shifted from buying 768p to 1080p panels is because they became just about the only option after a while.

The only way to sell 4K is to get rid of the 1080p option.
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post #85 of 86 Old 01-12-2013, 04:11 PM
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If you read/watch/listen to interviews with Gabe about Piston, he makes it pretty clear that the goal of Piston is twofold:

1. Local gameplay (arcade type games on the $400 model, mainstream games with "acceptable" quality on the $1,000 model)
2. LAN "cloud" gameplay (streaming gameplay from a single high-end gaming PC on your local network)

People that have a powerful gaming system in one room, but would like the flexibility to play games in bed or other parts of the house would probably be persuaded to buy the $400 model. It's a neat, low power device that can play SEGA Classics or Super Meat Boy, watch Netflix or Hulu, DLNA content, XBMC, etc. with full 1080p/HD audio support. But then when you want to play Left 4 Dead 3 in the living room instead of the office/gaming room, it will stream 1080p as rendered by your 4770K/GTX880 PC over your network.

Personally, I see no reason why I would ever buy Piston since any old laptop or MiniITX build could likely do the same thing with the right software. And it sounds like Steam is the only required software as long as the GPU of the main gaming platform supports the streaming mode.

This will be interesting to watch. cool.gif
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post #86 of 86 Old 01-12-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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Oh crap, re: my earlier post about 4K.

To be clear, I firmly believe that we can use a shift to Retina-style displays on the desktop. Going from my iPad 3 to my 24" 1080p desktop display borders on the repulsive. 4K will be close enough to Retina-style density that it will fit in great for a 2-foot interface. Living room distances though? Show me someone that thinks they can see pixels on their 60" display at 9' and I'll show you a liar. 4K projectors? Alright, I can see a use there. 120" 4K has the same density as 60" 1080p. Projectors are still a very niche product and always will be, though. Light control alone vastly reduces the number of potential homes that a projector makes any sort of sense in.
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