If you were under the impression a Valve Steam Box would be console-money, around the £300 mark, think again. While Valve's got its own official Steam Box incoming, which could possibly be cheaper, the first unofficial Steam Box, the Xi3 Piston, has just gone up for pre-order in the US and it's a wallet-crunching £600.
$900, which works out at around £600 for a direct conversion, buys you the entry-level box with just 128GB of SSD-packing storage. Not that you'll probably need much more than that though -- there should be plenty of USB expansion options.
The bad news continues, cause that $900/£600 price includes a $100/£70-odd pre-order discount, and close to £700 is ultrabook-money. Still, for that not insignificant chunk of change you will get an AMD APU at its heart, which packs a 3.2GHz quad-core CPU (normally 2.3GHz but with turbo boost) bolted to a Radion HD 7660G-like GPU, and 8GB of RAM. The problem is that those specs hit the low-cost gaming rig mark, but £700 really isn't that cheap. In fact, the internal stack up somewhere around the same as a PS4, but for double the money.
There's no word on when we'll be able to buy the Piston in the UK even if you did want to, nor when Valve's going to go big with its offering. Let's hope Valve's got a cheaper box up its sleeve. I want to get behind this movement of the PC into the living room, but if it's going to cost the Earth, not be upgradable, and the consoles provide a decent alternative, I doubt its really going to go anywhere. [Xi3 via Kotaku]