Not too long ago, we had our first look at the first third-party Steam Machine to be revealed. Now, Piixl is showing off its Steam Machine, the Jetpack. Rather than an actual set-top box, however, the Jetpack is a rectangular, flat unit that sits on the back of your television, saving precious space on your TV stand.
A little over a week ago, iBuyPower revealed its sleek Steam Machine. It appeared to be the size of a current-gen game console — not even remotely tiny like the supposed original plans for the Steam Machine suggested — but the real surprise is that it will cost the price of a current-gen console as well, just $ 500. Now that the third-party Steam Machine floodgates have been opened, Piixl quickly followed iBuyPower by showing off its Jetpack — and it’s much more interesting. Its (relatively) slim, behind-the-TV profile will attract attention on its own, but the customizable hardware can also create a powerful gaming rig — overclocked Core i7 processors, the newest Nvidia graphics cards (a Titan or GTX780), and even an expensive 1TB of SSD storage.
Like Valve has repeatedly stated regarding the Steam Machine, the Jetpack will be optimized for Steam OS, but can run other operating systems as well, should running a Linux-based OS eventually wear thin.
The slim profile allows the Jetpack to sit between the television (32-inch to 70-inch) and a VESA mount, so you can still stick it up on your wall, but Piixl also states that its Steam Machine can comfortably sit on a desktop television as well. Regardless of the Jetpack’s weight and a VESA mount’s maximum capacity, we’d be wary of adding more weight to a large, expensive TV located far above the ground. It would also be wise to test your desktop TV’s stand, as even certain well-made 32-inch televisions seem unsteady sitting atop their plastic stand.
The chassis of the Jetpack extends, so all of its ports can be accessible even if the case is smaller than the TV itself, and through the use of centrifugal fans, Piixl claims the rig is almost silent.
As you may have guessed, a unique form factor gaming rig with premium parts isn’t going to be cheap, and the Jetpack begins at $ 1,000 — twice the price of iBuyPower’s Steam Machine. However, since the Steam Machine is just a standard PC, you’ll be getting a much more powerful gaming rig for that doubled (or more) price tag.
It remains to be seen if the Steam Machine platform will take off — mostly due to its limited Linux gaming library — but so far, we’ve only seen a few Steam Machines, and we’re already getting quite a variety of hardware and design philosophy.
Piixl’s Jetpack will become available in January of next year, but Valve has not yet officially announced a release date for the Steam Machine or Steam OS, so your Jetpack joyride won’t necessarily begin right when you receive your Piixl Steam Machine.