The Piston and Project Shield, My two favourite things from CES so far.

So I’ve spoken before about gaming, what can I say, I love gaming. I guess it’s that love that allows me to see something for all it’s worth good or bad.

First up the piston. Since the first day I’ve heard about it, the site of the company building it (xi3.com) has been having 503 server errors, presumably from all the hype around it being the “steambox” they are being overrun by traffic. It’s a modular computer, by design it was made to be relatively cheap to upgrade far beyond just throwing in new ram. The mother board has been split up into three separate pieces. One houses the cpu, and then there are two I/o boards. One dedicated to graphics and power, and the other controls all the usb, and e sata ports it has. Not to mention they sport SSD’s that for the size they are (small enough to sit on your hand comfortable) are large. From 64 gigs to 500, and 1 terabyte on their high-performance models. They tout super low power consumption, but power on par with larger 400-800watt powered computers and up. What do these little computers use? About 40-65 watts of power, for the higher end models. and 8 watts of power for the “light” computers. The other surprise? They are built to run actual operating systems. So that means windows 7 pro 64 bit, as well as any linux distro you can think of which is a-freakin-mazing. They say the computers will be able to last you for atleat 6-10 years, far better than the meager 2 to maybe 5 years of current desktops. Many thing have been said and I’m reserved but I must say I’m pretty excited for it, one because it’s an amazing device on it’s own. two because it has specs that can rival many current gaming rigs. Full sized and powered quad-core processors, the ability to output 4k (which means you won’t be limited to 720 or 1080 if you have a 2560 screen, for the super high end model anyway). Their Piston model is also being touted as having the ability to output to three screens, so… eyefinity? It makes me grin. Also pretty much every computer xi3 produces has ports galore. Whether you need some extra e-satas, usb 2.0 or 3.0, you’ll pretty much have enough for almost any peripherals you could want. The x5a, the x7a, and now the Piston for me anyways would be the models to look at. That said what if you’re not a gamer, you could pick up a “light” model they have, the x3a. Which is pretty much the light use computer for those who just want to check emails and watch cat videos. Check out their site http://www.xi3.com or just go to youtube and type in Xi3 piston CES, you should get a pretty good video about it.

Now for my second fav thus far. Project shield is perhaps, i said “perhaps” a game changer. It is built on the android platform but that doesn’t mean it’s some super special piece of kit to play angry birds on. PLEASE don’t make the mistake of assuming that. Since it’s being developed by Nvidia, it has their best mobile platform processor yet, the Tegra 4. Which means it can do things faster and better than most smartphones. It has a full control pad; shoulder buttons, triggers, four buttons on the right, d-pad, and dual analog. THen they have a “home” button that switches between the Android “market” type interface, and the gaming interface. More and more games are being developed on android that would play so much better with a controller, even more so many of them are good…REALLY GOOD. That said more and more devices and hardware are being developed to give android devs the freedom to build a game they want without having to worry about their game being limited to just having the touchscreen as the controller. The people have proven there IS  market and now the big companies, and some not so big, (Ouya) are making the hardware gamers are asking for and devs are hurting to build for.

This year 4k video is the thing, the next step in viewing resolution. That said Nvidia realized this and understands it very well as they have enabled the device to output in 4k resolution via an hdmi out port. They also have another feature on the device which allows you to stream a game from your pc with a proper 6 series nvidia card to the device. So you don’t have to stop playing, even when you have to get up for that much needed and health important 15 minute (minimum) stretch your legs need. Remember it’s a portable gaming device and you don’t need an nvidia 6 series on your desktop to game. Nvidia’s special Tegra Zone store will specialize in games for the device, and don’t forget android is open sourced so if they can code it, you can play it. Check out like before youtube by searching Nvidia project shield, or google about.

This was a super short and highly haphazard article. Why because, I feel sick and I haven’t been able to sleep so I apologize for the typos and bad grammar. I had to get these thoughts out because of the far too little articles talking about these devices without blinders on skewing their thoughts. People are too quick to judge these things.

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