TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
Next year, prospective PC gamers will have an impressive range of choice when it comes to Steam Machines and other gaming systems. We've already seen Xi3's Piston gaming PC for $999, iBuyPower's $500 Steam Machine with a discrete GPU, and Valve's own prototype system, with system builder Piixl now wanting a slice of the action.
While not an official Steam Machine as such, Piixl's 'Jetpack' PC will attach directly to the back of your TV, hiding powerful hardware from your eyes completely. The Jetpack is a fully-customizable "open PC architecture", meaning you can swap out the graphics card or CPU whenever an upgrade is needed, rather than having to purchase an entirely new system.
The PC itself is roughly 2.5-inches (50mm) thick but still able to accommodate high-end hardware such as Nvidia's dual-slot GeForce GTX 780 graphics card and overclocked Intel Core i7 processors. Piixl hasn't revealed the final specifications for pre-built Jetpacks at this stage, but it looks like the gaming PC will be no slouch.
Anyone wanting to purcahse the Jetpack will be able to do so from January 1st, 2014, with prices starting at $1,000. The gaming PC is optimized for SteamOS, but it will naturally be able to run Windows as well.
Meanwhile, Valve is planning to unveil the full lineup of Steam Machine hardware and manufacturing partners at CES 2014, where we're expecting to see a number of systems ranging from afforable console-like systems to high-end beasts.