Something similar to Valve's upcoming “Steam Box” has been unveiled by Xi3Corporation at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The grapefruit-sized Xi3 Modular Computer is a system optimised for computer gameplay on large high-definition television monitors, according to the company.

The device is specifically designed to support both Steam and its Big Picture mode “for residential and LAN party computer gaming on larger high-def screens”, said Xi3.

The Xi3's aluminum case houses an AMD Athlon 64 processor, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and a power/video card, and all the required inputs and outputs, all spread across three easily-switched boards.

Only eight screws stand between the system's owner and its innards, so it's obviously made to be modified or upgraded.

The surprising news is that the system received investment from none other than Valve itself.

"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,” said Xi3 CEO Jason A. Sullivan.

“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."

The base model of the Xi3 features a 1.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 8GB of flash storage, and retails for US$850 (AU$810). Its aluminum case is available in several bright colours.

It doesn't ship with an operating system, Xi3 stating that its intended audience is cloud computing customers and "the embedded market".