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TrickierStinky

[REQ]Help build a Steambox for a cheap as possible!

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Hi Guys,

 

I'm looking at building a Steam box for my living room TV, but I want to do it for as cheap as possible but still have decent power!

 

Money is not a problem, it is just I don't really want to pay any more then I have too. I am also not bothered about all the high end stuff just have the option to upgrade in the future.

 

This is what I have so far what you guys think?

 

Please make suggestions where you see fit, and help me build a good machine :D

 

CPU:  Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor  (?143.99 @ Aria PC) 
Motherboard:  ASRock H81M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard  (?51.82 @ CCL Computers) 
Memory:  Corsair XMS3 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory  (?49.67 @ Amazon UK) 
Video Card:  Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card  (?95.52 @ CCL Computers) 
Power Supply:  EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply  (?39.92 @ Scan.co.uk) 
Total: ?468.06
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-15 13:20 GMT+0000)

 

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Hello,

So all your are doing is building a PC for your living room, right?

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Yeah, but I would like to be able to basically have the full functionality and play-ability that I would get from a store bought Steam Machine.

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Less CPU, more GPU. An i3 is good enough for most games, but a 650 Ti will get bogged down if you have a 1080p TV and you want to run everything at high.

 

I'd ditch the CPU cooler too. The stock Intel one is fine, and it's not very loud.

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By steam box, you mean http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamMachines/

These will be available soon I take it, why not just wait and see what kind of prices they will be selling at, and specs, etc.

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By steam box, you mean http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamMachines/

These will be available soon I take it, why not just wait and see what kind of prices they will be selling at, and specs, etc.

 

Is Steam actually manufacturing anything? Everything I've seen so far is a third party overpriced monstrosity box.

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No they are not going to be making them from what I read, but where have you seen any sort of prices? My take was there was going to be multiple makers and choices, etc.

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You want a dual channel twin pack memory for maximum speed. 2 x 4 GB would be ideal. The GPU might want an upgrade too depending on your budget. Perhaps a 2GB 660 or the new r9 270. I just picked up a 270 for ?133 from ebuyer myself.

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Why not just build a Windows PC? Atleast then it would actually be useful and you will have 100x more games and way more peripherals to choose from. The Steam controller will also work on Windows. Theres nothing SteamOS can do that Windows cant. If you're using it with a TV just use Steam's 'Big Picture' mode.

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Is Steam actually manufacturing anything? Everything I've seen so far is a third party overpriced monstrosity box.

 

No, Steam isn't building anything because Steam is a software platform, Valve Software is the company who developed Steam :D

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Why not just build a Windows PC? Atleast then it would actually be useful and you will have 100x more games and way more peripherals to choose from. The Steam controller will also work on Windows. Theres nothing SteamOS can do that Windows cant. If you're using it with a TV just use Steam's 'Big Picture' mode.

 

Because it wouldn't be a Steam Machine / Steambox then would it. Besides, Windows requires more hardware resources to run than Linux. SteamOS will be lite on resources meaning more power for the games themselves. Then there's the cost of paying for a Windows license.

 

And there is something SteamOS can do that Windows can't. It can provide a seamless steam experience. Valve created their own compositor (based on xcompmgr i believe) that's designed to seamlessly transition between Steam's big picture mode and its games library. It also boots directly into Steam's BPM. It's kernel is also optimised for gaming performance. You can't get that same experience in Windows.

 

As far as games go, SteamOS already has a large library of games thanks to its GNU/Linux origins. And many more will follow now that it's a competitor to the Xbone and PS4. In fact it has a larger library than these newly released consoles, and that's ignoring the fact that it can also stream from a Windows PC to play older titles.

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far....

 

If I went with the I3 I would be looking to upgrade sooner then the I5, would you say the state of hardware market will still produce I5(or similar) for the socket? I've done this in the past the they pretty much so after stop producing chips for that socket.

 

 

Yeah I could go windows but like Simplezz says the I don't want the extra cost of buying a license. 

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OP: I'd wait until steamOS is more stable to get the hardware. I think it is a bit premature because you won't know if what you'll get will be compatible with the current incarnation of steamOS or if it will stay compatible throughout the beta phase (read as: temporary but potentially long breakage). I feel you are probably volunteering yourself for frustration, trouble, and being Gordon Freeman in the test chamber!

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far....

 

If I went with the I3 I would be looking to upgrade sooner then the I5, would you say the state of hardware market will still produce I5(or similar) for the socket? I've done this in the past the they pretty much so after stop producing chips for that socket.

 

 

Yeah I could go windows but like Simplezz says the I don't want the extra cost of buying a license. 

 

Depends on the socket when the market will die. The older generations, Sandybridge and Ivybridge use LGA1155. The current generation, Haswell uses LGA1150. We also know that the next architecture (Broadwell) will also use LGA1150. Moreover, We know two generations out (Skylake), will NOT use LGA1150.

 

At this point, for upgrade purposes, your best bet is to go with a Haswell processor. Eventually you could upgrade to a Haswell i5 or a Broadwell X where X is some processor.

 

EDIT: for clarification, Broadwell is due late next year.

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Why not just wait for official steam boxes to be released before deciding?

 

OEM makers will be buying components in bulk so you might be able to get one cheaper than building yourself as there is no operating system cost.

 

Also AMD kaveri chips are out in mid january, an overclocked one of those will give good performance, those will likely be ?115. Also why are you trying to get an nvidia gt 650 when amd's new cards just came out, those support mantle which many games will be using.

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Why not just wait for official steam boxes to be released before deciding?

 

OEM makers will be buying components in bulk so you might be able to get one cheaper than building yourself as there is no operating system cost.

 

Also AMD kaveri chips are out in mid january, an overclocked one of those will give good performance, those will likely be ?115. Also why are you trying to get an nvidia gt 650 when amd's new cards just came out, those support mantle which many games will be using.

 

He is going for an nVidia because AMDs don't work at all on steamOS at this point. Apparently, they rolled custom NV drivers for SteamOS from what I've heard.

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Why not just build a Windows PC?

Because maybe he just wants to build an htpc like computer running Steam OS ?

It will really get old quickly next year when people will say that in every SteamBox thread.

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He is going for an nVidia because AMDs don't work at all on steamOS at this point. Apparently, they rolled custom NV drivers for SteamOS from what I've heard.

 

I don't think they're custom, it's just more a case of the current release of SteamOS being mainly targeted at the hardware prototypes, so not much work has been put into other hardware configurations.

 

The packages are there for catalyst/etc and it's fairly easy to get working according to Phoronix.

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He is going for an nVidia because AMDs don't work at all on steamOS at this point. Apparently, they rolled custom NV drivers for SteamOS from what I've heard.

 

Actually AMD GPU's do work on SteamOS. In fact, it's even easy to get Intel GPU's to work as well; Just remove nomodeset from the grub kernel line.

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I don't think they're custom, it's just more a case of the current release of SteamOS being mainly targeted at the hardware prototypes, so not much work has been put into other hardware configurations.

 

The packages are there for catalyst/etc and it's fairly easy to get working according to Phoronix.

 

That's what I *thought* I read on Phoronix. I'm not sure where I got it because I just checked the article I read again and it doesn't say that. It's a good thing though because that means we'll see GPU enhancements avaliable for the Linux community as a whole and not just SteamOS.

 

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTU0MzY -- It mostly just talks about real time scheduler patches.

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That's what I *thought* I read on Phoronix. I'm not sure where I got it because I just checked the article I read again and it doesn't say that. It's a good thing though because that means we'll see GPU enhancements avaliable for the Linux community and not just SteamOS.

 

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTU0MzY -- It mostly just talks about real time scheduler patches.

 

Yeah, there is a lot of potential progress that can be made with SteamOS as it stands right now, Phoronix's kernel benchmarks alone indicate they may want to reconsider their choice to use an LTS kernel for example.

 

It's as you said, way, way too early to be planning PC builds around SteamOS right now.

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Actually AMD GPU's do work on SteamOS. In fact, it's even easy to get Intel GPU's to work as well; Just remove nomodeset from the grub kernel line.

 

I based what I said on yesterday and Friday's announcements. Looks like people found workarounds today though, I await the performance benchmarks though. There could be a good reason why Valve said there was only NV support... we'll see

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Yeah, there is a lot of potential progress that can be made with SteamOS as it stands right now, Phoronix's kernel benchmarks alone indicate they may want to reconsider their choice to use an LTS kernel for example.

 

It's as you said, way, way too early to be planning PC builds around SteamOS right now.

 

Wow, you are right, those kernel benchmarks are pretty terrible. I think there will be benefits in the long run if they use newer kernel + RT patches. I've always been pretty suspect that the Linux kernel gave less than stellar performance with GUI based applications because of how the scheduler operates.

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Thanks for all the suggestions so far....

 

If I went with the I3 I would be looking to upgrade sooner then the I5, would you say the state of hardware market will still produce I5(or similar) for the socket? I've done this in the past the they pretty much so after stop producing chips for that socket.

 

 

Yeah I could go windows but like Simplezz says the I don't want the extra cost of buying a license. 

 

My guess is by the time the i3 is really getting overloaded and can't deliver the frame rates you want, you'll want an entirely new PC. That 650, on the other hand, is already outdated.

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Because maybe he just wants to build an htpc like computer running Steam OS ?

It will really get old quickly next year when people will say that in every SteamBox thread.

I'm not sure its advisable for anyone to be building an htpc around SteamOS yet.

The OS is barely in beta now and it lacks so much that would be required to replace a proper htpc. Unless your aim is to tinker and be an early adopter, its best to wait until the platform is more fleshed out and then decide if it offers the features you need.

Now if all your in it for is gaming, then as long as your fine with the current roster of games that are supported, then I guess you could go ahead and jump in, but only if your happy with being an early adopter and accept the likely issues you will experience for a while.

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