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[Steam Box / Big Picture Mode] Build & set up your own living room PC gaming console!

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  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    Big Isy wrote: »
    Yeah, I wanna know if its possible to do a gaming PC with the dimensions of a console. I've seen some ITX cases that fit the build but internally, they leave a lot to be desired.
    This a quick one I spotted on amazon

    You totally could. Your best bet is to look for small form factor cases designed for home theatre PCs. There are a lot around that are made to look similar to home theatre AV equipment. A lot of the time they'll even have small LED screens or big volume dials on the front. Not all of them will accommodate a full-size dual-slot video card, but some will.

    I'm pretty sure Lian Li makes a few, but I don't have links handy. I'll do a little research when I get home tonight.

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    Can't quite get that small due to the nature of modular GPUs. They're just too tall if they're not soldered onto the motherboard!

  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    Actually here are a couple:

    This one is by nMEDIAPC. It's attractive, understated, and cheap: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811204037


    And this one from Lian Li is pure, hot, electric sex: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112228&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-NA-_-NA

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    Both of those are 6.6" tall. The Xbox 360? 3.13" tall. Xbox 360 S? 3" tall. Playstation 3 slim? 2.56" tall.

  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    Can't quite get that small due to the nature of modular GPUs. They're just too tall if they're not soldered onto the motherboard!

    Yeah, not quite as small as a console, but modest enough to comfortably fit in the shelving of the average tv entertainment center without looking overly huge or out of place.

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • Joe BlaqueJoe Blaque Registered User regular
    Actually here are a couple:

    This one is by nMEDIAPC. It's attractive, understated, and cheap: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811204037


    And this one from Lian Li is pure, hot, electric sex: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112228&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords-_-pla-_-NA-_-NA

    That Lian Li case looks shit-hot. Sleek enough that it would look just fine among other electronics in the living room, but large enough to accommodate all the necessary components. Looks to have plenty of of airflow options as well.

    steam_sig.png
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    But bearing in mind that I'll only want performance akin to the current console cycle, that's running at 720P, couldn't I use the new AMD CPU? From what I briefly read on reddit, it has a GPU onboard too capable of snazzy visuals.

  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    Big Isy wrote: »
    But bearing in mind that I'll only want performance akin to the current console cycle, that's running at 720P, couldn't I use the new AMD CPU? From what I briefly read on reddit, it has a GPU onboard too capable of snazzy visuals.

    If you limit it to 720p, then yeah, you could get one of those slimline small form factor cases that are less than 4" high since you wouldn't need a video card.

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    That is music to my ears. Now I just need to get the job next Saturday and I'm gold!

  • cooljammer00cooljammer00 Hey Small Christmas-Man!Registered User regular
    That's the idea! We can all have our Steam Box consoles! It's just a matter of price and performance.

    Well I guess that's the thing...I mean, if all anyone wants is a system that can be plugged into a TV and used as a console, why not just spend the minimum? I guess if you want the game to look blazing when you hook it back up to a monitor?

    steam_sig.png

    3DS Friend Code: 2165-6448-8348 www.Twitch.TV/cooljammer00
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  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    That's the idea! We can all have our Steam Box consoles! It's just a matter of price and performance.

    Well I guess that's the thing...I mean, if all anyone wants is a system that can be plugged into a TV and used as a console, why not just spend the minimum? I guess if you want the game to look blazing when you hook it back up to a monitor?

    Well, the minimum (That $300-$400 build) will play lots of things decently at 720p. There's still plenty of room to bump up graphical options, enable AA, and bump the resolution up to 1080p, even if you're just playing on a TV. That's the nice bit about the whole thing, you can really spend what you'd like to get whatever level of performance makes you happy.

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    Buncha updates to the OP. Still more stuff to come. Still looking for suggestions for hardware and software to add to the recommended lists.

    Also, if we get any completed builds, let's see some pictures.

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    if your only looking to do 720p and keep your games on the low end of the graphics settings than either an AMD APU or an ivy bridge with intel hd 4000 would probably be enough, but if you could wait for Haswell it will have double the gpu power of ivy bridge, but that's march to june 2013 time frame for release.
    Right now the AMD A10 trinity chips have the best gpu's (equal to a 7600 series card). with the A10-5800K being out in october, for around $130.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-5800k-a8-5600k-a6-5400k,3224.html is a good benchmarking of the chips, they have surprisingly good performance for a $130 cpu/gpu combination.

    If I was going to build a small steambox in the next month or so it would definitely be based upon the a10-5800K.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • TefTef Registered User regular
    Cool yeah I'll bust out some recommendations tonight when I get home.

    help a fellow forumer meet their mental health care needs because USA healthcare sucks!

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  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    I wonder if anybody makes PCI-E slot 90 degree adapters? Lay a dirty big double slot card down and run all of the games at "fuck yo' eyes, mang" settings at 1080p in a tiny little box.

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    I wonder if anybody makes PCI-E slot 90 degree adapters? Lay a dirty big double slot card down and run all of the games at "fuck yo' eyes, mang" settings at 1080p in a tiny little box.

    They do make riser cards, the problem is that nobody seems to make consumer cases with expansion slots in the right places. You'd have to buy a 1U server chassis or the like for it to come configured like that.

    My pick for a slim ITX case would be the In Win BP655. It might not win too many beauty contests, and I'd definitely buy one of Seasonic's 80+ Gold TFX units to replace the one it comes with, but it's relatively small, short, and has an low-profile expansion slot for a GPU, NIC or tuner card.

    You could put a nice build together with that case, a basic H67/H77 ITX motherboard, a Sandy Bridge Pentium (or an Ivy Bridge Pentium, when the cheaper ones come out) and a low profile card like this. The 7750 is roughly on par with the 5770/6770, which isn't necessarily earth-shaking 1080p performance, but you'd get great 720p performance.

    Edit: The other problem with a riser card build is power. There are only a few designs/form factors of PSU that fit into a case like we're imagining, and they're tougher to find.

    Alecthar on
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    I wonder if anybody makes PCI-E slot 90 degree adapters? Lay a dirty big double slot card down and run all of the games at "fuck yo' eyes, mang" settings at 1080p in a tiny little box.

    They do make riser cards, the problem is that nobody seems to make consumer cases with expansion slots in the right places. You'd have to buy a 1U server chassis or the like for it to come configured like that.

    My pick for a slim ITX case would be the In Win BP655. It might not win too many beauty contests, and I'd definitely buy one of Seasonic's 80+ Gold TFX units to replace the one it comes with, but it's relatively small, short, and has an low-profile expansion slot for a GPU, NIC or tuner card.

    You could put a nice build together with that case, a basic H67/H77 ITX motherboard, a Sandy Bridge Pentium (or an Ivy Bridge Pentium, when the cheaper ones come out) and a low profile card like this. The 7750 is roughly on par with the 5770/6770, which isn't necessarily earth-shaking 1080p performance, but you'd get great 720p performance.

    Edit: The other problem with a riser card build is power. There are only a few designs/form factors of PSU that fit into a case like we're imagining, and they're tougher to find.

    Mini-box does make a pico-psu that allows for very small builds, but your limited to 200w. That might be just enough for a AMD Trinity setup with a ssd, but exact power usage stats aren't out for that yet.
    but with it you can build a mini-itx build with one of these: http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal-mini-itx-enclosure. your just limited to APU builds.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Foomy wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    I wonder if anybody makes PCI-E slot 90 degree adapters? Lay a dirty big double slot card down and run all of the games at "fuck yo' eyes, mang" settings at 1080p in a tiny little box.

    They do make riser cards, the problem is that nobody seems to make consumer cases with expansion slots in the right places. You'd have to buy a 1U server chassis or the like for it to come configured like that.

    My pick for a slim ITX case would be the In Win BP655. It might not win too many beauty contests, and I'd definitely buy one of Seasonic's 80+ Gold TFX units to replace the one it comes with, but it's relatively small, short, and has an low-profile expansion slot for a GPU, NIC or tuner card.

    You could put a nice build together with that case, a basic H67/H77 ITX motherboard, a Sandy Bridge Pentium (or an Ivy Bridge Pentium, when the cheaper ones come out) and a low profile card like this. The 7750 is roughly on par with the 5770/6770, which isn't necessarily earth-shaking 1080p performance, but you'd get great 720p performance.

    Edit: The other problem with a riser card build is power. There are only a few designs/form factors of PSU that fit into a case like we're imagining, and they're tougher to find.

    Mini-box does make a pico-psu that allows for very small builds, but your limited to 200w. That might be just enough for a AMD Trinity setup with a ssd, but exact power usage stats aren't out for that yet.
    but with it you can build a mini-itx build with one of these: http://www.mini-box.com/M350-universal-mini-itx-enclosure. your just limited to APU builds.

    Yeah, there are a number of Pico-PSU (or other, similar power-brick based solutions) cases out there. Obviously the main issue is how much power you can get out of a brick like that, mostly I've seen 120W-150W bricks, with some higher wattages, but nothing above 200W (as you mentioned). Antec makes a couple cases like that (with slim optical drive bays to boot) and Habey makes a nice looking aluminum one that I quite like as well, along with a slightly bigger version that will take a slot loading optical drive.

  • bloodatonementbloodatonement Registered User regular
    APUs seem like they might be a good fit for a steambox. As I've said before, with the low resolution limits HDTV (mine's only 720), I feel like I should be able to get away with budget video power.

    Zdy0pmg.jpg
    Steam ID: Good Life
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    APUs seem like they might be a good fit for a steambox. As I've said before, with the low resolution limits HDTV (mine's only 720), I feel like I should be able to get away with budget video power.

    They're an excellent option. The only real issue is that they're so power hungry by comparison to an Intel proc that you can't necessarily build a really small ITX build with the higher end APUs, because you can't deliver enough power. I haven't done my due diligence on that, and we'll see what Trinity does with regard to power consumption, but that would be my biggest worry.

    I'd really love to see Zotac release a bare-bones mini-PC with a laptop (or desktop, if they can) Trinity APU. Solid graphics performance for 720p gaming, and more than enough horsepower for media playback.

    Alecthar on
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    APUs seem like they might be a good fit for a steambox. As I've said before, with the low resolution limits HDTV (mine's only 720), I feel like I should be able to get away with budget video power.

    It will be great for 720p, and benchmarks of the upcoming Trinity chipsets show acceptable performance at 1080p with medium graphics.

    Just wait until October for the A10-5800k, it's basically a Bulldozer FX-4150 + Radeon 7660(similar performance to a 6790 or gtx 285) on a single chip for $130. paired with an ssd, 8gb ram, and a case/psu you should be able to build a decent little box for under $500.

    i wish Haswell was coming out sooner, but for the next year it looks like AMD wins the APU build, and they have plans to upgrade the Fusion chipsets yearly, so they might just continue to rule that segment.
    Which I think is a pretty good place for AMD to be, laptops and low power builds benefit a ton from combined CPU/GPU and they won't have to worry quite as much about desktop.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I don't know if anyone else has had this problem, but XBMC's YouTube plugin just won't work for me currently. Been like that all week, it won't play any videos.

    Maybe an update borked it and it'll get fixed (which has happened before with other plugins).

  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    I really wish I could show off my list of custom Steam icons, but uh...there are some games there that are frowned upon in this board.

    (no, not porn-related)
    Does one of them rhyme with Shitban You?

    steam_sig.png
  • ratzofftoyaratzofftoya Registered User regular
    I just posted and have some questions about a Steam Box build up in the "Builds" thread. Here's the link...Let me know if y'all have any thoughts.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/comment/24331152/#Comment_24331152

  • TefTef Registered User regular
    I have been slack and not put together any more builds apart from the one on page 1

    Please don't beat me again, MI

    help a fellow forumer meet their mental health care needs because USA healthcare sucks!

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  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Both of those are 6.6" tall. The Xbox 360? 3.13" tall. Xbox 360 S? 3" tall. Playstation 3 slim? 2.56" tall.
    you could probably rip off the casing of the PSU. . . A lot of them are like 80% empty space without the case. . .
    I really wish I could show off my list of custom Steam icons, but uh...there are some games there that are frowned upon in this board.

    (no, not porn-related)
    Does one of them rhyme with Shitban You?

    lolis with limps? the cripple dating game?

    acidlacedpenguin on
    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • bloodatonementbloodatonement Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Both of those are 6.6" tall. The Xbox 360? 3.13" tall. Xbox 360 S? 3" tall. Playstation 3 slim? 2.56" tall.
    you could probably rip off the casing of the PSU. . . A lot of them are like 80% empty space without the case. . .

    That does raise an interesting question: are there small/simple external PSU for PCs? That's how the 360 is able to stay trim.

    bloodatonement on
    Zdy0pmg.jpg
    Steam ID: Good Life
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Both of those are 6.6" tall. The Xbox 360? 3.13" tall. Xbox 360 S? 3" tall. Playstation 3 slim? 2.56" tall.
    you could probably rip off the casing of the PSU. . . A lot of them are like 80% empty space without the case. . .

    That does raise an interesting question: are there small/simple external PSU for PCs? That's how the 360 is able to stay trim.

    scroll up a bit, me and Alecthar were talking about them, yes they exist. But I haven't seen one higher than 200w

    I can't see a technical reason why they couldn't build them to higher a wattage, but the demand for something like that just isn't there.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    The technical reason why it would be difficult to build something like a 550 watt PSU in a compact size for small HTPC cases is heat dispersal. Laptop style power bricks could be built to handle bigger power throughputs, but as you say, there is very little market. Plus something that powerful is also going to have trouble keeping cool because it will need to be in an enclosed case design similar to a power brick. There's always a nice big finned aluminium housing, but that costs a shitload, and on hot days will still get hot enough to mar linoleum, textile or wooden flooring.

  • TefTef Registered User regular
    Personally I don't think the case needs to be small as long as it looks slick. Something from the Silverstone Grandia range or the Lian Li HTPC lines if you want a relatively high end, super slick case

    help a fellow forumer meet their mental health care needs because USA healthcare sucks!

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  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Yeah, I think something that looks like an AV receiver would make for a HTPC that fits a home theater setup, plus it should allow for better temperatures since itll have more space.

    Or you could get that sweet old timey radio looking case someone linked in the computer build thread.

    EDIT: I think this was it.

    emp123 on
  • TefTef Registered User regular
    That would go really great with my steam punk lifestyle

    (I kid)

    The other option is to build your own case, we can't discount that either

    help a fellow forumer meet their mental health care needs because USA healthcare sucks!

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better

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  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    The old timey case is going strong.

    There are some measurements that you have to keep in mind. You have to put a pretty small PSU in there, not a huge deal, they're not hard to find. Also, vertical clearance in case you have a big CPU cooler. The ever-popular Hyper 212 won't fit.

    The front fan vents already have filters on them! But you need to be careful about what screws you use to screw the fans in, because it is wood and you could easily come out the other end. Also, it's weird to not have holes already in the case for fan placement. You just start screwing wherever.

    steam_sig.png
  • bloodatonementbloodatonement Registered User regular
    Vegan wrote: »
    The old timey case is going strong.

    There are some measurements that you have to keep in mind. You have to put a pretty small PSU in there, not a huge deal, they're not hard to find. Also, vertical clearance in case you have a big CPU cooler. The ever-popular Hyper 212 won't fit.

    The front fan vents already have filters on them! But you need to be careful about what screws you use to screw the fans in, because it is wood and you could easily come out the other end. Also, it's weird to not have holes already in the case for fan placement. You just start screwing wherever.

    You sound like you have one (or maybe just a really thorough researcher). How are the front panel display/controls? Do they have their own software? How flexible are they for custom programming?

    Zdy0pmg.jpg
    Steam ID: Good Life
  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    I didn't buy the optional front panel display.
    I can say that one weird thing about the ports on the front panel (USB and memory cards) is that they're all upside down.

    steam_sig.png
  • acidlacedpenguinacidlacedpenguin Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    lol as far as high power break-out bricks goes, couldn't you just redneck engineer a regular desktop PSU into like a lunchbox or something then stick a mean fan or two in that enclosure (obviously with the speed holes needed to breathe), then bundle the "brain stem" up through the case? It'd be massive and goofy looking (probably larger than the actual case), but it should do the job just fine.
    Is it possible to buy extensions for things like the 24pin mobo connector? Some of those PSUs barely give enough slack to fit every case/mobo config.

    acidlacedpenguin on
    GT: Acidboogie PSNid: AcidLacedPenguiN
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    lol as far as high power break-out bricks goes, couldn't you just redneck engineer a regular desktop PSU into like a lunchbox or something then stick a mean fan or two in that enclosure (obviously with the speed holes needed to breathe), then bundle the "brain stem" up through the case? It'd be massive and goofy looking (probably larger than the actual case), but it should do the job just fine.
    Is it possible to buy extensions for things like the 24pin mobo connector? Some of those PSUs barely give enough slack to fit every case/mobo config.

    that would be possible, probably best to re-sleeve the cables running up the the computer just for looks though. But they do make extensions, and you could just change the cables in them for longer ones.

    Not sure how much advantage/use it would be though, the cases that aren't large enough for an internal psu and use a power brick type, don't have the room for a video card and are made for APU style builds anyway, where 200w is usually more than enough.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • minor incidentminor incident discount etsy agitprop Registered User regular
    lol as far as high power break-out bricks goes, couldn't you just redneck engineer a regular desktop PSU into like a lunchbox or something then stick a mean fan or two in that enclosure (obviously with the speed holes needed to breathe), then bundle the "brain stem" up through the case? It'd be massive and goofy looking (probably larger than the actual case), but it should do the job just fine.
    Is it possible to buy extensions for things like the 24pin mobo connector? Some of those PSUs barely give enough slack to fit every case/mobo config.

    In theory, yes. There are off-the-shelf extensions for all those connectors. It would take some effort to not look like shit, but yeah, you could certainly house the PSU outside of the case with the proper precautions.

    You're trying my patience, try pink carnations
  • mr_michmr_mich Registered User regular
    For low profile cpu coolers I want to vouch for the Xigmatek Loki. I actually have one in my Phantom and it performs about as well as a Hyper 212+ but is quite short.

  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    I have this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005SEZBXY/ref=oh_details_o05_s01_i01

    While I wouldn't call it "low profile", it did fit in my case whereas the 212 does not. It pretty much is a 212 turned 90 degrees.

    Vegan on
    steam_sig.png
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