As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

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

1356710

Posts

  • TofystedethTofystedeth 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?
    Some notable topics that are verboten across the forums (this is not a complete list) include;
    No Morrissey, Hitman 2 or TV Tropes
    ;)

    Tofystedeth on
    steam_sig.png
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    I saw a Bitfenix Prodigy today. It's a fair bit bigger than I was expecting. Like, I'm pretty sure that with a Dremel and an hour or so I could mod one to fit a MicroATX board vertically. It's way too big to be an HTPC box in my opinion. It's still a really cool looking bit of kit.

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    I saw a Bitfenix Prodigy today. It's a fair bit bigger than I was expecting. Like, I'm pretty sure that with a Dremel and an hour or so I could mod one to fit a MicroATX board vertically. It's way too big to be an HTPC box in my opinion. It's still a really cool looking bit of kit.

    I entirely agree, it's a small box for a standard desktop PC, but it's big for an ITX case and it doesn't have the advantage of looking like home theater equipment either. Obviously for some (most?) people that isn't an issue, but it isn't what I would want for an HTPC/Steam Box.

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    It's just small enough and unobtrusive enough that it is basically invisible when placed next to my TV stand. Looks kind of like a subwoofer, really.

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    My concern is that those HTPC cases can't hold some of the better graphics cards out there, since they are gigantic. Am I just being paranoid?

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    urahonky wrote: »
    My concern is that those HTPC cases can't hold some of the better graphics cards out there, since they are gigantic. Am I just being paranoid?

    Depends on the case and the card. You also have to consider that you're going to be playing games at a maximum resolution of 1080p, so it's not like you need a GTX 690.

  • minor incidentminor incident expert in a dying field njRegistered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    You also have to consider that you're going to be playing games at a maximum resolution of 1080p, so it's not like you need a GTX 690.

    It's like I don't even know you anymore.

    Ah, it stinks, it sucks, it's anthropologically unjust
  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    Yeah, since when has a vanity PC project been about needs? :bz

  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    You also have to consider that you're going to be playing games at a maximum resolution of 1080p, so it's not like you need a GTX 690.

    It's like I don't even know you anymore.

    He said a GTX 690, that doesnt rule out two or even three 690s.

  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    The sign says "No Homers". We're allowed to have one.

    steam_sig.png
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I'm hoping someone here is Windows-savy enough to help me out. I recently bought a new Home Theater Receiver with HDMI outputs, which allows for an easier direct connection from my PC to my TV. The way I have it set up is that my PC now displays simultaneously on both my TV (via receiver) and destkop (via monitor). It comes in handy whenever I need to respond with a keyboard on the desktop.

    However, there are two problems with this new setup: The first is that I have to manually switch where I want the audio source between the receiver (for my TV) and my PC speakers (for my desktop). Even if I set my receiver as the default audio connection, it won't automatically switch to my PC unless the receiver is turned off (which I can't do since all my other devices are plugged directly to it).

    So is there a way to have the audio output on both the receiver and the desktop speakers, simultaneously? Or alternatively, a way to instantly switch between the desired audio source with a simple keyboard command (that I could then map to my Harmony remote)?

    The other problem is that if I want to turn off my desktop monitor (as it occasionally proves distracting having the same image displayed on both), I have to manually turn it off via the button. I was wondering if there was either a keyboard command that can shut off my monitor (so, again, I can map it to the remote), or if there's a way to have my remote turn it off as a registered device (tried this, but it didn't work)?

  • ratzofftoyaratzofftoya San Francisco, CARegistered User regular
    So is there a way to have the audio output on both the receiver and the desktop speakers, simultaneously? Or alternatively, a way to instantly switch between the desired audio source with a simple keyboard command (that I could then map to my Harmony remote)?

    I got you, dogg! I was looking into this recently. Get this: http://soundswitch.codeplex.com/ Only problem is that if you have 3 sources (PC speakers, headphones, receiver), you've got to leave one of them off the toggle. Still, not a bad solution.
    The other problem is that if I want to turn off my desktop monitor (as it occasionally proves distracting having the same image displayed on both), I have to manually turn it off via the button. I was wondering if there was either a keyboard command that can shut off my monitor (so, again, I can map it to the remote), or if there's a way to have my remote turn it off as a registered device (tried this, but it didn't work)?

    For that, use this: http://mikinho.com/projects/ ...The program you're looking for is on the bottom (Windows 7 Toggle Display). The problem again is that it's toggling between two, so a third state (monitor + TV) would be left out in the cold. A better option, if you have Windows 7, may be using the Win+P command.

    I mainly toggle--there are very few instances in which I want to use both monitors or a combination of the two audio sources. So I've just set up my Harmony to have one switch to toggle between the monitor + speakers and TV + receiver combo by using hotkeys for the two scripts.

    If you want to do something a little more complex, I would suggest AutoHotKey.

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Awesome, I'll be sure to try out both these programs. Thanks a bunch.

    I knew this thread would come in handy. :^:

    Edit: The program for audio switching works, but unfortunately I don't know how to map the command (CTRL+ALT+F11) to my remote. There's an "add sequence" option that supposedly lets me map multiple inputs to a single button, but it won't work (or I'm doing it wrong). I guess I could just map it to a single key, but I'm not sure what key I could exclusively map it for that I'll never use in anything else.

    I also have no idea how to add a command line to the remote, so if you happen to be knowledgeable in that respect, kindly let me know.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • ueanuean Registered User regular
    Scroll lock?

    Or numpad '.'

    I never use those.

    Guys? Hay guys?
    PSN - sumowot
  • rembrandtqeinsteinrembrandtqeinstein Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    I have an htpc for video and web browsing but that isn't powerful enough for gaming. I recently got a decent gaming pc 2nd hand and I'm planning to hook that up in another room. The other room solution means I don't have to worry about a pretty case or quiet fans for the gaming pc.

    My connection solution is HDMI going through a wall and network and USB connections going through the ceiling and going to a USB hub by my couch. A USB hub lets use devices that aren't available in wireless such as an XArcade Tankstick http://www.xgaming.com/store/arcade-joysticks-and-game-controllers/product/x-arcade-tankstick-includes-usb-cables/

    Monoprice CAT5 to USB adapters work perfectly to give you a 50+ foot USB cable. And Monoprice raceways means I can pull the cables from the ceiling down the walls and but still leave them invisible.

    The Big Picture native gamepad support doesn't seem to work very well for me but I have a logitech controller not an XBOX controller. I mapped my gamepad to mouse controls using the logitech profiler but the profiler is pretty bad. I'm trying different gamepad mappers and I'll report on what works.

    What I'm looking for now is a pretty emulator launcher for classic gaming. So far none of the interfaces I looked at have a good 10 foot interface. GameEx is close but still not exactly what I want http://www.gameex.com/ . XBMC has the new Advanced Launcher which I haven't played with but it looks promising.

    I would love to be able to boot to Steam and make the game PC a really expensive and awesome console but I'm not quite there yet.

    rembrandtqeinstein on
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    emp123 wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    You also have to consider that you're going to be playing games at a maximum resolution of 1080p, so it's not like you need a GTX 690.

    It's like I don't even know you anymore.

    He said a GTX 690, that doesnt rule out two or even three 690s.

    *Hides blueprints labelled "Alecthar's Steam Box"*

  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    It's got that name because there will be enough CPUs/GPUs within it to cause the water cooling radiator to emit steam.

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    It's got that name because there will be enough CPUs/GPUs within it to cause the water cooling radiator to emit steam.

    Custom case, I built in 3 little cooling towers, nuclear reactor style. Steam Box for short, the full title is "Three Mile Island - With a name like that, and specs like these, you know I'm compensation for something."

    Admittedly it doesn't roll off the tongue.

  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    emp123 wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    You also have to consider that you're going to be playing games at a maximum resolution of 1080p, so it's not like you need a GTX 690.

    It's like I don't even know you anymore.

    He said a GTX 690, that doesnt rule out two or even three 690s.

    *Hides blueprints labelled "Alecthar's Steam Box"*

    According to PSUCalc, to justify my 850w PSU I need to run 2 GTX 690s. So I guess Im going to blow double the cost of my complete build (well, almost double) on 2 GTX 690s.

    And then Im going to have to blow another $2600 on 3 27" Ultrasounds. Sure I could buy a super nice 60" for that, but why be limited to 2,073,600 pixels when I could have 11,059,200 (or 8,192,000 if I get 2 30" Ultrasharps).

    I guess if I was going to make a tv out of them I'll need 6...

    Or I guess I could do something sane. Im tempted to throw my current GTX 570 in my current HTPC (currently a E8400 and a ATi 4850), but Im pretty sure the E8400 will bottleneck it and Im not entirely sure how much gaming Im going to be doing from my couch (after all I just need to start/finish The Walking Dead, Batman Arkham City, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, Alpha Protocol (assuming it has controller support, otherwise I'll just play it on the 360), Bastion, etc etc. Okay I should do it.).

  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    uean wrote: »
    Scroll lock?

    Or numpad '.'

    I never use those.

    Those don't appear to be options in the Logitech software. I tried using ~, but that didn't work etiher. There's got to be a more elegant solution to audio switching.

    More importantly, I've been trying for ages to find a capable wireless headset for game chat. You'd think with 360 controller support MS would work to get their wireless headsets working on a PC, but no go on that front. Any close alternatives are also ridiculously priced.

    Doesn't help that the people playing Borderlands 2 multiplayer are more chatty than I imagined.

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    So its been a few weeks already of using Big Picture Mode exclusively as my primary HTPC front end. It's been unique. I've even grown accustomed to using the browser now and again - lousy as it may be.

    My steambox setup is pretty swank. The actual box is out in the living room, in the cabinet under the HDTV. I routed 72' HDMI cable from the living room to my gaming room where it also connectes to a smaller Playstation 3D monitor on a desk with a normal keyboard and mouse. the actual steambox is an i7 2600k running at 4 ghz, with 16 gb ram and a radeon 7970.

    I can launch a media portal client within steam and it'll still overlay the BPM interface over it, which I really like. It makes the entire experience feel integrated. My media portal client connects to a media portal server I have running in a different room, which is connected to my DVR using a Happauge HD-PVR. This lets me watch HDTV from within media portal, and being able to overlay Big Picture Mode over actual, live television is pretty neat. I kinda want to build my friends and family boxes like this, because being able to pull up a nice, smoothly integrated friendslist on the TV and chat with people is pretty awesome.

    This brings me to BPM's webbrowser - it's abysmal. Often times, it'll just stop working - new tabs will stop rendering all together. It's also pretty slow and low on features. I get that it's baby steps and everything, but should valve ever develop the browser to something on the level of firefox, chrome, or opera, this could turn into a killer feature. Being able to bring up the internet formatted for a TV and control it intuitively with a variety of methods is incredibly liberating. And for the brief moments when BPM's webbrowser works as intended, it's a great experience.

    To control BPM, I have two Xbox 360 controllers for it, both wireless. I bought a small logitec bluetooth keyboard that can communicate from my gaming room, and a bluetooth mouse as well. The primary way I interact with BPM, though, especially when I'm within Media Portal, is with a Gyration MCE remote:
    P0R1S.jpg

    I've had this baby for years now and it's never stopped being useful. It functions like a normal MCE remote, which you can reprogram using Event Ghost. It is also a universal remote, which can control my HDTV. But the main reason it's so useful is that, by pressing the button in the middle, you can control your mouse using built in gyroscopes. It works kinda like a wiimote and, once you get the hang of it, makes navigating the web or browsing content on my media server or watching tv a breeze. It isn't bluetooth but uses it's own proprietary receiver which has a pretty big range. I can use it from within my gaming room with no problem.

    I really do see the potential in big picture mode. I'm pretty much using it in it's ideal setup, and it's pretty cool. I understand this is a beta, and since I've started using it there have already been a number of useful fixes. If this keeps evolving at the rate it's going, this will make for an awesome HTPC frontend.

    EDIT: Because it should be seen, Steam BPM overlayed on top of an episode of MST3K:
    (spoiler'd for huge)
    dPzta.jpg

    Cross-posting from the G&T steam thread

  • mr_michmr_mich Mmmmagic. MDRegistered User regular
    So, Big Picture is out freals now. How are yall doing with your Steamboxes? Should I start planning a build?

  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    Yeah I'm curious too. I've got a couple weeks before there is enough money to start planning what I want.

  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    Big Isy wrote: »
    Big Isy wrote: »
    Yeah I'm curious too. I've got a couple weeks before there is enough money to start planning what I want.

    I imagine you'll be fine and dandy, but if you need any help give me a shout! I've experience building Media PCs (so, basically a steambox) having had two myself :) Also fixing computers for a part-time job means I've got lots of parts kicking about.

    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    Oh that'll be awesome! Is something the size of a console, possibly smaller even possible?

  • minor incidentminor incident expert in a dying field njRegistered User regular
    Big Isy wrote: »
    Oh that'll be awesome! Is something the size of a console, possibly smaller even possible?

    You could probably ballpark something the size of the original PS3, or slightly larger. They really just don't make cases much smaller than that that are capable of housing a discrete GPU and a PSU capable of powering it. There's always the possibility of going with an AMD chip with a decent integrated GPU, which would allow you to cut down the size of the case a fair bit, and should be fine with most games if you limit it to 720p (like a console does).

    Ah, it stinks, it sucks, it's anthropologically unjust
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    I'd want to be able to Max out stuff like crysis, Witcher 2 and most importantly far cry 3. I think a slightly larger case wouldn't be too much of a bother tbh.

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    Somehow I missed this thread until now.

    Great stuff minor!

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • bloodatonementbloodatonement Registered User regular
    Well, you can max settings, you just are limited to 1080 for resolution.

    Zdy0pmg.jpg
    Steam ID: Good Life
  • Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    Big Isy wrote: »
    Oh that'll be awesome! Is something the size of a console, possibly smaller even possible?

    It's graphics card and PSU that take up the most amount of space really. You can't go for an mATX case as (at least in my experience), you can't get a powerful enough one. This is my setup:

    58Xua.jpg

    Sorry the pic is crap, the light's fairly low in here at the moment. Top left PS3, Top right 360, Bottom Left is my HTPC and bottom right is my amp. So my HTPC is about the same size as my amp. Inside there it's a fairly tight squeeze, I can fit in a GTX 560ti and a decent PSU but there's not really a lot of space for anything else. You could go a little smaller but things would get hot.

    The only way you could potentially go smaller is to have a PSU external. I upgraded from a fairly small mAtx case that could fit in an ATI 5750 but not a full size PSU. A friend took it off my hands and just hung the PSU out the back of it! Wasn't neat or tidy but it did the trick and you couldn't see round the back.

    Steam: Sir_Grinch
    PSN: SirGrinchX
    Oculus Rift: Sir_Grinch
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    That might be a viable option actually, just leaving the PSU hanging out, possibly make an external housing for it. WOn't be for some time anyways but good to know its definitely possible. Presumably the 560ti is the same physical size as a 680? Because if so, you could build a behemoth then.

  • mr_michmr_mich Mmmmagic. MDRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Here's my issue...

    I just bought a nice 60" plasma a few months back and love it. I'm kicking around the idea of a Steambox, and would like to keep it reasonable (I'm hoping $450ish as an arbitrary limit). However, my current media center is kind of full. I bought it years back for a 46" and it's kind of busted though...maybe it's time to replace it with something like this? All of my inputs are claimed on the receiver, but I could in theory replace my Popcorn Hour with a HTPC if I do it up right.

    In terms of GPU's, I've got Crossfired 6850's in my desktop, and now that I have a 2560x1440 monitor they struggle with some games. I could in theory pop a 6850 in the Steambox and upgrade my desktop, but then I'm stuck with a leftover 6850.

    I know, first world problems and all, but this suddenly became more complicated than just building a small pc. :(

    mr_mich on
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    Whats the nvidia equivalent of a 6850?

  • mr_michmr_mich Mmmmagic. MDRegistered User regular
    I think a 560.

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Big Isy wrote: »
    Oh that'll be awesome! Is something the size of a console, possibly smaller even possible?


    the sugo08 if you want a full size PSU, or the sugo05 if you can deal with the integrated PSU are pretty much as small as you can go while still using a real desktop videocard.

    i think there are a few other vendors that do mITX cases around abouts this size but i can't remember them off the top of my head.

    You'll have to pick your components carefully to ensure fit but you can get desktop level performance in an enclosure this size.

    Day of the Bear on
    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • mr_michmr_mich Mmmmagic. MDRegistered User regular
    Wow, that Sugo05 is almost exactly what I want...but spending more on a tiny case than I did on my full NZXT tower seems...odd.

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    well, consider that it's got a PSU in it's price as well.

    silverstone as well and they actually use good OEMs for their units usually, although i haven't found a good detailed review of that unit

    then, i'm not the guy to talk about spending too much on computer cases

    Day of the Bear on
    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • mr_michmr_mich Mmmmagic. MDRegistered User regular
    A couple pages back someone mentioned that trinity in October could be a game changer for steamboxes.

    I'm googling around but I'm sort of unclear...is this a series of processors that's meant to complement discrete GPU's? Or replace them outright?

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    mr_mich wrote: »
    A couple pages back someone mentioned that trinity in October could be a game changer for steamboxes.

    I'm googling around but I'm sort of unclear...is this a series of processors that's meant to complement discrete GPU's? Or replace them outright?

    it's AMD's combination of a cpu based on the piledriver core, and a radeon 7600 in one chip, like Intel HD graphics in Sandy/Ivy bridge, only more powerful. It can either be used on it's own, or if you can pair it with another radeon gpu in crossfire, but only laptops bother doing that.

    It has just enough power behind it to run more games at 720p on medium to med-high graphics, depending on the game, while being very lower power.

    So you can build a very small and cheap HTCP/SteamBox.

    and another fun fact is the PS4 devkits are based around some variant of an AMD Trinity A10.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    essentially it's a CPU/GPU combo in a single package with the integrated graphics being much closer in performance to a discrete GPU.

    CPU performance on the top tier SKU is roughly on par with an intel i3, which is to say more than enough for a steambox. GPU performance is not bad at all for an integrated solution but i'd still go with a dedicated card if budget allows. Playing at 1080p would probably be a bit painful on new modern titles.

    anandtech.com/show/6332/amd-trinity-a10-5800k-a8-5600k-review-part-1

    Day of the Bear on
    m6eoUgQ.jpg
Sign In or Register to comment.