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

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Posts

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    Foomy wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    Okay folks, apparently the "Piston," the full-on Steam Box version of that super-small PC, will be out around X-Mas this year, starting from the eye-popping price of $1000.00, though I gather you can get it for $100 less if you pre-order. It comes standard with 128GB worth of SSD (and I'm relatively certain you'll never cram a secondary drive in that chassis) along with 8GB of RAM.

    I for one am staggered, because powering the box is a 3.2GHz Quad-Core AMD APU, indicating 7000-series graphics, which means congrats you're about to pay a thousand fucking dollars for a little box with what is basically a down-clocked version of a processor that costs like 130 bucks.

    I understand that the form factor costs money, especially when you're cramming in and cooling a proc with a 100W TDP that doesn't want to go above 60C, but the machine is truly god-awful value for money. You could easily spend half that and come up with something similar, if not slightly better, provided you didn't demand a PC that you could fit in a moderately sized cargo pocket.


    From the specs it really does look like a trinity based machine in a slightly smaller then you could build yourself package. But it's a machine you could build for $400-500, the form factor just isn't worth $600.

    Exactly. It's honestly pretty irritating to me. For example, the tech specs page just reeks of bullshit, like talking up the shader core count of the 7660D iGPU while adding barely any context to indicate what that actually means (though they do at least mention that they're graphics cores as opposed to CPU cores in the midst of some buzz-wordy crap). "Wooh, look, big numbers! Shiny chassis! Only $1000!"

    Alecthar on
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    I don't know what people were expecting from that piston, but a trinity based apu design was exactly what I thought it would be when I first saw a picture of it, and $1000 was exactly the price I expected it to be.

    It's a really stupid over-priced pc, for people who care about looks more then function, the custom pc market thrives on things like that. I bet Dell is real mad they didn't think of something similar for some Alienware model.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
    Alecthar
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    Don't Dell have their own brand of ripoff with the x51?

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Big Classy wrote: »
    Don't Dell have their own brand of ripoff with the x51?

    x51 is pretty decent for what's inside and you can actually upgrade it. It's also more powerful and costs less.

    you pay a bit extra for the Alienware badge, and the small form factor, over what the hardware inside costs, but not that much.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    That's pretty reasonable. Which is shocking for alienware.

    OneAngryPossum
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Foomy wrote: »
    I don't know what people were expecting from that piston, but a trinity based apu design was exactly what I thought it would be when I first saw a picture of it, and $1000 was exactly the price I expected it to be.

    It's a really stupid over-priced pc, for people who care about looks more then function, the custom pc market thrives on things like that. I bet Dell is real mad they didn't think of something similar for some Alienware model.

    I guess I didn't expect anything different, you're right. Actually, I may have expected less, because when I saw the specs I was betting on Intel, I figured the TDP and heat tolerances would be easier to work with.

    Cards on the table, I'm not 100% sober right now, so I'm likely over-reacting. They're selling a fairly unimpressive product at prestige prices, which I can understand given the fanciness and form-factor, but they're marketing materials seem to be trying to sell people on the notion that they're actually getting what they pay for with it from a technical perspective (as opposed to an aesthetic one).

    Regardless, I'm sure Dell's working on a slightly larger version with plastic and superfluous LED lighting.

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Big Classy wrote: »
    That's pretty reasonable. Which is shocking for alienware.

    They aren't as bad as it used to be, Being owned by Dell has helped.

    Like takling a look at the i7/660 $1000 x51's part costs
    cpu - 300
    gpu - 200
    motherboard - 100
    ram - 50
    hdd - 80
    windows - 80
    case/psu - 150ish (guessing, but pico-psu are semi expensive, and so are small cases)
    total - somewhere around $900 if you priced something like it yourself off Newegg

    So it's not so bad comparatively, and you get a pretty nice case/form factor out of it. It's actually a case design that you can't just buy yourself right now, as most mini-itx cases at the same size don't have room for a gpu.

    But I did a mini-itx amd trinity build earlier in the thread that came to $400 or so with windows, even accounting for case, and the custom motherboard xi3 is making, the markup is insane.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    It's been ages since I was last looking at their stuff. They've learnt a fair bit.

  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    So how would I go about syncing my saved between laptop in the living room used as a steambox and the PC in the bedroom? Steam cloud saves are sadly limited to select games.

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    Big Classy wrote: »
    So how would I go about syncing my saved between laptop in the living room used as a steambox and the PC in the bedroom? Steam cloud saves are sadly limited to select games.

    You could try Game Save Manager and Dropbox or a network folder:
    http://www.gamesave-manager.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1694

    steam_sig.png
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    What is the point of this Steambox? $1000 for a box that hooks to your TV so you can play some indie Steam games? Doesn't seem like it's powerful enough to play much of anything graphically intensive at even console quality visuals. Is this going to go the way of the 3DO?

    steam_sig.png
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    What is the point of this Steambox? $1000 for a box that hooks to your TV so you can play some indie Steam games? Doesn't seem like it's powerful enough to play much of anything graphically intensive at even console quality visuals. Is this going to go the way of the 3DO?

    if it's the top trinity apu the a10-5800k, then it's capable of playing most games on medium settings at 720p. Not great but it does do more then indie games.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    And the main draw is playing Steam games on your TV. While that may not be a "wow-factor" for most here, it could be a big thing for the larger Steam audience.

  • OneAngryPossumOneAngryPossum Registered User regular
    And I doubt it's representative of most of the boxes we'll see. I have no doubts that size was the primary design goal for this thing, and for all that it's a low power system, it's still kind of impressive for something the size of a couple stacked Roku boxes.

    I'd never buy one, but that's their problem.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Seems like there's a market for a slightly larger but more reasonably priced alternative (or more powerful). So uh, if someone were enterprising enough, there you go.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    Day of the BearOneAngryPossum
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    And the main draw is playing Steam games on your TV. While that may not be a "wow-factor" for most here, it could be a big thing for the larger Steam audience.

    Sure, but "Steam games" are just PC games, and what are those desirable PC games that cannot be had on console? I guess I'm just looking at it from the standpoint of someone who says "I would like to play games on my TV" and looks at the choices: $1000 for this box vs $300 for a console (that probably comes with a pack-in or two) and still have $700 left over to put into my game library. And as for those people who maybe already have a lot of money already in their Steam libraries, I would think those PC gamers are already savvy enough to know you could buy something much more capable from Alienware and plug it into your TV.

    steam_sig.png
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    I'm hoping to upgrade my PC specs this year, but I'm also hoping I won't have to pay off the total bill (which I'm sure will be quite pricey as I have to get a whole new mobo, CPU, GPU, and probably a new case) all at once. Are there any online PC stores that offer no finance for a set amount of months? Perhaps a site that supports Bill Me Later?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    Im pretty sure Newegg does Bill Me Later but Ive never used it.

  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Come pop by the Computer build thread with what your budget is, and what you need the computer to do and I'm sure we could find some way to get what you need.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
    Day of the BearOneAngryPossum
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    No set budget yet, since I would need to research what the going rates are for the parts I need. Also, I figured it would be better to post the eventual question on this thread, since the ideal purpose to upgrade is to make those Steam games look prettier and run better.

    In either case, this isn't something I'll be looking into until later in the year, maybe Summer at the earliest.

    Anyone else have their games minimize to Big Picture Mode whenever a group notification appears? It's happened to me more than a few times, and I really should just disable them.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    Got everything set on my new PC. Booting takes me straight to desktop and Steam Big Picture mode loads up automatically. Only problem now is that I've gone through 2 XBox 360 gamepads that both had drift in the right analog stick, and I'm weary of returning it again for a third. Anyone else experience this, and if so, any fixes for it?

    Steam | Twitch
    Oculus: TheBigDookie | XBL: Dook | NNID: BigDookie
  • MrDelishMrDelish Registered User regular
    I had a controller that would stick. I bought it used, though, and my fix was tapping the stick in the opposite direction and hope it would "reset" itself. Have you tried another USB port and disconnecting/turning it off and plugging it back in? Try going to "Devices & Printers" in Windows, open the "Game Controller Settings" in the right-click menu for the controller, and open Properties. If the X or Y Rotation bar shifts on its own, try calibrating it in the Settings menu. If they are the same length and don't move...try calibrating, I guess. If that doesn't work, I wouldn't be ashamed of taking it back again.

  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I tried calibrating it, no help. It's weird, it's like the dead zone where the analog stick is supposed to return to is too loose. So if I'm say, slightly leaning right in Dishonored and then gently let it return to center, it doesn't snap back all the way and I have to manually push it back to center. It's not a huge deal, but it is annoying enough to bother me. The fact that the exact same issue showed up in two brand new controllers has me a little worried that its a manufacturing problem. I'm going to try returning it one more time, and if the third one still has issues I guess I'll just live with it.

    Steam | Twitch
    Oculus: TheBigDookie | XBL: Dook | NNID: BigDookie
  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    Well, apparently third time was a charm. The one I exchanged for today didn't have any drifting issues at all. In fact, it overall feels better constructed - the d pad works better, the shoulder buttons aren't as mushy, and the sticks feel more solid. Pretty cruddy that it took me three tries just to get a good one, but at least I got it.

    Now for some sweet console-style big picture loving.

    Steam | Twitch
    Oculus: TheBigDookie | XBL: Dook | NNID: BigDookie
  • Ed GrubermanEd Gruberman Registered User regular
    If you had steambox hooked to a 1080p TV that was capable of running games on high settings, would it be complicated/functional to have a moderate laptop work as a remote terminal so that if someone was watching TV, I could just remote in and get up to some steaming piles of gamely goodness? Does anyone do this? I'm hoping for like a home version of OnLive

    steam_sig.png

    SteamID: edgruberman GOG Galaxy: EdGruberman
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    You're better off just playing games on your laptop itself? You're introducing delay on top of the hardware you already have.

    Besides RDP doesn't support DirectX and the performance of the VNC clones (join.me/teamviewer/whatever else) is dreadful. Even over 10 gigabit networks.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Ed GrubermanEd Gruberman Registered User regular
    Thanks. I haven't tried it and the steam box is still only a dream but I was just curious if it was possible. I was just curious how useful the current laptop would be under that scenario since it mostly runs games on low these days. Hoped I could offload some of the processing power to run newer games.

    steam_sig.png

    SteamID: edgruberman GOG Galaxy: EdGruberman
  • CuvisTheConquerorCuvisTheConqueror They always say "yee haw" but they never ask "haw yee?" Registered User regular
    If you had steambox hooked to a 1080p TV that was capable of running games on high settings, would it be complicated/functional to have a moderate laptop work as a remote terminal so that if someone was watching TV, I could just remote in and get up to some steaming piles of gamely goodness? Does anyone do this? I'm hoping for like a home version of OnLive

    At present time, you're probably just better off gaming on the laptop, like Bowen said. Nvidia is working on some kind of remote gaming technology, but I don't think they have it available to consumers yet, and I'm not entirely certain if it'll work on Windows or if it's just for their Project SHIELD device.

    xderwsaxganu.png
  • CuvisTheConquerorCuvisTheConqueror They always say "yee haw" but they never ask "haw yee?" Registered User regular
    Sorry for the double post, but I was thinking of moving my Steam box to Win 8, as Metro at least looks like it'd be good for an HTPC. Does anybody have any experience actually using it for that?

    xderwsaxganu.png
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    My current HTPC runs Windows 8 but I almost never use Metro. Despite looking like the 360 dashboard, Metro isnt exactly controller friendly. Aside from Metro, everything Ive tried to run has worked just fine (although a couple of TellTale games needed a file or something to get going, but I think that was because I had my 360 controller plugged in).

  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I've got Windows 8 on mine too, but I have it set to boot directly into desktop and Big Picture mode, so I never even see the metro interface really. I would think it's work alright for an HTPC though.

    Steam | Twitch
    Oculus: TheBigDookie | XBL: Dook | NNID: BigDookie
  • Big ClassyBig Classy Registered User regular
    Big Dookie wrote: »
    Yeah, I've got Windows 8 on mine too, but I have it set to boot directly into desktop and Big Picture mode, so I never even see the metro interface really. I would think it's work alright for an HTPC though.

    how do you set this up?

  • Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    edited March 2013
    Big Classy wrote: »
    Big Dookie wrote: »
    Yeah, I've got Windows 8 on mine too, but I have it set to boot directly into desktop and Big Picture mode, so I never even see the metro interface really. I would think it's work alright for an HTPC though.

    how do you set this up?

    It's going to sound kind of convoluted, but bear with me. It's actually not that hard, and once it's set up it works really well. There are two main steps to doing this, at least for how I figured out how to do it in Windows 8.


    1) Boot to Desktop.

    Not only does this give the benefit of skipping the cosmetic aspects of the Metro UI, but it's actually also quite necessary if you want to boot right into Big Picture mode, since I haven't found a way to start it from the Metro interface automatically. There are a few workarounds to doing this, most of which you can find by searching online. However, the easiest one I've found is a utility called "Skip Metro Suite". It's just a simple program you can download that sets up all the scripts and stuff automatically to boot directly into the desktop and bypass metro. It also allows you to remove hot corners if you want. I actually those personally, but the option's there. If you ever want to restore booting into Metro it's easy to turn back on in the program.

    Download Skip Metro Suite here.


    2) Start Steam on Windows startup in Big Picture Mode.

    Now here's where it got a little tricky. You'd think you could just tick the boxes in Steam options to "Start with Windows" and "Start in Big Picture Mode". However, for some reason it doesn't work that way. Apparently it has something to do with the way it starts Steam when you click that option, it runs it in "silent" mode or something.

    So what you have to do is actually disable the option to load Steam on windows startup, then enable starting Steam with Big Picture Mode. Then, create a shortcut on your desktop or wherever for the Steam executable and manually move that shortcut to your windows startup folder. Fastest way to get to the startup folder is to just enter this into a windows explorer address bar:

    C:\Users\<User Profile folder name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

    Making sure you enter your actual User Profile name above where it says "User Profile folder name" obviously. Once you have your shortcut there and if you've done step 1, next time you boot up it should go right to the desktop for a few seconds and then load up Big Picture Mode automatically. And of course you can Shutdown, Reboot, and Sleep your computer all from BPM, so there's no need to ever exit really unless you have to for something outside of Steam.

    But if the purpose is for it to be a Steam Box, why would you need to? I've been running this way for a couple of weeks now and it really works great. For games I use the XBox controller on, I can start my computer, go into Steam, play what I want to, and shut down again without ever even getting out my mouse and keyboard. Living the dream!

    If you end up trying this, let me know how it goes.

    Big Dookie on
    Steam | Twitch
    Oculus: TheBigDookie | XBL: Dook | NNID: BigDookie
    Big Classy
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    I mentioned before that I may look into upgrading my PC this Summer. Is that the best time this year, or are there any new GPUs coming out that I should wait for?

    I recall hearing how Nvidia and AMD both have new graphics cards coming up (the former used to run Battlefield 4's trailer, I believe). Haven't read any dates though.

  • Ragnar DragonfyreRagnar Dragonfyre Registered User regular
    For anyone considering building a whole extra PC just for their TV, unless you have money to burn, you may want to consider just buying a crazy long HDMI cable and running it from your main PC to your TV like I have. www.monoprice.com has HDMI cables extremely cheap. If your PC and TV are in the same room, then this is an easy process but if it's not, fishing wire can be a nuisance I admit.

    Sorry if this has been brought up before, I just don't have time to read through the entire thread.

    I love Big Picture though. Switch over to my TV, fire on Big Picture and I can sit back with my controller without having to touch the mouse. It's pretty great.

    steam_sig.png
    Descendant X
  • CormacCormac Registered User regular
    I mentioned before that I may look into upgrading my PC this Summer. Is that the best time this year, or are there any new GPUs coming out that I should wait for?

    I recall hearing how Nvidia and AMD both have new graphics cards coming up (the former used to run Battlefield 4's trailer, I believe). Haven't read any dates though.

    AMD has stated that they have no plans to update their cards until the end of 2013 at the earliest, and we probably won't see anything new from them until 2014. I'm not sure about Nvidia but it's likely the same thing, but with a better chance of new cards at the end of 2013 than AMD.

    In other words it'll be at least 6-8 months before replacements for the 7000 and GTX 600 series cards come out.

    Steam: Gridlynk | PSN: Gridlynk | FFXIV: Jarvellis Mika
    Day of the Bear
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Cormac wrote: »
    I mentioned before that I may look into upgrading my PC this Summer. Is that the best time this year, or are there any new GPUs coming out that I should wait for?

    I recall hearing how Nvidia and AMD both have new graphics cards coming up (the former used to run Battlefield 4's trailer, I believe). Haven't read any dates though.

    AMD has stated that they have no plans to update their cards until the end of 2013 at the earliest, and we probably won't see anything new from them until 2014. I'm not sure about Nvidia but it's likely the same thing, but with a better chance of new cards at the end of 2013 than AMD.

    In other words it'll be at least 6-8 months before replacements for the 7000 and GTX 600 series cards come out.

    AMD is going to release 8000 series cards, but those will be re-branded 7000 series cards with maybe a bit more memory, or slightly more overclocked etc.

    Nividia's 700 series should actually be an upgrade.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    Hmm, should I postpone it for another year, then? If the PS4 is as PC-porting friendly as they claim, that means more graphically intensive games down the road for PC as well, I reckon.

  • CormacCormac Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    What is your computer right now?

    Cormac on
    Steam: Gridlynk | PSN: Gridlynk | FFXIV: Jarvellis Mika
  • RobesRobes Registered User regular
    For anyone considering building a whole extra PC just for their TV, unless you have money to burn, you may want to consider just buying a crazy long HDMI cable and running it from your main PC to your TV like I have. www.monoprice.com has HDMI cables extremely cheap. If your PC and TV are in the same room, then this is an easy process but if it's not, fishing wire can be a nuisance I admit.

    Sorry if this has been brought up before, I just don't have time to read through the entire thread.

    I love Big Picture though. Switch over to my TV, fire on Big Picture and I can sit back with my controller without having to touch the mouse. It's pretty great.

    Doesn't the audio/video signal quality degrade over long hdmi cables though?

    "Wait" he says... do I look like a waiter?
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