Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 9th Nov 2013 18:44 UTC

The recent news, pictures, and reports about the prototype Steam Machine got me thinking. Since the SteamOS platform is a simple x86 computer, without the kind of restrictions that regular consoles come with, you can simply build the prototype Steam Machine today. However, the big issue is that Valve has done some magic to make sure that the hefty processor and videocard are properly cooled in the tiny prototype enclosure.

For years now, I've been looking for a way to build such a powerful PC in such a tiny package. The problem is that building such a small, powerful PC yourself is not easy - especially not for someone like me, who doesn't have the time to keep up with the honestly irresponsibly large amount of options available in the processor, videocard, cooler, and case markets. It's a mumble-jumble of version numbers, and in the case of video cards, cooling designs, card lengths, and god knows what else.

So, I have a simple question. Say I want to build a small, powerful gaming PC like the Steam Machine prototype, using off-the-shelf parts, for a reasonable price (I would say EUR 600-800). It needs to be properly cooled and as silent as possible, and it needs to be a small console form factor - so a small, horizontal case. Building a powerful, cool gaming PC in a tower is easy. Building it small and console-like, however, is not.

So, if you were to build something like that, which components would you pick? I might - no guarantees! - take up the advice given here and actually build it, if I can justify the spending. Even if I don't - it seems like a nice exercise for the PC builders among us. The laptop, smartphone, and tablet explosion has pushed custom PC building to the sidelines, but I still think it's an incredibly fun and satisfying activity - and if you're good enough, it is, most certainly, an art.

Permalink for comment 576602
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: So...
by Wondercool on Mon 11th Nov 2013 12:05 UTC in reply to "So..."
Member since:

That looks fine to me.

Personally I would not buy a 600W PSU unless your are planning on upgrading your GPU later.
Todays CPUs and GPUs don't need that much power anymore. Around 100watt for the CPU and around 200 for the GPU max. This is getting less every year as the die shrinks.

I would also not invest in a water cooled heating system. My Core i5-2500 rarely breaks out in a sweat, so the CPU fan revs at around 1000 rpm 99 percent of the time, nearly inaudible if your case is good.

You can also save on your CPU if you really want to, there are incredibly few games out there that are CPU bound. Most games are GPU bound.
If you replace your motherboard for an AMD FX6000 and don't use water cooling, you can save another 100 euro at least.

Edited 2013-11-11 12:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2