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.

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by Luke McCarthy on Mon 11th Nov 2013 10:26 UTC
Luke McCarthy
Member since:

There's a new case that was developed by some guys on HardForum and manufactured by Lian Li called NCASE M1. They had an Indiegogo campaign a little while back and they have now shipped out the first batch. I'm hoping they plan to sell the case to non-backers at some point because it is very compact yet you can fit a full size GPU and desktop CPU with watercooling in it.

Edited 2013-11-11 10:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 11th Nov 2013 10:31 in reply to "NCASE M1"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Woah. Want.

Reply Parent Score: 1

by _txf_ on Mon 11th Nov 2013 13:05 in reply to "NCASE M1"
_txf_ Member since:

That is a nice case, however I see problems with the graphics card. A case like this favours a Blower design which tend to be louder. If you're using an Open dual/triple Fan GPU heat sink you're going to be obstructing air flow with the Hard disk; not to mention dumping hot air all over the insides of the case (the Side panel grilles don't extend down to the Gfx card).

Edited 2013-11-11 13:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2