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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RE[2]: So...
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 11th Nov 2013 12:54 UTC in reply to "RE: So..."
Member since:

So a 400-450W would suffice? I do want modular, though, that sounds incredibly useful for proper cable management inside the case. I may opt for a case with a window, so that would look nice (I know, I know, don't judge me).

As for going AMD - any suggestions for motherboard/processor combination? I really wish AMD and Intel simplified their line-up.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: So...
by Wondercool on Mon 11th Nov 2013 13:15 in reply to "RE[2]: So..."
Wondercool Member since:

Yes 450 would suffice, I have a 450watt PSU myself and a
Core i5 + 6870 and no issues.

A popular AMD processor would be the FX6300
Here is a brief comparison:

The AMD is only slightly slower and a lot cheaper.

I have no experience with a modular PSU, I presume you will pay extra for that but I guess it is worth it.

A really good site to ask if your build is ok is this forum:

Just fill in the questionnaire and they will spec a computer for you. Also note that they mostly buy from It is one of the cheapest places to buy and you only pay a one-off shipping fee, no matter how much you buy.

Edited 2013-11-11 13:24 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: So...
by ShadesFox on Mon 11th Nov 2013 21:08 in reply to "RE[2]: So..."
ShadesFox Member since:

Moduler cables on PSUs is easily one of the best inventions in PC history.
I've been thinking of a replacement PC and have been experenting with how much poet I use. I have a power monitor on my PC and I've been watching it for months and I've yet to see it go above 350 in any video game. And that is external wattage which is higher than delivered internal wattage (internal is what is printed on the box). My next PSU will be 450 with the highest efficiency rating I can afford.

Reply Parent Score: 2