Building a SteamOS PC

Grauniad · 7271

Grauniad

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on: December 18, 2013, 12:45:33 pm
Valve has made available their downloadable SteamOS operating system. Currently 300 lucky beta testers have Valve-supplied machines to evaluate this.

Virgil and I have been having an extensive communication on this. My first inclination was to throw together a cheap, sub-$300 machine to test it with. Virgil was more hoping to be in the $500-600 range.  

Now I've been spending some thought (always a bad sign) and came up with a PC in a HTPC (Home theater PC) form factor that may have enough oomph to allow installing stuff like XBMC and won't look out of place next to the family room PC.

I will update this topic, time and interest (mine) permitting to add links and further information.  

For now it's merely a repository for my $1000+ current baseline build. :)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU:  Intel Core i3-4340 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor  ($156.51 @ Amazon)
Motherboard:  Asus GRYPHON Z87 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($162.99 @ Amazon)
Memory:  G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory  ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage:  Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($79.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card:  MSI GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card  ($249.99 @ Amazon)
Case:  Silverstone SST-GD07B (Black) HTPC Case  ($149.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply:  Silverstone 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($100.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1060.42
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-18 12:38 EST-0500)

« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 12:49:53 pm by Grauniad »

A goodnight to all and to all a good night - Goodnight Moon


Kingo

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Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 12:54:15 am
Steam released an OS? Interesting...



knucracker

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Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 12:34:42 pm
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Steam+Machine+Teardown/20473
Cough, cough.... You think they put an expensive enough GPU in there?  No wonder they only handed out 300 :)



Grauniad

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Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 12:52:06 pm
Holy cow! A GTX 780!!!  They recon the component parts are $1,300.

After I created my baseline build above, I was thinking that it does not compare well with a $500 console.   They're going to have a real problem justifying that $1,300 price tag.

Revision 1 of my component list: Replaced some components with equivalents used in SteamOs beta machines (not the GPU though)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU:  Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($194.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler:  Zalman CNPS2X CPU Cooler  ($24.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory:  G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory  ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage:  Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($87.97 @ OutletPC)
Video Card:  MSI GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card  ($249.99 @ Amazon)
Case:  Silverstone SST-GD07B (Black) HTPC Case  ($149.98 @ Newegg)
Other: Motherboard: ASRock Z87E-ITX  Mini ITX ($139.99)
Other: Power Supply: SILVERSTONE ST45SF-G 450W SFX12V  80 PLUS GOLD  Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply ($94.99)
Total: $1092.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-19 13:40 EST-0500)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 01:44:26 pm by Grauniad »

A goodnight to all and to all a good night - Goodnight Moon


Grauniad

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Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 09:13:16 pm
With CES around the corner, lots of stuff is being announced. Of interest is probably that Valve has signed up 12 partners (so far)to produce Steam boxes. And IbuyPower has announced $499 box with awesome PC specs, including a $180 (retail) Radeon HD R9 270 graphics card and a Steam controller. Full specs during CES, I guess.

Image courtesy of "The Verge"

« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 06:28:56 pm by Grauniad »

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Grauniad

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Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 02:18:51 pm
The Verge has an article indicating that Digital Storm has announced a hybrid Windows/SteamOS machine for $1,900 - Quite a step up from the $500 IbuyPower machine.

The images for the case seem to bear a striking similarity to the Silverstone case I favor for my own build. (Click image for the Digital Storm page.)



If nothing else, I think the Steam Machine will revolutionize Small Form Factor gaming PCs. They designed their case in such a way that the 3 major heat components (Power Supply, CPU and GPU) are each in its own "compartment, venting to the outside and not transmitting heat to the other components.

A goodnight to all and to all a good night - Goodnight Moon


Clean0nion

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Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 02:34:35 pm
If nothing else, I think the Steam Machine will revolutionize Small Form Factor gaming PCs. They designed their case in such a way that the 3 major heat components (Power Supply, CPU and GPU) are each in its own "compartment, venting to the outside and not transmitting heat to the other components.
Is that not what computers do anyway, or are supposed to do?
Wow, I know nothing about PCs.



Grauniad

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Reply #7 on: January 06, 2014, 06:14:32 pm
CyberPower has "leaked" their specifications.



I must say, it's the least attractive (from an eye-candy perspective) of all the known current machines.

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Clean0nion

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Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 06:22:22 pm
I'd disagree.
The IBuyPower model just looks cheap, like it's made of polystyrene or something. And the Digital Storm version, whilst technical-looking, might not appeal to those less experienced with computers such as I.
But the Cyberpower model just looks sci-fi. And that's never bad, at least to those of us to whom sci-fi means good. So although it might not appeal to you technical lot who know about GPUs and G-Sync and G170+s and anything else that begins with G, it appeals to the rest of us - the goldfish, if you will.
Well, that's my view, anyway.



Grauniad

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Reply #9 on: January 07, 2014, 08:24:21 am
Ars Technica has a gallery of all 13 announced steam machines. Frankly I'm surprised at the small form factor of some of these boxes. I'm looking forward to their availability and reviews.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/01/gallery-the-13-steam-machines-and-all-of-their-glorious-variety/

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knucracker

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Reply #10 on: January 07, 2014, 09:50:10 am
Yep... there is some real potential for interesting things in these boxes.  If this initiative turns into something real and lasts more than 1 year it could be disruptive for consoles, and PCs.  But, PCs need some disruption.  I wasn't expecting the tiny little boxes from some of the vendors, either. 

I still contend that all of this hinges mostly on Valve's new handheld controller.  Will those dual circular touchpads really be as good as sticks for FPS and as good as a mouse for strategy?  If they are close enough, then I can see all of this working given the spectrum of boxes being produced.  I also see a good many games working just fine on linux (CW3... maybe :) ).  But if that controller is frustrating, cheap, unreliable... then people will just use regular stick based controllers and the world of mouse driven PC games will be shutout.  If that happens, then I can't imagine why most people wouldn't just play on an xbox or a playstation.



Grauniad

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Reply #11 on: January 07, 2014, 02:23:37 pm
Gizmodo has ranked the current crop of SteamOs boxes: http://gizmodo.com/13-steam-boxes-ranked-1496078448

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knucracker

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Reply #12 on: January 07, 2014, 03:46:39 pm



Michionlion

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Reply #13 on: January 07, 2014, 08:56:06 pm
And here is another 'review' type reaction, from Tested:  http://www.tested.com/tech/gaming/459665-ces-2014-hands-valves-steam-controller/

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Grauniad

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Reply #14 on: January 07, 2014, 10:07:39 pm
Legit Reviews have a closer look (hands-on) with the Digital Storm Bolt II - the hybrid PC/Steam machine mentioned earlier and priced at $1,900 before custom LED lighting  options.

http://www.legitreviews.com/hands-digital-storm-bolt-ii-steam-machine-ces-2014_132918

A goodnight to all and to all a good night - Goodnight Moon