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Old 25th Nov 2012, 21:55   #1
sotu1
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Build a cheap Steam Box (second hand)

Hey guys anyone got an idea of how much it would cost to build a capable 'steam box' on budget (and a very quiet one at that)

Happy to pick second hand bits but don't know what the best components would be for silence and playability. Won't be a heavy gaming machine but a handful of my games are steam based

Help appreciated!
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 10:03   #2
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What's your budget?

Filling in this template would also help a lot: http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=182284
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 11:36   #3
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-I'd like to be £200-300 (happy to go second hand)
-Occasional gaming on TV (eg, XCom, Homefront, Space Marine, mostly console ports) Anything super high end like BF3, Crysis will be played off my desktop PC.
-To include: the PC, including an OS. Ignore peripherals.
-Main use is playing the odd steam/PC game on TV. The TV is full HD (currently 32 inch, upgrading to 50+ inch soon) No idea what the res is for that.
-Happy to overclock but noise will probably be a factor so don't want to overdo it.
-Thinking of sticking a single SSD in there as it won't be a heavy use gaming machine.
-ideally keep it a small system
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 11:52   #4
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Do you have a specific case in mind? That defines the form factor for the motherboard.

If you think those games can be played with an integrated graphics chip, you could skip a separate graphics card altogether. AMD budget chips have better graphics performance, but similarly priced Intel offerings usually have better CPU performance and lower power consumption. Not sure how older second hand chips compare.

Modern midrange and budget Intel CPUs cannot be overclocked.

The full HD resolution is 1920x1080.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 12:04   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1 View Post
-I'd like to be £200-300 (happy to go second hand)
-Occasional gaming on TV (eg, XCom, Homefront, Space Marine, mostly console ports) Anything super high end like BF3, Crysis will be played off my desktop PC.
-To include: the PC, including an OS. Ignore peripherals.
-Main use is playing the odd steam/PC game on TV. The TV is full HD (currently 32 inch, upgrading to 50+ inch soon) No idea what the res is for that.
-Happy to overclock but noise will probably be a factor so don't want to overdo it.
-Thinking of sticking a single SSD in there as it won't be a heavy use gaming machine.
-ideally keep it a small system
Oh, with a £200 - £300 budget, this is easy.
  • AMD Athlon X3/X4 CPU - £35 second hand (CPUs never break anyway)
  • Coolermaster TX3 Hyper CPU cooler - £12 from scan
  • Cheapest MATX brand name motherboard (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI) - about £35
  • 4GB of any old DDR3 RAM (£12 second hand)
  • 64GB SSD - £30
  • GTX 460 second hand - £60

£185

Now this is for the core components, the case is harder because its more personal. If it was me, because its an HTPC I’d choose something with decent sound proofing, like the Antec P180 mini – but of course it depends what comes up on the second hand market.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 12:04   #6
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I would definitely sugest looking at the AMD FM2 Apus, the motherboards and chips themselves are pretty cheap
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 12:19   #7
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Thanks guys. Problem is, I have no idea how a CPU with no GPU performs on it's own. And what would a cheapo GPU add in terms of performance?

Also Parge, I think you're missing a PSU
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 12:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1 View Post
Thanks guys. Problem is, I have no idea how a CPU with no GPU performs on it's own. And what would a cheapo GPU add in terms of performance?

Also Parge, I think you're missing a PSU
Lulz, so I am!

A Bequiet 530W would cover it (or OCZ/Enermax/Corsair etc). You could probably get away with a 400W one as you’re not OCing, but as silence is a priority, you want something with a decent amount of headroom so the fan doesn’t spin up (most PSU fans only spin up at around 30% load). I picked up the exact model above for £30.

Also with regards to the FM2 stuff – the GPU is built into the CPU (the two combined are called an APU by AMD). The 7660 GPU on the die is capable of gaming at 1920x1080 – but I wouldn’t expect it to look great. The only reason I didn’t suggest it, is that by the time you factor it the cost of the APU and motherboard, you’d be spending the same as the second hand solution I’ve suggested above – and it would be a lot less powerful.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 12:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parge View Post
A Bequiet 530W would cover it (or OCZ/Enermax/Corsair etc). You could probably get away with a 400W one as you’re not OCing, but as silence is a priority, you want something with a decent amount of headroom so the fan doesn’t spin up (most PSU fans only spin up at around 30% load). I picked up the exact model above for £30.
Even a 200W unit would likely have more than 100% headroom. I have a Celeron G550 system with an SSD and no graphics card and it pulls 35W from the wall on idle and 55W on full load.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 13:23   #10
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Ive seen some pretty good deals on Sandy bridge pentiums, id prob go for that a cheap matx mobo and then pair it with a half decent 2nd hand card like a 460GTX.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 16:29   #11
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How well does a 460GTX handle? What could I feasibly run on it?
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 16:39   #12
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Quote:
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How well does a 460GTX handle? What could I feasibly run on it?
Everything as long as you dont mind knocking a bit of detail down on latest stuff.

My 2nd rig plays BF3 at medium 1920 x 1080 with fps 50+ for example.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 16:46   #13
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Quote:
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How well does a 460GTX handle? What could I feasibly run on it?
Pretty much everything. BF3 will play at Medium/High (depending if you want +60fps at all times).
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 18:02   #14
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A gtx280 can be had for about 40£.
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Old 26th Nov 2012, 20:49   #15
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Ah cheers. That all sounds lovely. Any suggestions on a case that will look nice under the TV?
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Old 27th Nov 2012, 00:02   #16
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Ah cheers. That all sounds lovely. Any suggestions on a case that will look nice under the TV?
You could go HTPC case. If you get a MATX mobo, Silverstone do a couple that will fit a full size dual slot GPU.

Alternatively, the Fractal Design R3 Mini would be my choice (MATX version of the R3)
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