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Steam Machine/ HTPC/ Gaming rig around $500

I am looking to build a machine for my son that would be better than a ps4 or xbox one. He has a 32" 1080 LED television we would use as the monitor. I want to build a smaller machine with a front optical drive, a 1-3 TB hard drive, and possibly a SSD. He will be watching a lot of movies and that sort of thing, playing Steam, and doing some games like Elder Scrolls. I mostly just need advice on a cool case, motherboard, processor, etc. We are planning on building a higher end system when I get my tax return, but would like to put something together that would allow him to do a good amount of stuff. (He said he'd rather have this than a ps4). Is it possible to build a machine like this for about $500?
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  1. For 500 I don't think you can get a "good" build that can rival a PS4, at least not with SSD and high capacity HDD.
  2. Best answer
    i would say go for an amd athlon of some sort, and r7 250, 4-8 gbs memory, very simple case but great space for cable management , and a western digital blue 1tb hard drive and sadly no ssd. cost well over half of you build to get a good ssd most of the time. do not use the stock cpu cooler, use a 30-60 dollar cpu cooler (i suggest from cooler master) and if you dont want the amd r7 250, then get a evga geforce, gtx 750 ti 2gb superclocked or not. maby even a gtx 750 ti ftw. such as the card in this build which is a build from a while ago. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/YFMJgs
  3. All day everyday amd!!!
  4. $500 is a very strict budget, considering your requests. To answer your question, no, you probably cannot build a nice HTPC that will be better than a PS4, has an SSD and a front optical drive all for $500. Here is something I came up with that meets most of your requirements for $600.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4150 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock H81M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($64.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($138.01 @ Amazon)
    Case: Silverstone ML07B HTPC Case ($64.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Silverstone 300W 80+ Bronze Certified SFX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: EVGA 100-OD-S101-BR DVD/CD Writer ($54.29 @ Amazon)
    Total: $604.22
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-08 13:22 EDT-0400

    I left out the SSD as, though it sure is helpful for the Elder Scrolls games, as close as possible to your price range while keeping the performance on par with a PS4. Also, with this case you will probably need to purchase a fan or two, not to mention a Wifi reciever, which will probably add up to a total of $650.

    Here's my advice. I don't know if its a space issue, or if you guys just want it to look like a console, but the problem with HTPCs is that when things get smaller, they get pricier. I know I could lower the price of the above build by $70 just buy using a Micro ATX or Mid ATX case, and increase the overall performance. If this is an option, than I would highly recommend it as it is much more practical. I'd be willing to help you explore this alternate solution.
  5. IndyAJD said:
    $500 is a very strict budget, considering your requests. To answer your question, no, you probably cannot build a nice HTPC that will be better than a PS4, has an SSD and a front optical drive all for $500. Here is something I came up with that meets most of your requirements for $600.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4150 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock H81M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($64.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($138.01 @ Amazon)
    Case: Silverstone ML07B HTPC Case ($64.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Silverstone 300W 80+ Bronze Certified SFX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: EVGA 100-OD-S101-BR DVD/CD Writer ($54.29 @ Amazon)
    Total: $604.22
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-08 13:22 EDT-0400

    I left out the SSD as, though it sure is helpful for the Elder Scrolls games, as close as possible to your price range while keeping the performance on par with a PS4. Also, with this case you will probably need to purchase a fan or two, not to mention a Wifi reciever, which will probably add up to a total of $650.

    Here's my advice. I don't know if its a space issue, or if you guys just want it to look like a console, but the problem with HTPCs is that when things get smaller, they get pricier. I know I could lower the price of the above build by $70 just buy using a Micro ATX or Mid ATX case, and increase the overall performance. If this is an option, than I would highly recommend it as it is much more practical. I'd be willing to help you explore this alternate solution.



    Let me just start by I couldn't disagree more.... Budget = amd why on earth would you spend a 100 $ on an i3 paper weight that is absolutely crap compared to the amd 6100 which is about the same price.

    Again I say that Intel will always be better than amd if you have a HUGE budget but intel will never ever touch amds value for money you cannot argue with than.
  6. IndyAJD said:

    Here's my advice. I don't know if its a space issue, or if you guys just want it to look like a console, but the problem with HTPCs is that when things get smaller, they get pricier. I know I could lower the price of the above build by $70 just buy using a Micro ATX or Mid ATX case, and increase the overall performance. If this is an option, than I would highly recommend it as it is much more practical. I'd be willing to help you explore this alternate solution.

    Pretty much what he said, though you can do an ITX machine for under $500, you might be better off with a mATX case at your budget level.

    Here's my take on the $500 budget with Intel. For the money it's pretty decent and it sneaks in under $500. If you want Wifi it'll go up significantly though.

    There's also builds which could feature the Pentium G3258 in an overclocking setup, but it's tricky to find the right motherboard which will support it. It's also hard to get a quality case+cooler in the budget, so I skipped over this option.

    And here's my take on $500 budget with AMD. I've gone slightly over budget here but I feel like the extra cost is justified. Firstly you get Wifi due to the more expensive motherboard (there aren't really budget FM2+ boards) and the cheaper processor means you can spend more on graphics. Additionally you get an overclockable processor and motherboard - though how useful they will be in this case (and without extra funds for a suitable cooler) is debatable.

    As for which is the better option, there's not a huge amount in it. The stronger graphics card in the AMD build is going to give it the legs in most games, but the Intel build isn't far behind and in general has a stronger CPU (despite only being a glorified dual core) and dramatically better power consumption due to coincidently using much more efficient components (that's just how the pricing fell).

    Personally, I'd be inclined to spend slightly more and go with Intel. The upgrade path is much better, and you could feasibly build a high end system from the same parts if you chose wisely simply by upgrading the CPU/graphics.
    Here's my suggestion for this. I went with the Pentium to keep the costs down but you could put anything in here as a short term solution. It has a PSU which covers you to add any graphics card you like (more or less), a motherboard which will let you add any K-series i5/i7 (as well as a load of other features), and a case which supports basically any cooler you fancy. Granted - it's a lot bigger than a console at this point but it is very flexible and could save you a lot of money in the long run.

    Tyler_maguire said:

    Let me just start by I couldn't disagree more.... Budget = amd why on earth would you spend a 100 $ on an i3 paper weight that is absolutely crap compared to the amd 6100 which is about the same price.

    Again I say that Intel will always be better than amd if you have a HUGE budget but intel will never ever touch amds value for money you cannot argue with than.


    This is nonsense really, both sides have perfectly viable options at this budget level, if anything AMD have the weaker selection due to lack of FX CPU support at sub ATX levels (other than some crappy 760G boards).
  7. Tyler_maguire said:
    IndyAJD said:
    $500 is a very strict budget, considering your requests. To answer your question, no, you probably cannot build a nice HTPC that will be better than a PS4, has an SSD and a front optical drive all for $500. Here is something I came up with that meets most of your requirements for $600.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4150 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock H81M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($64.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($51.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($138.01 @ Amazon)
    Case: Silverstone ML07B HTPC Case ($64.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Silverstone 300W 80+ Bronze Certified SFX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: EVGA 100-OD-S101-BR DVD/CD Writer ($54.29 @ Amazon)
    Total: $604.22
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-08 13:22 EDT-0400

    I left out the SSD as, though it sure is helpful for the Elder Scrolls games, as close as possible to your price range while keeping the performance on par with a PS4. Also, with this case you will probably need to purchase a fan or two, not to mention a Wifi reciever, which will probably add up to a total of $650.

    Here's my advice. I don't know if its a space issue, or if you guys just want it to look like a console, but the problem with HTPCs is that when things get smaller, they get pricier. I know I could lower the price of the above build by $70 just buy using a Micro ATX or Mid ATX case, and increase the overall performance. If this is an option, than I would highly recommend it as it is much more practical. I'd be willing to help you explore this alternate solution.



    Let me just start by I couldn't disagree more.... Budget = amd why on earth would you spend a 100 $ on an i3 paper weight that is absolutely crap compared to the amd 6100 which is about the same price.

    Again I say that Intel will always be better than amd if you have a HUGE budget but intel will never ever touch amds value for money you cannot argue with than.



    I agree. AMD is far superior when it comes to budget processors, however I couldn't find a Micro ITX motherboard that supports an FX 6300, which is what I would've chosen. This is another reason why I think he should go with a Micro or Mid ATX Case and Mobo. If you find a Micro ITX Mobo that does, please let me know.
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