Building a Steam box - are we there yet?

I have a decent desktop setup but I really prefer to sit on my couch and play games with a controller. I mainly do this with 360 now but I was considering sitting out the next generation of consoles and instead setting up a new machine to serve as a Steam box.

In general I'm wondering if the technology is there yet - Can I effectively build my own console where I can sit down on the coach, hit a button on the controller to wake up the machine, play a game for a while, shutdown the machine and switch over to watching TV?

Or am I going to need to walk over to turn it on, use a keyboard to navigate around, fuss with it cause it won't hibernate properly, etc.? Would I be better off waiting a year to do this?
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  1. Steam is actually building a console, called the Piston. Here is a link to it:

    Might want to wait and see if it is good before you build something.
  2. I'm aware of the Piston. But, it will run Linux and I'd rather use Win7 to maximize game compatibility. At $999 it will cost more than it will for me to build my own (especially since I've got parts I can use already). Lastly, I don't think Valve is building or selling this.. it's just a 3rd party machine that meets Valve's recommended standards.
  3. Fair enough.

    I would follow the guidelines for building a media PC, but instead of a media remote use a wireless controller of some kind. I don't see any reason why you couldn't do what you are describing. I'd think hard about an SSD to hold the OS so you get the snappy response you are after. Are you looking for specific recommendations?
  4. I guess I'm just curious if a lot of people are doing this already or if I'm asking for a world of pain :) I don't want to drop the money on hardware and later find out a big list of gotchas.
  5. you can also use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for standard controls. it has a range of 20-30 feet, so plenty of range to sit on your couch with the mouse and keyboard.

    Here's a build that should match/exceed the next generation of consoles in specs:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock 970DE3/U3S3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($69.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: GeIL EVO Veloce Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.99 @ Compuvest)
    Storage: Plextor M5S Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
    Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($169.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Zalman Z5 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHOS104-06 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Keyboard: Rosewill RKM-1000RF Wireless Slim Keyboard w/Optical Mouse ($14.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $774.89
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-21 15:50 EST-0500)
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