With the recent reveal of the PS4 and the whole focus on social media, along with the rumored always-on connection and no used games for Microsoft's next Xbox, my disappointment in the next gen consoles has led me to the conclusion that the PS3 is my final purchase. I am now leaning towards building a Steambox as my "next gen console".
While my library of PC games is growing, I want to enjoy playing them on my 55" television from the comfort of my couch (the PC I have right now is geared more for digital content creation). For me, the main focus is to play my PC games at the equivalent of console games (720p with no less than 30 fps), but at the same time have the Steambox specs equal to or better than the next gen consoles (in case I want to upgrade down the road). I also want the form factor to be as small as possible (decided to go the Mini ITX route). With that, I set my budget to $600 - $700.
Here is what I came up with after doing some extensive research:
Since Sony and Microsoft are going with AMD and using a custom-built APU, I went this route as well; again, my main focus is to have this "console" to be equivalent with their new consoles. I also decided to go with only a 128GB SSD; this will be strictly a gaming machine, so it will only have Windows 7 and Steam with 1 or 2 games installed at a time. I even added a DVD drive because I have copies of my Steam games backed up onto discs (even own physical copies of recent games I haven't played yet like Max Payne 3 and Dishonored). I already own an Xbox 360 controller so my controlling needs are already taken care of.
So, judging from what I have, what do you think? Any suggestions?
The Hardware in the PS4 and probably the 720 will likely be APU's but its a different chip to what you can buy for a PC system. Very much a custom design suited just for use on the consoles, for instance the PS4 will apparently use an 8-Core APU, nothing of the kind exists in the PC market. But who knows what Kaveri might bring.
As Mike pointed out, the main benefit of the APU series is its strong integrated performance, by putting on a dedicated GPU you lose that, and are left with its not so stellar CPU performance.
Would go with Mikes build, its fairly good for what your after. I think you should throw on a 1TB HDD though, 128GB really wont last long if you have a decent games library. And the added capacity means you have an easy HTPC.
That would be dependant on the game or software you are using. Some will benefit from the i5, some won't. For the most part it would be ideal to get a quad core as more and more games and applications are making use of all cores and this will only get stronger as time goes on.