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Steambox as my "next gen console." Any advice?

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:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard ($105.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($65.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $649.07
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-25 06:52 EST-0500)


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?
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about steambox next console advice
  1. You have an APU but you've also selected a GPU, should be one or the other.

    Ill take a look and post back with what i can make out of the budget.
  2. Just because Sony and MS have gone the way of an APU doesn't mean current retail APUs are anywhere near as good as what the big boys are running.

    They aren't.
  3. Best answer
    Here's what i'd go with for that price.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($118.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: GeIL EVO Veloce Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($107.95 @ Mac Connection)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($159.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $690.86
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-25 07:04 EST-0500)
  4. 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.
  5. Check your IMs ecosvaldo.
  6. COOLER MASTER Elite 120 Advanced Black Appearance: Aluminum & Polymer front, Case body: Steel Alloy Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119261

    CORSAIR CX500M 500W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139050

    Athlon II X4 750K - 3.4 GHz
    http://www.amazon.com/Athlon-II-X4-750K-3-4/dp/B009O412AU/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1361795453&sr=8-5&keywords=amd+750k

    ASRock FM2A85X-ITX FM2 AMD A85X (Hudson D4) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157357

    G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-1866C9D-8GAB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231550

    PowerColor AX7850 1GBD5-DH Radeon HD 7850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131482

    SanDisk Ultra Plus SDSSDHP-128G-G25 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) for Notebook
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171740

    Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840
  7. If I decide to go the Intel route, is there really a big difference, performance wise, between the dual core i3 3220 and the quad core i5 3470?
  8. 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.
  9. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: GeIL EVO Veloce Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.99 @ Compuvest)
    Video Card: Diamond Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($169.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Silverstone PS08B (Black) MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($34.90 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $690.80
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-25 10:31 EST-0500)
  10. After careful consideration, here's a new build based off your suggestions and advice:


    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling ACFZ11-LP Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($98.24 @ Amazon)
    Memory: GeIL EVO Veloce Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($127.97 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($124.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 400W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $686.13
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-25 19:03 EST-0500)


    Will this setup run well with very little to no noise? That's also one of the things I'm aiming for as well in my Steambox build.
  11. Not sure if the case will be particularly quiet, the other components shouldn't be too noisy though. Have a look at the scythe cpu coolers, they have some nice quiet ones.

    Id like to see a better video card in there i think and try change out the ssd for 830 series or 840 pro.
  12. Best answer selected by ecosvaldo.
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