Steambox : Planning Phase

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Valve making their own gaming hardware. From this discussion there has been a number of articles written regarding building low cost gaming devices with the primary goal of playing games from steam on your TV in the living room. Most of these are using decent enough hardware to provide low to medium quality at 1080p resolution on the TV. The results have been very promising with current generation consoles being left behind. That sparked me to get going on my own steambox.

It has been a number of years since my last big desktop build and times have changed. Prices have been coming down and performance has been steadily increasing. No longer do you have to spend thousands. For my build I want something that won’t take up a lot of space in my living room. I took a look at a lot of smaller sized cases and decided to go ahead and pick up the Fractal Design Core 1000 mATX case. This is a little black box that will suit my living room. I don’t need anything fancy such as water cooling so for $34.99 I am set.

Next, knowing I am going with an mATX case I need to ensure I get an mATX motherboard. My requirements are minimal and keeping the costs low are my primary concern. When looking at motherboard there is a wide range of features that while very nice and cool would be overkill in my budget device. My requirements, USB 3 and SATA 3. I ended up getting the MSI B75MA-P45. This meets my needs of low cost, $64.99 and my other requirements. To match up with this I decided to break the trend of other steambox builds and opt for an Intel i3 3220. This dual-core Ivy Bridge processor runs at 3.3ghz be supports hyped-threading. I thought if I am going to spend a little more somewhere it may as well be the processor.

To go further with that line of spending a little more for better performance, I went with a SSD from Samsung.. The Samsung 840 series 120 GB. This is going to be primarily a gaming device so I don’t need a lot of storage. I do have the option to add more hard drives later should the need arise. The SSD is going to give the box another big speed boost.

Last I just picked up 8gb of ram that was on sale. Nothing special, just Corsair Vengeance Blue 2x4gb DDR3-1600. This will give me a good start and with my motherboard leaves two slots open if I ever get the need to double up to 16gb of RAM. The power supply, also from Corsair, corsair enthusiast series TX550M. My main reason for choosing this power supply is the quietness found in the reviews and the fact it’s a modular power supply which should help with cable management in this small case.

I am going to be reusing my graphics card from a different device. It’s an XFX Radeon HD 6670 1gb DDR3. It was a very inexpensive card only costing me $50. This may need upgrading as it looks like the weakest link in my build. I will throw it all together and see what kind of performance I get and make a decision then.

So there you have it, my steambox. Lots of room to upgrade and keeping costs down on my budget gaming computer. I can’t wait to see how it comes together as the parts should be arriving later this week.