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Steam/Media Center PC

numbr1westsida 144 58 September 8, 2015 at 06:20 AM in Question
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Looking for a PC to use as a steam machine and play videos (mkv/avi/etc). My current dell isnt cutting it, but may be just be a video card....

Ive got a dell optiplex 740, AMD Athlon 64 3800+, 5 gb ram pc2700 ddr2, 1tb 7200rpm HDD, and an ASUS GeForce 210 1GB pci-e video card. Works for all the high def movies, but it is a little laggy on steam games (dungeon defenders and meltdown) that dont require heavy graphics. No, not laggy because of internet. Lags even in offline mode.

Im open to buying a whole new system, budget of 5-700, but also willing (and ABLE) to upgrade my current media pc. I do have a MBP so Im also open to mac mini server(2012 model i7), but unsure how much better the graphics card (hd 4000) is than my early 2011 mbp 13" (hd 3000 512mb) with 8gb ram. Just need HDMI out which every video card these days seems to have.

I dont need crazy graphics, the games i play are fairly low in requirements.

Mac Requirements
OS: OS X version Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
Processor: 1.3 GHz Intel CPU
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB
Video Card: Open GL 2.1 / Shader Model 3 capable graphics card with 256 MB video RAM


PC requirements:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: 2Ghz Dual-Core CPU
Memory: 2GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 2GB
Video Card: Graphics Card with Shader Model 3 support, 512 MB video memory
DirectX®: 9.0c
Sound: DirectSound-compatible sound device


I seem to have these recommendations but on "ultra high" or "high" video quality it lags hard and I need to drop "post processing" and picture quality - both of which diminish an already low quality game.

Ive seen the alienware "steam machines" they have out, and also scoped out the branded Steam Alienware machines launching in november, but dont know how well they would work for downloaded videos.

Help appreciated. Sarcasm/asinine comments expected.

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#2
Quote from numbr1westsida View Post :
Help appreciated. Sarcasm/asinine comments expected.
Thumbsup I'm glad you have realistic expectations for us.

I'd say you are a perfect candidate for an Alienware Alpha PC. Usually under $400. Add another 4GB of RAM and maybe an SSD and you should be good. Or upgrade to the i5 model.
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#3
I second the recommendation. I think it would be hard to custom build something cheaper
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#4
well if alpha is the route i go, should i wait for the actual "steam machine [steampowered.com]" from steam that launches in november? I guess i thought the alpha were only for playing games, can I install VLC and remotely manage files on it? Plus, the new steam controller has great reviews. And will they be able to use xbox 1 controllers (my future system) since they already accept 360 controllers? Ive browsed around but nothing conclusive.

I remember the days of going to frys (circa 2000) on sale days and being able to build a pc for a fraction of a boxed machine....times have changed

Ive been on slick deals long enough to know what im getting into...aim low, you`ll never miss. lol.

Appreciate it.
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#5
Quote from numbr1westsida View Post :
well if alpha is the route i go, should i wait for the actual "steam machine [steampowered.com]" from steam that launches in november? I guess i thought the alpha were only for playing games, can I install VLC and remotely manage files on it? Plus, the new steam controller has great reviews. And will they be able to use xbox 1 controllers (my future system) since they already accept 360 controllers? Ive browsed around but nothing conclusive.

I remember the days of going to frys (circa 2000) on sale days and being able to build a pc for a fraction of a boxed machine....times have changed

Ive been on slick deals long enough to know what im getting into...aim low, you`ll never miss. lol.

Appreciate it.
No idea on the "upcoming" Steam machines, but the Alpha is just Windows with some extra UI stuff to help out with running steam. I think the Steam machines will be running a Linux based OS if that matters to you.

The Alpha should be useful as a normal Windows box. Xbox One controllers currently work with Windows, but there is no wireless receiver available until November. Stuck with USB cable until then.
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#6
appreciate all the help, ordered my Alienware Alpha ASM100-4980 Console (3.0 GHz Intel Core i5-4590T Processor, 8GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, Windows 8 today. only 670$. Should solve all my game problems.

Thanks again.
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#7
Quote from numbr1westsida View Post :
appreciate all the help, ordered my Alienware Alpha ASM100-4980 Console (3.0 GHz Intel Core i5-4590T Processor, 8GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, Windows 8 today. only 670$. Should solve all my game problems.

Thanks again.
Damn I'm a day late, and it seems you already made your purchase.

WeIl if there's still some time to cancel your order here's an alternative. It's roughly the same specs, but with an i5 4690k, a 240gb ssd, 8gb more of ram, and room to make upgrades down the line if you find yourself wanting more gpu power. An extra $100 will make it into an i7 4790k (board overclocks according to some forums, but if you don't want to oc you could save a few more dollars to put it elsewhere in the build). A few part are from newegg, so if you have any points, or went in on the $25 gift cards this could be a decent way to cash them in. A few tweaks could make it cheaper, but it's pretty much down to your personal preferences.



PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JFc3pg
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JFc3pg/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($225.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.89 @ OutletPC)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver Ceramique 2 Tri-Linear 25g Thermal Paste ($6.88 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($66.98 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Team Vulcan 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Team DARK L3 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($67.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($42.95 @ Amazon)
Case: Azza Cosmas ATX Mid Tower Case ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 650W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM (64-bit) ($86.89 @ OutletPC)
Total: $652.54
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-09-12 01:17 EDT-0400
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#8
I jumped the gun. The alienware console is about a $100 less than anything comparable that I can put together brand new on partpicker. I left out a gpu, and alienware is bundling 6 games with a controller.
The only real reason I can come up with for building is upgradeability. Prices that I can find through web searching just can't justify building yourself anymore.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JFc3pg
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JFc3pg/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($225.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.89 @ OutletPC)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver Ceramique 2 Tri-Linear 25g Thermal Paste ($6.88 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($66.98 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Team Vulcan 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Team DARK L3 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($67.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($42.95 @ Amazon)
Case: Azza Cosmas ATX Mid Tower Case ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake SMART 650W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM (64-bit) ($86.89 @ OutletPC)
Total: $652.54
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-09-12 01:17 EDT-0400
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#9
it really is crazy that building your own pc is no longer the cheaper option. appreciate the looks though!
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#10
I am just going to throw this out there... I recently became a PC only gamer and I bought all the parts and had it built. For what I have in it, it would have cost me around $400 more than it did and I didn't have any useless crap in it. It runs great and cools good but I plan on adding 2 more fans in. I also like being able to customize the guts of it. Doing red/black combo. I have the open window on the side.
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