#1 Posted by kingclip (10 posts) -

Hi everyone:

I’m looking to get a gaming PC after years as a console gamer, and a Giant Bomb thread said you folks are basically the way to go. Basically, I want my own Steam Box if you will, but I’d like it to do a bit more (will occasionally be used as a legit PC, thus Windows). I’m not going to build my own (no time, don’t trust myself), and while I used to be tech savvy, I’m now only kind of tech savvy, so I’m looking for some help/advice. Some quick points (and let me know if I’m missing anything).

· I will be putting this in my living room and hooking up to a TV (1080p) via HDMI through an Onkyo receiver.

  • · I understand a keyboard/mouse combo is often necessary, but I prefer to use a controller when I can (I believe this is easy/relatively easy with an XBOX controller).
  • · I’m not a hardcore action FPS guy. I’m more likely to play Gone Home or The Stanley Parable or Amnesia or Shadowrun than the new Crysis. That said, playing Skyrim on some high setting certainly appeals to me and I’m sure there will be new, very big games that I will want to play at high graphic settings (a new Fallout for example).
  • · I would like to use this for Netflix and other streaming. I’d love to do it at 1080p with 5.1 sound. Movies are as important as games, so I’d like the machine to be as quiet as possible.
  • · I’m sure we will occasionally use it to surf the web or look at facebook or youtube or something, not that it matters since we are going to game on the thing.
  • · Form factor is not a huge deal. I can put it next to the TV stand if necessary. I’d like it to be as unnoticeable as possible. No neon or flames are necessary.
  • · I’d like to keep it around $1K , but can spend up to $1,500 for future proofing/if it’s worth it.

Any thoughts/recommendations?

#2 Posted by bellmont42 (306 posts) -

Well since you're not looking to build your own and you have a lot of money to spend for a pre-built... something like this seems a fair price for what you want and it will handle anything you throw at it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883258065

#3 Posted by bellmont42 (306 posts) -

I missed your 5.1 sound ... I'm not really knowledgeable on good sound cards so I'll let someone else touch on that.

#4 Posted by darkmoney52 (42 posts) -

A few thoughts on having a living room Pc as I recently did the same.

- Playing most games with a controller is certainly doable, pretty much anything that also comes out on console will have proper controller support. You still will need a wireless mouse/keyboard combo though. If you're spending a lot of time on steam (And you will) you will eventually find yourself doing more PC-centric games and that often means either no gamepad support/ or partial controller support. There's software for getting around this but you'll still want to be prepared.

- Seeing your screen for other things (Such as streaming Netflix, hulu) can be a pain. The font on those sites, when not using an xbox app or something) is very difficult to see at a distance. You can adjust your tv resolution to help with this, but that can sometimes cause your games to not work correctly.

- I didn't build my own for the same reason and went with Digital Storm for a prebuilt. I can't speak to the price compared to other places, but I had a good experience with em, I'd recommend it unless other posters can find you a good deal elsewhere.

#5 Posted by Korwin (2721 posts) -

I missed your 5.1 sound ... I'm not really knowledgeable on good sound cards so I'll let someone else touch on that.

You don't need a sound card for that... every machine in the universe with HDMI 1.3 or greater carries full 192/24 7.1 audio out, it's part of the specification.

#6 Posted by bellmont42 (306 posts) -
@korwin said:

@bellmont42 said:

I missed your 5.1 sound ... I'm not really knowledgeable on good sound cards so I'll let someone else touch on that.

You don't need a sound card for that... every machine in the universe with HDMI 1.3 or greater carries full 192/24 7.1 audio out, it's part of the specification.

Ahh right I always forget hdmi does sound too... either way a dedicated card will sound much better if they care about that.

#7 Posted by michael_katarn (62 posts) -

The most common port for video cards these days seems to be display port but HDMI is still very common so just make sure you have at least one HDMI port on the video card. It will handle surround sound for you like @korwin said. You may want to consider some kind of desk option with a monitor nearby that will allow more comfortably playing keyboard and mouse games. If you don't have the space its not the end of the world but fonts will render very small and using a keyboard and mouse on a couch is not ideal.

#8 Posted by kcin (53 posts) -

One of the most important things you'll want to keep in mind is noise. Powerful PCs that don't make much, or any, sound are very uncommon. A case that specifies its noise reduction capabilities, a PSU that only uses its fan when it needs to, and a quiet heatsink are all things to look for.

If you want to use your machine primarily for Steam, Big Picture mode is fantastic and you can set Steam to boot on startup by popping a shortcut to it in the Startup folder in your Start menu, and for Steam to boot into Big Picture mode. Just get a dongle for your 360 controller and turn it on when you turn your machine on and you'll have no fiddling with a mouse and keyboard unless you explicitly want to use them. It's really nice, actually.

#9 Posted by Korwin (2721 posts) -

@korwin said:

@bellmont42 said:

I missed your 5.1 sound ... I'm not really knowledgeable on good sound cards so I'll let someone else touch on that.

You don't need a sound card for that... every machine in the universe with HDMI 1.3 or greater carries full 192/24 7.1 audio out, it's part of the specification.

Ahh right I always forget hdmi does sound too... either way a dedicated card will sound much better if they care about that.

A dedicated sound card wont help in the slightest. As HDMI is simply feeding a digital signal to the receiver which is doing all the DAC work it would sound the same regardless. Stand alone sound cards (or external USB DAC's) are only useful in instances where you are doing the analog conversion at the source in order to drive headphones or a set of desktop monitors (monitors in the speaker sense).

As far as what to buy, I would suggest looking into retailers which provide an assembly option as part of the purchasing process. That way you can get all of the benefits of a proper hand built machine without the hassle of assembly, it really isn't that complicated but if your not comfortable or just don't want to bother it's the best option for you. I believe NCIX US offers this service (I'm just assuming that's where you are).

I would suggest looking at something in the m-ITX form factor in order to keep things small as possible (there are some really great options out there these days).

#10 Posted by bellmont42 (306 posts) -

@korwin: Thanks for the description as I have never been big on audio quality and setups because "not sounding fuzzy" is good enough for me.

#11 Posted by kingclip (10 posts) -

Thanks for all the advice folks. I've been looking at some of the CyberPower stuff as that seemed to be a big recommend in the main thread. Sound proofing is something I've definitely been looking into. As far as hooking up a 360 controller (I've always been a PSx guy, so excuse the ignorance), do I need some sort of bluetooth interface somewhere?

#12 Posted by Korwin (2721 posts) -

@kingclip said:

Thanks for all the advice folks. I've been looking at some of the CyberPower stuff as that seemed to be a big recommend in the main thread. Sound proofing is something I've definitely been looking into. As far as hooking up a 360 controller (I've always been a PSx guy, so excuse the ignorance), do I need some sort of bluetooth interface somewhere?

The wired version doesn't require anything special. Using a wireless 360 pad will require the Xbox 360 Wireless adapter, you can hunt around for the official one however there are also plenty of off brand ones out there on amazon/ebay as well.

#13 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4281 posts) -

@korwin said:

@bellmont42 said:
@korwin said:

@bellmont42 said:

I missed your 5.1 sound ... I'm not really knowledgeable on good sound cards so I'll let someone else touch on that.

You don't need a sound card for that... every machine in the universe with HDMI 1.3 or greater carries full 192/24 7.1 audio out, it's part of the specification.

Ahh right I always forget hdmi does sound too... either way a dedicated card will sound much better if they care about that.

A dedicated sound card wont help in the slightest. As HDMI is simply feeding a digital signal to the receiver which is doing all the DAC work it would sound the same regardless. Stand alone sound cards (or external USB DAC's) are only useful in instances where you are doing the analog conversion at the source in order to drive headphones or a set of desktop monitors (monitors in the speaker sense).

What if you output sound with optical? I guess it probably wouldn't matter much if the processing is still done in the receiver

#14 Posted by crithon (2575 posts) -

I say get a laptop with an HDMI cord. Especially a simple little laptop with an intel i5 or an i7 processor doing most of the raw power. Because Steam streaming is coming soon, so you may not want to worry too much about heavy tech. PC gaming on a HDTV is going to need at least a USB keyboard, mouse and a controller, that's been my own personal issue with that, there's always going to be a pop up window saying something happened. And even Steam Big Picture mode is glitchy, buggy and crashing a lot, so that's not even perfect. But I mean depends on the game, even on consosles I've found myself typing in too many passwords and emails that I wish I had a USB keyboard to plug in

#15 Posted by Korwin (2721 posts) -

@korwin said:

@bellmont42 said:
@korwin said:

@bellmont42 said:

I missed your 5.1 sound ... I'm not really knowledgeable on good sound cards so I'll let someone else touch on that.

You don't need a sound card for that... every machine in the universe with HDMI 1.3 or greater carries full 192/24 7.1 audio out, it's part of the specification.

Ahh right I always forget hdmi does sound too... either way a dedicated card will sound much better if they care about that.

A dedicated sound card wont help in the slightest. As HDMI is simply feeding a digital signal to the receiver which is doing all the DAC work it would sound the same regardless. Stand alone sound cards (or external USB DAC's) are only useful in instances where you are doing the analog conversion at the source in order to drive headphones or a set of desktop monitors (monitors in the speaker sense).

What if you output sound with optical? I guess it probably wouldn't matter much if the processing is still done in the receiver

Same thing applies here, as the signal over optical is still a digital source the receiver is still doing all the decode and conversion work.

#16 Posted by bybeach (4602 posts) -

I built a pc that is for the living room primarily. It is a little loud but that simply does not bother me. My Samsung tv has PC mode, maybe most brands do these days. sizing resolution for regular use(Internet) can be a real pain. Also I accept cables across the floor for K+M...just how it is.

All I can say is I do like it for my use (gaming), but I am thinking of a new widescreen monitor someday(I have a quality monitor but it is 4:3) I am thinking of something like the dell 27" ultra sharp or one of the newer improved monitors coming out. I am however thinking of building then a media pC machine with blue-ray and storage. Surfing the net capacity-plus rocks in the living room, no matter how you approach it.

#17 Edited by billymagnum (561 posts) -

i just built my living room pc. if you want something that simple sleek and doesnt look like a damn transformer, this case is a must:

#18 Posted by achoyq (113 posts) -

For your mouse and keyboard (for internet and text chat) I suggest you get something like this: