Help figuring out Steam Box build

staknhalo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 11, 2007
Messages
1,480
Can't decide what to do. Turning to you guys for help in the decision. It's a bit convoluted, so here we go :D

I have my main rig/gaming PC where I play games @ 1680x1050 which contains



Intel Core i5 3570k

16 GB DDR3 (2x 8GB)

Geforce GTX 650Ti BOOST 2GB

Geforce GTX 650Ti 1GB (Dedicated PhysX card)



Now I want to build a Steam Machine for my TV @1080p. I have the following spare parts that could be used:



Intel Core i5 3470

8GB DDR3 (2x 4GB)

Geforce GTX 650 1GB

Intel Celeron 1037u embedded CPU/MoBo



So here's my conundrum, should I just build a receiver machine with the 1037u CPU/MoBo for Steam In-Home Streaming (would be connected via MoCa); or divide up my spare parts and parts in my current gaming rig to make a dedicated/local Steam Box?

I encode Blu-rays on my main rig/gaming rig, so the 3570k is staying in there. So the Steam Box, if dedicated/local play oriented, would get the Intel Core i5 3470. But I game at a lesser resolution on my main rig (1680x1050 at the gaming rig, 1080p at the TV), so do you think I should just use the GTX 650Ti 1GB in there, and stick the GTX 650Ti BOOST into the Steam Box for 1080p (along with just the regular GTX 650 1GB acting as a dedicated PhysX card)?

And then with the RAM, should I just use the 8GB (2x 4GB) in the Steam Box; or divide it up between the main rig and Steam Box, so each would have 12GB (1x 8GB & 1x 4GB)?

Or should I forgo all that and just do the streaming option/1037u? My worry is that streaming, you lose visual fidelity with it having to encode the stream. Plus with streaming as easy as it is, it's much simpler to just turn a dedicated Steam Box on and start playing, versus turning on the main PC, and then going and turning on the receiver machine. Plus I might want to game while the main rig is encoding a Blu-ray.

Any input you guys might have is welcome :)
 
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J3RK

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
9,711
The streaming option is tempting if you have a good local network. Just to give you an idea though, my "HTPC" (I quote that because it's a little beefier than an average HTPC) contains the following:

3 Core AMD CPU (can't remember which)
Some randomish Gigabyte or ASUS AM3+ MB
4GB DDR3 of some speed (probably 1600)
GTX 650Ti

Yes, it's rather aged hardware, but I built it to be cheap and run fairly cool inside a Silverstone HTPC case at the time. (it originally had an AMD 5770 in it)

Anyway, the point is that it plays most of the games I've thrown at it at 1080P (on the living room TV) quite smoothly at high settings more often than not. For example, I've played Skyrim on it with settings pushed fairly aggressively, and it seems to run pretty close to synced (at 60) most of the time. That's without graphic-heavy mods of course that would need a lot more VRAM, but it works well. It plays RAGE with zero pop-in, I've played a number of racing games on it with settings maxed, etc. (when I say settings maxed that means graphical features as I don't use AA or AF settings in the living room setting above around 2x usually) At the viewing distance to the couch it really doesn't matter all that much. Dishonored and BioShock Infinite also ran quite well with high settings. I'm not much of a fan of FPSes played without a KB and Mouse, but they're a good test. I mostly play emulated games, Indie games, racing games, etc. on it.

Steam in Big Picture mode is great with a 360 pad too.

It sounds like with the hardware you have to throw at it, you'll get similar if not better performance than I'm seeing, which has been quite adequate. It's not quite up to my main desktop gaming PC's standard, but it's quite good.
 

qbanb8582

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Messages
2,063
This just from my experience. I have an HTPC I use to play games. I tried the in-home streaming from my main rig and I didn't like it. It did work for the most part but I can't say it was something the best experience. It was noticeable when it came to latency and image quality when it was streamed versus rendered locally on the machine.

What I would do is setup a dedicated steam machine and ignore the streaming option if it were me.

As far as your machine I would leave the ram in your main rig at 16GB. I would leave it configured the way it is except remove the GTX 650 TI 2GB and put the 1GB cards in your main rig. It uses a slightly lower resolution so that would be my rationale for going with the lower ram.

For the steam box I would go with 8GB, i5 3470, and GTX 650 Ti 2GB. That should play a good amount of games at 1080p.

I use a 2500k, 8GB, and GTX 660 2GB in my HTPC. I have some pictures of how its setup here http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1779470
 

hajalie24

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 22, 2010
Messages
1,392
Test out Steam In Home Streaming with a PC if you get the chance. It worked very well for me, even at wireless. I think display latency was 30ms while input latency was 1-2 ms. IIRC that's better than the average TV.
 

J3RK

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 25, 2004
Messages
9,711
As far as your machine I would leave the ram in your main rig at 16GB. I would leave it configured the way it is except remove the GTX 650 TI 2GB and put the 1GB cards in your main rig. It uses a slightly lower resolution so that would be my rationale for going with the lower ram.

For the steam box I would go with 8GB, i5 3470, and GTX 650 Ti 2GB. That should play a good amount of games at 1080p.

I use a 2500k, 8GB, and GTX 660 2GB in my HTPC. I have some pictures of how its setup here http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1779470

I agree with this recommendation (for balancing the two systems.) Use the extra VRAM where it will help (on the higher res TV) and the higher system RAM where you do tasks besides game playing. You really can't go wrong with the parts selection you've got available.
 
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