Building a DIY Steam Machine Which case is right for you

first_imgIf you’re not interested in waiting to see what Valve’s hardware partners come up with for their Steam Machines, you will have the ability to build your own. Of course, building your own computer means picking the parts, an enjoyable process for sure, but one that presents you with a myriad of options. So if you have decided to build your own Steam Machine, what kind of case should you use?Valve has made it clear that they plan to give anyone the ability to make their own Steam Machine. You could install SteamOS on your existing PC, or you could build a new, console-replacing gaming machine for your living room that using whatever hardware you want.Before you go picking out processors and graphics cards, you should probably think about what you want your Steam Machine to look like. This is a device that will live on or beside your entertainment center, most likely right next to a DVR and/or another game console. This means you have the opportunity to make your Steam Machine functional, easy to upgrade, and maybe just really, really tiny.We took a look at all of the different kinds of PC cases out there and picked out a few that look like they’d be a great start for your Steam Machine. Click the gallery above for look at each. The standard tower“The Standard Tower”You don’t need to get creative with your case but most people will want to put their Steam Machine in the entertainment cabinet. If you’re the sort person that feels no call to do so, then you can simply stick with the classic tower. One thing to keep in mind about desktop cases is that their front is often rather busy. Of course, it’s important to have the ability to access front ports if you want them, but for the most part things will look nicer if the front of the machine is uniform and flat.Lian Li is a top manufacturer for this kind of design, and their A05FNB is about as plain as it gets. The matte black front to this ATX mid-tower case will sit on the side of your entertainment center and be the quiet powerhouse that drives your new living room gaming experience.The VCRHey it works for Microsoft, right? The flat black rectangle look will blend in nicely on most entertainment centers, and most people won’t know that is isn’t a DVR until you decide to use one of the USB ports on the front of the console to charge your Steam Controller. The model we found that serves as the best example of this is the SilverStone ML03B. This design is plain enough to blend in, but flexible enough to allow for some additional ports in the front if you end up needing them. The case layout is Micro ATX with plenty of ventilation across the sides and even a small vent area on top. Whether you decide on a entry level Steam Machine or you go all out with your hardware, this case is likely to be able to keep up.The tiny titan“The Tiny Titan”Steam Machines may be a relatively new concept for many, but HTPC’s have been around for a long time. A lot of these case manufacturers have gotten very good at making minuscule cases feel bigger on the inside. These smaller cases probably won’t be the best idea for the top of the line Steam Machine builds, but everything should play just fine.The Lian Li Mini-Q is a tiny block of power that is designed to sit and look nice on an entertainment center and still offer ports and vents in all the right places. This design will go nicely next to your TiVo on on the floor next to that huge Xbox power brick and is easy to open in case you all of a sudden need to drop in new hardware.The classy (kinda) cubeWhat if you don’t want it to look like all you do is sit on your couch and play video games now that the Steam Machines are here? You could hide your powerful console inside of an ultra-classy stereo case and hope no one notices the controller sitting next to it. The HTPC 8000 by nMediaPC is one of the more clever designs you’ll find, with wooden panels and a brass front panel that clearly doesn’t look like a PC. The case supports full ATX motherboards and full-length video cards, so you can go nuts on the hardware if you choose. The display on the front can be programmed to deliver anything from internal temperature to the game you are currently playing, and there’s every port imaginable on the front of this machine for whatever you would do when you aren’t playing Half-Life 3.The show off“The Show Off”So maybe subtlety isn’t your thing. You’ve got an amazing PC in your living room, and you want everyone to know it. No problem, especially if you’re a fan of Lian Li cases. The Q30X is a unique leaning tower with a transparent front face, allowing anyone to peer in and see what you’ve got going on in this living room computer of yours. The open design to the Mini ITX case looks great, and allows you to show off lighting and cable management skills to anyone who passes by. The case is compact, handsome, and aluminum, but keep in mind that it’s not stackable and it is on the tall side so it won’t be the best fit for standard entertainment cabinets.Like any other Mini ITX case you have to be a little more picky about what hardware goes inside, but the massive fan on the back should to a good job keeping everything cool while you enjoy SteamOS on the biggest screen in your house.DIY Steam MachineThese are just a couple of the options available to you if you decide to build your own Steam Machine. Valve will announce hardware partners soon, and it will become more clear what the pricing and support will be like for those devices. There’s so much flexibility here, with SteamOS being available to the public and installable on just about anything, there’s no telling what will come in the next year or two to make this experience better in both hardware and software. Steam Machines will either be the start of something new and exciting for gaming, or it will be a niche that is still not as good as using the mouse and keyboard in your office. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY LIAN LI Standard CaseLIAN LI Standard Case“The Standard Tower”SilverStone MicroATXSilverStone MicroATXLian Li HTPC“The Tiny Titan”NMedia HTPC 8000“The Classy Box”Lian Li Mini-ITX Tower“The Show Off”“The Standard Tower”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *