Machine reviews

Machine reviews
The Ban Leong DIY Steam Machine.

Vincent Chang asked three computer hardware distributors to assemble their ideal Steam Machines. While these local distributors do not sell such systems, you can use their configurations as a starting point for your own Steam Machine. Note that actual street prices may differ from the recommended retail prices listed here.

Ban Leong DIY Steam Machine

CPU and Motherboard: Intel Core i7-4770K processor and Asus Z87-I Pro ($720)

RAM: G.Skill Value 8GB ($98)

Graphics: ASUS GTX670-DCMOC-2GD5 ($439)

HDD: Samsung 500GB ($65)

Casing: CoolerMaster Elite 120 Advanced ($89)

CPU fan: CoolerMaster Seidon 120XL ($128)

Power supply: CoolerMaster GXII 550W ($99)

Total: $1,638

With its glossy white chassis and an aluminium front panel, Ban Leong's Steam Machine looks like a network-attached storage or NAS.

The CoolerMaster Elite mini-ITX case has the space to support a full-sized power supply and a high-end graphics card.

Ban Leong opted for a small form factor graphics card that could fit in a chassis half the size of this CoolerMaster case. Based on Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670 chipset, this graphics card is touted to run at lower temperatures than the reference design.

The mini-ITX Asus motherboard used here supports the latest Intel Core processors. Its best feature is an integrated Wi-Fi module that works out of the box and was automatically detected by SteamOS.

The board supports six Sata ports for storage and optical drives, though you cannot fit that many into this case.

An interesting choice is the CoolerMaster Seidon watercooling kit that keeps the powerful Core i7 processor from overheating. This kit is compact and short, so it can fit easily into smaller cases.

A 120mm fan dissipates the heat from the CPU - you can adjust the fan speed for quiet operation. The downside is that the fan and its radiator take up a huge chunk of valuable space in the case.

If you are on a budget, I recommend downgrading to an Intel Core i5 processor and using the bundled Intel CPU fan over the watercooling kit.

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