Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    15

    Steam in-home streaming & HTPC build

    Hey kids, looking for some advice about this little project from those in the know.

    We've been using an old laptop as a kind of HTPC (with XMBC) for a while now to stream content from our main desktop PC, except the laptop is on its last legs and causes a bit of a mess of wires etc in our living room.
    I've also started using Steam's new in-home streaming feature to play games across our local network.

    So I'm looking to put together a small form factor PC to sit under our telly and next to our router (so no wifi). As all content is on our desktop this build does not need much storage. I was thinking an AMD APU might be the best solution here? I've been playing with the following build but would really like some tips on keeping cost and power consumption down. Another consideration is the need for this thing to be quiet, so could explore fan-less PSUs and after-market CPU coolers. I won't be doing any over-clocking.

    Budget is flexible but I think I should really be able to keep below 350 if not less.

    Thanks!

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant


    CPU: AMD A8-6600K 3.9GHz Quad-Core Processor (67.19 @ Aria PC)
    Motherboard: Asus A88XM-A Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard (46.98 @ Ebuyer)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (58.99 @ Amazon UK)
    Storage: Crucial M550 128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (64.90 @ CCL Computers)
    Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 MicroATX Mid Tower Case (34.98 @ Novatech)
    Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply (35.74 @ Amazon UK)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer (11.51 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Total: 320.29
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-15 16:39 BST+0100

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    9,870
    Avoid modular power supplies, they are consistently less energy efficient. If all you need is 'mandatory' you are probably fine but I'd rely on something like bittech or its sister magazine 'custom pc' to get a high energy efficiency (and thus cool(as in temp), cheap to run and quiet) power supply.

    Solid state drives don't have the same stamina as the old hard drives, seems an odd pick for a streaming rig.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,490
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Avoid modular power supplies, they are consistently less energy efficient.
    What? Because the cables detach it's less efficient? I'm gonna need some sources on this, because this sounds like bullshit.

    Aaaanyway, build seems nice. You could consider going with the Intel offering, their dual core G3420 uses marginally less power than that AMD chip you selected (it's cheaper as well), but you lose two cores. Which, to be fair, you weren't going to use anyway. On the other hand, the extra cores might increase its usable lifespan.

    SSD is fine as well, it's probably pulling everything from the network anyway.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    The modular PSU is marginally less efficient because there's extra resistance at the point of connection between the PSU and the cables. In real terms it won't be noticeable.

    Also, while I would dispute that SSDs (may degrade over time, can certainly fail but no moving parts) are generally less robust than HDDs (tend to fail spectacularly with no chance of recovery), caching might be an issue.

    Are you putting the case under your TV on its side? I like the Cooler Master Elite 130, but it's a mini-ITV case - but I've no idea about support for those AMD APUs in mini-ITX. I assume that the Intel G3420 doesn't have a built-in GPU so you'd need something on the motherboard or a separate component, right?

    And what OS are you going to use? Steam OS?
    Last edited by frightlever; 16-06-2014 at 12:34 PM.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    9,870
    Source? Umm.. Physics any socketed connection will offer more resistance than solid wire. SSD's are getting better, my bias there may well be out of date.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Avoid modular power supplies, they are consistently less energy efficient...I'd rely on something like bittech or its sister magazine 'custom pc' to get a high energy efficiency (and thus cool(as in temp), cheap to run and quiet) power supply.
    Yeah I think you're right, I may have gone a bit too cheap on the PSU. However I will still be looking at modular because the case is tiny and I don't want all the space filled up with redundant wires.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Solid state drives don't have the same stamina as the old hard drives, seems an odd pick for a streaming rig.
    Gonna disagree with you on the SSD! Don't think it will be getting hammered much if nothing is stored on there except Windows, Chrome, XBMC and Steam - all the content will be elsewhere remember.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris View Post
    You could consider going with the Intel offering, their dual core G3420 uses marginally less power than that AMD chip you selected (it's cheaper as well), but you lose two cores. Which, to be fair, you weren't going to use anyway. On the other hand, the extra cores might increase its usable lifespan.
    Potentially worse h.264 decoding for in-home streaming?

    Quote Originally Posted by frightlever View Post
    Are you putting the case under your TV on its side? I like the Cooler Master Elite 130, but it's a mini-ITV case - but I've no idea about support for those AMD APUs in mini-ITX.
    Think it will end up going to the side of the TV cabinet thing as there's already a tonne of stuff crammed under there

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris View Post
    I assume that the Intel G3420 doesn't have a built-in GPU so you'd need something on the motherboard or a separate component, right?
    It does have a built in GPU but not as good as the AMD chip. This is why I was leaning towards an AMD APU sulution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris View Post
    And what OS are you going to use? Steam OS?
    I'll be using Windows 7 64bit
    Last edited by pulseezar; 16-06-2014 at 05:15 PM.

  7. #7
    consider any of the Intel NUC line:

    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/.../overview.html

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...d_i=B00C9KMNUO

    there are lots of models to choose from, or you can build your own.

    Streaming tests:

    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/hom...2889208926174/

  8. #8
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by NarrowTom View Post
    consider any of the Intel NUC line:

    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/.../overview.html

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...d_i=B00C9KMNUO

    there are lots of models to choose from, or you can build your own.

    Streaming tests:

    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/hom...2889208926174/
    I thought you'd cracked it then until I realised this will probably be more expensive...those boxes don't even come with RAM!

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    Stop calling me Boris! :P

    If you can run Steam OS (well, Linux + Steam streaming, not necessarily Steam OS) + XBMC on one of those Intel NUCs, I'd be real interested. I've had a HP Pavilion under my TV for years now doing HTPC duties, but it sucks at streaming Steam - well, I only tried it with GTA IV but the input lag was woeful and I'm hoping it was because of the client PC because my network is wired Gigabit.
    Last edited by frightlever; 17-06-2014 at 09:34 AM.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,490
    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    Source? Umm.. Physics any socketed connection will offer more resistance than solid wire. SSD's are getting better, my bias there may well be out of date.
    Please. The resistance on that kind of connector is on the order of 1 milliOhm. That means you'll lose 0.08%, given you're drawing 10 amperes. That PC will probably not even draw that much power, by the way. It's basically nothing. If you use that PC at maximum load for 6 hours every day of the year, you will have spent 2 pence more on electricity after a year.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    9,870
    From further inspection I see that modular power supplies are significantly better than they were 5 years ago (the last time I really investigated them) do go ahead I guess.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    So cheers, now I've gone and ordered up the parts to build a replacement for my HP HTPC. Just a little over 400 quid including Windows 8 OEM, because why not I have to change over sometime and it'll probably be booting straight into XBMC or Steam anyway. Similar spec. to above but with a 240GB SSD and I went the mini-ITX route (dang, but the motherboards are expensive) and no optical drive.

    FWIW there's a nice bundle of a Cooler Master 130 and 550W modular PSU on Ebuyer for 65.00:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/544920-coolerm...lite-130-g550m

    I'll probably ditch that 80cm side fan and maybe replace the front fan with something I have on my shelf depending on how noisy it is. Heat's not likely to be an issue.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    Just saw this re: SSD failures. Looks pretty positive.

    http://techreport.com/review/26523/t...to-a-petabyte/

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    So I built it last Friday and put the final finishing touches on it last night. Can't stream GTA 4 worth a damn or Saints Row the Third at all - I have client setting on both the server and client PC set to "fast". Might need to jigger with the server and client resolution. It doesn't seem to like running anything at 1080P eg locally installed Spelunky (the paid version) crashes out at 1080P but is still gorgeous, and flawless, at 720P.

    I locally installed old open world racer Fuel, after finally wrestling GFWL into submission, and that looks great, at 720P, and runs flawlessly. I was actually pretty surprised about that, even though it's a pretty old game but it still looks good to me.

    I'm really fighting the temptation to stick a GTX 750 TI in there and see how it'll do. Right now the stock cooler on the APU is noisy when it's stressed and the 120mm fan on the Cooler Master 130 case is kinda clunky too. I can see a Corsair H60 in their future with a new radiator fan, or I might just break out the Corsair Sp120 "silent" fan I had left over from my main rebuild. The APU could be running a little hot because I'm trying to run the little case with positive airflow (to keep dust out) but I'll probably reverse the 120 fan and see how it works blowing air out of the case. I already have the PSU sucking air out of the case (it's a 550W PSU probably drawing less than 200W under full load right now.)

    Right, anyway, that's not why I'm here. I wanted to recommend this Gmyle remote:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Windows-Cont...dp/B003ZV3J72/

    It's not a proper MCE remote, which may cause problems for some people with XBMC - personally it works perfectly for me but I thought I should mention it. It's ace in the hole is that it doubles as a pseudo-mouse. You have cursor like control over the mouse pointer and left and right buttons right on the remote. There's a "start" button on the remote which I think is meant as an equivalent to the MCE green button on an official remote, but since Windows 8 no longer has media centre by default that does nothing. It'd be nice if it acted like a Windows start button and I'm going to do a little digging there. It's treated like a wireless keyboard I'd probably have to make some AutoHotKey (or AutoIT - haven't used it but it's what the cool kids are using now, right?) scripts to intercept the buttons presses, but then it'd interfere with the little bluetooth keyboard I sometimes use.

  15. #15
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    15
    Slow network perhaps?

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    Quote Originally Posted by pulseezar View Post
    Slow network perhaps?
    Wired Gigabit. My speeds are good. I was playing Darksiders 2 flawlessly yesterday (the streaming was flawless, personally I'm still shit at it - stuck on the bit with rising lava and it's been months since I last played so the muscle memory isn't there) with no perceptible (to me) input lag. It's something happening on my main PC with SRtT. I picked up SRIV in the Steam Sale so I MIGHT test that, though I'm running out of drive space I have so many games installed. Also, all my main PC drivers and Direct X are bang up to date.

  17. #17
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    448
    nasty! I would counter recommend this remote:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE
    It's programmable, nice looking, has 4 states for different devices and is damn study - it's taken over a year of toddler abuse without any issues. Because it's programmable I have it setup with all of the commonly used functions for my TV, soundbar and HTPC on one 'slot' which means that I can control everything from a single remote without any fuss. Only issue is that you'll need a USB IR reciever.
    Last edited by baboonanza; 25-06-2014 at 01:23 PM.

  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node frightlever's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    617
    Looks cool! And it doubles as an IR mouse?

    edit: I take that back. It isn't cool. The button layout on that thing is horrible. And as far as I can see it doesn't work as a mouse. So you need a separate trackpad/mouse? Hmm. The Gmyle is pretty much a plug and play remote/mouse. It sends keystrokes like an IR keyboard, which, again, some MCE purists won't like - mainly because they've mastered the intricacies of remote control drivers and are invested. I kid. Actually the downside is that the button that sends out "e" will always send out "e" so you'd need scripts to re-interpret what the button does when mapped to a windows function. Not actually that hard but messy. Out of the box it does everything I need it to with XBMC so I haven't needed to change anything, but I don't use eg PVR functionality so I'm easy pleased. The mouse is cursor controlled but quite clever insofar as it goes quicker the longer you hold it. It's not pinpoint accurate but it's a damn sight handier than having to put down the remote to reach for my keyboard/trackpad combo. Gonna script a button combo to pull up the Windows 8 Start menu - which it can then navigate using the cursor controls.

    edit2: that was a pretty big edit.
    Last edited by frightlever; 25-06-2014 at 04:09 PM.

  19. #19
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    448
    Having used a remote with cursor functions I regard it as a pretty useless function. Navigating a single menu takes longer than just picking up the keyboard. But then I don't ever leave the front-end on my HTPC except for maintenance so I maybe you would get more utility from it.

  20. #20
    Obscure Node
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by baboonanza View Post
    nasty! I would counter recommend this remote:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE
    It's programmable, nice looking, has 4 states for different devices and is damn study - it's taken over a year of toddler abuse without any issues. Because it's programmable I have it setup with all of the commonly used functions for my TV, soundbar and HTPC on one 'slot' which means that I can control everything from a single remote without any fuss. Only issue is that you'll need a USB IR reciever.

    Honestly, just go with a smartphone remote control app. Assuming you have an iPhone or android mobile.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...llection&hl=en

    That was a random pick. Plenty of alternatives. I can't remember what one I used a couple years back, but while it wasn't a pretty UI, it did everything I needed it to and worked.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •