basics to making a pc/steam machine?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by DarkRioru, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. DarkRioru

    DarkRioru reach for the stars

    Aug 29, 2015
    United States
    looking up at the stars
    what are the basics to making a pc and/or steam machine? I want to make the slimmest pc I can to use it as a steam machine because I don't want some gigantic tower next to my tv's and I need to know the basics speaken for noobs of making pc's.... I'll also take helpful links if you guys don't have the time for showing me the ropes to pc/steam machine making...
  2. TotalInsanity4

    TotalInsanity4 GBAtemp Supreme Overlord

    Dec 1, 2014
    United States
    Under a rock
    I absolutely would NOT attempt to build in a small form factor case if you have no experience in building a computer. What I recommend is getting a junk PC, take it apart and put it back together a few times. If you would like, you should read through this:

    If you're insistent on doing this in the direct future, you can PM me and I can help you search for parts, otherwise I would recommend just acquainting yourself with the steps first
    CuriousTommy likes this.
  3. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Dec 23, 2009
    I'm...not really sure if you're for real, here, DarkRiolu264. Making a small PC is a lot harder than a large one. And as someone who just installed extra RAM and a video card into a small PC case, I can say that difference isn't trivial. In fact, I couldn't even install a second hard drive anywhere (which was sort of okay since there was no room for it on the motherboard to begin with, but still...not cool).

    But what the build a PC, you'll need the following:
    -case. the outside of the computer. If you've never done this, get either a large one or one that is lying around somewhere.
    -motherboard: this one is the most important to study, as it has to be compatible AND sizeable for all your other stuff. Everything connects here, so if you're not 100% sure a part will fit or connect to this, you should be doing further research
    -power: these are fairly standard nowadays. Only really important if you're going to overcloak (which I suggest you do NOT do on your first rig)
    -memory: argueably the easiest to install: small thingumies that you plug onto the motherboard. Just make sure you've got enough
    -CPU: main calculation part of your PC. Despite it being multiple core, it's still a single package you click on your motherboard. It's both the easiest and the hardest part of the installation, because of the following...
    -the cooler. CPU's run fucking hot FAST, so they'll need proper cooling (another reason large PC's are better). The standard fans will work, but you can get pretty decent ones for a good price if sound is an issue. And while there's some progress on this front, the fan of my old PC was a fucking NIGHTMARE to connect properly (I had to rescrew it every other year. Now, it just won't stay covered on the CPU anymore). Getting this done right requires surgical precision even on large PC's. You be warned...
    -video card: partially optional now that motherboards come with their own video card. For gaming, it's nonetheless an important one. Since your goal is to connect it to the TV, get one with HDMI.
    -hard drive: kind of obvious, and since SATA pretty convenient as well. Since prices per gigabyte have dropped quite well, you can start considering just getting an SSD.
    -(optional) disc drive reader. DVD or blueray. Most cases still provide for these, though especially on small PC's, you should think about skipping it. Of course you'll need a way to boot/install an OS from USB if you decide to skip.
    -peripherals. keyboard, mouse, power adapter, TV/monitor. And probably a wifi dongle or something, though configuring your gamepad is something for after the initial setup.

    All of these cost money (if you don't already have it) and time to get to know it. You'll need screwdrivers, patience and preferably some backup PC to look up stuff. I found a pretty decent source, along with a yearly overview on (Dutch) (in fact, they just released their annual list). Still...when going for a SMALL pc, it may require extra research.

    Personally, I would consider other meanings. A shield tablet, for instance, is small and can stream directly from your gaming PC to your television. Assuming you already have a decent PC, you won't be able to beat it in the price category.
    TotalInsanity4 likes this.
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Small form factor machines are not so bad, sure on a normal PC you can be pretty ham fisted and still have it work but it is not like small form factor things are some of the precision soldering or anything. Though if you also want to do games then decent graphics card + small space is not a good combo.

    What I am more here to say is HDMI (which carries video and audio) can have quite long runs compared to VGA of old. With that in mind I have stuck countless PCs in cupboards, basements and whatever else so people can avoid having a PC next to things but at the same time avoid having to build silent things in small fancy cases.
    TotalInsanity4 likes this.
  5. TotalInsanity4

    TotalInsanity4 GBAtemp Supreme Overlord

    Dec 1, 2014
    United States
    Under a rock
    As I said, if you're adamant on doing this, start with this case. It's the easiest to work with for being as small as it is, everything has a specified compartment, it's difficult to screw things up. The only drawback is you will need and SFX power supply (as opposed to ATX) which will run you an extra $30 or so just because of the extra resources that go into making them that small.
  6. Attacker3

    Attacker3 GBAtemp Regular

    Mar 24, 2015
    Underground, in my mother's basement.
    Watch a few of this guy's videos, since he does it for a living, and he is what got me into building PC's. He goes really in depth, and he has done some small form factor builds in the past.

    If you need a bit of help deciding on what to do, I would recommend this website to find the right parts for you and to see the prices/compatibility of the parts you use. Extra help can be found here.

    Have fun.
    TotalInsanity4 likes this.