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Anyone Ever Tried a PC-Console hybrid?


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Old 23-03-2013, 15:39
Davonator
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A part of me is wondering whether I should essentially skip PS4/720 and get one of these PC-Console hybrids, utilizing Steam Big Picture mode. The idea being to have it as both Home Computer and Games machine in one, in my living room.Now although this sector seems to be quite young there are a few products on the market

Alienware X-51

Digital Storm 'Bolt'

Xi 3 Piston (Steam Box?)

Whilst these are impressive the problem I have with them is that they seem to be fully focused at the premium end of the market, and whilst they're cool they seem to feature things like neon lights, carbon fibre casing, brushed 'gun metal grey side panels etc.' which to me just artificially bump up the price.

Therefore i'd be more interested in building my own sticking it in a cheap but ugly case and trying to shave a bit of money off.

Has anyone ever tried this hybrid pc-console route? How did you find it.
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Old 23-03-2013, 16:46
whoever,hey
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For steam big picture you ONLY need a standard PC. So you dont need to pay those wacky prices for the PC, just buy a good gaming PC and plug it into your living room tv.
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Old 23-03-2013, 18:26
mred2000
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For steam big picture you ONLY need a standard PC. So you dont need to pay those wacky prices for the PC, just buy a good gaming PC and plug it into your living room tv.
I agree. You could also go the route of a Shuttle based PC. These things have been around for years, no need to go daft.
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Old 24-03-2013, 01:25
Jimmy_McNulty
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Steam Box will have a 3 tier pricing structure, that Piston is just bizarre. It makes Apple products look value for money.
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Old 25-03-2013, 14:23
Aspartame
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All of these systems are completely pointless. All you need is s decently specced PC, smallish form factor if you're worried, just anything with an HDMI output (which all video cards have now), and some USB ports.

Hook it to the TV, plug in a wired 360 pad, switch Steam to Big Picture mode... done!
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Old 28-03-2013, 13:30
cat666
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All of these systems are completely pointless. All you need is s decently specced PC, smallish form factor if you're worried, just anything with an HDMI output (which all video cards have now), and some USB ports.

Hook it to the TV, plug in a wired 360 pad, switch Steam to Big Picture mode... done!
I agree with this however don't go for small form PC's, upgrading them is a pain in neck.

The two things which will make a difference to gaming are memory and graphics cards.

Memory is a pain to upgrade at a later date as demand gets higher than supply whenever a new tier is released. For example DDR-3 RAM is now cheap as chips but DDR-2 is expensive, as manufacturers are keeping with the times. you can't use DDR-3 RAM in a DDR-2 motherboard so your forced into paying higher prices. Therefore it's advisable to get as much RAM as you can, even if current games don't fully utilize it yet.

Graphics cards are the other way round. As the form factor remains pretty constant you can upgrade easily in 3-4 years with little hassle. Unless you plan on your machine being seriously beefy, I'd pick up a mid-range card for 130 now, and then upgrade it in 3-4 years time for another 130. Logic being is that there isn't much difference between a 130 card and a 260 in the grand scheme of things. In 3-4 years, your 260 will be almost as ancient as the 130 one, but a new 130 card will be using current technology so you've spread the cost.

The only other thing to mention is SSD's. If you are serious about gaming then they will speed loading times up no end. Still a bit expensive for most people though.
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Old 30-03-2013, 15:07
Davonator
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Thanks for replies.

I was just interested because i know these boxes are designed for the living room. My worry with hooking up a tower in the living room was that not only would it look aesthetically strange but as I have a carpet and a cat, that the air grids/fans could get clogged up by and fluff/cat hair.

But you're right if you have a relatively small FORM PC. slightly off the ground it should be possible without the crazy cost, or risk of clogging/overheating. SSDs are coming down all the time, so I may wait a year or so.

But has anyone done this here, essentially used a PC in a console set up.
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Old 02-04-2013, 23:56
Helbore
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But has anyone done this here, essentially used a PC in a console set up.
I have, but only by running an HDMI cable from my tower to my TV, plus using an Xbox controller and Steam Big Picture.

Its good and its enough to have me considering buying an HTPC chassis and building a dedicated rig. But I wouldn't assume you'd get the same "quality" as a dedicated console. By that, I mean you are still hampered by developers not having to adhere to a strict set of rules. eg. it pisses me off in Far Cry 3 that I can't start the game from Steam - I can only start Uplay, which then starts the game. There's no controller support in Uplay, meaning I have to revert to a mouse just to click a button.

Having said that, it blows my PS3 away in terms of image quality. I'm also an IT professional, so I'm kinda willing to put up with the quirks of the PC. If you want something as smooth as a console in terms of interface, a PC/console hybrid isn't for you. If you want the best gaming experience and can deal with the fact that you are really using a multipurpose platform, then it offers more possibility than any console could.

However, I would also recommend building your own if you want to go that route. I don't think these OEMs offers good value-for-money when it comes to premium systems.
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Old 09-04-2013, 17:26
Chanfron
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Already been done http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amstrad_Mega_PC
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:48
The_One
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But has anyone done this here, essentially used a PC in a console set up.
Yea, a few years ago in my bedroom. When i bought my PS3 i also bought a 32" 1080 HDTV, i connected both the PS3 and the PC to it, HDMI is so awesome.
I use the PC for everything-home-entertainment these days, gave my PS3 to my nephew.
Using a wireless keyboard and mouse while sat back into the sofa.

When i move into my own place later this year im contemplating getting 3x 3D 1080p HD TV's side by side in the lounge, the PC will have to cost 2k to run that kind of setup to play the newest games with medium/highest settings with a 30+ FPS rate.

Or i'll just go with a single 47" TV, i can easily afford that kind of setup.

As for the PC blending well into the living room, you got various options; have the PC box on a shelf in clear view near the TV, or have it near the floor, or just have it hidden away behind the side of something... obviously making sure theres enough breathing space for the fans to work properly. Im going with this so the PC should blend in quite nicely near the TV.

Really there is no need for some kind of "PC-console" hybrid. Anything the console can do the PC can do better and more. Just be creative with where and how to situate the PC, no one wants to see some large gadget box looking out of place.
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Old 10-04-2013, 19:19
fluffed
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Some nice looking ATX cases around now, that don't look out of place near the tv.
http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=...gory=2&prod=99
and the like

ofc you could go to the neater looking mini-atx, but then you start compromising what you can put in there, graphics cards start not fitting and such,
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Old 14-04-2013, 23:08
Helbore
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Im going with this so the PC should blend in quite nicely near the TV.
That's a fantastic looking living room! I want!

Some nice looking ATX cases around now, that don't look out of place near the tv.
http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=...gory=2&prod=99
and the like
I've got the previous-gen of that case (ie. no USB3 ports). It is a really good case - lot's of internal room, well designed for providing good airflow, very tidy interior, VERY quiet. The power light is a bit too bright, though. Keep it covered or disconnected if you intend to have it in view (mine is only in my peripheral vision, but is too bright), particularly if you like to game with the lights off.

I'm considering using one of these for a dedicated games PC build that can actually sit in the rack under the TV. It's the right size and shape, looks like it would not be out-of-place next to my amp and has enough room to accommodate up to six hard drives, at least one full-length graphics card and (possibly) a large CPU cooler.

Only thing holding me off is that it would cost a lot to build a new rig and it would partly be an "ego"-build. My current PC is strong enough for now and I can make do with simply running a long HDMI cable to the TV. The smart move is to not build a new PC. But then there's that upgrade itch...
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Old 20-09-2013, 17:58
sodavlac
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http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/

Steam Box announcement on Monday @ 6pm.
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Old 20-09-2013, 18:17
Jimmy_McNulty
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3 things to be announced can only mean 1 thing.
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Old 23-09-2013, 01:48
Lyricalis
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3 things to be announced can only mean 1 thing.
Alien invasion?
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Old 28-09-2013, 00:59
Tal'shiar
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NEVER EVER BUY ALIENWARE! Over priced rubbish almost all the time.

What I dont understand is why people think you cannot do this now. I have my moderate pc hooked up to my 42inch flat screen. I use a 360 controller for driving games and sports ones, and mouse and keyboard for everything else (thats just my preference, you can use what you like really).

Its as simple as plugging a HDMI cable from my pc to my tv, and bobs your uncle pc gaming on a tv from my sofa so I can spread out. I have my keyboard on my lap and the mouse on a little sort of school desk thing, like the folding ones you got in exams. Works an absolute treat and I have all the pros of a pc. I dont even bother with TV of sky anymore, let them go, can just use my Gaming media machine for everything I need).

Steam Box looks like a pile of poo to be honest, the last thing the gaming market needs is even more hardware to contend with, and it just seems like a over hyped streaming device. But steam client does have amazing deals on games, just got all the Mass Effects (1 2 3 and all the dlc for 2 and 3) for 9.99. Cannot argue with the mental deals they put out thats for sure.
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Old 30-09-2013, 21:04
Iqoniq
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I was just going to mention this. I got one of these off my parents when they came out, and to be honest it ended up as an overpriced Sega Megadrive. I used my Amiga for any schoolwork that was needed to be done, and by the time it got around to the net coming into fashion (although I had access in 95) it was already woefully underpowered. I think it survived until around 2001 (my brother inherited off me and used it as a Megadrive) when my brother decided to see if he could cannabalise it and transplant the Megadrive parts into another machine which ended with the donor losing all vital signs on the living room table.

Having an 'all-in-one' is a good idea, but I'd recommend actually building one and putting it together yourself opposed to paying massive prices. I've built two machines that were high powered machines, but always looked at the possibility of expansion and futureproofing them as much as I could. The cost of each has been roughly half of what I'd have paid if I'd bought it as a complete unit and they cover work, rest and play, although they're both in the office at home and connected to massive monitors as opposed to the TV.
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Old 30-09-2013, 22:48
Jimmy_McNulty
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http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013...-to-cost-1000/

The xi3 Piston is being released soon, the entry model will only cost you $1000.....
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Old 21-10-2013, 23:27
Tal'shiar
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Alienware are dog crap. WAY over priced for what they are. Check the parts and compare to ebuyer or amazon, always MUCH cheaper to buy the parts and put it together yourself (its very easy to do so)
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Old 22-10-2013, 00:55
Andrew_Ballard
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the xi3 pistol is surreal, who on earth is going to be buying that?

As for self build, the silverstone FT3 and FT3 mini are not cheap cases but they look lovely, perhaps new versions will come out soon though.
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