Help me buy a computer for Steam in my living room.
August 8, 2017 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I maybe want to play some Steam games in my living room and also need Windows occasionally for random projects, help me buy a computer.

I haven't purchased a Windows computer in over a decade so I have no idea where to start. I would like to play games on my living room TV hopefully without too much fan noise. I currently only have a 1080p TV but my wife has been agitating for a larger newer TV so maybe 4k would be cool. I'd love to spend $600 but could be talked into $1k if it's slightly future proof. I like the idea of a Steambox but sometimes for projects I need Windows which I don't currently have access to other than work.
posted by Uncle to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of people will say a lot of helpful things, so let me just start it off by linking and, which will both be very helpful if you plan to partially or fully build the pc yourself (which I'd recommend).
posted by destructive cactus at 4:59 PM on August 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

I followed these guides. I hadn't built a computer in almost 20 years, and it was remarkably easy. I was kind of surprised. I added a lower profile, somewhat attractive case to the build, as well as an upgraded video card. I purchased most of my parts off amazon.

Mine would have clocked in under $1k, had I gone with a cheaper, less attractive case. I consider it to be pretty future proof. The only upgrading I'll need to do is add some RAM and HD space down the line, it should be good for several years to come.

Getting to the 4k tv thing might push your budget around a bit.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:54 PM on August 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Computing on a TV has never been fun for me. I bought a computer with its own screen and a steamlink and controler when i was in your situation. It also means working on windows doesn't stop others from watching TV.
posted by dstopps at 5:58 AM on August 9, 2017

Intel NUC - Skull Canyon, then get an external GPU enclosure with USB-C & Thunderbolt 3 to host an expensive graphics card.

But - frankly - the baseline for this setup is about 1.5k (in Canada) and that is before you purchase a graphics card... (which, can easily run up to another 1k if you want the absolute latest/greatest.
posted by jkaczor at 8:31 AM on August 9, 2017

I don't have a specific recommendation on a PC other than to say you definitely don't have to spend over $1,000 unless you're trying to buy one of the highest-end systems on the market. If you want to play the latest games in 4K, then sure. But if you want to play games released in the last five or so years at 1080p, spending $600-$1,000 should be fine. I'd look for something small form factor and quiet with a quad core CPU and a midrange ($150 to $200) GPU. You might look at
posted by cnc at 8:51 AM on August 9, 2017

Nthing a Steam Link, with the following caveats:
  • You already have a PC which is powerful enough to run whatever games you want to play
  • You can connect both the PC (wherever in the house it is) as well as the Steam Link (at your TV) to hard-wired Ethernet (Wi-fi is supported, but it's not a sure thing)
  • Other people won't need to be using the PC while you're gaming
  • You have a spare keyboard/mouse/controller to plug in (the Steam Link has a few USB ports)
It works fine with Macs as well (I'm assuming that's your scenario, since you mentioned you don't have access to Windows), but then you have to deal with all the usual complications of gaming on a Mac.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 10:21 AM on August 9, 2017

The Steam Link does not work fine with Macs on Wi-Fi - I speak from bitter experience. They may do better with Ethernet though.
posted by adrianhon at 3:23 PM on August 9, 2017

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