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SteamOS
by Geekavenger
Permalink:   (51 comments)
Description

I built this thing to test out SteamOS. I am pretty happy with it so far. Natural Selection 2 (which is my most graphics hungry Linux game) runs at a smooth 60FPS on high settings. The Keyboard and mouse need to be replaced, they are terrible.

Game streaming works pretty well at 720p @ 30FPS pretty steadily. My gaming rig in the other room has to be connected via Wireless N... so I don't think the quality is going to get any better than that. But seeing as how that is basically console level display anyway I have no concerns about that.

Some of the pictures have an aftermarket heatsink in them. I had to use the stock cooler in the final build because I wanted to use both RAM slots, and the Zaleman got in the way of the closest one. With an Intel Socket you could choose the orientation of the heat pipes and avoid low profile RAM but that is not an option with the FM2 socket.

So far, even though steamOS is still in Beta, it was VERY easy to install and get going. Got flash working and normal debian repo's added to the source list. I almost never use it outside of the normal steamOS interface though. I did install XBMC incase I want to use it for media... but so far my appleTV has been all I needed for that.

Temps have been alright to bad, mostly that is my media center cabinet though. I plan on installing some temp controlled fans to cool the cabinet at some point but until then I just have to keep the door open while gaming.

Details
AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.6GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle56.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load75.0° C
Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB DirectCU II Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.01Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.01Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Grazzert [2 Builds] 13 points 8 months ago

the apu was a waste since you have a discrete nvidia card. (e: apparently they don't make am3+ mini-itx mobos. TIL)

i seem to remember reading that steamOS really disliked amd at one point. i assume this was fixed?

i'm really digging that case though. :D

+1

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 4 points 8 months ago

Yeah, switching to Intel was just too much of a cost jump. I wanted to use the itx case. :-(

No issues with AMD processors as far as I know. It didn't support AMD graphics to begin with (although word on the street is it still works, just not supported). Now they have some official support for it.

That is the life of a Beta OS though. I may switch to Windows eventually though if there aren't enough games to keep me going. Right now my steam library is at 90+ games and only 20 of them are Linux supported, and that isn't even counting my non-steam games.

 
 
Grazzert [2 Builds] 7 points 8 months ago

hopefully the gabecube will be a catalyst for more developers to release on linux

 
 
Atechless [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

I was curious about the CPU as well. I wonder what the performance differences between the 760K and that A8 are like.

 
 
Eschaton [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

Well, the 760K is basically the A8 with the GPU removed. Performance should be identical. FWIW, the OP should have gone with the 760K.

HOWEVER -

if Mantle gets bigger and the OP decides to switch to a 7xxx or other type of GCN gfx card, the APU might benefit him, right?

EDIT: the 760K is 3.8, so actually, a little faster than this A8.

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Aw well, live and learn. Honestly being able to play with the Integrated graphics should be fun. As far as Mantle Support, I am assuming that is only going to apply to Windows anyway, for the time being. But Dual Graphics Support would be interesting. I have a 7770 in my other machine, I have toyed with the idea of swapping the GPUs to see if the dual graphics feature works on SteamOS.

 
 
Eschaton [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

AFAIK it should. Not sure how to enable it for the 7770, though, as the highest card anyone's ever crossed with an APU that I know of is the 7750.

 
 
kark9 1 point 6 months ago

mantle games can be played on any platform; iOS, steam, windows, xlinux, etc.

 
 
Atechless [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

Mantle is nice but I don't know what kind of overlap it gets with games released for linux based systems. HD7xxx or R9 can't xfire with APUs (yet, as far as I'm aware it's limited to the 6670) if that's what you're asking.

 
 
Eschaton [2 Builds] 2 points 8 months ago

7750 confirmed for dual graphics with A10 richland series, at least. Not sure about anything else above the 6670.

 
 
polarbehr [4 Builds] 4 points 8 months ago

I don't care for tiny builds, but i like that case.

 
 
Fullsome [1 Build] 4 points 8 months ago

I believe that instead of the APU, you should have gone with AMD Athlon X4 AD750K since you slready bought a nice Nvidia card. Still pretty good build!

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 4 points 8 months ago

yeah a couple of people pointed this out already. Live and learn. I have never built an AMD system before, I didn't really understand the difference between the Athlon and A series processors (I thought (incorrectly) Athlon was older tech) So in all my research I was only comparing A series to FX processors, and there are no AM3 mITX boards.

All in all, I am guessing since I am not going to Overclock something in such a small case the performance difference should be relatively negligible, I just spent a little more than I needed to.

Thanks!

 
 
Duelix 1 point 8 months ago

A mini-itx AMD build? +1. You could have gone with an fx-series CPU, but whatever. Nice case choice!

 
 
SethMatrix 8 points 8 months ago

There are no mini itx am3+ boards.

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

Are there FX processors that fit in FM2 slots? I couldn't find a single mITX AM3+ board. I tried as soon as I got my Bonus and realized I could do a discrete GPU.

 
 
Duelix 1 point 8 months ago

No, I just realized that they dont make mini itx boards for fx. You could always upgrade to one of the new kaveri apus, though.

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

yeah I may if need be. Honestly there is nothing really pushing my system right now to justify that. If in 6 months some high end triple A titles start coming out for linux I might.

I am also going to do some testing with Game streaming and just the APU to see how that works at some point. But my other rig (i5 650 w/ HD7770) is in a room inaccessible by cable so I have to do it via WiFi which so far, has been less than stellar.

 
 
Red_dino [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I love seeing hybrid drives in HTPC build! +1

 
 
dschutt84 [3 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

Does that CPU bottleneck that GPU? Sweet build but at $800 it seems pretty steep for a steam machine.

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

The CPU is probably one of the bottlenecks, but no system is bottleneck free. Honestly the RAW clock of the Trinity should be high enough, and limiting my PCIe to 2.0 because it is not a Kevari hurts performance a little. But just because there is a bottle neck and I am not getting 100% performance out of my GPU doesn't mean I am not getting value for it. It runs great. I will have to do some more testing to see where I am waiting and how bad it is. But I am not worried, NS2 ran great and that is pretty CPU bound regardless of system.

 
 
nadjozer [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

hello im planing to build an HTPC with the same MOBO and Zalman quiet cooler, the only thing holding me back is the doubt of 2 ram sticks fitting below the cooler, ill be obiously using low profile sticks 8gb g.skill sniper.

you drawed my attention since you are using almost the same im planning but then i saw you used 1 8gb stick instead of the 2x4gb cruacials you had in your list did you find any problem fitting them below the cooler?.

also im aiming for the corsair obsidian 250D for a case but if i can get a raven would be sweet... where did you find it?

nice build man love it

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

with an Intel board you can choose the orientation of the heat pipes on the cooler. With the AMD board you cannot, and I could not fit the stick on the board. There are ultra low profile sticks you could use that might work, but I had to swap out for the stock cooler for now.

http://www.bestpricecables.com/crucial-ballistix-sport-8gb-240-pin-ddr3-1600mhz-pc3-12800-low-profile-desktop-memory-1.35v-cl9-p-n-bls8g3d1609es2lx0.-ds.html

Can't find it on this site but I saw it at Microcenter. It is a bit more expensive though.

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

I got mine on Tiger Direct, it looks like it is available on Amazon now too.

 
 
nadjozer [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

many thanks for pointing me directions

this were my thoughts for my build

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Rsk4

or

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2RtXv

ill modify the rams now

thanks and enjoy your build!

 
 
CrookedHauser [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

I used Crucial Ballistix Sport VLP on my Gigabyte H77 card in this case and it fits fine under the GeminII M4 CPU cooler.

 
 
Sabotage 1 point 8 months ago

That is so cool!

 
 
cam9 1 point 8 months ago

nice build

 
 
aludka 1 point 8 months ago

I like it. I've been looking for a good build profile to use for an "as small as possible build" for taking to work. I may use some of these ideas. How do you like the MOBO and a that APU?

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

MOBO was nice, one issue I did have was it doesn't come with a PC Speaker or LED readout. So when I was having issues with the RAM I purchased initially it was difficult to troubleshoot. So Order a PC speaker with the board. The APU seems to work fine, as many people have pointed out I should have gone with a CPU but such is life. I did run without my GPU plugged in for a bit and while gaming wasn't really going to be happening, browsing the desktop and doing basic computer stuff seemed fine.

 
 
xxvolwarexx [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I may be totally off, but why the weak CPU and a bigger gpu? You might as well have gotten a smaller and weaker gpu as the cpu would bottleneck that 760, right? Or is there something I'm totally missing?

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I think bottlenecking is a bit of an overblown fear in system builders. Yeah I am not getting the best performance out of my graphics card, but it is still giving me plenty of bang for my buck. And now an upgrade path down the road is less of a jump. I just have to by a processor (you may notice I got an FM2+ motherboard for an FM2 Processor). I was working within a budget now, but looking to simple upgrade ability in the future.

I was also a bit worried about noise and heat on this thing, since it is going to be in my living room. I can always underclock the GPU (which in my experience is the hardest cooler to swap out) to reduce noise and heat. I ended up putting the stock CPU cooler on my board for the final build because the big one was blocking RAM installation, so that will be my first upgrade if I am having issues with noise.

 
 
giliara 1 point 8 months ago

Where did you get that case?

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Tiger Direct, it is also on Amazon now. Just search RVZ01

 
 
CrookedHauser [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Amazon has it on back order till mid-April. I accidentally ordered two so if someone wants one at cost message me. Otherwise it's going on eBay next week.

 
 
sky23h [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I wanna make a Steam Machine!! Sweetness

 
 
sheighton [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I am doing a "Best of Team Red" build in this case myself...only still waiting on the case and a fan to arrive. Gotta love Silverstone's Raven series!

 
 
JalYt_Justin 1 point 8 months ago

Only complaint I really have is that hard drive, you could have gotten WD Blue for about $40 cheaper, and 7200 RPM. I know hard drives don't matter all that much, but still. If it doesn't fit in a mITX case, I suppose it's acceptable then.

Other than that, everything is good! +1

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

I was super impressed with the hybrid drive in my brother's laptop so I wanted to try it on my own rig. For those interested the case will accommodate a 3.5" drive. Installed above the PSU. That is where I was planning on doing all my cable management though.

 
 
AlmightyHD 1 point 7 months ago

Wait, if the GPU is laying Horizontally, how did you get it into the PCI-E port?

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

There is a PCIe Riser built into the case.

 
 
xxvolwarexx [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Where do you buy the PCI riser???

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

It comes with the case. It is more than just a riser too. It is part of the case basically. It includes 2 2.5" drive bays and a plastic back plate for the graphics card to help hold it in place.

 
 
xxvolwarexx [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Sweet! thanks!

 
 
bloodroses75 [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

If you need a riser, I know amazon has extender cables and risers that do work. I was originally going to build my own case last year and use a similar layout, but stopped the plan when I saw this case announced.

 
 
Kamo7293 1 point 2 months ago

I have to say that case looks really cool, and I'm liking this build If SteamOS gets more compatible games, I might build a steam box then, but for now I'll be making a mITX gaming pc with windows on it.

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Yeah honestly it isn't even the lack of games, which in home streaming does a lot to compensate for, that makes SteamOS a tough sell right now. It just flat out isn't ready yet. It needs more native media features like streaming and maybe a video player service, and it needs to be more stable. I feel like there is a lot of potential, and core game functionality is pretty awesome, but i think right now Windows is just the better option. Fortunately I am a bit of a new technology masochist so I am going to keep on keeping on with Valves experiment.

 
 
nwon4ever [1 Build] 0 points 8 months ago

Just wondering, wouldn't it have been a better idea to use an athlon x4 750k if you wanted to have an ITX Amd? Anyways very nice build. Tell me how you like Steam OS!

 
 
candy [2 Builds] 3 points 8 months ago

At least three people have pointed this out to him already

 
 
nwon4ever [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Haha, yeah I saw that after i posted... :P

 
 
Geekavenger [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 8 months ago

SteamOS is still very much in Beta. It hitches in the menus a lot and is hit and miss with if my xbox controller works with a game. I loaded up TF2, got the message about detecting a controller, I hit okay... nothing. Then loaded it again and it worked.

That said, it was a breeze to install using the image, and loading up and playing my games has been super simple, especially with a keyboard and mouse.

I also opened up the desktop and installed flash player for the web browser and a few other programs. That was less than user friendly, the machine is only connected to the Valve Repositories out of the box, so you have to add the debian ones to the source.list All in all a pretty good experience.

The saddest part for now is the lack of compatible games. I have a pretty powerful rig and most of my linux compatible games are indies. Thank god, I spend most of my time playing Natural Selection 2 anyway. At least that looks super pretty and runs well on this.