Description

This is my first attempt at a Steam Box, and the first computer I've built since 2002! A tremendous amount has changed in the component world since then, but the basic idea of the project was the same as always. Get as much as possible, in an ITX form factor for portability and overall mimimal size, as cheap as possible, and have the option for upgrades in the future. It took some B&M clearance/open box shopping to achieve, but with a "today" budget of $400 or less, I'm proud with the results below that leave plenty of opportunity to expand in the future when more funds become available.

CPU: G3258 to experiment with overclocking to get the most out of the cheapest with the stock cooler. An i3-4150 or i5-4570 would hands down be preferred, but with budget being the name of the game and an ITX requirement factoring out the FX-6300, the G3258 fits in nicely. Purchased at $59.99 with a couple $25 gift cards that were not going to use anywhere else, bringing it to $11.97 out of pocket with tax.

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WiFi. I really wanted to go dirt cheap here and had my eye on a non-Z mobo, particularly the ASRock H81M-ITX or the even cheaper ECS H81H3-I. However with a bit of luck on the side and knowing the G3258 would ultimately need upgrading in the future, I dug around and found a GA-Z97N-WiFi open box at a MicroCenter for $99. It'd been out on the shelves since September this year with no physical flaws/bent pins and all components were still in the box, so I took it to their CSR and asked if they'd come down on the price some. They knocked it down to $83.81 with a $20 mail-in rebate that may work. Best case? A decent Z97 ITX mobo for $63.81. Worst case? A decent Z97 ITX mobo for $83.81. Just goes to show, never hurts to ask someone to come down on a price on a clearance item.

Memory: Radeon R9 2x4GB DDR3-2133. What in the world happened to memory prices?? I remember a couple years back while toying around with the idea of building a new rig where memory was the dirt cheap element with a slew of options available. Now it seems if you can get two 4GB sticks of at least 1600 for less than $60, you're doing well. Haven't purchased this as of yet, but planning to pick up the slightly better in this category to have one less piece to replace when the time comes to do some upgrading. Might go with a $60 8GB 1600 kit or cheaper if found.

HD: WD 1TB 7200RPM. Simply put, this was a 1TB HDD from a well-known company that should hold its weight for less than $50.

Video Card: Gigabyte R9 270 Windforce. I had my eye on either getting a GeForce GTX 750TI or an R9 270, but seeing the benchmarks and future potential of the R9 trounced the GTX. Another open box score from MicroCenter where a customer had returned it two days prior. The CSR I'd spoken with said he was the one that returned it and remembered the customer saying they bought it, but didn't realize it wouldn't fit in their ITX build. Returned it with caps on all the ports and everything, and a $10.00 mail-in rebate should pin it to $117.96 with a free game included.

Case: Cooler Master Elite 130. Needed to be able to host a standard ATX power supply and the sizable video card, while still giving some cable management room to avoid having to go semi/full modular on the PSU. It's small enough to fit on the dresser where it'll be primarily while being light enough to move easily to the living room or entertainment room depending on where the missus is knocking out homework!

PSU: Solid Gear 600W ATX. The build shows a 650W, but it's a 600W on the box. Has all the requirements to power all the components and is dirt cheap, as well as being a "lesser-known hidden gem" of MicroCenter. Even if it burns out within a year or less, they're cheap to replace and if it becomes a repeat occurrence, I'll splurge more and get a better Corsair. $10.00 mail-in rebate here too saved a few shekels.

OS: SteamOS. First time delving into this, so that'll be the hardest part of the build. Wish me luck!

All-In All Price: Looking at $567.41 piece by piece.

Savings:
-Mobo: -$64.02 if rebates go through, -$44.02 if not -CPU: -$50.00 for random gift cards, -$5.00 a bit cheaper last week -Video Card: -$39.53 if rebates go through, -$29.53 if not -Case: -$5.00 on a sale -HD: -$7.99 on a sale -PSU: $29.99 usually. -$5.00 on sale, -$10.00 mail-in rebate

All goes well with the rebates? Total cost: $380.87, tax tags and titles included.

Thoughts/opinions? Thanks all!

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.

Comments

  • 64 months ago
  • 2 points

Definitely some really good bargain hunting here.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Much appreciated! A budget in mind and being in the right place at the right time helped out immensely. Now to piece it together and see how it works out. Thanks for the response!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I have my old i5 2500k with an HD6870 in my dusty living room and it steams really well on the 55in. TV in big picture. I wonder how yours will do.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Holy crap this went live already and haven't responded to anything! Good to hear it's steaming well, and I look forward to posting how it goes! I've heard and read more than enough to see the R9 270's going to be...err, fun to work with on steamos, but we'll see how it goes. Thanks for the response!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

What, how did you get an intel pentium G3528 for 12$?

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey there SunTechi! It was indeed $59.99 on sale last week at the local MicroCenter. I had two $25 general gift cards that I hadn't put to use on anything else, so I figured it was either put them towards two tanks of gas, or towards the processor. If I see somewhere that puts one up for $12, I'll point you in the right direction :) Thanks for the reply!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you aswell, nice build! :)

[comment deleted]
  • 64 months ago
  • 2 points

Ah, it was mentioned in the description. Thanks :)

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice boxes. =)

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Much appreciated, and thanks for the reply!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Lots of Potential, But I would settle for a higher end processor for a little bit over 400 dollars

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey there Xequit10! I'll agree wholeheartedly. I'd greatly prefer to go with the better processor, but that $400 "for now" budget was ringing clear. This'll be the first overclocking I've done, so it'll be fun as a project to see what this is capable of while leaving plenty of room to upgrade when the funds come up :) Better believe it though that an i5's in the future! Thanks for the reply!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I have that motherboard myself. It's a very nice in that it is a pretty much do everything board. With the RAM, 2133 is overkill since you have a dedicated video card, but the price is fair at least.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey there bloodroses75! Good to hear the mobo's treating you well. I'd read a handful of mixed reviews on it from when it rolled out, so it's good to hear it's working nicely for you :) The one purchase I hadn't made was the RAM, which I scaled back to a couple Corsair 4GB 1600 modules. They were within the budget, albeit less expensive options were available, so I went with it to have the build completed. Appreciate the input and the response too!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

I just ordered a 130 myself. I can't wait to see your build photos.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Does that motherboard have any funky antennas for the WiFi? I know that in micro-atx cases the wifi has antennas that go out the case--are there antennas that go out the mini ITX case on this or are they somehow built in to the wifi chip?

[comment deleted]