Recommendations for a PC Console?

I’ve stuck with Nintendo consoles for pretty much my whole life, but given Nintendo’s declining quality and inability to respect consumers within recent years, I think I’m ready to leave them behind.

I have plenty of experience with using Steam on my 2 laptops, mainly playing games that don’t require much power, like Undertale or Stardew Valley. I’d like to get a dedicated PC for Steam gaming, so that I can play more advanced games and reserve my 2 laptops for work. However, I still want the ability to game on the couch with friends.

I only have experience with laptops, so searching for a good PC console option is going to be difficult for me. I am unsure of how to go about searching; should I be looking for a desktop PC that’ll use my TV as a monitor, or should I be looking for things like Steam Machines? I’m not necessarily looking for something too expensive; if I can play any game at an acceptable speed, then graphics don’t matter to me.

If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations for a good PC console or how to search for a good PC console, please let me know. I don’t have an exact price range in mind, so I’ll be willing to look at anything you can send right now.

Oh man, so many options!

I don’t know if you’re into DIY electronics stuff, but one option is to build your own. It’s fairly easy to do these days, and sites like make it so you don’t screw up and buy incompatible parts. I’d start with one of the machines in their Build List, and customize it from there.

The two things that are going to cost you the most are the graphics card and the CPU. I think your two best options for a graphics card are a GTX 1060 or 1070 depending on how much you want to spend. The 1060 will run around $250, and is on par with the top of the line graphics card from their last generation. It will run everything on the market at very high settings, and is VR capable if you’re into that. The 1070 costs around $400, and is more powerful basically.

As for a CPU, the newest Intel i5 will be a really good chip for a long time. You could get an i7 if you’re doing a bunch of transcoding as a media server or something, but it’s probably not necessary.

I don’t have a ton of experience buying a pre-made machine to be honest. Alienware is always a pretty solid brand, although they’re pretty pricey compared to building your own machine of comparable specs I believe. The Steam Machines are an interesting idea, although I don’t know anyone that has one. If you go that route, make sure it doesn’t just come with SteamOS because not every game will play on it. You’d still want either a dual boot Windows 10/SteamOS machine, or a Windows 10 machine with the Steam Client on it.

As for hooking up to a TV or monitor, why not do both? I have my machine hooked up to a pretty nice monitor in my office area, and I have a Steam Link hooked up to my TV if I want to go sit on the couch. It works really well if you’ve got a halfway decent home network. I will admit that I don’t play a lot of fast twitch shooters, but I don’t really have a problem with lag when playing something like Dark Souls. The Steam Link is pretty inexpensive, and is a worthwhile add on.

Hope that helps a little! PC gaming can be expensive, but fun. It’s where I’ve been playing almost all of my games lately except for the couple of Wii U games that exist in the world. Let me know if you want any help!

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I am sure there are many different correct answers to your question, but if you are in a position to buy a custom machine rather than build it yourself you can go with Origin. Origin offers the Chronos, which is perfect for the living room. It is console sized and powerful (with plenty of options for customization). Origin would be my go-to-I-am-too-lazy-to-build-my-own-console-PC PC.

Another option for a compact console sized PC would be the Tiki by Falcon Northwest.

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I’m finding that gaming PCs with an i3 processor tend to be significantly cheaper than those with an i5 processor. Could that be an option, or would it be better to spend more for an i5?[quote=“peter, post:2, topic:801”]
If you go that route, make sure it doesn’t just come with SteamOS because not every game will play on it. You’d still want either a dual boot Windows 10/SteamOS machine, or a Windows 10 machine with the Steam Client on it.

I’m definitely gonna go for something running Windows, as I do play non-Steam games from time to time (mostly fan games like Asagao Academy).[quote=“bmo, post:3, topic:801”]
if you are in a position to buy a custom machine rather than build it yourself you can go with Origin.

So how exactly does a custom PC differ from a prebuilt PC?

I guess I should have said custom pre-built, maybe. Origin and Falcon Northwest allow you to customize every aspect of the machine, in a way that someone like Dell/Alienware does not. There is a lot of flexibility in choice.

An i3 would be perfectly fine. Most games aren’t really CPU bound. The place to spend your money is the graphics card really. If you wanted to use the machine for ripping blu rays to encode, or you were using the machine as a media server, then I’d say get a little bit better CPU.

Keep us updated on what you decide to do!

So I’ve been eyeing the Alienware Alpha. If I were to go for that, I’d probably get one of the i3 models (or maybe an i5 if I were to get one refurbished). Would building my own PC with the same specs be cheaper than just buying this system? I started putting together a build list on, and about 3 parts in the cost was already higher than the pre-built system (although I might not have chosen the correct matching parts, since I really don’t know much about PC hardware).

You should be able to put together a comparable system for less. The only downside is that it won’t be as living room compact as the Alpha.

Spring for the i5 if you can. While choosing the i7 over the i5 is usually not advantageous, the i5 is a significant boost over the i3. I know it is the GPU that matters most, but the CPU does still matter. You’ll notice a larger jump in performance going from i3 to i5 than you will from i5 to i7. The i3 is designed as entry level for budget machines. Typically office PCs. The i5 is designed for more mainstream use, which includes gaming. Last I checked the i3s still max out out a 3-4mb cache, while the i5 is generally at 6. In conjunction with a solid GPU you’ll see less bottlenecking on the i5 than the i3. My advice is to stick with the i5 if you want to build a gaming PC.

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The Chronos looks great with a decent price! I’m not looking for a new PC but will definitely keep it in mind for when the time comes. Now it’s just a matter of convincing the wife…I should have a while to work on her. :slight_smile:

I also want to buy a Chronos, but it is pricey. I know I can make a custom system cheaper, but not in that form factor sadly.

Sorry for the silence. I’ve been busy with school/work/games. I ended up deciding to build a PC; mainly so I could use it as a way to get better acquainted with PC hardware and also because I’m hoping the extra power will help me with game recording/streaming (I normally would have to move my heavy work laptop down 2 flights of stairs when I wanted to record console footage since my smaller laptop doesn’t have enough RAM).

These are the parts I’ve ordered (with the exception of a power supply and keyboard I ordered separately):

I know getting a controller is still something I definitely need to do. I’ll likely go with a Steam controller, although I might use my brother’s Xbox controller for awhile to see how I like that.

Thanks to everyone for your help and contributions! I’ll hopefully have this set up soon!

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