• Loungeroom PC Gaming Thread
    46 replies, posted
[img]http://puu.sh/FYhH[/img] I thought there was very little information on the topic, and lots of people seem to either be interested in this or have such a setup, and due to some of the difficulties, I figured it'd be nice to have a dedicated area to discuss it. Lots of people enjoy the whole "console experience" of a gamepad and a couch, but still choose PCs as their platform, or want to use their gaming PC with a nice home theater setup. There's a few issues with this kind of setup though, which are a bit of a barrier to entry. [b]UI Size[/b] The default size of things in Windows is designed for close use with a monitor, and unless you have an enormous TV or are sitting very close, you'll strain your eyes. Windows has some (shitty) scaling options, so use of those is a good idea. They're under "display" in Control Panel. [img]http://puu.sh/FYDp[/img] I use 150%, but you can customise it with the option to the left. Be warned, putting it absurdly high is likely to break things even more than it already does. Anyway, this option breaks a lot of games - but you can disable it for individual applications. Right click an application and go to properties to disable it. [img]http://puu.sh/FYFi[/img] The only game I've encountered so far that this doesn't fix is Mount and Blade: Warband. For anything that doesn't work, you'll have to make a separate user account to run. [b]Gear[/b] Personal preferences come into play here, but here's my suggestions. [b]Wireless[/b] I generally try to use wireless stuff where I can due to convenience. Here's some ideas, please suggest more that I can add to the OP. Logitech K400 [img]http://www.logitech.com/assets/37072/4/wireless-touch-keyboard-k400-amr-glamour-images.png[/img] I own one - perfect keyboard for general browsing or to pair with a gamepad. Couldn't recommend it more - it's compact enough to be comfortable but still large enough to be useful. Logitech F710 [img]http://www.logitech.com/assets/32785/4/wireless-gamepad-f710feature-image.png[/img] An excellent gamepad, particularly if you're used to PlayStation controllers. The receiver does play up if there's large objects in between, however, it comes with an extender cord that can be used to put it somewhere where it won't be too visible but still function fine. Razer Mamba [img]http://i1.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/250/draft_lens17636909module148269467photo_1297815942Razer_Mamba.PNG[/img] Exepnsive as hell, however, if you can pick up a cheap older one, then it might be a good idea. I wouldn't recommend it myself as any games you play with a keyboard and mouse would probably be affected by the input lag, as well as the huge price and lack of decent wireless gaming keyboards, but if you're desperate for wireless, then it's an option. Razer Orochi [img]http://xms.hu/images/pi/270/RazerOrochi.png[/img] A smaller, cheaper Razer wireless mouse. Still wouldn't recommend it due to the above reasons. Logitech G700 [img]http://www.logitech.com/assets/31255/4/wireless-gaming-mouse-g700.png[/img] Logitech option here. Once again, I wouldn't recommend it, but it's probably reasonable if you really want wireless. I myself use an F710 and a K400 and they're a great combo. [b]Wired[/b] For FPS games and other things where input lag and keyboard/mouse are important, you'll probably want wired peripherals. However, the short length of USB cables makes this problematic. USB Active Cables/Repeaters Some people use USB repeaters or active extender cables, although these are limited and often need a powered hub on the other end. Not sure how these affect latency, although if you need a powered hub, that can be annoying. CAT5-based Extenders I'll be picking up some of these soon, as they have much better range as well as supposedly carrying power too, and I would expect them to have decent latencies too. Not recommended for use with a hub, however, if you use two of them, you should be able to connect your keyboard and mouse with no problems. Most only do USB 1.1 speeds, but this isn't a problem for input devices. [url=http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/USB-UTP-Extender-Over-Single-RJ45-Ethernet-CAT5E-6-Cable-Up-50M-150FT-/330694472888?pt=AU_CablesConnectors&hash=item4cfeed34b8]They're also quite cheap on ebay.[/url] Gaming Keypads [img]http://xsreviews.co.uk/images/Razer-Nostromo/Razer-Nostromo.jpg[/img] These are actually quite useful if you have limited space on a lapdesk or table. There's the Razer Nostromo and its identical Belkin cousin, the N52te, and Logitech's G13 (a bit pricier) that I currently know of. Razer have also introduced an update to the Nostromo, the Orbweaver, though it's pretty expensive. Tables/Lapdesks/Mousepads If you're playing with a keyboard and mouse, a table or lapdesk is a good idea. Look around local office supply shops for either. If this isn't any good for you, consider a solid mousepad. Aluminium ones are usually quite good. I use the IKEA Dave, it's very good. [img]http://www.ikea.com/au/en/images/products/dave-laptop-table__73085_PE189490_S4.jpg[/img] [b]Other Stuff[/b] USBCell Batteries [img]http://www.instablogsimages.com/images/2007/11/02/usbcell_179.jpg[/img] [url=http://www.usbcell.com/]These[/url] are AA batteries that charge over USB. Great for any wireless equipment you have. A tad expensive so regular rechargeable batteries with a USB charger may be a better choice. [b]Hardware[/b] Mostly the same as building any PC, but those without the room for a full tower should consider smaller form factors. [b]Mini-ITX[/b] BitFenix Prodigy [img]http://www.dvhardware.net/news/2012/bitfenix_prodigy_1.jpg[/img] Very good price, fits normal ATX power supplies, room for water cooling, long graphics cards, anything you'd normally have in a larger PC. CoolerMaster Elite 120 [img]http://static.pccasegear.com/images/elite120_s.jpg[/img] A solid looking offering from CoolerMaster, presumably to compete with the Prodigy. Not sure how the two compare, however, it's targeted at high end gaming systems with long graphics cards so it's certainly up to the task. It's also a tad cheaper. Any H77 or Z77 Mini-ITX motherboard with a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot should be fine. Here's some suggestions: (note that Z77 costs more, I believe the only difference is SLI/Crossfire support (which doesn't matter in mini-ITX anyway) and the ability to overclock) ASUS P8H77-I [img]http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/13-131-841-TS?$S300W$[/img] Cheapest option here that I know of, but reportedly a solid board. [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131841]Newegg[/url] [url=http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=138_1019&products_id=20017]PC Case Gear for you Australian fuckers[/url] ASUS P8Z77-I [img]http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/13-131-840-TS?$S300W$[/img] Deluxe version of the above. Has Z77 and onboard Wi-Fi. [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131840]Newegg[/url] [url=http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=138_1019&products_id=20288]PC Case Gear[/url] ASRock Z77E-ITX [img]http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/13-157-312-TS?$S300W$[/img] Cheaper Z77 offering from ASRock. Also has onboard Wi-Fi. Just make sure you don't click "install all" on the driver disc, I have its larger ATX cousin and it's loaded with bloatware. Other than that, a solid board according to the Newegg reviews. [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157312]Newegg[/url] [url=http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=138_1019&products_id=20404]PC Case Gear[/url] [b]Micro-ATX[/b] I have no clue when it comes to this, need suggestions here. Aside from that, any normal desktop hardware should be fine. Just be careful with larger CPU coolers on the tiny boards. [b]Software[/b] Steam (and Big Picture) [img]http://blogs-images.forbes.com/erikkain/files/2012/09/lotus-big-picture-mode-steam.jpg[/img] Obviously Steam is a staple for any gaming setup, however, Valve [b]have now begun the beta[/b] for Steam's Big Picture Mode. It's a brilliant 10-foot UI for Steam, with an amazing typing system and full gamepad support. It's brilliant - this is definitely what was missing when I started this setup! I'd say it's must-have software if you're doing this. Windows 8 [img]http://www.connectingup.org/sites/default/files/windows8startscreen_0.jpg[/img] Metro and its apps scale much better than the desktop - with the enlarge option turned on, it's a fantastic 10-foot-UI (the great thing is it saves the scale setting for metro per monitor, so you can set it to only occur on your TV if you use a monitor too). All of the apps seem to work fine scaled - it's probably a requirement for the Windows Store. Metro excels in some environments, and this is one of them. XBMC [img]http://hackyourgadget.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/as-the-xbmc.gif[/img] XBMC is great for HTPC setups, but can also be useful as a launcher for games. Note that having XBMC running in the background will result in a significant performance hit, so it's best used with old games or emulators. [url=http://lifehacker.com/5523672/turn-your-xbmc-media-center-into-a-video-game-console]Here's a handy tutorial on how to do this.[/url] XPadder [img]http://fitorfold.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/XpadderXbox360_actions.png[/img] [url=http://xpadder.com/]XPadder[/url] is a great utility to get gamepads working with games that have poor or no support for them. An older version can be obtained for free (has to be run in compatibility mode but still works fine), but you can also pay for the latest version and access to profiles and configurations. Logitech's software is also great for these bindings, so if you have a Logitech pad, you probably don't need this. XBox 360 Controller Emulator [img]http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/xbox-360-controller.jpg[/img] [quote="SGTNAPALM"]If you have an older controller, but want to use it with games that only support a 360 controller, [url=http://code.google.com/p/x360ce/]pick this program up.[/url] This translates the Xinput calls that your old controller will make into DirectInput calls, which is what the newer 360 controllers use.[/quote] Some controllers have a switch on the back that can change it between the two modes - Logitech's newer controllers (F310 and F710 definitely do) have a switch on the back to change between modes. You might not need this, but it's handy if your gamepad doesn't support it. MotionInJoy [img]http://www.ebgames.com/common/images/lbox/802852b.jpg[/img] [quote="SGTNAPALM"]If you happen to have a PS3 controller lying around, check out [url=http://www.motioninjoy.com/]MotioninJoy.[/url] This will allow you to plug in your PS3 controller into your PC via USB or Bluetooth, and the program will allow you to use several modes, such as Xinput mode, DirectInput mode, or just keyboard and mouse emulation mode. It's not perfect, however. Peronsally, I've had issues with the game moving the right stick whenever I pressed the shoulder buttons while in 360 mode. Calibrating the controller in Windows has minimized this issue for me, and many people claim to have had no issues with the software at all. Your mileage may vary.[/quote] Joy2Key [img]http://wiki.bf2s.com/_media/tactical-guides/joy2key.jpg?w=400&h=300[/img] [quote="SGTNAPALM"]If you don't like Xpadder for whatever reason, [url=http://sourceforge.net/projects/joy2key/]Joy2Key[/url] is an excellent F&OS alternative. It's not as pretty, but I'm fairly confident that it's just as powerful as Xpadder.[/quote] Ingame Scripting [quote="SGTNAPALM"]Several games, like Source, have decent scripting capabilities. This could make controller life easier on you, for example giving you the ability to jump and crouch at the press of one button or maybe temporarily allowing you to change sensitivity at the press of a button. The possibilities are virtually limitless. For source games, a pretty comprehensive introduction can be found [url=http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Scripting]on the official TF2 Wiki[/url]. Example scripts can be found on Gamebanana. My personal scripts can be seen [url=https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7333627/Files/scripts.7z]here[/url].[/quote] If people are actually interested, I'll try and keep this updated. Let me know what you use or suggest, and I'll add it to the OP. Personal experiences with such setups would be nice too.
Really good thread. Perhaps something on building the actual HTPC? I've seen solutions out there but not entirely sure what's a good option to go for. I've heard the BitFenix Prodigy is a good option to start with.
Lazy people around the world compliment this.
I've hooked my computer up to my 60" tv, but I don't really like playing games on it (not really used to it)
The only games I've really enjoyed on my TV were Borderlands and The Darkness 2. Of course I didn't know how to the change the fov in either of them at that time, so that's why.
A few pointers: If you have a Logitech controller, don't worry about using Xpadder. Logitech's own drivers will allow you to use your controller as a keyboard and mouse perfectly fine. If you have an older controller, but want to use it with games that only support a 360 controller, pick this program up. [url=http://code.google.com/p/x360ce/]Xbox 360 Controller Emulator[/url] This translates the Xinput calls that your old controller will make into DirectInput calls, which is what the newer 360 controllers use. If you have a newer controller like the one in the OP, though, it might support DirectInput out of the box. Check your controller's documentation to find out. If you happen to have a PS3 controller lying around, check out [url=http://www.motioninjoy.com/]MotioninJoy[/url]. This will allow you to plug in your PS3 controller into your PC via USB or Bluetooth, and the program will allow you to use several modes, such as Xinput mode, DirectInput mode, or just keyboard and mouse emulation mode. It's not perfect, however. Peronsally, I've had issues with the game moving the right stick whenever I pressed the shoulder buttons while in 360 mode. Calibrating the controller in Windows has minimized this issue for me, and many people claim to have had no issues with the software at all. Your mileage may vary. If you don't like Xpadder for whatever reason, [url=http://sourceforge.net/projects/joy2key/]Joy2Key[/url] is an excellent F&OS alternative. It's not as pretty, but I'm fairly confident that it's just as powerful as Xpadder. Several games, like Source, have decent scripting capabilities. This could make controller life easier on you, for example giving you the ability to jump and crouch at the press of one button or maybe temporarily allowing you to change sensitivity at the press of a button. The possibilities are virtually limitless. For source games, a pretty comprehensive introduction can be found [url=http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Scripting]on the official TF2 Wiki[/url]. Example scripts can be found on Gamebanana. My personal scripts can be seen [url=https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7333627/Files/scripts.7z]here[/url].
[QUOTE=deano270;36634789]Really good thread. Perhaps something on building the actual HTPC? I've seen solutions out there but not entirely sure what's a good option to go for. I've heard the BitFenix Prodigy is a good option to start with.[/QUOTE] Ah, that's what I wanted to add and forgot. I'll put a little segment in on hardware - the only good ITX case for higher end systems I know of is the Prodigy, but I think there's lots of good micro-ATX cases. Once again, if anyone has personal experience here, suggest something and I'll add it to the OP - I'd rather not have it just my personal bias. [editline]6th July 2012[/editline] [QUOTE=Wolfyhound;36634926]I've hooked my computer up to my 60" tv, but I don't really like playing games on it (not really used to it)[/QUOTE] It took me some getting used to, but I like it now. Valve seem to be making a push for this sort of thing, with their Big Picture Mode and additional support for it (for example, the CS:GO beta has colour options for TVs and UI scaling for the extra distance), and with a lot of the enlarged interfaces from console ports, it's actually not that hard. There's been a few games where I've had to run them at 1080p or whatever, but given the distance, I find it hard to notice, especially with lots of AA. [editline]6th July 2012[/editline] [QUOTE=SGTNAPALM;36635259]A few pointers: If you have a Logitech controller, don't worry about using Xpadder. Logitech's own drivers will allow you to use your controller as a keyboard and mouse perfectly fine. If you have an older controller, but want to use it with games that only support a 360 controller, pick this program up. [url=http://code.google.com/p/x360ce/]Xbox 360 Controller Emulator[/url] This translates the Xinput calls that your old controller will make into DirectInput calls, which is what the newer 360 controllers use. If you have a newer controller like the one in the OP, though, it might support DirectInput out of the box. Check your controller's documentation to find out. If you happen to have a PS3 controller lying around, check out [url=http://www.motioninjoy.com/]MotioninJoy[/url]. This will allow you to plug in your PS3 controller into your PC via USB or Bluetooth, and the program will allow you to use several modes, such as Xinput mode, DirectInput mode, or just keyboard and mouse emulation mode. It's not perfect, however. Peronsally, I've had issues with the game moving the right stick whenever I pressed the shoulder buttons while in 360 mode. Calibrating the controller in Windows has minimized this issue for me, and many people claim to have had no issues with the software at all. Your mileage may vary. If you don't like Xpadder for whatever reason, [url=http://sourceforge.net/projects/joy2key/]Joy2Key[/url] is an excellent F&OS alternative. It's not as pretty, but I'm fairly confident that it's just as powerful as Xpadder. Several games, like Source, have decent scripting capabilities. This could make controller life easier on you, for example giving you the ability to jump and crouch at the press of one button or maybe temporarily allowing you to change sensitivity at the press of a button. The possibilities are virtually limitless. For source games, a pretty comprehensive introduction can be found [url=http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Scripting]on the official TF2 Wiki[/url]. Example scripts can be found on Gamebanana. My personal scripts can be seen [url=https://dl.dropbox.com/u/7333627/Files/scripts.7z]here[/url].[/QUOTE] Thanks, I'll add this stuff to the OP.
I'm stuck using a 32inch HDTV as a monitor. It works, however there are draw backs. Since it's an older HDTV it suffers burn in more so than modern HDTVs. The resolution it recommends (for good reason because the others look horrid) is 1024x768. But it's basically my lounge room setup. I have everything hooked up to it except cable tv. Though I definitely need a desk. Let's just say my setup is rather haggard.
Added a new CoolerMaster case to the OP. Not sure how it compares to the BitFenix Prodigy, anyone have any idea? Also, can anyone suggest some good MicroATX hardware? I believe the ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M is pretty good as I have the ATX version, but beyond that I'm not too sure. I'm also not sure about cases of that form factor.
I probably could put my PC in our living room, but that requires effort. I have the Logitech EX110 set, I never use the mouse though. Love the keyboard, wireless and haven't had any (big) problems with it. Sometimes likes to disconnect, but that might be a problem with the reciever falling behind my desk. Mouse is fine too, but not for gaming. I require to have two thumb-buttons, this doesn't have them. Also it has that general mouse feeling, it is not comfy in any way. I love the so called gamer mice, as they have a place for your thumb. My father has a nice wireless mouse, Some cheap Trust one. Worked fine for me when I played CS1.6 on his laptop. It breaks after every 2 years, but dropping 15€ every now and then on a comfy and good mouse isn't a big problem. My friend got the same Trust mouse for his PC but it broke like fuckfast for him. But it did work later on his laptop, so I don't know where was the problem with it for him.
[QUOTE=tratzzz;36792755]I probably could put my PC in our living room, but that requires effort. I have the Logitech EX110 set, I never use the mouse though. Love the keyboard, wireless and haven't had any (big) problems with it. Sometimes likes to disconnect, but that might be a problem with the reciever falling behind my desk. Mouse is fine too, but not for gaming. I require to have two thumb-buttons, this doesn't have them. Also it has that general mouse feeling, it is not comfy in any way. I love the so called gamer mice, as they have a place for your thumb. My father has a nice wireless mouse, Some cheap Trust one. Worked fine for me when I played CS1.6 on his laptop. It breaks after every 2 years, but dropping 15€ every now and then on a comfy and good mouse isn't a big problem. My friend got the same Trust mouse for his PC but it broke like fuckfast for him. But it did work later on his laptop, so I don't know where was the problem with it for him.[/QUOTE] Depending on distance and difficulty of routing cables, you could run a long, cheap ebay HDMI cable and some CAT5/6 USB extenders into your lounge from wherever your computer is. Then you can attach a keyboard and mouse (or maybe something like a Logitech K400 keyboard/trackpad and a F710 gamepad if you're only playing casual games). Should work pretty well depending on the distance and what you have to go through to get the cables there.
I have a CAT5 running from my room to the other room, but I think it would be a serious pain in the ass to get a few more cables running to there. I don't even know from where they run, they should all be behind the drywall. The living room was built in 2007 I think and thats when all the cables to there were routed. It would be easier for me to just put my PC to another room. But I do not have any DVI -> HDMI adapters, only DVI -> VGA ones.
I have the Logitech K400 for our HTPC. Its alright for just starting some movies, and a bit browsing. But its choppy and disconnects too much for gaming. The touch pad works like any other touch pad, and the keys are fine too. Its just the connection that falls shortly for us.
One thing. Input lag is basically nonexistent now. Wireless is the fuuutuuure
One thing I find amazing is that really old netbooks can still do 720p. I've set-up a small media centre in my room with a spare HDTV monitor using an Intel Atom with GMA 950 that can play 720p pretty much in real-time. Youtube videos and 1080p are a bit more of an effort. Of course this is all without the following netbooks that started to get like dedicated HD video decoding so it's pretty amazing to me that it can do that. So if you have a fairly old- unused netbook this could be of use. Only downside is you need to purchase CoreAVC which is a highly-optimised video codec that can process 720 with the CPU I believe. But I believe you can also use a free-codec that can also process 720p ([url]http://my.opera.com/rejzor/blog/1080p-hd-video-playback-on-any-netbook-part-2[/url]) definitely check it out. It's pretty nice being able to sit in bed and watch videos. I'm considering a raspbery Pi maybe for 1080p but I'm content for now.
[QUOTE=phuwnaren;36828272]I have the Logitech K400 for our HTPC. Its alright for just starting some movies, and a bit browsing. But its choppy and disconnects too much for gaming. The touch pad works like any other touch pad, and the keys are fine too. Its just the connection that falls shortly for us.[/QUOTE] The idea is to pair it with a gamepad for casual gaming. As you can't navigate Windows desktop with a gamepad, you'll need something to launch games, or change between them. It's really just for browsing and getting things up and running, or other things - for example, in Skyrim, if you want to rename an item you're enchanting, you need to use a keyboard even if you're playing with a gamepad. For actual keyboard/mouse gaming, I'd suggest using wired. [QUOTE=LordCrypto;36829717]One thing. Input lag is basically nonexistent now. Wireless is the fuuutuuure[/QUOTE] Lots of other people's peripherals I've used still have plenty, they're fine for browsing but not for gaming. If you have any suggestions of what works well, let me know and I can put it in the OP.
Set up one of my old tower PCs for this purpose, going to post pictures tomorrow.
[t]http://filesmelt.com/dl/WP_000049.jpg[/t] Monitor and computer tower are in one half of the wardrobe, the PC tower is behind the monitor and cannot be seen when sitting down. I have an android tablet with both an XBMC remote, and a general windows controller allowing me to control the PC without a keyboard and mouse. Also got one of them fancy X Rocker chairs for a discount price, comfy as fuck and means I don't have to make space for speakers in the wardrobe.
[QUOTE=Noss;36881374][t]http://filesmelt.com/dl/WP_000049.jpg[/t] Monitor and computer tower are in one half of the wardrobe, the PC tower is behind the monitor and cannot be seen when sitting down. I have an android tablet with both an XBMC remote, and a general windows controller allowing me to control the PC without a keyboard and mouse. Also got one of them fancy X Rocker chairs for a discount price, comfy as fuck and means I don't have to make space for speakers in the wardrobe.[/QUOTE] Looks nice, especially the chair, but how do you find general Windows browsing? I'd imagine it'd be even harder to read than most setups because of the screen size. Also, has anyone tried Windows 8? Does it have a similar scaling feature? And how does it perform in terms of gaming? I'd imagine the Metro UI would be quite nice for this.
[QUOTE=ProWaffle;36909431]Looks nice, especially the chair, but how do you find general Windows browsing? I'd imagine it'd be even harder to read than most setups because of the screen size. Also, has anyone tried Windows 8? Does it have a similar scaling feature? And how does it perform in terms of gaming? I'd imagine the Metro UI would be quite nice for this.[/QUOTE] Thanks, this is just an XBMC/Netflix machine really, that's why I usually have my laptop and tablet at hand when I'm using it. However, I do have the text size set at 150% so it can be used for light browsing when I decide to get a Logitech K400.
Is it not easier to use a laptop with a 5m+ hdmi cable rather than investing in all these wireless/long range perhiperals? Combined with a bluetooth ps3 controller it's perfect
[QUOTE=Darkimmortal;36929273]Is it not easier to use a laptop with a 5m+ hdmi cable rather than investing in all these wireless/long range perhiperals? Combined with a bluetooth ps3 controller it's perfect[/QUOTE] That's what I used to do, although then you're bringing in all the problems of gaming on a laptop. Works fine if you're not too fussed about graphics or if you're fine with 720p, though. Either way, the ethernet-based adapters for peripherals are cheap, as are HDMI cables, so you can easily adapt current stuff cheaply for it. It doesn't have to be super expensive. I hope that PC gaming moves towards this more in the future - if Valve are serious about their push, I'm sure it'll see more support.
I use a G700 and there is no recognizable input lag. It's your better bet for wireless mouses.
Anyone know of a good way of running games that don't natively support it windowed with no border? I figure it'd be good for games that don't work properly under DPI scaling when fullscreen like Warband.
Steam Big Picture Mode has been released today, so this thread is kind of relevant again - anyone tried it yet? I'm going to once I get home. [editline]928pm[/editline] Tried it out - I cannot recommend it more for anyone with this kind of setup. The web browser is amazing for the viewing distance, and the lotus-style keyboard is brilliant.
I thought I'd bump this thread rather than making a new one. I made a post in the Steam thread in the Valve subforum, though I think it would be more relevant in here. I'm in the middle of building a Steambox / Home Theater PC for $100, which was the target for the rumoured "Cheap" dumb terminal model (Sort of like the Onlive console, except powered by a computer on your network). Since you guys might be interested, I thought I'd write out what my plan is. I bought an older Lenovo small form factor desktop with a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM (Max 8GB), 80GB HDD, a low-profile PCI-E X16 slot for a GPU and a low-profile PCI slot for $75 on eBay.ca. I measured it and it's about as wide and tall as my Original Xbox that I'm currently using with XBMC, though a little deeper. So far, I've installed Windows 7 (Would have used 8, though I've used both keys on my Dreamspark account so far), XBMC, Steam and a few emulators. XBMC is the main interface and starts with the OS. I used Advanced Launcher, an XBMC addon, to start Steam in Big Picture mode and make it really easy to keep track of game ROMs and start them with the appropriate emulator. I haven't tested Big Picture or any games yet since the integrated graphics built into the motherboard are complete ass and I'm waiting on the graphics card I ordered from another eBay seller. For $25, I bought a cheap low-profile 256MB Geforce 8400GS, it's not an amazing card though it can be upgraded later. The TV my dad and I use right now is a 27" CRT, so the card shouldn't have problems with SDTV resolutions. When I get a job this summer, one of the first things that I'm going to buy is an LCD TV and shortly after that, I will upgrade the GPU to something like a Radeon 6670 or any card that's faster, has HDMI and will fit in the low-profile PCI-E slot. XBMC is set to grab all of my media from the server that I have tucked away in the basement, so the 80GB HDD isn't an issue. If I do find that I'm using more hard drive space than I thought I would, there's an eSATA port on the back that I can use for a speedy external hard drive enclosure. Here's what I have so far: [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/LjYe8ya.jpg[/IMG] I'm just using a spare 15" LCD monitor for testing right now, since the integrated graphics are VGA only. I've tried playing back 1080p video and it seems to run smoothly, Minecraft runs at about 25FPS and the two emulators I have on it (Project64 and Visual Boy Advanced). There's a few different ways of controlling it. The main way is using the Logitech K400, which works great. The second way is the PS3 controller using [URL="http://www.motioninjoy.com/"]Motioninjoy[/URL], and the last way is pretty much XBMC-only, though it's an IR TV remote through the [URL="http://flirc.tv/"]Flirc[/URL].
Nice job on the software setup, that's a nice little case you have too. I'm planning on setting up my HTPC (Cased in an Elite 120) to boot straight in to XBMC, and have Steam start up like you made it. All within linux, though. I want to use my Nex.7 as a remote for XBMC using the official Remote app, but it doesn't work too well at the moment. All of the content in my house is streamed from a NAS I keep in my room, far better than local, noisy storage. I don't plan to include any kind of keyboard, I want to control it solely over SSH.
Ah yes, I forgot about the XBMC Remote app on my phone. It seems to work pretty well, though I have the computer set with a static IP. I also have RDP enabled for when I want to manage it using a real keyboard and mouse, though I used the policy editor to allow me to use it without a password. Super insecure, though I don't have the port forwarded on my router for that machine, so I should be fine.
I run XP MCE on an Athlon XP 3000+ and Geforce 6800 ShuttleX system. I find myself using it more for streaming video and music form my server or online. Minecraft used to run on it but not since the beta.
I use the XBMC app on my iPad to control my HTPC's. I really enjoy the app, really easy to navigate large movie databases. I've got two identical HTPC's, ZOTAC D2700ITXS-A-E Intel Atom D2700, NVIDIA ION Mini-ITX board 4GB DDR3 Corsair Nova Series 2 30GB SSD Bluray Drive Silverstone HTPC Case Custom modified IR receiver drilled and taped into the front panel of the case. They pull their data off my home server I built at the same time, the server is a small Mini-ITX Atom setup with a high quality PSU and 5TB of storage in a generic micro-ATX case housed in my office closet. I also each computer is controlled by Logitech Harmony One remotes and Apple Bluetooth keyboards when required. Also one is hooked up to my living room 55" Samsung 5 series and the other is setup on my Bedroom 60" Panasonic Viera Plasma both at 1080p. I'm really curious to see how some games perform on the ION builds, I've installed steam on one of the rigs just to see the big picture thing, but I don't really ever plan on gaming with either system, even casual couch gaming.
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