Guide: create your own Steam Machine

SteamOSLxA

We have already seen some Steam Machine, a leisure center and game console that has nothing to envy to Sony's PlayStation machines or Microsoft's Xbox, and of course not to Nintendo's Wii. The prices of the Steam Machines that we have seen are very uneven, from about $ 500 to 1000 and something, it all depends on the manufacturer and the hardware that they integrate, since Valve has allowed these machines to be built by anyone.

The Steam Machine is a hybrid between a console and a personal computer and therefore not much more difficult to assemble than the latter. That is why in this article we will teach you how to assemble your own console and assembled according to our needs and budget, yes, never with hardware below the requirements recommended by Valve for its SteamOS distribution so that the system works properly:

  • CPU: Intel or AMD 64-bit
  • GPU: NVIDIA, Intel, or AMD (Radeon 8500 or better)
  • RAM: 4GB or more
  • HDD: HDD or SSD of at least 500GB.
  • Others- Internet connection, USB and UEFI ports.

At these specifications, we will have to add those of the video games we want to play, since if one of the games exceeds these specifications it must be satisfied. What I recommend is that you select the most powerful game from the list of games available on Steam for the Steam Machine you want to play and that is your minimum, since I would put a little higher hardware in case new titles come that we do not know. quickly become obsolete.

Hardware mounting guide:

Box

In LxA we have chosen a specific hardware, but this is not an obligation, the guide is indicative and you can modify it according to your needs or to save us money in terms of other official options. For example, in my case, my preferred game is Dying Light and for that I would need the recommended requirements of a 3Ghz quad-core CPU from AMD or Intel, 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 GPU or a 7900GB AMD Radeon 2 VRAM, and a hard drive with at least 20GB of free space.

As we can see, both the CPU, GPU and RAM exceed the minimum requirements of SteamOS, so the hardware must be more powerful than the one previously exposed. In my case I have also chosen a special box that gives the feeling of a console. You can browse the websites of the manufacturers of towers and barebones, etc. Some options are the Raven RVZ01, Lian-Li PC-Q19, Ante ISK 310, Chieflec FI-01W-U3, ... I have finally opted for the Chieflec and now we adjust the rest of the components to this case (since it has a factor mini-ITX and does not work an ATX motherboard, etc.):

Products Price range
Chieflec FI-01W-U3 box €69.90
Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI ITX Motherboard €104.90
AMD A10-7850K QuadCore 3.700 Ghz APU €127
Integrated Radeon R7 Series GPU (not the best choice but this configuration does not allow another ...)
RAM Corsair DDR3 16GB €98.90
HDD WD 1TB Blue SATA €80
Optical Reader BD / DVD / CD LG GH12NS30 €60
HDMI Cable €7
Steam Controller 54.99 € (Pre-purchase and Portal 2 and Rocket League gift)

*You can use a keyboard and mouse that you already have to make the appropriate configurations, so you save buying these components. And we will use our TV in the living room for the screen.

All this for just under € 600 and with pretty good hardware for most of the current video games found on Steam. It would be a good idea to beef up the graphics with a dedicated GPU by investing a little more in this regard. You can modify it as I said, you can opt for an Intel configuration if you wish, but the problem is that since it does not have a dedicated GPU, the Intel HD graphics do not convince me as much as the integrated AMD Radeon ...

 

Steam OS installation and configuration guide:

SteamOS screen

Once we have our equipment assembled, we only need the software part. PTo finish our homemade Steam Machine, we are going to install SteamOS:

  1. Download SteamOS
  2. We format a Flash drive of at least 4GB in FAT32 format and we put the label name SYSRESTORES. You can do it from the Windows, Mac OS X formatting options or from the Linux console (or using a graphical tool like GParted).
  3. Unzip the ZIP downloaded with the SteamOS image and copy it to the pendrive.
  4. Now we connect our pen on the Steam Machine and start it up.
  5. Just turn it on we access the BIOS pressing a key (see the manual of the motherboard you have chosen, normally you can use the Del key, F8, F11, F12,…). And once inside.
  6. We must select in the Boot menu the priority of the drives, in this case, to find the system on our USB drive (USB UEFI option). If we see that it does not appear, we must activate the UEFI system within the BIOS. You can see all this in detail in your motherboard manual if you don't know how, since it may vary depending on the brand of your BIOS / UEFI (Award, Phoenix, AMI,…).
  7. Now we save the changes we have made and exit, which will produce a reset of our system. And now we will be attentive to choose Restore Entire Disk in the menu that appears.
  8. We wait for SteamOS to be installed And when it shuts down and starts up again, we'll have our homemade Steam Machine ready to start having fun.
  9. You can log in with your Steam accountIf you don't have it, you can go to the Valve Steam website and create it. This way you will have all the games you bought, if you already have any ...
  10. And the last and most important step: Have fun! 

Please don't forget to leave your comments, doubts or suggestions. All will be welcome.


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  1.   Javier said

    I would change the box for the silverstone rvz02 (that you can mount an independent dedicated card)
    a good food source
    AMD r9 390 dedicated card which is the most expensive you would take and that equipment gives you to play absolutely everything for years

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Hello,

      Of course, as I say in the article it is only indicative. There are a thousand possibilities ... What you say is a very good option to achieve more graphic performance. What I was looking for here was to lower the price.

      A greeting!

      1.    Javier said

        Not if I will mount almost 100% as you have put it ((which is what I had in mind)) but the advantage that I put is that when you can you can put the graphic card and so you already have a powerful team XD is the advantage from that box

  2.   xusof said

    Very good article and with very detailed instructions.
    Some time ago I was looking to build a SteamOs. My question is about the compatibility of the games.
    A SteamOs is still a linux or, on the contrary, is it a very good distro that allows running all Steam games?

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Hello,

      There are many games on Steam for Linux, in principle it supports those. If you also want to play Windows you could use Wine and Play on Linux.

      A greeting!

  3.   NeoRanger said

    Yes or does it have to be with UEFI? Could it not be and that it is on Legacy or SteamOS does not accept it as a valid option to install?

    Greetings.

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Hello,

      Very good question. The truth is that not all versions of SteamOS support Legacy mode. If it is true that it has been added to the latest to support non-UEFI, it would only be a matter of finding out about the support of your specific version. But I think that with the latest versions there would be no problem.

      A greeting!

  4.   ubaldonet said

    Why the WD Purple Disc Line? I thought it was more focused for CCTV recording, and the red one for NAS, a Black series disk would not be more focused on the case or better to use SSD, I would save the optical reader and install it for a pen, those 60 would complete a better hard drive already with 140, maybe a hybrid one.

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Hello,

      In the end I have modified it to a Blue. The Purple series is intended for video recording as you say. And an SSD ... if you can afford it, but the price would skyrocket.

      Another option is to combine a smaller capacity SSD and an HDD, but considering the dimensions of the case and the heat dissipation, perhaps you could also opt for a single SSHD drive (SSD + HDD) from Seagate ...

      As I say there are a thousand possibilities.

      Greetings and thank you!

  5.   mircocaloghero said

    What good info, and what a good follow-up of comments from Isaac PE
    It is a pleasure to read both the note and the comments.

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Thanks! For that we are…

      A greeting!