How to build a console: our ultimate living room game machine ...

320 28/09/2021

1. Choosing the right hardware

If you want a small computer, there's only one choice: Mini-ITX. This tiny motherboard format lets you build a full-power PC using a board that measures a maximum of 170x170mm.

Of course, this means that you can use smaller cases. For this build, we've gone for the Silverstone Raven RVZ01-E. Although tiny, it has two major advantages over many other Mini-ITX cases: it can take a full-size(ish) ATX PSU and a full-size, double-height graphics card.

Now, there are some space constraints. In particular, while the case can take a 150mm deep PSU, that leaves barely any room for cables.A 140mm deep PSU gives a lot more room, so we've chosen a 550W Silverstone SST-ST55F-G v 2.0. As this PSU is fully modular, we only need connect the cables we're using, which saves a bit more space inside and makes the build even easier.

Any current generation graphics card less than 330mmwill fit in the case, so we've gone for an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (ROG STRIX-GTX1080-A8G-GAMING); if you want to save a bit of cash or just want 1440p or 1080p gaming, the GeForce GTX 1060 is a good alternative.

We opted for the Asus ROG STRIX Z270I motherboard, as it will take the latest Intel processors (Kaby Lake) and has an M.2 storage slot, which can save a lot of space inside the case.

We paired it with an Intel Core i7-7700 processor, although you could arguably use an i5-7500.

If you're going for a lower-power graphics card, the Core i3-7100 is an excellent choice.

We used 8GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2,400MHz RAM, as 16GB is overkill.

There's not a lot of room for cooling in this case, so we went with a basic Akasa AK-959CU; you can fit liquid cooling, as the case has a spare 120mm fan slot.

An M.2 SSD, such as the Samsung 960 Pro, is a good option, with capacities up to 2TB. This will give you the best performance and means that you won’t need SATA cables inside the case.

These drives are expensive, though, and a regular SATA3 SSD will do the job if you want to save a bit of cash. In either case, buy at least a 500GB drive (or thereabouts), so you have enough room for Windows 10 and all of your games.

Finally, we also used an Xbox One controller with a Windows 10 USB receiver. This gives the best compatibility with games and can be used to wake your computer automatically from sleep.

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