Unboxed: Steiger Dynamics Gaming Home Theater PC

Continuing with the theme of reviewing Steiger Dynamics Gaming Home Theater PC from my first thoughts and ordering the HTPC “I just ordered a new HTPC from Steiger Dynamics”.

20130709_142326FedEx just delivered the HTPC, let’s look and see what personal touches Steiger Dynamic’s has included. When I first open the box there was another box inside. This box was well packed. Upon opening the second box, there is a binder right on top which includes your software and tells how your rig is setup. One of the items that impressed me was the handwritten manufactures log – which shows the build process and the benchmarks when they finished the build.

Chassis CompareAs I had mentioned in  “I just ordered a new HTPC from Steiger Dynamics” I just absolutely love the aluminum case with the Samsung display in it. This alone adds 800 USD to the cost of the system. Because of a tight budget, Martin Hehensteiger suggested the Silverstone Chassis Grandia GD07. This chassis is smaller and since I ordered a EVGA GeForce GTX 780 this limits the amount of hard drives that will fit into the system. After taking the PC out of the box and reading the well written user manual. I opened the Silverstone chassis to remove the foam and review the hardware ordered on the system. This Lockable front door and power button ensure security of system and drives.

20130710_182025Under the front door is a “Handcrafted  by” Martin Hehensteiger badge which truly makes this feel like a custom HTPC.  Also with the handwritten manufacturers log, I can tell that Steiger Dynamics engineers have a passion for building and testing HTPC’s with lot of attention to detail.

Below is more images from the unboxing of the Steiger Dynamics custom build.

I just ordered a new HTPC from Steiger Dynamics

While researching for a new PC I read a tweet from Jason Evangelho about Steiger Dynamics. My first impressions about the Liquid Cooled Gaming Home Theater PC were “wow” this looks cool it has a vintage/retro look to it. I absolutely loved the silver aluminum case with the 7” Samsung display on the front. I immediately requested a quote with the following specs:

Nivida Geforce GTX 780 http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-780
Asus Haswell motherboard http://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Z87A/
Asus Remote Go which should be included on the motherboard
Intell i7-4770K Haswel http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116901
Now here is the kicker I want this under 2,000 dollars US

I was really surprised when the co-founder Martin Hehensteiger emailed me back to discuss this build. His attention to detail, knowledge and getting the right build was great – truly impressive. Because of my budget constraint Martin told me I could reduce my cost by going with a different chassis. After he had discussed my requirements with one of their own engineers. Martin said that “ Haswell has zero performance and temperature advantages over Ivy Bridge. And it is more expensive. Haswell was mainly developed for Laptops with improved embedded graphics performance, but since you plan to use a dedicated graphics card anyway, this becomes irrelevant.” Martin then gave me a some choice’s between the Haswell and the Ivy Bridge.

The final build:
Ivy Bridge
Chassis: Silverstone Grandia GD07 Black
Motherboard: Asus P877 V
Processor: Intel i7-3770K 4-core, 3.5/3.9 GHz Turbo, 8 MB L3
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-1866
Graphics Card: EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 SC w/ ACX Cooler 3GB
System Drive: 250 GB Samsung 840 SSD
Cooling: Silverstone NT06 Pro Aluminum Aircooler
Power Supply: Seasonic Platinum 860
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit

Granted I did not get the Silver case, the liquid cooling or the Intell Haswell i7 processor. I did however get a phenomenal PC at just a little over 2,000 USD.

One of the things about reviewing PC’s is journalist just tell about the product not the overall experience of ordering the product. This is why I am writing about Steiger Dynamics. Most PC company’s just send their product in to be reviewed. This hardware is usually on the high end and not what is listed on site. Doing a review about boutique PC builders is about custom from the purchase to the unboxing, doing the benchmarks after receiving the PC to how it is doing after having it for 6 months.

Okay here we go again WordPress or a blog engine based on .NET

My choice for a blog engine has been Graffiti CMS. Since I had taken a year off to remodel our house and build a new studio/office in my home I have not done much posting or updating of my site. Just a little on twitter. I started the other day by asking this question over on codeplex: Who is using Graffiti CMS?http://graffiticms.codeplex.com/discussions/261048  In which I got a great response from Jeremy Hodges () from Orcsweb. With Charles Boyung (@charlesboyung) commenting on the direction and support of Graffiti CMS this is starting as a good disscusion of where Graffiti CMS is headed. Till I get new server set up I am going to play around with Posterous and WordPress some. I have some thinking to do – should I move my blog over as Jeff Sandquist (@jeffsand) did http://www.jeffsandquist.com/is-this-thing-on/ Where I can still host the site on Windows as he did whcih is still a Microsoft solution or use Graffiti CMS or some other .NET solution.