How to build the ultimate Steam Machine on any budget today

Our budget build is as low as you can go. We scoured the web for the least expensive components and the result is - we think - the cheapest, functional steam machine that money could buy.

At £225 (around US$336 or AUS$440), we've beaten the price of every official Steam Machine announced so far by a third - no mean feat. The cheapest official Steam Machine coming to market in November - the iBuyPower SBX - is listed as $459 in the US. That translates to about £310 (around US$463, or AUS$407) in UK notes.

In reality you can expect the actual shipping price of the SBX Steam Machine to be closer to £400 (around US$597 or AUS$782) once you factor in VAT and other extras. You'd have to wait until November for the SBX though. You could have the Techradar Bargain Beauty build tomorrow.

The Bargain Beauty build specs and cost

CiT defender

  • CPU - Intel i3 4330 3.6Ghz (£88 / around US$131 or AUS$172)
  • Graphics - Onboard GFX - Intel HD 4600 (£0)
  • Motherboard - GigaByte H91M-S2PV (£36, around US$58 or AUS$70)
  • Storage - Toshiba 500GB 7200RPM (£31, around US$51 or AUS$61)
  • RAM - 4GB Kingston Value (£23, around US$34 or AUS$45)
  • Case - CiT Defender Case (£33, around US$55 or AUS$58)
  • PSU - 500w built-in (£0)
  • WiFi - TP-Link Wi-Fi Adapter (£7, around US$10 or AUS$14)
  • CPU Fan - Stock (£7, around US$10 or AUS$14)
  • Total = (£225, around US$336 or AUS$440)

Minimum gains

Keep in mind that to stay on budget we've cut corners that you'd usually be crazy to touch. It scrapes the bottom of the spec with minimal RAM and uses one of the cheapest mobos we could realistically get away with. But the clearest indication that we've gone absolutely bonkers is that there's no graphics card.

Far Cry 4

It'll run Far Cry 4, just dial down the settings...

Yes, we're relying totally on Intel's integrated 4600 HD Graphics to fling pixels and polygons at you fast enough. Still, this build should give you enough power to run a good percentage of current (and last generation) games. We've seen Watch Dogs, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Far Cry 4 and others run on Intel 4600 - so we know it's do-able. It's just not desirable, especially with just 4GB of RAM.

Too poor for your blood? You could throw a budget Geforce GT 730 into the mix (at around £60 - around US$90 or AUS$176) and still have change from £300 (around US$448 or AUS$587). And that's the saving grace of the Bargain Beauty build; there's room for expansion. If the buds of post-recession growth have yet to reach you - this is a do-able foundation you can add to later.