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Building a Game capable PC to connect to TV

SlickShoesSlickShoes Member UncommonPosts: 1,019

Hi folks ( and quizzical since you live here)

I have been gaming on a laptop for many years now since I don't have the space in my house for a dedicated gaming desk area.

Now I am thinking of ditching my expensive laptop and gaming on a PC from the comfort of the sofa. I have a 32" full HD TV, and my living room is very small, I only sit around 1.5m from the TV so i think this is ideal distance to use the setup for gaming. The TV has all the relevant connections I would need too.

I would be looking to build something for around £500 not including mechanical HDD and DVD drive (have those already) but I would need a relatively small case as I do not want to take up too much room in the already crowded TV unit.

Can anyone recommend me a good but compact case?

Also if anyone else has a set up like this, where do you put the mouse? do you use some sort of tray? 

When I game on my laptop I use the arm of the couch but from that angle I can't see the TV so I would need some sort of tray? set up to balance the KB+mouse.

If anyone has a set up like this and can offer some advice I would be very grateful!

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Comments

  • plutosamsplutosams Member UncommonPosts: 50
    I wouldn't say I have a small case, but I built an HTPC for my hdtv.  Head to newegg, they have a bunch of different htpc case options.  I have a wireless keyboard and mouse that work just fine for MMOs.  I would be a bit worried for FPS games, but for MMOs it is fine.  I just put the keyboard on my lap and have a piece of cardboard that I use as a mousepad.  The only problem I have encountered is when games have a high level of detail you need to be able to read (RTS games); as long as I am closer than 1m they are playable...further away and those type of games are hard to play.  On this set-up I play TSW, GW2, Skyrim, etc. just fine and can read everything in chat.  The biggest thing you have to do in this set-up is find that "magic resolution" where things are readable, but still have enough detail.  
  • simonwest80simonwest80 Member Posts: 173
    Why not just hook your laptop up to the TV, and purchase a wireless keyboard and mouse?  I dont know enough about SFF (small form factor) cases, to give you much advice on them.
  • SlickShoesSlickShoes Member UncommonPosts: 1,019
    Originally posted by simonwest80
    Why not just hook your laptop up to the TV, and purchase a wireless keyboard and mouse?  I dont know enough about SFF (small form factor) cases, to give you much advice on them.

    I am going to do that when I get home to try out steams big screen mode, but I can buy a GOOD laptop for general use and build a gaming PC for the same price or less than what most gaming laptops will cost.

    The main drawback for me is solving the keyboard+mouse problem, since it's not comfortable using the sofa(and its not flat enough) I'd need some sort of tray, so then I am sitting on the sofa with a big tray that's probably bigger than my laptop used to be. The main + point is that the computer I can build is much more powerful and upgradeable than a laptop.

    I am really just thinking out loud, but i'd like to hear from other folk that have done it!

    image
  • GeekyBastrdGeekyBastrd Member UncommonPosts: 64
    Silverstone makes great SFF cases but they can really bust your budget.  I love the Sugo S05.  The Bitfenix Prodigy looks really nice also.  As for a lapdesk, I use the LapGear 45492 Deluxe.  
  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 6,433

    I'd suggest trying if you can adapt to a trackball mouse, it's much more easier to place as you don't need to move it around.

     
  • SlickShoesSlickShoes Member UncommonPosts: 1,019
    Originally posted by Vrika

    I'd suggest trying if you can adapt to a trackball mouse, it's much more easier to place as you don't need to move it around.

    I have had people suggest this before, how accurate etc is it? I always thought it was about on par with using a touchpad but surely it's better than that?

    image
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,060


    Originally posted by SlickShoes

    Originally posted by Vrika I'd suggest trying if you can adapt to a trackball mouse, it's much more easier to place as you don't need to move it around.
    I have had people suggest this before, how accurate etc is it? I always thought it was about on par with using a touchpad but surely it's better than that?

    Much better than a touchpad, but it takes a bit of getting used to. People who are used to them can use them as accurately (if not more so) than a mouse.

    That being said, I have a HTPC that I leave hooked up to my PC. It's more or less just for media, but every now and then I'll try out a game or two on it and it does ok. A full blown SFF PC would have a lot more horsepower and useful life (mainly because you can use a full video card, and swap it out in a couple of years to keep it current, my HTPC is using integrated graphics now). It sits on my shelf next to my stereo and PS3, and is hooked up via HDMI.

    I have a cheap lap desk that I use when I am doing more than just starting a video - it's comfortable enough for an hour or two, but past that and I really miss my desk and chair. Some games (FFXI, a couple of others) were ok with using an XBox controller on the PC and that worked really well (aside from having to set it down to type) -but that varies greatly from game to game - not all games have native controller support, and not all games lend themselves to translating to a controller well. In this world of console ports - most single player games don't have a problem, but a lot of MMOs are really designed for the mouse/keyboard.

    That being said, I have also used a laptop on the TV, and just kept a longer HDMI cable draped around the TV where I could reach it easily. A Bluetooth (or RF, but that will take a small USB dongle you will need to plug in) wireless mouse/keyboard make that an easy task - just plug in your laptop to the HDMI and to the wall.

    When I build my next computer, I am greatly tempted to make a SFF PC with an emphasis on noise reduction - I don't know how much horsepower I'll pack into it (or be able to), but it would be nice having something near silent that puts of not a lot of heat I could leave hooked up to the TV, but easily enough pull it out and take it to the office or let the kid take it to his grandparents, and not have to sacrifice being able to upgrade the video later on.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,118

    You don't just buy a case in isolation.  A lot depends on what hardware you want to put inside it.  Are you thinking of a low power system with integrated graphics, or do you want a powerful discrete video card, too?

    Also, are you going to try for an extra small case with a Mini ITX motherboard, or do you want to go a bit larger with Micro ATX?

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,118
    Originally posted by SlickShoes
    Originally posted by Vrika

    I'd suggest trying if you can adapt to a trackball mouse, it's much more easier to place as you don't need to move it around.

    I have had people suggest this before, how accurate etc is it? I always thought it was about on par with using a touchpad but surely it's better than that?

    From how the technology works, I don't see any reason why a trackball should be less accurate than a "normal" mouse.  My dad had a trackball about 15-20 years ago that worked much better than any touchpad I've ever used.  I'd assume that trackballs have gotten much better since then, too, for the same reasons as normal mice:  moving from a ball and rollers to lasers.

    The intrinsic problem with touchpads is that you can't do precise movements with them.  Human fingers are big, and how much of the finger is touching the touchpad and pressing how hard naturally varies.

    With normal mice, on the other hand, you can point a laser at a surface that can track very precisely how far the mouse moved, often with a precision of less than 1/1000 of an inch.  With a touchpad, you can't get anywhere near that degree of precision.  The width of how much of your finger is touching the touchpad surely varies far more than that.

    A trackball can do the same thing that a normal mouse does:  shine a laser on a surface and see how far the surface moved.  The trackball has an additional advantage over normal mice, too:  while a mouse has to work with whatever surface you give it, a trackball gets to choose its surface.  This usually isn't a problem for decent laser mice unless you're stupid about trying to use a transparent or reflective surface.  But a trackball can choose the ball that the laser points at to be something that will play nicely with the laser.

  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 3,231

    I have my pc plugged to my 47" hdtv. The case is big so it sits next to the tv unit, I have an extension for my kb wire so it can follow the wall so it goes behind the couch and under.

    When im sitting at the couch I just tuck the wire under and keep the kb on my lap. I do the same thing for my mouse which I use right on the couchs right  arm rest, when I'm playing mmos I tend to just put use a mouse on the arm rest for more accurace.

     

    One thing to watch out for though is the writing will be very small so I tend to have "make text and other items smaller or larger" in the screen resolution window at 150%.

     

    Also I use a laptop cart for when I don't feel like leaning back into the couch and wan't to assume a "work position", you just need to check the height of your couch to get one that allows for a comfy fit. I take the wheels of my cart to make it just right. It also server as a small taable when i feel like eating in front of the tv lol

    http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/Mainstays+Laptop+Cart/142255

    Brenics ~ Just to point out I do believe Chris Roberts is going down as the man who cheated backers and took down crowdfunding for gaming.





  • ToxiaToxia Member UncommonPosts: 1,308
    Originally posted by Asm0deus

    I have my pc plugged to my 47" hdtv. The case is big so it sits next to the tv unit, I have an extension for my kb wire so it can follow the wall so it goes behind the couch and under.

    When im sitting at the couch I just tuck the wire under and keep the kb on my lap. I do the same thing for my mouse which I use right on the couchs right  arm rest, when I'm playing mmos I tend to just put use a mouse on the arm rest for more accurace.

     

    One thing to watch out for though is the writing will be very small so I tend to have "make text and other items smaller or larger" in the screen resolution window at 150%.

     

    Also I use a laptop cart for when I don't feel like leaning back into the couch and wan't to assume a "work position", you just need to check the height of your couch to get one that allows for a comfy fit. I take the wheels of my cart to make it just right. It also server as a small taable when i feel like eating in front of the tv lol

    http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/Mainstays+Laptop+Cart/142255

    Same cart i use lol. Even took the wheels off as well. Pretty dang sturdy too!

    I hop in my office chair if doing an fps or something, otherwise for mmo's its laid back and big screen and beer.

    The Deep Web is sca-ry.

  • phantomghostphantomghost Member UncommonPosts: 737

    Well depending on your game choice... you could always use a trackball.. I have always found them more convenient... and the ones they have come out with now include the mouse wheel... you would not need to move it at all so you could put really anywhere.

     

    Maybe for a keyboard buy a tray thing.. nothing that sits on the floor but something you could put on your lap to put the keyboard.

     

    In reality from the sounds of it, it is not going to be the most optimized set up.  It would really just be a matter of finding something that is comfortable to you.  You might even be able to use one of those roll up keyboard if they work for you... or use a  pillow to put keyboard on.

     

    One reason I never use my laptop.. is not comfortable to me...

     

    What I did was I have a desk with gaming keyboard and all that... and will play at my desk if it is something I need to pay attention to.

     

    But I bought a swivel tv wall mount so I can move my tv whatever direction I want.  Then I can turn it towards couch or my bed.  Got wireless keyboard and mouse for that.  I also will sometimes just bring my laptop over (also hooked up to tv wirelessly) can play games, watch movies tv... etc.  Really doesn't take up much space... just small desk space but I can use my computer any where in the room except behind the tv...

     

     


  • miguksarammiguksaram Member UncommonPosts: 835
    Originally posted by Ridelynn

     


    Originally posted by SlickShoes

    Originally posted by Vrika I'd suggest trying if you can adapt to a trackball mouse, it's much more easier to place as you don't need to move it around.
    I have had people suggest this before, how accurate etc is it? I always thought it was about on par with using a touchpad but surely it's better than that?

     

    Much better than a touchpad, but it takes a bit of getting used to. People who are used to them can use them as accurately (if not more so) than a mouse.

    That being said, I have a HTPC that I leave hooked up to my PC. It's more or less just for media, but every now and then I'll try out a game or two on it and it does ok. A full blown SFF PC would have a lot more horsepower and useful life (mainly because you can use a full video card, and swap it out in a couple of years to keep it current, my HTPC is using integrated graphics now). It sits on my shelf next to my stereo and PS3, and is hooked up via HDMI.

    I have a cheap lap desk that I use when I am doing more than just starting a video - it's comfortable enough for an hour or two, but past that and I really miss my desk and chair. Some games (FFXI, a couple of others) were ok with using an XBox controller on the PC and that worked really well (aside from having to set it down to type) -but that varies greatly from game to game - not all games have native controller support, and not all games lend themselves to translating to a controller well. In this world of console ports - most single player games don't have a problem, but a lot of MMOs are really designed for the mouse/keyboard.

    That being said, I have also used a laptop on the TV, and just kept a longer HDMI cable draped around the TV where I could reach it easily. A Bluetooth (or RF, but that will take a small USB dongle you will need to plug in) wireless mouse/keyboard make that an easy task - just plug in your laptop to the HDMI and to the wall.

    When I build my next computer, I am greatly tempted to make a SFF PC with an emphasis on noise reduction - I don't know how much horsepower I'll pack into it (or be able to), but it would be nice having something near silent that puts of not a lot of heat I could leave hooked up to the TV, but easily enough pull it out and take it to the office or let the kid take it to his grandparents, and not have to sacrifice being able to upgrade the video later on.

    I recently built a SFF (mATX) system that is every bit as powerful as my full ATX system.  I'm almost jealous of the system considering how quite (dead silence) it runs and still remains well within acceptable thermal levels even at full load and overclocked.  I posted some pics recently under the stickies if you were interested to see how much power you pack into these SFF systems.   Here are some of the benchmarks (I also tested in MANY DX9/DX10/DX11 games and the results are quite accurate) if you are interested:

    3DMark11  http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/4675176

    3DVantage http://www.3dmark.com/3dmv/4349700

  • SlickShoesSlickShoes Member UncommonPosts: 1,019
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    You don't just buy a case in isolation.  A lot depends on what hardware you want to put inside it.  Are you thinking of a low power system with integrated graphics, or do you want a powerful discrete video card, too?

    Also, are you going to try for an extra small case with a Mini ITX motherboard, or do you want to go a bit larger with Micro ATX?

    Probably looking at Micro ATX, I don't want tiny size with integrated graphics I would like to be able to fit 1 full size video card inside. So yeah something smaller than your regular full tower but larger than a shuttle case or HTPC set up.

    I'm thinking of doing this because I feel that constantly spending upwards of £1000 on laptops is just not really worth it.

    image
  • miguksarammiguksaram Member UncommonPosts: 835
    Originally posted by SlickShoes
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    You don't just buy a case in isolation.  A lot depends on what hardware you want to put inside it.  Are you thinking of a low power system with integrated graphics, or do you want a powerful discrete video card, too?

    Also, are you going to try for an extra small case with a Mini ITX motherboard, or do you want to go a bit larger with Micro ATX?

    Probably looking at Micro ATX, I don't want tiny size with integrated graphics I would like to be able to fit 1 full size video card inside. So yeah something smaller than your regular full tower but larger than a shuttle case or HTPC set up.

    I'm thinking of doing this because I feel that constantly spending upwards of £1000 on laptops is just not really worth it.

    Rather than write out a long response I'll just recommend you check out the following forum:

    http://hardforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=102

    You will see there are a number of SFF system enthusiasts there that have provided build logs for the their various systems.  What size you decide on is of course ultimately up to your needs but even a mini ITX build can provide a VERY powerful system that doesn't have to constrained by thermal issues when you take the time to think it out beforehand.

  • DOGMA1138DOGMA1138 Member UncommonPosts: 476

    For normal controls i actually use my cellphone, toch screen as a touch pad, and a wireless keyboard when i need it too(Over wifi/bluetooth).

    For regular "TV" stuff i just wrote a small control app for XBMC trough the HTTP API it has.

    There is also an official app for that, but it lacked some of the functions i wanted when i was setting it up like 2 years ago.

     

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