Steiger Dynamics LEET Home Theater PC


Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,635

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Quietest PC I’ve ever used
Impeccable build quality
High-end A/V gear gorgeous looks
Minus
Incredibly expensive
Still a PC, which scares some people

THE VERDICT
A stunningly silent, built-like-a-tank, ultimate HTPC.

I am a vocal supporter of the home theater PC, a computer that lives in your home theater or media room. While not for everyone, HTPCs offer incredible access to content for your enjoyment. This includes games, of course, but also media streaming, Web pages, and personal video/audio libraries. Sure, you can get most of that through other devices, but often not as easily or well.

I’ve built more than my fair share of HTPCs over the years, some documented for this very magazine. (OK, technically, for Home Theater, but we’re all one big happy family now). My Wood HTPC was especially amusing (check it out here). But I’ve come to realize that my building skills (woodworking or otherwise) lack a certain level of…I’m not sure of the word…quality? Some things are best left to the professionals. Case in point, Steiger.

Steiger Dynamics is a small company that specializes in custom-built HTPCs. The fit and finish are that of a good luxury product. You can specify what hardware you want, and they’ll build a PC to match. The company sells a wide range of packages, with starter systems that begin around $999 in their Maven lineup and go up from there—way up, especially in their LEET Reference family, tested here. We spec’d a top-of-the-line review sample, of course, because…why not?

A Case to Behold
The case and build quality are two of the main reasons to get a pre-built HTPC. After all, the parts inside you can buy yourself (mostly). The case of Steiger’s LEET configuration is incredible. It looks, and is built, more like a high-end amp or pre/pro than a computer. The anodized aluminum chassis is one piece, feeling higher in quality than a lot of A/V gear I’ve reviewed. The 7-inch dimmable front LCD screen can display a variety of data like CPU usage, internal temperature, and a clock. LEDs (which can be turned off) illuminate the interior to show off the impeccable (custom-made) cable and tube management through the clear top panel.

Ah yes, the tubes. You’d expect liquid cooling at this price, but here it’s on a whole other level. It’s not just that the CPU and the GPU are liquid-cooled; the radiators that vent the heat look like they came out of a car. One runs nearly the length of the case, is an inch thick, and has two big 120mm fans blowing out the side. Another radiator, on the back, is half as long, the same thickness, and has one 120mm fan.

714steiger.bac.jpg

Here’s what all of that means: This thing is quiet. From 8 feet away (on my sofa), I could just barely make it out when there was nothing else running in the room. It’s no louder than my DVR. On full throttle, running a game at 4K, you can hear the fans, but it’s still quieter than other PCs I’ve used and probably quieter than what’s going on in the game itself.

Noise is one of the main reasons why an HTPC can be so annoying; adding its song to the hum of a room (thank the loud fans) isn’t something many people will put up with. But the Steiger LEET shows how you do quiet with a bunch of powerful pieces that would literally cook themselves to death without adequate cooling. For ambitious DIY-ers Steiger even sells the LEET case separately, starting at $799. From there, you can add on the parts you want (LED lighting, cooling, etc.). The actual computer bits, beginning with the motherboard, are all up to you.

The Setup
Customarily, when I’m using my own HTPC, I’m in the middle of my couch, with the keyboard on my left (partly over my left leg) and the mouse and a rigid mousepad on my right. It’s fantastically comfortable—for me, anyway.

For a little more stability in your HTPCing, Steiger sells the Couchmaster cushions from $139 (see photo below). These consist of a rigid table surface that rests on two thickly padded arm cushions. Think of two big chair armrests with a board spanning them—except it’s all very posh, straddle-wrapped in synthetic leather, with wrist cushions, cable management, and pockets. I found it a bit excessive, but it’s certainly more regal than my slouchfest of a setup.

Of course, casual users who aren’t hardcore gamers might just go with a wireless keyboard/touchpad combo, or use a tablet or smartphone with a third-party media manager or remote desktop app. But either way, a word of warning: With any computer usage, but especially while sitting on a couch, you’re at risk of causing strain to something, more so with long gaming sessions. Something like the Couchmaster can help, but always be wary of any pain and experiment to find a position that works.

Wired Versus Wireless
Steiger supplied a wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse for my review. With my usual HTPC setup, I use a Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard and a Cyborg RAT7 gaming mouse, both wired.

The advantage of wireless is obvious: no wires. However, I prefer wired for three reasons. The first is that it gives you more flexibility in your choice of keyboard/mouse. For example, the RAT7 has expandable facets to let it fit my hand perfectly. (I find most mice way too small to be comfortable.) The Ergonomic keyboard keeps carpal tunnel at bay. USB extension cables (two, 15 feet each) are only a few dollars.

714steiger.keyb.jpg

Then there’s the slight communication lag with some wireless gear. I didn’t notice it with the Logitech, but with other wireless mice especially, it’s evident. No lag with USB. And the third knock against wireless: Batteries can die in the middle of a game. (This always happens.)

Windows 8.1 and Media Center
Every new version of Windows gets flack. Every one. No one likes change, and Microsoft (often rightly) gets blamed for failing to understand how people use their products. I didn’t have a problem with Windows Vista or 7, and this review was my first chance to try 8.1. I’d heard horror stories of the forced user interface changes that were clearly meant for tablets. But on an HTPC, Win8.1 works—kinda.

Unlike the normal Windows desktop we’ve all gotten accustomed to over the past few decades, Win8 and 8.1 boot into a Start screen that uses big blocks of color. Each block (or tile) has something in it you might want, like a program or news. You can move these tiles around, add/subtract/resize them, whatever you want. It’s clear to see how this would be great on a tablet or a touchscreen. In the 3-foot interface of a standard PC, it seems more cumbersome than helpful. In the 10-foot interface of an HTPC, however, it isn’t terrible. If you generally use your HTPC for only a few things (games, streaming, Web, etc.), then you can make the primary tiles your main blocks to access oft-used activities, while others can provide quick visual access to other info, such as sports and weather.

Then, of course, there’s Windows Media Center. As much as I’m an HTPC fan, I’ve never understood WMC. I get the attempt—as in Microsoft attempting to create an easy-to-use coating for media enjoyment over everyday Windows. But that’s always how it feels to me: a coating. What I found, though, is that the more visually friendly interface of 8.1 tends to make WMC feel unnecessary. You can add icons to the Start page with the programs you need (iTunes, photos, etc.) and leave it as uncluttered as you want.

The benefit of using a computer versus a streaming media player (like a Roku) is access to the infinite content of the Web, without the cumbersome navigation of a remote or the limitations of any one ecosystem. Want to watch one of Amazon’s new TV shows? No problem. Want to watch an old movie that’s available only on iTunes? Also no problem—from the same device. Then there’s access to networks like CBS that put their programming online but not on services like Hulu. In the end, you’re getting multiple content sources—infinite content sources, really—all in one box.

And you can download ’til your eyeballs are happy. Our Steiger review sample had a whopping 9 terabytes of available storage (after RAID backup), which is more than enough to hold all your lossless music and your HD movies, too.

There are, of course, myriad options for third-party media-management software. I couldn’t hope to cover all of them here, except to give you a few favorites to point you in the right direction. There’s nothing wrong with using WMC itself, of course, but as far as basic media-management goes, I prefer iTunes. While it has gotten bloated and cumbersome over the years, it’s still fairly simple to use. You can encode your CDs into bit-perfect WAV files or the acoustically identical Apple Lossless to save space (as I do).

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COMMENTS
Warrior24_7's picture

I built an HTPC using this same case ...3yrs ago! I purchased the case from Vidabox at vidabox.com for $1200 (yep!). The case is made by Origen AE Technology and it's called the S21T. The original case (mine) has a 12", motorized 1080p screen that move up and down with the push of a button (by the right foot) to reveal the drive slot. This case seems to be a custom job for this company as it has two Disc drives instead of one, and it has a smaller screen (I prefer mine). The case is a beast. It's solid and weighs about 21 pounds empty! One thing is clear, my HTPC drops jaws when people see it! They can't believe that it is a PC! They think that its some new AV equipment. This HTPC seems overbuilt and overpriced. You don't need water cooling Or a 690. An Nvidia 780Ti is faster and cheaper than a Titan. This HTPC can be done for less than half of this price and beat it. I could go on, but sadly, it's "my" opinion that the HTPC itself is obsolete. Unless you're into PC gaming, there is no need for it. Take that 6 grand and put it in your HT system somewhere else. Technology has overcome this relic since everything can stream, has cloud storage, can watch movies from any given source, anytime you want to watch them. All in HD or UHD if you have that ability. You can game for $400 with a console and a Smart TV can play it's own movies via Netflix, HULU and such. If you "want" to store movies on a HDD, then you can do it for far less than 6 grand, just saying.

prerich45's picture

This can be done cheaper....much cheaper. However I don't believe the HTPC is obsolete. My HTPC has replaced my receiver/prepro...never to return. I can do everything I want and view anything I want. I use JRiver for room correction, peq filters, and almost anything else a receiver can do, with one great advantage...I can fix it all myself. I love HTPC's but I think they are more for the hobbyist than for the basic consumer...it's still a PC and consumers get frustrated easily.

javanp's picture

and if it becomes the norm. If we ever gain the ability to download discs or discs never go away, I think HTPCs will become more and more common.

Warrior24_7's picture

I had this same idea when I built my HTPC. To make it the "hub" of all things media! Until I realized that I making another box that could do the same things that something else did. So I just don't share that view. Software is buggy and OS/driver dependent, a Smart TV can stream and surf the web, and a console can game, watch movies, and play music. The HTPC has totally outlived it's usefulness and is not "needed", it's wanted. And by that assumption alone, anything can be justified. For the price of this thing, I could get a HT "in a box" system a gaming console and a UHDTV! Streaming is one reason why it is done. There is no "need" to store large amounts of movies or music anymore, unless you "want to". The ONLY justification that I can see for it, is if one wanted to run everything on his PC monitor. Then that would require you to get a TV Tuner card...to watch TV! The thing is redundant.

Emcdade's picture

@ Warrior24

This case has been modified greatly from the Origen ae version. Origen doesn't even manufacture the case. This one is much more functional and custom water cooling components have been designed specifically for it. IMO the front display looks higher res and more tasteful as well (although I'd prefer to just leave it off come movie time ).

You say you don't "need" a powerful graphics card or water cooling. Well you do if you want to play the latest games with much higher image quality than the consoles, and you need watercooling to keep this high powered hardware running cool and quiet in such a small enclosure. You would turn this case into an oven without it .

You say you can use small streaming devices and etc. instead to watch Netflix... Of course you can, but name one other device that can UNIFY all of your media consumption and storage, gaming, etc. into one device?

While $6,000 is very expensive for a computer, it's certainly not outlandish whatsoever in the land of AV gear, especially considering the design and build quality. I've seen hundreds of water-cooled builds before and given the space constraints here this design is truly exemplary.

I'm sure you can build something for less, but I doubt you could achieve the same combination of thermals and performance. Also, these came out when 690's were top of the line. It's not exactly hard for Steiger to swap in 780 TI's for you.

Warrior24_7's picture

Who builds this case, name or link please. It's the same dimensions, same case, same style, right down to the layout of the case. The "great" modifications are the smaller touch screen and the extra optical disc drive at the bottom, which is not needed...IMO. Does that small 7" screen have a higher resolution than 1080p? Because that is EXACTLY what the 12" screen is! Or are you just eyeballing it and making that assumption?

I'm running a Geforce 580 3GB card "on air" and have no overheating issues and the case is silent! I'm even missing one of the fans in the front because the card was so long and I couldn't get it installed properly, so I left it off! A 780Ti "on air" would run fine in that case with no problems. I never said that you don't need a powerful GPU! I said that you don't need a 690 and water cooling...and you don't!! I don't know how familiar you are with gaming PCs, but there are SFF (Small Form Factor) gaming PCs the size of shoe boxes running these cards "on air"! The 690 is a dual slot, dual GPU card, that produces more heat, thus the water cooling.

Name one other device that can UNIFY all of your media consumption and storage, gaming, etc. into one device you say? Okay, a next gen console! At $400, it's IMPOSSIBLE to beat for the price! You can stream ALL of you media from any of your media devices, including your "PC" to the Xbox/PS4 to HDTV or UHDTV. Or, the HDTV/UHDTV can do it itself!

I have a Ceton InfiniTV tuner card or you can't watch TV. I have Cyberlink PowerDVD software because the 580 and 690 can't play Blu-ray movies without third party software support! There is no HDMI 2.0, no ATMOS, No 5.1 or 7.1 or above without a soundcard. The software and parts have compatibility issues with OS/driver support and don't always work as designed.

$6,000 is OUTLANDISH for a computer. Especially since the parts in this thing are dated, and you can build a better one for less! While it's certainly not outlandish whatsoever in the land of AV gear? Really? What can you get for 6 grand? I can do A HELLUVA lot better than an HTPC! A nice AVR, Pre-AMP/Amp comb maybe, Speakers? I like Yamaha and Oppo, so for 6 grand I can start out nice! At some point in AV gear you start to get diminishing returns on your investment. When you need instrumentation to "tell you" if you're hearing at a certain fidelity or seeing at a certain resolution and you can't see or hear it with your own eyes or ears, then your wasting your money. A $100,000.00 for speakers? Yeah okay. It's subjective when it comes to taste and people get caught up in things that have nothing to do with performance like name, price, pedigree ect. I've read the magazine and visited this site for a while now read people complaining about "3D" and how it's being forced on them. Having no clue that it's just a feature and they already have it!! They had no clue as to what they were buying.

Emcdade's picture

Both Origen and Steiger have it manufactured and slap their logo on it. Here's an OEM version of the Origen M10 for example: http://www.ecosmartpc.com/ht100.html

Also, Steiger sells the case alone for $800. If you paid $1,200 for yours, then you paid $400 for a slightly larger motorized screen. By your logic, you could've bought a 32" TV with that $400 difference! Apparently you can't fit your Gpu without removing a fan either, which is a bummer. Looks like this case doesn't have that issue.

Can't do 5.1 or 7.1 without a sound card?? Ever heard of HDMI out from your GPU? It will bitstream or decode and send LPCM audio of any surround format.

Also you've got to be kidding me about the new consoles as media playback machines. They can't even natively play back an MKV file!

Like I said, your machine has worse performance and worse thermals and noise than this HTPC. You also had to build it yourself, install all the software, have no customer service to turn to, and only have manufacturer's warranty if a part fails (that you will need to diagnose). There is a reason for the premium. It may not be worth it TO YOU, but that is pretty subjective isn't it.

Warrior24_7's picture

Nowhere are the cases in question on this site. Origen AE is an OEM HTPC case builder. Steiger could just be a partner. The bottom line, that is the same case. A modified version of the S21T! There is no other case in the world like it! I understand that 5.1/7.1 can be done thru HDMI. But, if you want higher quality you need a sound card. The 690 is a longer card than a 580. The fan was giving me a problem, so I ditched it. The card is running on air with one less fan, and NO water cooling needed! The card is older and less capable than a 690, but can still play any video game on the market at 1080p or above.

No, I'm not kidding about the next gen consoles. They're excellent, lean, mean, media playback machines. They can't playback an MKV file? This "$6000" HTPC can't even play a Blu-ray movie without third party software support!! ARE-YOU-KIDDING-ME?!! A $300/$400 console can do that right out of the box! Mobile devices don't recognize this file either. Just convert the file.

My thermals are "better" than the Steiger since I have no heating issues at all, and less hardware, thus less money and maintenance. Speaking of maintenance, your criticizing "building" the HTPC as an inconvenience? So that's like telling an auto mechanic to take his car to the shop and pay someone else to fix it? So the HTPC will be down, sent back (at a cost), fixed (at a cost) and sent back at some time. Noooo waaaay! That is not subjective, it's stupid. Look, I'm going upgrade my machine this year when Nvidia's 800 series cards launch and add more RAM. My HTPC is "part" of the system, but not needed. It never was and never will be. I thought so before, but no longer.

Emcdade's picture

I'm not arguing that this case and the Origen case aren't cousins. They clearly are. I just like this one better and for $400 less to boot. I think the top window in this one really makes it stand above.

"I understand that 5.1/7.1 can be done thru HDMI. But, if you want higher quality you need a sound card."

Comments like these show your true knowledge about this subject in general, and couldn't be further from the truth. It's why I responded to your multiple product bashing posts to begin with: you don't know what you're talking about.

We are talking about a digital signal through HDMI. 1's and 0's pal. No sound card on earth is going to sound "better" because if you use a digital connection, you're simply passing the 1's and 0's along just the same. There is no digital to analog conversion being done.

"My thermals are "better" than the Steiger since I have no heating issues at all"

You just haven't tried hard enough. Go play a graphics intensive game that loads your GPU up to 100% like Crysis 3, then report back to me. Once your GPU ramps up to 50-60% fan speed to keep your card cool, it's going to sound like you just turned the vacuum cleaner on. The air cooler on your card doesn't come close to matching the cooling capabilities of the radiators in this case. Your card will also have smaller fans than 120mm, which almost always means they will be noisier than their larger counterpart.

Warrior24_7's picture

Cousins? More like brothers from the same mother! Just because he customized it by "adding" a window, some lights, and a smaller screen, doesn't make it a different case. This kinda of stuff is routine in the system builder/boutique PC builder world. We see it all of the time, you don't so you're blown away! Those lights are too bright and you'll be turning them off. Plus, you won't see anything thru the window when the system is in a rack! Why does an HTPC need two optical disc drives? What are you gonna do, play DVDs? It's a nice case, I own it remember? Is it worth 6 grand...nope!

HDMI vs Soundcard: "Comments like these show your true knowledge about this subject in general, and couldn't be further from the truth."

Really? I'll let you do some research on your own and see that it's you who doesn't know what he's talking about here. My money is on the soundcard. But...it's "subjective" I guess.

Respond to my "multiple" product bashing posts? What product(s) did I bash? Really? Well, if you think so, show this HTPC, it's components, and it's price tag to some PC gamers and get their reaction to it! Just make sure that you're not in arm and/or spittle distance. People tend to say-it-and-spray it when laughing loud or when talking while angry. I'm no fanboy, so just because I don't agree with paying $6000 for a dated HTPC, or the very relevance of the HTPC itself, doesn't mean that I'm bashing it. I speak from experience, not from pretty pictures or someone else's review of the product. It was a good review and spot on in a lot of ways. I'm a gamer and a hobbyist system builder. I "own" and "built" my HTPC using this very case. I have years of experience with it. I "know" that I don't need that fan. I "know" that I don't have heating issues with my build. The system is silent. I own Crysis 3, Watch Dogs, COD Ghosts, Battlefield 3 & 4! Basically, if it's a AAA game and I don't have it, I don't want it! Yes, the 3 GB 580 can play Watchdogs! I have well over 100 PC games of all genres not counting console games from current and past generations of consoles.

So graphic intensive games are nothing to me. "That" HTPC "needs" water cooling, mine doesn't, and its never going to. I had dual GPU cards before and their hot as hell! I ran a Quad SLI rig once w/2 GeForce 9800 GX2s! Talk about heat! This HTPC will be upgraded when Nvidia's 800 series cards are released. It'll get a new card, more RAM, and a 6TB HDD. That will not cost 6 grand, those upgrades over the life of the system will not put me at 6 grand or even near it. All running on "air"! My HTPC will crush Steiger's all day long! That's not bashing, it's just a fact!

Emcdade's picture

There is one disc drive on the case at the top. The flip down panel below has USB ports and a card reader.

I would think an expert such as yourself would be able to figure that out.

I also find it ironic that you're complaining about the interior lighting being too bright, when your version of the case has a gigantic LCD screen on the front that you paid a $400 premium for...

Warrior24_7's picture

Well, since he "modified" the front, the USB and card reader should be right under the optical drive. So he put it on the bottom, ok. Minus the 7" vs 12" screens and the USB/card reader, Everything else is identical.

Expert? On this case, I am. This HTPC has been up, down and moved around. I love this HTPC case. You don't see a lot of them because it's so expensive.

Lighting is subjective, many people like it. It looks nice here too, but in a theater, right next to the TV it seems it would be distracting. My screen and HDTV play the same image. People see it and are shocked. They think it's the coolest thing. I know the effect that this case has on people. Steiger's case does the same thing! When it's up and running, it's a really cool looking machine

As far as the $400 is concerned, I built this 3yrs ago and purchased it from Vidabox which is STILL selling it at the same price! I feel my case looks better and it didn't cost me $6000 to build my system. I came out real good!

prerich45's picture

I usually don't agree with Warrior24_7 but in this case (with this case), I think I must agree with Warrior. I don't agree on all counts (I actually use my HTPC as my processor, TV, you name it - connected to power amps). The HTPC has gotten me off the prepro/receiver merry-go-round. However, I do agree that $6k is a bit much to pay for a HTPC that a hobbyist can build for himself for under $2k and I mean well under $2k. It is subjective, we have been programmed to like turnkey products. Generally, consumers today want appliances not gear. Look at what happened to Radio Shack, it turned from a hobbyist dream into a cell phone company! We want to unpack it and forget it! A hobbyist likes to tinker, we want to mess with it - see if we can stretch its limits. We know that there will be obstacles along the way - that's a given, but they are not inconveniences to us. We'll find a fix for a bug, a new way around a problem, but the enjoyment of having something you can work on yourself is priceless!
The reviewed unit would be great for a consumer, that has money, that wants an appliance, but for the tech that want's to tinker....DIY is the only road!

supamark's picture

You obviously didn't actually price the parts, which are about $3,500 on Newegg not including the case, Win8 license, or water cooling loops, which is probably about another $1k (they sell the case for $799). When you know the actual cost to build it yourself, that markup doesn't look so out of line (they do have to pay rent and employees, as well as turn a profit).

The CPU is $580, the video card is $1,100, and a midrange motherboard another ~$300 - that's your $2k and it won't even POST without the power supply (a nice 80+ platinum Seasonic), RAM, etc. Do you really think lying is the best way to make your point?

prerich45's picture

I was referring to performance, not the exact same machine. $6000 is a lot of cheese for an HTPC! I could build a machine with similar or better performance for far less money.

supamark's picture

You cannot build a better performing PC for less money, and you can't build similar performance for a lot less money. You obviously don't know what you're talking about (or are just lying to troll), so just stop. Sure that's a lot of money for an HTPC, but it isn't actually overpriced for what you get - it's their top of the line HTPC.

Warrior24_7's picture

The point is $6000 is too much for an HTPC! Let alone one that can't even play a Blu-ray movie! Something that a $400 console can do! A Titan Z GPU is $3000 ALONE...and? You can buy or pay any price there is, that doesn't make it worth it! You don't need lights, you don't need water cooling, You don't need a 690, and "You" don't have to lie to make a point!

prerich45's picture

I'm agreeing with you twice!!!! This is true - all of that is overkill for an HTPC. I just came off the manufacturer's page and yes they have some more reasonable options (some are at $1799). Sad to say but there's a heap of mark up in that $6K machine - and someone said $300 for a motherboard? I can get a ROG Maximus VI Hero for $194 - that's all the MB I'd need! i7 Quad is plenty - I don't game ...so $299. I've spent around $500 so far, what's next SSD - ok, 250gb drive for the OS I'll give it $150 (there are lower priced ones). I've spent $650.00, BD drive $50 (pricewatch) up to $700, video card...for HTPC I could use onboard, but if you want - lets just add a 760GTX for $219 (remember this machine is for HTPC). I'm at $919, lets get a silent cooler for $70 bucks, a power supply at $130, so I'm at $1119. 16gb Memory, HTPC case, and STX-II sound card ...$559 for all three! You see my case will not be seen - its in a rack, so I wont need to spend $700 on it! so I'm at $1678 that leaves me with about $320 bucks for a 3tb hdd ($109) and then windows (7 not 8...I'm waiting for 9) Academic superstore for software!
I feel ya Warrior - this is more than I would spend on a machine in the first place to do what I need it to do. I'd spent on a great soundcard, wouldn't go over $170 on a video card, and since I jumped into the BD game early - i already have all of the software I need to play BD all controlled from my cell phone. So for me...$6k is way too much!

supamark's picture

That card is $1,100, it's a Titan Black 6GB, look it up on Newegg. I'm sure you can add a bluray player for $100 if you need it. Otherwise, you're just an a-hole troll who likes to run his mouth about thing he doesn't understand to stir up some drama in your sad little life. Oh, and the water cooling is a big part of why it's so quiet.

prerich45's picture

I'm not trolling first of all, HTPC is a passion for me - but this is overill! A Titan is not needed!!!! I'm not a gamer so I won't be playing Crysis, or God's of War or any other game. Watercooling - yes very quiet - but did you know they have a passive cooler (fanless) that can run on an i7 Quad (no overclocking) that's pretty quiet too. I never offended you - you'll never see me use profanity nor will I make personal attacks.

Oh about pricing - yeah...I haven't paid $100 for a Blu-ray drive in half a decade...and yes, I would need one because it's an HTPC. I don't know anything about Supamark - however, if you're a gamer - this system (and it's price) makes total sense, but if you're an HTPCphile and want to play your music, music, and hi-rez files - this system is just overpriced!!! You can get everything you need to enjoy full 1080p and hi-rez sound for a lot less. This is the point I was making...you can even get more for your money if you concentrate on what makes a good HTPC - the video card for a grand...I'd rather put it toward a better sound card (since I don't use a prepro or receiver).

prerich45's picture

We are taking HTPC performance.

Warrior24_7's picture

This is getting WAAAY too easy! If you're an AV hardware enthusiast, then I can understand. But if you're a PC gamer/builder/hobbyist, then you're a sorry excuse for one...just saying.

"That card is $1,100, it's a Titan Black 6GB, look it up on Newegg."-supamark

No, it's the Titan Z "12GB"! It's a triple slot card and it's 3 grand! Look it up on "Nvidia's" own website Geforce.com under "hardware". Look it up on Evga.com, Alienware.com, Asus.com, Gigabyte.com or any company who builds custom gaming PCs or sells Nvidia's GPU hardware. NOW, the coup de grâce.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20...

You stand corrected...

"Oh, and the water cooling is a big part of why it's so quiet."-supamark

Wow, and the lights are a big part of why it looks so pretty inside the case! The point is that you don't need water cooling "if" you pick the right parts, and you don't need lights at all! They're purely for aesthetic reasons only, they do nothing for the performance of the HTPC. There are also SFF gaming PCs running Titans on "air"!

"Otherwise, you're just an a-hole troll who likes to run his mouth about thing he doesn't understand to stir up some drama in your sad little life."-supamark

Well, now I guess WE ALL KNOW who "that" is don't we! You!!

troybrand's picture

Great trolling around here - good job Warrior. Building the same for half the price. Lol... Just compared the prices to Newegg and that thing is not overpriced at all, especially considering how much manpower must go in there. No idea why the author called it extremely expensive. Guess someone was too lazy to do some research. Not saying that it's not overpowered for an HTPC though. But then it's their top-of-the line product and after looking at their website, the prices for the entry level systems seem very reasonable. The quality of their cases looks second-to-none.

Oh, and the whole argument about not needing an HTPC because other devices can do the same: What can be better than having all functionality in one nice system instead of having to deal with tons of ugly boxes, cables, and remotes??? I am in for one as soon as I got the cash.

Warrior24_7's picture

A troll calling someone else a troll?!! Time to pick another troll apart...again!

"No idea why the author called it extremely expensive."-troybrand

Because it is that's why! I guess you also don't understand why it got 2 1/2 stars in the value rating either! Obviously you're not too bright.

"Guess someone was too lazy to do some research."-troybrand

I'm glad you called yourself out before I had too.

"Just compared the prices to Newegg and that thing is not overpriced at all, especially considering how much manpower must go in there"-troybrand

You don't compare just price, you also compare performance for the price. It's called "bang-for-the-buck". This is exactly where PCs *er* HTPCs like this get outperformed and destroyed! I don't pay for "manpower" or labor, warranties or anything else. So I can put that saved money back into the system...or in my pocket.

"Not saying that it's not overpowered for an HTPC though."-troybrand

Is it "really" an HTPC, or a gaming PC posing as an HTPC because it's in a HTPC case? There is no TV Tuner, no sound card, and it can't even play a Blu-ray movie without additional software support because of dated GPU hardware...for $6000! Yeah, ok. There is a saying for people like you,"a fool and his money are soon parted".

"I am in for one as soon as I got the cash."-troybrand

So you don't even have one, let alone the ability to build one for yourself, yet you're here talking crap? "A-TEN-HUT"! "A-BOOOUT"..."HACE"! "DISMISSED"!

Warrior24_7's picture

NEXT!!

troybrand's picture

Aggressively arguing and narrow minded people like you should be banned from all public discussion...

Obviously it is expensive. However, 2.5 stars for value suggest that it is overpriced. Which it is not. It is a very common thing to provide a top of the line system for reviews. Want the bang-for-the-buck system? Available too as mentioned in the review.

"I don't pay for "manpower" or labor, warranties or anything else. So I can put that saved money back into the system...or in my pocket."

If you can do the same quality yourself - which I doubt - you should obviously do it. Why even argue about it?

"Is it "really" an HTPC, or a gaming PC posing as an HTPC because it's in a HTPC case? There is no TV Tuner, no sound card, and it can't even play a Blu-ray movie without additional software support because of dated GPU hardware..."

- Another comment where you can tell that you are just a fool troll and have no clue what you are talking about: The system had a CETON HD Cable TV card as mentioned in the review. It has an onboard sound card with 110 dB SNR which means it's a pretty good and expensive motherboard. Furthermore it doesnt even need it because sound out is done lossless bitstreamed through HDMI which is the best way possible. Last but not least, playback of Blu-ray movies has nothing to do with the GPU. It's primarily software encoding and needs a costy Blu-ray license which is the reason why Windows can't do it on it's own and a 3rd party software like PowerDVD is needed.

And now PLEASE(!!!) STFU and go back to computer school...

Warrior24_7's picture

"Aggressively arguing and narrow minded people like you should be banned from all public discussion..."- troybrand

No, stupid people should be. So this should be the last time that I hear from you on this subject.

"However, 2.5 stars for value suggest that it is overpriced. Which it is not."- troybrand

It suggests more than that. You don't know what "value" means. You can do better than this for less money or the same money! Simply changing the case will save you hundreds of dollars alone!! What a moron.

"Want the bang-for-the-buck system? Available too as mentioned in the review."-troybrand

You have "no clue" what "bang-for-the-buck" means either! Both the 690 AND the Titan (which is what's in there now according to the review) have since been outperformed by cheaper cards or better, or different solutions. The Titan itself may very well be retired as the "Titan Black" seems the entry level Titan for sell now. So guess what, your new Steiger "HTPC" has the old water cooled, $1100 Titan in it, mine has an "air cooled" GeForce 7806GB in it. A 7806GB is just as fast as a Titan at almost half of the price! I just shaved "AT LEAST" $500 off of my system, and I matched it in performance! A water cooled Titan Black is $1400! Did I mention that I changed my "$800" to a cheaper model case? I could go on, but you're as sharp as a bowling ball, and I'd be wasting "you're" time explaining it.

"If you can do the same quality yourself - which I doubt - you should obviously do it. Why even argue about it?"- troybrand

Waaahahahahaha!!! You didn't bother to read the responses just like you didn't bother to read the review. I have the same case (better IMO), and I built it myself over 3yrs ago! Yeah this will be the last time that I hear from you.

"Another comment where you can tell that you are just a fool troll and have no clue what you are talking about: The system had a CETON HD Cable TV card as mentioned in the review."- troybrand

Really, the reviewer said that? Well, you better find it then, because it's not in the system that he reviewed. The "specs" don't list it, and the reviewer said it was available as an "option"... Yeah, you won't be back. If you have ANY shred of dignity or self respect left...you'd just quietly take yourself out... right now... fool troll... who doesn't know what he is talking about.

"Last but not least, playback of Blu-ray movies has nothing to do with the GPU."- troybrand

Nothing huh?

GeForce 690
3 - Support for HDMI including GPU accelerated Blu-ray 3D support (Blu-ray 3D playback requires the purchase of a compatible software player from CyberLink, ArcSoft or Corel), x.v.Color, HDMI Deep Color, and 7.1 digital surround sound available via DVI to HDMI dongle.

GeForce 7806GB
Blu Ray 3D YES

Listen, you're over matched, out of your league, in over your head, beaten from pillar-to-post, now you're flat on your back, mouth piece out, with the ref counting you out... STFU and stay down!!

troybrand's picture

You really do have the IQ of 4 year old, don't you? And some serious anger management issues.

"You can do better than this for less money or the same money! Simply changing the case will save you hundreds of dollars alone!!"

- Exactly. Thats what I (and probably the author) meant with way cheaper systems on their website. Did you ever go there and have a look?

"You have "no clue" what "bang-for-the-buck" means either! Both the 690 AND the Titan (which is what's in there now according to the review) have since been outperformed by cheaper cards or better, or different solutions."

- That's why they offer everything from a 750 to a TITAN-Z. Incl. best-bang-for-the-buck cards like the 770, 780, and 780 Ti.

"Waaahahahahaha!!! You didn't bother to read the responses just like you didn't bother to read the review. I have the same case (better IMO), and I built it myself over 3yrs ago!"

- I was very well aware of this since you mentioned it about 400 times. I am talking about build quality. Send us a link to the inside of your systems and if it even gets close to the Steiger I will buy you a little pink Teddy bear so you at least have something to cuddle with at night.

"Really, the reviewer said that? Well, you better find it then, because it's not in the system that he reviewed. The "specs" don't list it, and the reviewer said it was available as an "option"..."

- Yep, mentioned as optional but if you were able to conceive, you would see the card in the top view photo (on the very left).

"Nothing huh?

GeForce 690
3 - Support for HDMI including GPU accelerated Blu-ray 3D support (Blu-ray 3D playback requires the purchase of a compatible software player from CyberLink, ArcSoft or Corel), x.v.Color, HDMI Deep Color, and 7.1 digital surround sound available via DVI to HDMI dongle."

- And so can a Intel and AMD Integrated graphics and a TITAN-Z. Point is that you need the Blu-ray DRM license to get it going which has nothing to do with outdated graphics hardware you mentioned 2 posts before. Your logic is just incredible.

Seriously, you are very special.

Warrior24_7's picture

"You really do have the IQ of 4 year old, don't you? And some serious anger management issues."-troybrand

Like I said, never argue with a fool...but I can't help it, it's funny!!

" Exactly. Thats what I (and probably the author) meant with way cheaper systems on their website. Did you ever go there and have a look?"-troybrand

Of course, I've known about Steiger for a while now. But no, that's not what "you" said...

"Obviously it is expensive. However, 2.5 stars for value suggest that it is overpriced. Which it is not. It is a very common thing to provide a top of the line system for reviews."-troybrand

The top of the line system costs $6000. It has a "water cooled" GeForce 690 or a "water cooled" Titan in it. Those are $1100-$1300 cards, the Titan Black is $1400. An "air cooled" GeForce 780 6GB matches a Titan in performance for literally half of the price! "That's" the point, "performance" for the price. The price "as tested" is way too expensive and the 2 1/2 Star value rating is justified. Take that extra saving and upgrade some of the parts and you just outperformed that $6000 system with lots of money left over!

"That's why they offer everything from a 750 to a TITAN-Z. Incl. best-bang-for-the-buck cards like the 770, 780, and 780 Ti."-troybrand

Great, they're a boutique system builder like many others. But what "you" don't understand is that when you reach a certain price point, your price-performance ratio dwindles drastically!

"Yep, mentioned as optional but if you were able to conceive, you would see the card in the top view photo (on the very left)."-troybrand

Wait a minute, that's not what "you" said!

"Another comment where you can tell that you are just a fool troll and have no clue what you are talking about: The system had a CETON HD Cable TV card as mentioned in the review."- troybrand

Oh I get it, you were "conceiving"?!! You were ummm..."conceptualizing", "imagining" and "pretending" that it was there! The problem is that you didn't do any "reading". You were looking at the pictures! Now we know who has the IQ of a 4yr old!

"And so can a Intel and AMD Integrated graphics and a TITAN-Z. Point is that you need the Blu-ray DRM license to get it going which has nothing to do with outdated graphics hardware you mentioned 2 posts before. Your logic is just incredible."-troybrand

A "license"? What does THAT have to do with the capability of the card? The 690 can't do it and 700 series can...PERIOD! That came from Nvidia's own website. My 580 3GB can't do it either! I sure as hell watch a HD movie on my laptop and iPad but can't on my "HTPC" without software support! Neither can this $6000 top-of-the-line system!

"Seriously, you are very special."-troybrand

Why thank you.

Warrior24_7's picture

Steiger... is... is That you?!

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