Steam Box alternatives

Was looking for new PC with the following requirements to replace my Core2 Duo:

  • Cheap - This means laptop/all-in-one are out.
  • Fast GPU - This means NUC are out
  • Upgradable - This means replaceable motherboard, CPU and GPU
  • Small - This means SFF / Mini-ITX / SFX
  • Silent - This means no small fans

I was not able to find anything that actually matched all these requirements, but found these candidates:

  • Alienware X51 - PSU only delivers 330W, so not very upgradable
  • Asus ROG GR8 - Large cabinet compared to X51
  • CyberPower Zeus Mini A-300 - Not available in my country
  • MSI Nightblade - Expensive even as barebone.
  • MSI Hetis H81 - Cheap, but not sure if PCI-e supports dual-slot GPU
  • BitFenix Prodigy - Large cabinet compared to X51
  • EVGA Hadron Air - PSU has very small fan, and it is expensive.
  • Acer Aspire XC-605 - Not very upgradable
  • Silverstone SST-RVZ01B Raven - Large cabinet compared to X51 and expensive.
  • Silverstone SST-ML07B - Large cabinet compared to X51 and expensive.
  • NCASE M1 - Very promising but not available in my country

I decided to go for the Dell Alienware X51 R2, as I’m getting old and like things pre-assembled. The i5 + GTX750 combo is not super expensive compared to building yourself. The only real problem is the PSU is only 240W, so the upgrade path is very limited.