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STEIGER DYNAMICS ERA (Intel i7-9700K + NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti)

crazyeyesreaper

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Steiger Dynamics seeks to deliver the ultimate in HTPCs with their latest ERA system. Our test config loaded with an Intel i7 9700K, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and two Samsung SSDs packs all the things enthusiasts dream about.

Show full review
 
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This thing needs dust filters. Especially the CDROM area will get clogged up too.
 
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Benchmark Scores Cherry pie at one point ;)
The table on first page should include the dedicated GPU.
Gaming performance is 80-90 % of a reference RTX 2080 ti but real gamers would not buy this toaster anyway.
 
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The table on first page should include the dedicated GPU.
Gaming performance is 80-90 % of a reference RTX 2080 ti but real gamers would not buy this toaster anyway.
Those benchmark setups are usually OCed from where you take the numbers. I would even underclock this setup tbh.

PS. The table includes the dedicated GPU imho
 
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Benchmark Scores Cherry pie at one point ;)
Those benchmark setups are usually OCed from where you take the numbers. I would even underclock this setup tbh.
Data is from TPU, OK different (OCed) CPU. Yes I can't imaging to run this box at 100 % power limit for a longer time.
 
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Seems way overkill for a HTPC. I didn't know people still even used them enough to justify a system like this. An Nvidia Shield TV is a better user experience than any windows based PC. IMO, as someone who spent big bucks on building HTPC's in the past...
 

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Love the design, but listing numbers with no comparison in sight is not much of a review.
 
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Yeah it's definitely good looking. Toslink would have been better than dual eth, though that's is more up-to Asrock rather than Steiger(Well they could have use MSI MPG z390I instead of Asrock). Other than that removable 2.5" tray would have been nice.
 

crazyeyesreaper

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Love the design, but listing numbers with no comparison in sight is not much of a review.
Well then convince the companies to let me keep$1000-3200 systems so they can be tested again and again.

3Dmark / Games / Cinebench all that data here can be compared to the data seen in other reviews I have done. The problem is way out of date drivers / different windows versions / game patches etc which can all screw with the results. As it is benchmarking, updates, photos per system review since everything is done real-time not automated (so i can verify any issues or problems when they occur) means each system takes over 30 hours to complete everything. Its a massive time sink which no one seems to consider.

Future reviews will see more benchmarks and new games covered as well further adding to the work load.

Seems way overkill for a HTPC. I didn't know people still even used them enough to justify a system like this. An Nvidia Shield TV is a better user experience than any windows based PC. IMO, as someone who spent big bucks on building HTPC's in the past...
While it is an HTPC is could also be considered a complete entertainment system. HDMI up front for VR, high end components to easily push it comfortably. Preinstalled if a user wishes media center software such as kodi or plex, etc etc. Its the do it all system if you just want a more affordable HTPC that looks nice well they have those too.
 
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Well then convince the companies to let me keep$1000-3200 systems so they can be tested again and again.
That was just an observation, not a critique.
 
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Top venting never a good idea... it is the first place a magazine or DVD case or whatever gets placed.
 

crazyeyesreaper

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That was just an observation, not a critique.
No i get it!

I would prefer comparisons as well but unlike GPU or CPUs where you can just slot into an existing system re-benching re-updating etc is a nightmare when not automated.

Then if the systems used in the comparison aren't current enough people complain, if a driver isnt the newest they complain, games used to old? or not the newest best? you guessed it complain! Essentially entitlement kinda killed it. Can't make the most vocal people happy so i just review the system as it is report its performance, any problems i find etc.

Systems used to be compared as well but the data presented was lesser, now moving towards newer updated benchmarks and games. Which for comparisons sake I couldn't do previously.

Essentially I have no one way to make everyone happy.
 

bug

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No i get it!

I would prefer comparisons as well but unlike GPU or CPUs where you can just slot into an existing system re-benching re-updating etc is a nightmare when not automated.

Then if the systems used in the comparison aren't current enough people complain, if a driver isnt the newest they complain, games used to old? or not the newest best? you guessed it complain! Essentially entitlement kinda killed it. Can't make the most vocal people happy so i just review the system as it is report its performance, any problems i find etc.
And after all that work, you'd still be missing the point of this system: to look good, above all else.
Tbh, when I wrote "not much of a review", I thought about suggesting something more useful instead. But came up empty.
Maybe throw in some numbers from a reference system next time. Or even link CPU/GPU/storage tests to past specific CPU/GPU/storage reviews on TPU. Other than that, as you have said, there's just too many moving parts in a complete system. And then there's barebone systems, too :D
 

SteigerDynamics

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This thing needs dust filters. Especially the CDROM area will get clogged up too.
We appreciate your suggestion! Apart from the bottom intake fan, we however deliberately decided against dust filters in our ERA system since these obstruct air flow. Our priority is maximum quietness during idle, low and medium load scenarios (music/movie playback, etc.) which is particularly important in living room PCs. Also, our systems are usually placed in or on TV cabinets and not on the floor (like most desktop towers) and are thus much less susceptible to accumulate dust.

The table on first page should include the dedicated GPU.
Gaming performance is 80-90 % of a reference RTX 2080 ti but real gamers would not buy this toaster anyway.
The 2080 Ti in this system was overclocked to achieve a sustained 2010+ MHz during gaming. Hence, performance is actually 110 to 120% of a reference 2080 Ti. Included with our GPU OC service is a customized fan curve to keep the GPU below 85C. As per the review, max GPU temps in the review system where 82C. This is far away from a toaster and substantially below the max TDP specified by NVIDIA.

Yeah it's definitely good looking. Toslink would have been better than dual eth, though that's is more up-to Asrock rather than Steiger(Well they could have use MSI MPG z390I instead of Asrock). Other than that removable 2.5" tray would have been nice.
Thank you! We do offer other motherboard options, including one with optical S/PDIF sound output. That being said, the vast majority of our customers uses HDMI sound to a receiver which is also what we recommend. Toslink/S/PDIF is limited to stereo output (5.1 in some cases, depending on the source), whereas HDMI can do lossless bitstreaming and fully supports all surround sound formats including 3D audio like Dolby ATMOS. A removable 2.5" tray is in the books for the ERA III.

This would be really interesting with liquid cooling.
Our goal for the ERA was to make the slimmest full-bore Living Room Gaming PC available that fits into any TV cabinet. As a result and when keeping the footprint identical, liquid cooling would only be possible when using 40mm radiators. Unfortunately this would require to use 40mm or radial fans which are way to load if you want them to move some air.

Top venting never a good idea... it is the first place a magazine or DVD case or whatever gets placed.
It's the only way to install a virtually inaudible 140mm fan (in pull) in such a slim system that works as CPU fan, case exhaust, and motherboard VRM and memory cooler at the same time.
 

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I keep hearing this "SPDIF is limited compared to HDMI". And it is, technically. But realistically speaking what is the content that would not be serviced by SPDIF? Where do you source 5.1 (or more) at such high bitrates?

For the asking price, I feel this system should include both, especially since HDMI to SPDIF converters aren't that common.
 
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I keep hearing this "SPDIF is limited compared to HDMI". And it is, technically. But realistically speaking what is the content that would not be serviced by SPDIF? Where do you source 5.1 (or more) at such high bitrates?

For the asking price, I feel this system should include both, especially since HDMI to SPDIF converters aren't that common.
Content: From the blu-ray you use with the machine.
Or from Atmos streaming, which only support HDMI.
You are getting such a HTPC because you want crazy level quality. A ridiculous TV/projector is already bought. You already have an Atmos/DTS-X receiver installed. You will use HDMI to send the Atmos content.
Still an additional small port will surely not break things too much.
 

SteigerDynamics

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Seems way overkill for a HTPC. I didn't know people still even used them enough to justify a system like this. An Nvidia Shield TV is a better user experience than any windows based PC. IMO, as someone who spent big bucks on building HTPC's in the past...
Agreed that for some people an NVIDIA Shield may be the overall better solution for basic games and basic streaming. However, an HTPC is the common denominator for anything you could possible do on your large screen TV, most things a Shield can't. Starting from (4K) Blu-ray disc playback (which has substantially better quality than 4K streaming) to no-lag gaming, to live-upsampling of 720p or 1080p movies to 4K (with MadVR) to using the almost-perfect color garmut of a 4K TV for professional stuff like Photoshopping or video editing. In addition, most of our our customers do not have or want a seperate desktop computer in another room and do litterally anything from their sofa, using the Couchmaster lapdesk. Swing by our offices in Redood City, CA if you have the chance and try for yourself.
 
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@SteigerDynamics
Though it is pricey(as configured), this is Home Theater PC Gaming done right. Top shelf, this system!

The complaints offered above by other users are simply not that serious. The only thing I have a real problem with is the blue LED on the power button(prefer softer colors like red, amber or green) as blue can be very distracting when the lights are off, but that too is a minor thing which can be customized by the user post-purchase. Having the front-panel be removable would also be handy and preferable, but again, minor issue.

I might also configure the system with an RTX2080 instead of an RTX2080ti to save on cost, power usage and potential fan noise(my EVGA RTX2080 rarely makes any noise and performs beyond what I expected it to).
Those small points aside, very well done indeed! Beautiful case design and form-factor! :toast::clap:

EDIT;
Just visited your site and noticed the custom config options, which include Ryzen based systems and answered the BDR need. My config came out to $1949 shipped. Very cool!
 
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Well, my five cents for this kind of product... it has to be more tailored, not to look like DIY project assembling other OEM parts in a small case like Silverstone has.

It lacks the opportunity to use a prebuilt system assets(ie it is the same). And tailor the device for as DELL or HP does... It needs to have custom shrouds and air vents. The GPU cover could be taken off and maximize the tunnel and add one more intake fan. It is a cheap solution giving really good results, if you wish more silent operation with less costs. 3D printing a cover is peanuts these days. There you can add filter gaskets. User removable, like home projectors have.

The CPU cooler could be made custom as in many amplifiers using two U shaped rads and creating a tunnel, then this oversized surface area is connected with 4 or 5 heatpipes to the CPU, there are no problems to order something like that. The case has the space actually for that. You can even put a radiator on the side, where the mesh is to enhance passive cooling, wasted opportunity.

Well taking into account the price for this setup and asking for more factory treatment is not that much in my books.
 
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Well, my five cents for this kind of product... it has to be more tailored, not to look like DIY project assembling other OEM parts in a small case like Silverstone has.

It lacks the opportunity to use a prebuilt system assets(ie it is the same). And tailor the device for as DELL or HP does... It needs to have custom shrouds and air vents. The GPU cover could be taken off and maximize the tunnel and add one more intake fan. It is a cheap solution giving really good results, if you wish more silent operation with less costs. 3D printing a cover is peanuts these days. There you can add filter gaskets. User removable, like home projectors have.

The CPU cooler could be made custom as in many amplifiers using two U shaped rads and creating a tunnel, then this oversized surface area is connected with 4 or 5 heatpipes to the CPU, there are no problems to order something like that. The case has the space actually for that. You can even put a radiator on the side, where the mesh is to enhance passive cooling, wasted opportunity.

Well taking into account the price for this setup and asking for more factory treatment is not that much in my books.
You need to go check out their web site. Pretty much all of them are customizable. For example, the one listed in the article;


Choose your desired CPU range and go.
 
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You need to go check out their web site. Pretty much all of them are customizable.
Dude, did you even read my post? I fail to see any of my suggestions there. Look at the bare chassis opened up and what I mentioned.
 

SteigerDynamics

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Well, my five cents for this kind of product... it has to be more tailored, not to look like DIY project assembling other OEM parts in a small case like Silverstone has.

It lacks the opportunity to use a prebuilt system assets(ie it is the same). And tailor the device for as DELL or HP does... It needs to have custom shrouds and air vents. The GPU cover could be taken off and maximize the tunnel and add one more intake fan. It is a cheap solution giving really good results, if you wish more silent operation with less costs. 3D printing a cover is peanuts these days. There you can add filter gaskets. User removable, like home projectors have.

The CPU cooler could be made custom as in many amplifiers using two U shaped rads and creating a tunnel, then this oversized surface area is connected with 4 or 5 heatpipes to the CPU, there are no problems to order something like that. The case has the space actually for that. You can even put a radiator on the side, where the mesh is to enhance passive cooling, wasted opportunity.

Well taking into account the price for this setup and asking for more factory treatment is not that much in my books.
Thank you for the feedback, we really appreciate it! We did experiment with tunnels for the graphics card but did not get much better results. We also want to keep the option open to upgrade the unit at any time which is very difficult if we would go the route of installing custom graphics card PCBs or making alterations to the components we are using. The CPU cooler is a custom solution already which we also use in our IKON system. We could make this larger for the ERA to potentially cool up to a 9900K (right now we offer 9700K and Ryzen 2700X as top-of-the-line CPUs. However, given our realtively small volumes on these systems with 9900K, justifying the tooling cost for an additional cooler (we are talking $10k+) would be very difficult.
@SteigerDynamics
Though it is pricey(as configured), this is Home Theater PC Gaming done right. Top shelf, this system!

The complaints offered above by other users are simply not that serious. The only thing I have a real problem with is the blue LED on the power button(prefer softer colors like red, amber or green) as blue can be very distracting when the lights are off, but that too is a minor thing which can be customized by the user post-purchase. Having the front-panel be removable would also be handy and preferable, but again, minor issue.

I might also configure the system with an RTX2080 instead of an RTX2080ti to save on cost, power usage and potential fan noise(my EVGA RTX2080 rarely makes any noise and performs beyond what I expected it to).
Those small points aside, very well done indeed! Beautiful case design and form-factor! :toast::clap:

EDIT;
Just visited your site and noticed the custom config options, which include Ryzen based systems and answered the BDR need. My config came out to $1949 shipped. Very cool!
Thank you! We appreciate that. The configuration we sent to TPU is definitely maxed out in terms of performance, in particular due to the OC we did on the graphics card. Without OC or by using a 2080 card, the max noise level will be substantially lower. We also swapped the 2080 Ti blower model we are using from the ASUS Turbo card (in this test) to the EVGA blower model which has better noise characteristics, better cooling capacity and a backplate.

As for the power button light. We really like blue :) Apart from that, we are using a super dim LED already and have not received any negative customer feedback regarding this ever.
 
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Thank you! We appreciate that.
You're very welcome. I build PC's for a living, frequently for Home Theater usage. I can appreciate a well thought out and quality built system. @crazyeyesreaper is not known for candy-coating his reviews. For this system to be given the TPU Innovation Award is high praise(and seems well earned), even with the complaints, which not everyone would be effected by or care about.

We also swapped the 2080 Ti blower model we are using from the ASUS Turbo card (in this test) to the EVGA blower model which has better noise characteristics, better cooling capacity and a backplate.
Is a blower style needed? The clearances look(based on pictures) like they would be good for a dual slot, dual fan model. I presume that has been tested. How would the internal case temps be effected?
 
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