Steiger Dynamics LEET Core Water Cooled Gaming HTPC

9.9 Overall Score
Build Quality: 10/10
Cost Analysis: 10/10
Quiet Operation: 10/10

Best build quality available, Superior quiet operation, Lives up to 1337 name

Price puts it out of reach for some

While component selection is very important, accessories and peripheral selection can be, too. We talked for a bit to Steiger Dynamics about how they chose certain peripherals. The software and accessories/peripheral selections were not hastily thrown together. Countless hours of testing many products resulted in the list you can find on their configuration page. If the device or software you are looking for is not there, then there is a reason Steiger Dynamics did not include it.

To start things off, we will begin with their software choices. Windows 8 comes standard with the LEET units. The 64-bit version is the only one offered, which is fine by us. The Media Center pack for Windows 8 is offered as an upgrade for no additional fee. The initial launch of Windows 8 brought criticism from many users who were/are stuck on the start button. If you have not used Windows 8 yet, we suggest giving it a try. The new start menu looks great on a 60″ plasma TV. And we must not forget that the traditional desktop is still there, just as it was in Windows 7. From a performance perspective, Windows 8 is smaller and faster than Windows 7.

We had some friends of ours, who were not technical like we are at Xtreme CPU, check out the system on the 60″ plasma with the new Windows 8 start menu. Wow was the most commonly used word, along with things like, “That looks awesome!”. Since the LEET is a home theater device, the large tiles and generally simple user interface of the Windows 8 start menu make for a great experience in the living room. There are many alternative programs that could be used like XBMC, but Steiger Dynamics has chosen to go with what tested well for them. Of course, let us not forget that this is a personal computer and any modifications you want to make is up to you. In our experience, adding a Blu Ray playback program like PowerDVD 12 Ultra ($79) and the Shark 007 Codec pack (free), as offered by Steiger Dynamics, is the perfect solution to give you an almost complete home theater experience. The Xbox Music app in Windows 8, along with an Xbox Music Pass, gives you access to millions of songs for $9.99/mo or $99 for a year subscription. These are only suggestions and you may have other choices for what software you want in your HTPC. Just remember that Steiger Dynamics is in the business of building and selling home theater personal computers and their extensive testing makes them pros in this field.

Additional software includes the LEET Monitor v2.0 which gives you hardware monitoring displayed on the front panel LCD screen. Pictured below you can see the different screens that the LEET Monitor software displays on the 7″ panel. You have the option to turn the LCD completely off, or choose what information is displayed and whether or not you would like to cycle through that info. What is left out of this monitoring software is a way to adjust the LCD brightness. We were assured that this is being added into future revisions of the software as well as some other goodies that add additional functionality to the tiny front screen. The ability to adjust screen brightness is key when viewing movies in a dark environment. We found that the bright screen distracted our movie viewing experience and we had to turn it off in order to eliminate the glare.

Rounding out the software side of things, our review unit came with updated drivers and all software seemed to work as it should have. The only issue we had was that Windows 8 Pro with Media Center was not activated. A quick phone call and email exchange corrected the issue. Steiger Dynamics insured us that an issue like this should not happen and they were making efforts to not have this happen with future customers.

Peripherals start out with a Steiger Dynamics Windows Media Center Remote control included. The remote we received was an iMON remote with a decal over it stamped with Steiger Dynamics. We have used them before and they seem to work fine with the ability to custom tune it to your system. A more advanced Logitech Harmony One remote is offered for $200. The Harmony One is a great remote that has the ability to control all of your home theater components, including your HTPC. Pricing seemed comparable to current market prices for a brand new Harmony One.

Mousing duties can be handled by Logitech’s G700 wireless gaming mouse. We have done many gaming mice reviews in the past and the G700 can handle gaming duties just fine. Steiger Dynamics has chosen to offer this mouse because during their testing, it had the most reliable connectivity compared to other wireless mice. We questioned them about the R.A.T. 9, since one of our favorite mice is the R.A.T. 7 Contagion, but they said they had connection issues with the mouse while gaming. We are going to have to contact Cyborg and see if we can do an individual review of this mouse. Do not get us wrong, the G700 is a solid gaming mouse and performed well for use, but our gaming master prefers the customization and tighter control of a few other gaming mice. The keyboard choice is limited to the Logitech K800 which, again, in Steiger Dynamic’s testing, proved the winner. Our beef here is that it is not a mechanical keyboard. If you are going to build the world’s first liquid cooled gaming HTPC, you need a mechanical keyboard.

After talking with Steiger Dynamics about this, they chose to go with the K800 because it is wireless and had no connection issues. They are working with manufacturers to come up with a mechanical keyboard that can meet their quality control needs. We do look forward to having that option in the future. The good thing here is, that if you do not agree with their peripheral choices, you can get your own.

What is a mouse without a mouse pad? Nothing. Your choice here is the Titan from http://gearedgs.com/. We have not used this before and the one included with our review unit was a plastic pad. As an added solution, you can choose the Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard with integrated touchpad as an alternative or complete replacement for the other peripherals offered. We highly recommend, that if you are going with Steiger Dynamics offerings, choose the gaming mouse and keyboard. It is nearly impossible to game on the diNovo. Other peripheral options include XBOX 360 wireless controllers for Windows at $49 a piece. You can get the Rechargeable Battery Pack for 2 XBOX 360 wireless controllers ($35) and the KONNET Charging dock ($49) that accommodates up to four controllers. The last peripheral offered is Logitech’s C920 Full HD webcam which tacks on another $100.

All the normal accessories and cabling you would find with the components, if bought by you, are included with the LEET systems. There is a 6 foot HDMI cable included as well. A standard 3 year part replacement warranty is offered at no cost with 60 day free shipping and lifetime customer care. 1 year free shipping ($99), 2 year free shipping ($199) and 3 year free shipping ($299) are offered as upgrades with the 3 year replacement warranty.

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3 Comments on "Steiger Dynamics LEET Core Water Cooled Gaming HTPC"

  1. Peter January 15, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    Very very nice system!

  2. Lee January 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    These are sweeeeeet! Getting a Leet next month!

  3. Ilian April 1, 2013 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I bought the Reference system and stated in the review, this is a great product…probably presently best on the market. What they did not mention is the quality of the service. These guys will meet all your requirements to keep you on board. Don’t doubt it..if you have the money go for it!

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