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Help build a baby-proof living room gaming rig

I haven't built a PC since the days of the 486 in the '90s, so I thought it'd be like getting back on a bike, but instead it's like trying to somersault into a speeding bullet train. Been going through the forum for advice, but honestly, I'm a bit lost. Any help people can give would be appreciative.

I had an office where I kept my PC, but then my second daughter was born. We've turned the office into a baby room, and since I have nowhere else to put the computer, I was going to hook it up to the living room TV or the TV in the bedroom. I want a new gaming rig that can put up a nice fight with the next-gen consoles.

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: $1500 - $2000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Media Streaming

Parts Not Required: Don't need speakers, monitor, keyboard, mice or OS.

Country: Canada

Additional Comments:
* Runs quietly, since my current PC sounds like a jet engine dying
* Need a good wireless card that will play nice with an Airport Extreme
* Would like to avoid a big tower, and have something that I could put under the TV and also move between rooms if I need to easily. Are there towers you can run on their sides?
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about build baby proof living room gaming rig
  1. http://pcpartpicker.com/user/YUTDOLLACWWW2/saved/2D27

    Cost: USD$1906
    Being from Canada, some part prices may be different, so if something causes you to go over budget, you could always downgrade a part.
  2. I think something like this is pretty good. I chose a mini itx desktop case which is pretty close to what you describe.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($239.79 @ DirectCanada)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L12 37.8 CFM CPU Cooler ($79.99 @ NCIX)
    Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VI IMPACT Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($227.07 @ DirectCanada)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($56.99 @ Amazon Canada)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($56.99 @ Amazon Canada)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.75 @ Vuugo)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card ($678.98 @ Newegg Canada)
    Case: Fractal Design FD-CA-NODE-304-WH Mini ITX Desktop Case ($69.99 @ NCIX)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($139.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Optical Drive: Pioneer BDC-207DBK Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
    Total: $1774.53
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-21 12:53 EDT-0400)
  3. An interesting problem of design tradeoffs.
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article75-page1.html
    1. Do some research on quiet cases. My best reference is spcr. Here is one article:
    In particular, look at the Silverstone Grandia GD05
    http://www.silentpcreview.com/silverstone-gd05
    Yes, you can run most towers on their sides. But, the dvd burner will open vertically, and I am not so happy with that.

    2. For gaming, you will want a good discrete graphics card. Unfortunately, they tend to be hot. Newer gen cards will run cooler.
    I might suggest a evga GTX770 with the stock titan blower type cooler. The cooler is quiet, and gets he generated heat directly out the back of your case.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130939

    3. With your budget, a i5-4670K cpu would be appropriate. It is very competent at stock where it will run cool. With a mild 20% overclock to 4.0, it will still run cool. Most any Z87 based M-ATX motherboard will perform the same and do the job. I don't think any come with a wifi card.

    4. For wifi, buy a pci based add in card with a good antenna. The usb dongles are weak.

    5. For a psu, a GTX770 will need a 575w psu. I might go a bit larger for quieter operation.
    This Seasonic 650w unit is a gem and at a great price:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151118

    6. The grandia case will need a low profile cpu cooler.
    I have not done the research, but I think something like the noctua NH-C14 would be as good as it gets, assuming the height is ok:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608020

    7. For ram, any 8gb kit of 2 x 4gb DDR3 low profile will do. I like 16gb (2 x 8gb) if it will not bust the budget.
    Windows will keep more code in ram, available for instant reuse.

    7. Plan on a 120 or 240gb SSD for the os and some apps. Use a hard dive for fideo storage and backups.
    Samsung evo is good.
  4. Best answer
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($247.33 @ Newegg Canada)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ Memory Express)
    Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VI GENE Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($200.88 @ DirectCanada)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($85.50 @ Vuugo)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($184.50 @ Vuugo)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.50 @ Vuugo)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card ($678.98 @ Newegg Canada)
    Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($35.48 @ Newegg Canada)
    Case: BitFenix Phenom M Midnight Black MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($90.98 @ DirectCanada)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Optical Drive: Asus BW-14D1XT Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($101.00 @ Vuugo)
    Total: $1876.13
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-21 13:37 EDT-0400)

    This is my personal solution. You now have 3 options to choose from that all have their pros and cons.

    Since you have a baby, I don't think a case that has a window feature to be appropriate because it might grab the attention of the infant and bring him/her to play with the tower. The Bitfenix Phenom black is a compact tower that has great noise dampening feature as well as a discrete looking figure that grabs only the attention of those seeking to find it. I would imagine your baby to only look at it as a small black box.

    All the other parts (CPU, mobo, GPU, PSU, RAM, HDD+SSD, Cooler) have been critically acclaimed is top of the line. the i5 4670k is considered the best CPU for gaming. The ASUS Maximus VI GENE is a micro-atx motherboard that has enough room for a 2 slot GPU and your wireless card. It's also designed for gaming and has a very niche integrated sound card that rivals any dedicated one. You'll be able to get great 7.1 surround sound out of the board. The Nvidia GTX 780 by EVGA is a monster card, just under the GTX 690 and Titan in terms of power, that will run all the next gen games at max settings without any problems. The storage choices are all fine. I would look into bigger HDDs because your using this systems as a media center as well. The 1TB is just the standard nowadays. I did, however, put a 256gb SSD instead of a 128gb SSD because I figured you would have many programs that would benefit from the speed of an SSD which would otherwise clog up an 128gb quite quickly. The Samsung 840 series is pretty much the go to for everyone in the SSD market. When it comes to the PSU the Corair HX 650Watt will run everything you need. Its very well built (in fact it's built by Seasonic) and will insure you wont have to worry too much about it. The Noctua cooler is rated as the most silent CPU cooler on the market. It also outperforms most of the Watercooled options and is cost much less than the top watercooling options. The Cosair Vengeance 8GB RAM is pretty standard high quality RAM. 8GB is the sweetspot at the moment and I'm not seeing any reason why you would need more.

    Finally, since you're looking to use this as a kind of media center for your house, the option to have a blue-ray player/rewriter is quite justifiable. I went with pretty much top of the line since you have a budget to afford it!:)

    Anyways, my take on what you should get. Feel free to combine these 3 options together for a great all-round build.
  5. Really appreciate all the help! As a former techie who has lost his way in this blast processing future, you guys are a life saver! I ended up going with @TNoDz_ system specs, but they're pretty much in line with what everybody else offered.

    Looking forward to running this rig. Now I need to go buy some superglue to put this bad boy together.
  6. TNoDz_ said:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($247.33 @ Newegg Canada)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ Memory Express)
    Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VI GENE Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($200.88 @ DirectCanada)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($85.50 @ Vuugo)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($184.50 @ Vuugo)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.50 @ Vuugo)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card ($678.98 @ Newegg Canada)
    Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($35.48 @ Newegg Canada)
    Case: BitFenix Phenom M Midnight Black MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($90.98 @ DirectCanada)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Optical Drive: Asus BW-14D1XT Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($101.00 @ Vuugo)
    Total: $1876.13
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-21 13:37 EDT-0400)

    This is my personal solution. You now have 3 options to choose from that all have their pros and cons.

    Since you have a baby, I don't think a case that has a window feature to be appropriate because it might grab the attention of the infant and bring him/her to play with the tower. The Bitfenix Phenom black is a compact tower that has great noise dampening feature as well as a discrete looking figure that grabs only the attention of those seeking to find it. I would imagine your baby to only look at it as a small black box.

    All the other parts (CPU, mobo, GPU, PSU, RAM, HDD+SSD, Cooler) have been critically acclaimed is top of the line. the i5 4670k is considered the best CPU for gaming. The ASUS Maximus VI GENE is a micro-atx motherboard that has enough room for a 2 slot GPU and your wireless card. It's also designed for gaming and has a very niche integrated sound card that rivals any dedicated one. You'll be able to get great 7.1 surround sound out of the board. The Nvidia GTX 780 by EVGA is a monster card, just under the GTX 690 and Titan in terms of power, that will run all the next gen games at max settings without any problems. The storage choices are all fine. I would look into bigger HDDs because your using this systems as a media center as well. The 1TB is just the standard nowadays. I did, however, put a 256gb SSD instead of a 128gb SSD because I figured you would have many programs that would benefit from the speed of an SSD which would otherwise clog up an 128gb quite quickly. The Samsung 840 series is pretty much the go to for everyone in the SSD market. When it comes to the PSU the Corair HX 650Watt will run everything you need. Its very well built (in fact it's built by Seasonic) and will insure you wont have to worry too much about it. The Noctua cooler is rated as the most silent CPU cooler on the market. It also outperforms most of the Watercooled options and is cost much less than the top watercooling options. The Cosair Vengeance 8GB RAM is pretty standard high quality RAM. 8GB is the sweetspot at the moment and I'm not seeing any reason why you would need more.

    Finally, since you're looking to use this as a kind of media center for your house, the option to have a blue-ray player/rewriter is quite justifiable. I went with pretty much top of the line since you have a budget to afford it!:)

    Anyways, my take on what you should get. Feel free to combine these 3 options together for a great all-round build.


    This is actually almost part-for-part exact with mine, with the exception that it's from Canadian retailers
  7. Well John. Your build was pretty spot on and I took it as a reference. However, I just thought that the amount of memory you put was overkill and the i7 as well. On top of that, i put it all at Canadian prices like you said.
  8. TNoDz_ said:
    Well John. Your build was pretty spot on and I took it as a reference. However, I just thought that the amount of memory you put was overkill and the i7 as well. On top of that, i put it all at Canadian prices like you said.


    it was a bit overkill, yes
  9. I did the same mistake with the case of my choice but i dont think there's a 5,25" bay in that case for the blu-ray/dvd/cd player ...
  10. You are completely correct my good sir. I overlooked this and I suggest getting the Prodigy M by Bitfenix or the Corsair Carbide Series 330R for roughly 10$ less.
  11. TNoDz_ said:
    You are completely correct my good sir. I overlooked this and I suggest getting the Prodigy M by Bitfenix or the Corsair Carbide Series 330R for roughly 10$ less.


    I ordered the build last night. So are you saying I need to cancel my order for the Bitfenix Phenom MicroATX and order one of these cases you just suggested?
  12. choaffable said:
    TNoDz_ said:
    You are completely correct my good sir. I overlooked this and I suggest getting the Prodigy M by Bitfenix or the Corsair Carbide Series 330R for roughly 10$ less.


    I ordered the build last night. So are you saying I need to cancel my order for the Bitfenix Phenom MicroATX and order one of these cases you just suggested?




    Well i'm assuming you also ordered the Blu-Ray player and you plan on having an optical driver with your rig, than yes I would go an cancel the order for the case and get one of those I mentioned.
  13. This is a pretty awesome thread. I have a similar use case (minus baby, thankfully). Going to do a similar build except keep the i7 4770k for doing financial models in Excel and use an old laptop blu ray drive I have in an enclosure. Might also wait for the 780 Ti to drop next month to see if either the 780 price drops or the Ti ends up being basically a cheap Titan.

    Note the 330R case is on sale at newegg for $50 (after $10 mail in rebate gift card) right now.
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