Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

First time building a system - Need advices for ~ £950 a gaming system (incl. gig + monitor)

Last response: in Systems
Share
December 2, 2013 6:25:16 PM

Hello all,

I'm new to this building thing so if I say something silly, please forgive me. And English is not my first language, so I'm sorry for any typos or grammar mistakes I'm gonna make :D 

Here are some basic informations:
- Budget: ~£950
- Priority needs: I want something that is easily upgradable, suitable for medium-high settings in new games (BF4, AC4, etc...), stays well in my budget.
- Secondary needs: Portable (light weight - now this might sounds funny for a gaming gig, but I'm an international student studying in the UK and I change my living place quite often), good monitor if my budget allows (so I can play my PS4 on it :D  )

I have had a look at some of the builds in both budgeted intel-based and amd based topics, and have built for myself this system:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor (£142.58 @ Ebuyer)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£23.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: ASRock 990FX Extreme3 ATX AM3+/AM3 Motherboard (£76.01 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£65.76 @ Scan.co.uk)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£45.31 @ CCL Computers)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card (£227.46 @ Dabs)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case (£35.98 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply (£54.62 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£13.18 @ Scan.co.uk)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) (£69.99 @ Dabs)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£145.61 @ Amazon UK)
Keyboard: Gigabyte Force K3 Wired Gaming Keyboard (£23.50 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £923.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-03 02:10 GMT+0000)

Please tell me if there is anything to change for a better system at my budget. I'm cool with both Amd or Intel, Ati or Nvidia so feel free to make any change you want.

Here is basically the same build as above, but in a Micro-ITX case and with an i5 4670 (it is unlikely that I'll overclock, so I didn't choose 4670k):

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£160.79 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£23.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Asus H81I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard (£60.06 @ Ebuyer)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£59.99 @ Scan.co.uk)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£42.50 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card (£227.46 @ Dabs)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini ITX Tower Case (£35.41 @ CCL Computers)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply (£54.62 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£13.18 @ Scan.co.uk)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) (£69.32 @ CCL Computers)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£145.61 @ Amazon UK)
Keyboard: Gigabyte Force K3 Wired Gaming Keyboard (£23.50 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £916.42
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-03 02:09 GMT+0000)

I've also heard about the Alienware X51. Here is what I found on ebay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Alienware-X51-R2-3-9ghz-...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Alienware-X51-R2-3-9ghz-...

How do you think about it? It's light for sure, but is it easily upgradable? And how's the performance? Can I put a Gtx 770 or r9 280x in it ?

Thank you for reading :)  .
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 2, 2013 6:43:09 PM

Both of the builds are very sensible, and aside from a few tweaks here and there, they are basically good to go.
The Intel one is dramatically smaller than the AMD one though, if size is hugely important to you then Intel is generally the way to go for compact performance systems.

The X51 is a great little gadget, but it doesn't really present great value for money. It should be fairly straightforward to upgrade some bits as they are standard components, but due to the size of the case you will have some limitations on this.
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 3:00:29 AM

Thank you for your answer.

I just have a few questions: How long do you think these system would last? And do you know approximately how heavy a complete Mid-Atx system will be? (and a mini-Itx as well)

About the X51, yes, I have seen some forum posts about its incompatibility with some large Graphic Cards. Just wonder if I can fit something like a GTX 770 or R9 280 in it ?
m
0
l
Related resources
December 3, 2013 4:17:30 AM

Btw, if I use the Mini ATX system, would there be significant heat problems? And do I need extra case fans for both of my builds ?
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 11:06:21 AM

Quang Bui said:

I just have a few questions: How long do you think these system would last? And do you know approximately how heavy a complete Mid-Atx system will be? (and a mini-Itx as well)

That really depends on what you pick and what you put in it. At a very wild guess, I'd say you can get down to maybe 7kg, but all components are going to effect that in different ways. A high end CPU cooler can weigh well over 2kg alone.

Quang Bui said:

About the X51, yes, I have seen some forum posts about its incompatibility with some large Graphic Cards. Just wonder if I can fit something like a GTX 770 or R9 280 in it ?

Provisionally, sure, but graphics cards don't come in standard sizes. There is usually a basic reference design with the standard AMD/Nvidia PCB, but then manufacturers add their own cooling solutions which often can be bigger than the board. Add in custom PCBs, and boards can vary quite dramatically in size even amongst a single range of cards. You should almost always be ok for width, as the vast majority of cards are designed to fit in a double slot, but if you do go down this path you are probably better to order an X51 with the card you want OR double check the dimensions on any card you might want to purchase.


Quang Bui said:
Btw, if I use the Mini ATX system, would there be significant heat problems? And do I need extra case fans for both of my builds ?

Assuming you mean the ITX, then potentially, yes. The CM130 isn't the greatest case for cooling, but it'll do the job. As you aren't overclocking, you don't need the Hyper 212 Evo really and the fans the case is supplied with should be sufficient. If you did want to improve temperatures though, a case like this can really benefit from a reference "blower" fan design (where air is sucked in one end of the card and out of the I/O panel) rather than the axial fan design of the card you listed (where air can recirculate). This is also beneficial in a multi GPU setup, but less so in a larger case with a single graphics card.


As a side note, the Alienware uses a low power CPU and (I think) a custom PSU. It's good for cramming things together, but not fantastic for performance or upgrade compatibility.
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 12:03:03 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor (£113.00 @ Ebuyer)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£23.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£95.98 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£59.99 @ Scan.co.uk)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£42.50 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card (£227.46 @ Dabs)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case (£75.65 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: Be Quiet 500W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply (£60.65 @ Ebuyer)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£13.18 @ Scan.co.uk)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) (£69.32 @ CCL Computers)
Monitor: AOC e2343F 23.0" Monitor (£89.00 @ Amazon UK)
Keyboard: Gigabyte Force K3 Wired Gaming Keyboard (£23.50 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £894.21
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-03 20:02 GMT+0000)


dont know if this monitor is good.... you could nearly buy 2 of them ><
with some tweaks you could fit 2 in budget

more expensive monitor( benq is good)
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/benq-monitor-rl2455hm

what about a 27" monitor ?
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/hannspree-monitor-hl272...
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 12:58:30 PM

Rammy said:
Quang Bui said:

I just have a few questions: How long do you think these system would last? And do you know approximately how heavy a complete Mid-Atx system will be? (and a mini-Itx as well)

That really depends on what you pick and what you put in it. At a very wild guess, I'd say you can get down to maybe 7kg, but all components are going to effect that in different ways. A high end CPU cooler can weigh well over 2kg alone.

Quang Bui said:

About the X51, yes, I have seen some forum posts about its incompatibility with some large Graphic Cards. Just wonder if I can fit something like a GTX 770 or R9 280 in it ?

Provisionally, sure, but graphics cards don't come in standard sizes. There is usually a basic reference design with the standard AMD/Nvidia PCB, but then manufacturers add their own cooling solutions which often can be bigger than the board. Add in custom PCBs, and boards can vary quite dramatically in size even amongst a single range of cards. You should almost always be ok for width, as the vast majority of cards are designed to fit in a double slot, but if you do go down this path you are probably better to order an X51 with the card you want OR double check the dimensions on any card you might want to purchase.


Quang Bui said:
Btw, if I use the Mini ATX system, would there be significant heat problems? And do I need extra case fans for both of my builds ?

Assuming you mean the ITX, then potentially, yes. The CM130 isn't the greatest case for cooling, but it'll do the job. As you aren't overclocking, you don't need the Hyper 212 Evo really and the fans the case is supplied with should be sufficient. If you did want to improve temperatures though, a case like this can really benefit from a reference "blower" fan design (where air is sucked in one end of the card and out of the I/O panel) rather than the axial fan design of the card you listed (where air can recirculate). This is also beneficial in a multi GPU setup, but less so in a larger case with a single graphics card.


As a side note, the Alienware uses a low power CPU and (I think) a custom PSU. It's good for cramming things together, but not fantastic for performance or upgrade compatibility.


7kg is the weigh of a mini-ITX system, right? Because I've seen some ATX systems on Amazon, the case itself is 6kg.

Well, about the X51, they really don't have the cards that I want. The strongest card they have is GTX 760 2gb which would cost you £250... Alienware give good performance, but their products are just too overpriced, possibly because of the good designs. But if a mini-itx system could be anywhere near 7kg then I would go with that one rather than X51.

And I don't really understand what you said in the last part. From what I got, you are saying that either I change my mini ITX case to another with good airflow, or I change my graphics card ? If so, do you have any suggestions for them ? Does the Sapphire Toxic R9 280x have the cooling system as you stated?
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 1:03:08 PM

Marcopolo123 said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor (£113.00 @ Ebuyer)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£23.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Asus M5A99X EVO R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£95.98 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£59.99 @ Scan.co.uk)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£42.50 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card (£227.46 @ Dabs)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case (£75.65 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: Be Quiet 500W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply (£60.65 @ Ebuyer)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£13.18 @ Scan.co.uk)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) (£69.32 @ CCL Computers)
Monitor: AOC e2343F 23.0" Monitor (£89.00 @ Amazon UK)
Keyboard: Gigabyte Force K3 Wired Gaming Keyboard (£23.50 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £894.21
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-03 20:02 GMT+0000)


dont know if this monitor is good.... you could nearly buy 2 of them ><
with some tweaks you could fit 2 in budget

more expensive monitor( benq is good)
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/benq-monitor-rl2455hm

what about a 27" monitor ?
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/hannspree-monitor-hl272...


Nah, I feel dizzy using 2 screens. The Benq sounds good. I don't mind the 27", but I'm not sure about Hannspree brand. Are they good reviewed?
m
0
l

Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 1:15:50 PM

7kg is an approximate (and very guessy) absolute minimum weight for a very small ITX case with minimal components. The two heavy bits are the case and PSU, and both of those are probably going to be near to 3kg if you focus on lightness. If you just have an SSD, motherboard and processor, you can probably squeeze it near to 7kg. For a normal ITX system, 10kg is more realistic, and by standard size cases, that could be several kg more (remember that mainly the components are the same, only the case and motherboard are different).

The X51 is a nice system for sure, but you can make something better, cheaper and without it's potential limitations.

The Elite 130 is probably not a good choice for overclocking as it's airflow isn't fantastic, but assuming you stick with a non overclocking processor, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it (though the PSU does stick out a bit at the back, check google images of it).
As for graphics cards, in smaller cases you can get a situation where the air being blown off the fans is just recirculated in the same area (due to poor ventilation) or pushed into the main section of the case, increasing temperatures. This isn't specific to the 130, but a general comment on smaller systems. A solution can be to use a card with a cooling system like this -
http://techreport.com/r.x/geforce-gtx-670/card-3q.jpg
http://hothardware.com/articleimages/Item1864/radeon-hd...
http://www.ixbt.com/video3/images/titan/gigabyte-titan-...
These are usually the "reference" designs, commonly called a "blower" or centrifugal fan design and they suck the air in at the end and push it out of your case.
In isolation, they will probably review worse than a design like the Toxic, but in a smaller case they can offer big benefits by exhausting their hot air.
Share
December 3, 2013 1:29:37 PM

Rammy said:
7kg is an approximate (and very guessy) absolute minimum weight for a very small ITX case with minimal components. The two heavy bits are the case and PSU, and both of those are probably going to be near to 3kg if you focus on lightness. If you just have an SSD, motherboard and processor, you can probably squeeze it near to 7kg. For a normal ITX system, 10kg is more realistic, and by standard size cases, that could be several kg more (remember that mainly the components are the same, only the case and motherboard are different).

The X51 is a nice system for sure, but you can make something better, cheaper and without it's potential limitations.

The Elite 130 is probably not a good choice for overclocking as it's airflow isn't fantastic, but assuming you stick with a non overclocking processor, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it (though the PSU does stick out a bit at the back, check google images of it).
As for graphics cards, in smaller cases you can get a situation where the air being blown off the fans is just recirculated in the same area (due to poor ventilation) or pushed into the main section of the case, increasing temperatures. This isn't specific to the 130, but a general comment on smaller systems. A solution can be to use a card with a cooling system like this -
http://techreport.com/r.x/geforce-gtx-670/card-3q.jpg
http://hothardware.com/articleimages/Item1864/radeon-hd...
http://www.ixbt.com/video3/images/titan/gigabyte-titan-...
These are usually the "reference" designs, commonly called a "blower" or centrifugal fan design and they suck the air in at the end and push it out of your case.
In isolation, they will probably review worse than a design like the Toxic, but in a smaller case they can offer big benefits by exhausting their hot air.


Well problem is, the reference design cards you stated are quite difficult to buy. I haven't seen them in any retail stores. Do you know any online stores that sell them?
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 1:42:49 PM

There are no reference 280Xs, as it's basically a HD7970 with a new dress, so AMD never bothered. GTX770s on the other hand...

It's not an absolute must have, but it's by no means a terrible idea. When the GTX770 launched you could get them with version of the GTX TItan cooler I linked above, but they seem to have been discontinued (probably due to cost)
These would do the job though -
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/evga-video-card-02gp427...
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/evga-video-card-02gp427...

In all honesty, you are probably fine with whatever card you pick, but it's best to have the information available to you before you buy. If you were trying to run a CM130 with an overclockable processor and a big(ish) CPU cooler like a Hyper 212 Evo, then I'd say it'd be highly advisable. As it is, you should be good either way.
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 1:58:31 PM

Yes the EVGA GTX 770 2gb is comparable in term of performance with the R9 280x I choose, but I've heard that 2gb vram is not very futureproof. Is it true?

EVGA GTX 770 4gb doesn't have the 'blower' cooling system (does it ? ), and its price is abit over my budget. But if it is considerably better than the R9 280x, I think I can afford a little rise in costs.
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 2:05:12 PM

Futureproof is a term I hate, as people use it as an excuse to recommend things that are useless.

There's been a reasonable amount of testing done on the 2 and 4Gb versions of the GTX770 (and GTX760) and the general conclusion is that by the time you reach a high enough combination of detail+resolution to cause a difference, the game is unplayable on both cards. A slight exception to this is a potential SLI setup for very very high resolution demands, but even then the evidence says the difference is minimal.

There is no harm in going for a 280X if you prefer, they are broadly comparable to a GTX770, but if you do want to have a bit more control over the airflow then a GTX770 like the ones I linked are going to help.
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 2:30:42 PM

r9 280x is my choice, its cheaper.
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 3:17:55 PM

Talking about PCI slots, I think mini-ITX mainboards only have 1 PCI-Express slot, most being 2.0 and most cards now need slots with 3.0 . So, will any card that we've discussed above run on a mini-ITX mainboard ?
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 3:23:15 PM

Few points-

All high end ITX (or any other format) boards use PCIe 3.0. I can't think of any that don't, it's the new standard.

PCIe3.0 is backwards compatible. Any PCIe 3.0 card will run in a PCIe 2.0 slot and vica versa.

PCIe3.0 has massive bandwidth, and even PCIe2.0 wasn't causing limitations, so even putting a modern graphics card into an older motherboard will not bottleneck performance.

Any ITX board with a PCIe x16 slot (regardless of which version) will run any graphics card on the market.
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 3:37:46 PM

But as you said, most cards now require 2 slot due to their sizes. Now the ASUS H81I-PLUS I choose in my build only has 1 PCIe slot, so I don't know if it will cause any issue.

Although I've seen some builds on pcpartpicker using this mainboard with modern cards, I don't know if they had done anything to their components to fit them in. Honestly I really just want to buy the components, put them in the case, manage the cables, setting up softwares, and start using my computer without having to modify any part. Sorry for being a noobie :D 
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 3:42:59 PM

A two slot cooler just means that it covers two slots, not that it needs to be plugged in to two.
Hopefully this image helps - http://www.cclonline.com/images/articles/1134_single-sl...
ITX boards only have a single slot, so graphics cards overhang the board at the bottom edge. Most ITX cases are built to accommodate this though, and you will see on the back of something like an Elite 130 that it has two expansion slot covers. This isn't the case, but it's very similarly shaped - http://www.coolermaster.com.cn/web/RC-110-KKN1/4.jpg
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2013 6:59:11 PM

Can't say I've ever heard of them, and that is a terrible website. Doesn't format correctly in Chrome for some reason.

They are fairly reasonably priced but not "insanely". You'd probably manage to build a machine of similar specs for around £100 less. Most of their components are decent, but they are a bit cheap on motherboards for my liking.
m
0
l
December 3, 2013 7:15:37 PM

Yeah you are right, I tried to put the r9 290 into my system and its costs just rise to about £1000 which is not that much far away from my initial budget. Maybe I was just so surprised to see a system with r9 290 at that price. And their reviews on google and ebay are mixed, which makes me feel not very safe anw.
m
0
l
December 10, 2013 3:11:27 AM

Hi,

Sorry for digging this up again. I've done more researches on the ITX cases, particularly on the CM Elite 130. I've decided that I'll go with a R9 290 since it's a good performer, new chip plus a blower cooling system. Everything seems to be fine, except that I may not install an ODD (just for more space for air and cable management) and I might have to use a full modular PSU (less cables = more space, I guess).

However, there is one concern: The power requirement of my system in pcpartpicker is only about 400W, whereas the R9 290 card requires 600-700w itself (according to its specifications). I'm confused about this. Please help.

Here is my system:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£155.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: MSI H81I Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard (£54.78 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£59.99 @ Scan.co.uk)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£42.86 @ CCL Computers)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 290 4GB Video Card (£294.99 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini ITX Tower Case (£35.41 @ CCL Computers)
Power Supply: OCZ ZT 550W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply (£58.98 @ Amazon UK)
Keyboard: Gigabyte Force K3 Wired Gaming Keyboard (£23.50 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £726.50
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-10 11:10 GMT+0000)

Here is R9 290's specs: http://www.powercolor.com/global/products_features.asp?...

A very helpful video about CM Elite 130 Installation, where I get the idea of not having an ODD from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlW6hw0WUpw
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2013 3:42:31 AM

The reason for the disparity is that PCpartpicker simply adds up the tdp values (or something similar) to get a figure.
So for this, it'd be 250W (graphics card)+84W (CPU)+small amounts from the motherboard chipset, HDD etc. 400W is about what you would expect. Power usage isn't a fixed value though, and due to the way in which tdp is calculated, fixed values aren't hugely consistent with reality. If you check power usage benchmarks, they consistently show over 400W as a total system power draw (nearer to 450W in some cases).
Now, if you consider the fact that-
-a fair amount of people overclock their CPUs
-people run hugely varying amounts of disc drives and cooling fans
-not all PSUs are made equal

You can start to see why 500W as a recommended value would cause them a lot of grief. A good 550W would be perfectly sufficient, but graphics card manufacturers will usually add at least 20% on the top to cover themselves for every bad and confusingly labelled PSU on the market.

Personally I'd have a few reservations about the R9 290 in such a small case. It'd be worth looking into other builds with the same specs to see how they got on. It's a card designed to run at 95degrees and that's a lot in such close quarters.

Additionally, I wouldn't use an OCZ PSU. The company went bankrupt recently and so I wouldn't count on warranties being honoured if something goes wrong. My picks for PSUs would be these-
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/xfx-power-supply-p1650x...
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/evga-power-supply-120pg...
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/antec-power-supply-hcg6...
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-power-supply-rm...

As for the ODD. I doubt it'll help much with cooling, as it doesn't block the intake fan, it just gives you somewhere to put cables.
m
0
l
December 10, 2013 4:00:00 AM

Now this is a dilemma... If I go with a micro-ATX case (CM N200 for example), will it be able to fare with the heat that r9 290 emits ?
m
0
l
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2013 9:24:57 AM

Well any case will have its own concerns in that regard, the 290 runs very hot. I'm not saying it's a bad card, but it could certainly be something that comes back to haunt you.

In any case (or motherboard) the graphics card is going to be a similar distance from the CPU, it's just that in some cases you might have concerns about the air being recirculated and heated up.

You might be absolutely fine with the 290, but it's best to be aware of these type of qualities before buying. To put things in perspective, a GTX780/770 or HD7970/R9 280X runs at around 75-80degrees when you put it under maximum load.
m
0
l
December 10, 2013 9:32:17 AM

Thank you. I have decided that I'll stick with r9 280x. How do you think about the case Fractual Design Node 304? Will it be better than the CM Elite 130 in terms of cooling ?
m
0
l
December 10, 2013 9:56:06 AM

Wow the r9 280x are mostly sold out... sad day
m
0
l
!