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Mini-ITX HTPC / light gaming build, <$800

Last response: in Systems
January 11, 2014 3:36:23 PM

First time building a mini-ITX computer. Would like it to be able to play "lighter" games (such as Dota 2) with reasonable settings, and perhaps more demanding games at lowest settings. I typically connect it to my 55" TV, so a high resolution is important /necessary.

If possible, would like to have a SSD and HD, however it isn't necessary.

Somewhat flexible on the pricing.

I am currently looking at something like this:

But it is more expensive than I want. Could I perhaps downgrade the video card and still be "good enough" ? Perhaps cheaper parts elsewhere?

I have Windows 8 already.

All help is appreciated! Thank you!
a b 4 Gaming
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
January 11, 2014 5:34:51 PM

you have a case in that build with a power supply , and an ATX power supply that wont fit in that case

downgrade to the cheapest Haswell i5
mb with an H87 chipset
change the graphics to a 7850 radeon , or 650 ti
ditch the SSD and hard drive and get a seagate hybrid hard drive

and yo still have the case /psu problem . The easiest fix might be to buy the 600 watt version of that case , and the smarted choice is probably to use a m-ATX case like the Silverstone GD05 which can use an ATX power supply and has very decent cooling

Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
January 11, 2014 6:16:07 PM

chofmann88 said:
I typically connect it to my 55" TV, so a high resolution is important /necessary.

This doesn't make a huge amount of sense. Resolution is the size in pixels, not the physical size. A 20" 1080P monitor and a 55" 1080P TV are identical in how demanding they are to run.

Quite how much performance you need is open to interpretation, but for "light gaming" your build is certainly overkill. I'd mirror some of Outlander's thoughts in that dropping to a cheap i5 (not explicitly Haswell) such as the 3330/3350P/4430/4440 and a H77/H87 motherboard is likely to make a lot more sense. This also enables you to ditch the CPU cooler. Total saving should be at least $100 without any massive compromise for gaming.

For storage, you are a little limited by which case you pick, but I'd probably stick with the standard 120/128Gb SSD+1TB HDD combo. The 120Gb 840 EVO and 1TB Caviar Blue/Barracuda are hard to beat for value/performance.

The GTX760 is a great card for the money, but it's perhaps a bit overkill for your description of what you want in terms of performance. By all means, go for it, but if all you want is something basic, you could half that budget and still be perfectly capable of playing every game on the market at reduced settings.

I'd definitely change the case. It's not bad by any means, but you are trying to buy two PSUs and a case, and it means it's very expensive for what you are getting. In the link below are a load of popular ITX cases with pictures, it might give you some inspiration for what you want. If you just want good value, something like the Coolermaster Elite 120/130 is pretty hard to beat, especially when it fits standard PSUs and ODDs.
Building an ITX system. Information and FAQ
ITX Builds There have been an ever increasing number of questions regarding ITX builds, and given my interest in the topic I have been answering quite a lot of them. My aim with this guide is to type less, and hopefully cover more ground. I aim for... See full content
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January 11, 2014 7:53:35 PM

Rammy and Outlander, thank you both for your feedback.

I have attempted to incorporate your thoughts and have put together the following:

I would appreciate any further feedback based on compatibility, whether it is "too strong" (i.e. could be cheaper), or not strong enough.

Also, do you think that the Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB or something similar would be a worthy 'downgrade' to save an additional $25? or is it significantly worse?

Again, thank you for the help.
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
January 11, 2014 8:36:25 PM

You can ditch the CPU cooler for sure, the stock one is fine.
You can save some money on memory if you like. You can pick up a similar kit for $65-70.
If you need/want Wifi, then the H87N-Wifi is a great pick. If you don't, then you can save some money here by dropping to a H81 chipset. It's a little limiting in some aspects, but for what you need it won't cause any issues.
My preference would still be towards a standard SSD+HDD combo over a Hybrid drive, or just a HDD, but whatever you chose it's not a huge difference.
For graphics cards it's really up to you. You can run any modern game on even the most basic of "proper" graphics cards, as PC games tend to scale really well. A sensible mid-range pick for high end games might be something like the GTX760, but the GTX650Ti and HD7770 are both capable of running less demanding games at 1080P without any issues, it really depends how long you want it to last and in what sort of games. I'd suggest if you have the cash to get a solid 2Gb card (probably a GTX660 or HD7850 2Gb, or at a push an R9 270) as it'll give you a little more scope should a more demanding game come along that tempts you.
The Elite 120 is great value, and if you like the aesthetic it's a winner.
600W PSU is pretty huge overkill for what you need. The sort of graphics cards you are looking at are more in the 400W range. I'd personally go for an XFX Core 550 as it's great value right now, but if you prefer to stick with the CX range then the CX430M is perfectly sufficient for anything mentioned (bar the GTX760).
January 11, 2014 9:56:26 PM


Again thank you very much for your assistance.

Here is my updated and hopefully final version:

I decided to just go with a 250gb SSD since I also have a 1TB external HDD which I plan on using significantly. My current computer is only 160gb (hdd), and I only use about 100gb (thanks to the external), so I think 250gb will be plenty.

I'm just about ready to hit 'buy', so any last minute comments are greatly appreciated!
a b 4 Gaming
a c 160 B Homebuilt system
January 12, 2014 6:35:32 AM

Looks decent really. I'd personally struggle to justify the cost of a 250gb SSD in a budget of that size but it's totally your call. If you have external storage then it might be just what you need.