I'm looking for guidance with what will be my first build if I go through with it. What I want is a home/LAN party computer. As such, I need to be able to lug it around here and there.
The kind of gaming my friends and I do is not very intensive graphically (not Crysis, more Half-Life 2). We tend to like the older games more. However, I will want to play Diablo 3 and I do play TF2, Guild Wars, and WoW.
My budget is a soft $500. I'm cannibalizing my nearly 5-year-old Dell for the HDD and the optical drive. I already have all of my peripherals as well.
Here what I have figured out so far:
Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BNS Black SECC Gaming Cube Computer Case
SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5
Grand Total: $495.54
I went for the combo since I feel that it is a good deal (maybe I'm wrong?). My only concern with having a small box is getting a new fan for the CPU. I don't really desire to overclock so I don't know if it is even necessary to worry about that.
If you're after a SFF build you should take a closer look at the case. It's not exactly "small".
The case is more a matter of personal preference. But it's a good idea to look at all your options.
Compare other things like price (incl shipping), layout, installation ease, cooling options, etc.
I know the Corsair 650TX is an excellent value, that price is so close to the 450VX and 550TX it's really attractive. But you could easily downsize the PSU a bit and still have plenty of power for a beefy video card. OCZ StealthXStream 500 $40 or PC P&C 500 $60
15% savings and a faster system - it's looking good.
If you're even thinking of "squeezing out a little more performance" in the future you might want to add an aftermarket CPU cooler now, and save the hassle of removing the stock cooler, cleaning the CPU casing and adding a cooler later. For that small case you'd want a CPU cooler in the 92mm size and I think the ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler $20 will do a good job. Even if you don't OC the CPU you'll have a cooler CPU and quieter case.
Doesn't look to be any major differences in the side-by-side comparison: Patriot Viper vs G.SKILL PI Black
Both are CAS 4 but the PI Black can do that @ 1.8V-1.9V which usually indicates higher quality.
Both have mostly positive reviews @ NewEgg. I think the prices pretty much match the item quality. I can't see any reason not to go with the least expensive option and that includes the Corsair you looked at earlier.
I use that PI Black G.Skill RAM and love it, not only is it the fastest DDR2 RAM, at the lowest voltage, it also has great heat sinks. However since your on a smaller budget, I would recommend the Patriot Viper, same performance, but theres a nice rebate.