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MicroATX system

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May 21, 2009 6:38:31 PM

I'm planning a build using an old case which will require me to use a microATX motherboard. i plan on using an AMD processor likely a phenom II x3 or a the anthlon x2 7850 (Kuma). I'm looking to build a multimedia rig that can game well. I'm looking for a solid step up from a 9600m gt (laptop). games i would play would probably include TF 2, Fear 2, Dawn of War 2, and bioshock 1 & 2 (when it comes out). right now i'm looking at the gts 250, 4850/4870, and the gts 260. i won't be playing at ridiculous resolutions, however i would like it to play some games and watch some movies at 720p on a 36 inch LCD TV.
info about the case:
x2 5.25" drive bays
x3 3.5" drive bays (1 external)
width : 7" (roughly)
length: 16.5" however, the area the graphics card will sit in is completely open
height: 13.5"
this will be a project that will include case modding. i have all the tools necessary to do anything needed. budget will be around 450 -525 for the initial build.
also, how do the 38xx series stack up against the newer ati cards?

More about : microatx system

May 21, 2009 6:58:33 PM

A GTS 250 will play all of those games at max settings at your resolution. I can't imagine that you'll need an upgrade for a while - but a GTX 260 would be better future-proofing. I'd recommend nVidia over ATI because of the benefits of CUDA and PhysX, as well as lower overall temps.

The 38xx series is a bit outdated - you can get better cards for cheaper than 3850/3870s run now.

Additionally, I would get the tri-core over the dual (regardless of what your primary use will be). The PII 720 BE is great value.
May 21, 2009 7:20:00 PM

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M3A78-CM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780V Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $198.99 (CPU + motherboard combo)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $58.99

WESTERN DIGITAL WD3200AAKS 320GB SATA 7200 RPM 16MB Hard Drive
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... $51.99

OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 - $25.00 MIR

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $23.99

POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99 - $10.00 MIR

Total - $518.94 - $35.00 MIR's
Related resources
May 21, 2009 7:33:32 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M3A78-CM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780V Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $198.99 (CPU + motherboard combo)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $58.99

WESTERN DIGITAL WD3200AAKS 320GB SATA 7200 RPM 16MB Hard Drive
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... $51.99

OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 - $25.00 MIR

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $23.99

POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99 - $10.00 MIR

Total - $518.94 - $35.00 MIR's


Power supply will not fit in Micro-ATX case......
May 21, 2009 7:37:11 PM

What makes you say that? It's modular and most PSU's will fit just fine in microATX cases.
May 21, 2009 8:15:09 PM

shabaa said:
Power supply will not fit in Micro-ATX case......



the psu wont fit in a mini itx case , but it will fit in a m-atx case .


And comments above from Cpt deadboots that nVidia run cooler is probably not a general rule . ATI use a smaller manufacturing process than nVidia and that means cooler running and lower power levels .

The 4850 in my computer is a Palit with a double height cooler . Its idling now at 25C and tops out below 50 C in my m-atx case . Very good temps . Its also generally more powerful than a gts 250 and $20 cheaper
May 21, 2009 9:47:34 PM

in terms of the power suplly, how much space should there be allotted between the psu and the optical drives?
May 21, 2009 10:59:22 PM

I'd disagree with your statement that the 4850 is more powerful than the GTS 250 - as the review on Tom's shows, it 3dMarks higher, but the GTS 250 beats it consistently in just about every other real-world scenario. Additionally, the GTS 250 is built on the SAME size manufacturing process as the 4850/70 (55nm) - and manages to use ~10-20w less power than the 4850. The only card that has a smaller manufacturing process than nVidia's G92b and GT200 is the new 4770 (40nm).

Single-slot 4850 cards garner VERY high temps - there's no question about this. A dual-slot will be better, but your Palit card must have an excellent cooler (and your case must have incredible airflow) to garner temps like the ones you stated.
May 21, 2009 11:01:05 PM

That 550W PSU should be suitable for this M-ATX build.
May 22, 2009 12:11:54 AM

Outlander_04 said:
[#ff2e00]the psu wont fit in a mini itx case , but it will fit in a m-atx case . [/#ff3b00]


And comments above from Cpt deadboots that nVidia run cooler is probably not a general rule . ATI use a smaller manufacturing process than nVidia and that means cooler running and lower power levels .

The 4850 in my computer is a Palit with a double height cooler . Its idling now at 25C and tops out below 50 C in my m-atx case . Very good temps . Its also generally more powerful than a gts 250 and $20 cheaper



I stand corrected... Thank you....

However I believe that the greatest problem with this build as with most micro-atx cases is going to be HEAT...... Also when you start putting more "heat generators" in the smaller M-atx case you have to make sure that you have adequate airflow and everything will be good....
May 22, 2009 6:21:40 AM

shabaa said:
I stand corrected... Thank you....

However I believe that the greatest problem with this build as with most micro-atx cases is going to be HEAT...... Also when you start putting more "heat generators" in the smaller M-atx case you have to make sure that you have adequate airflow and everything will be good....



The heat issue is a long held truism about m-atx cases that dates from a time when pc's didnt have case fans and all the heat was radiated by the surface area of the case , or out through the power supply .

The situation today is a bit different . You can get m-atx cases with good air flow . And if you buy an m-atx case with 1 x 120 mm inlet and 1 x 120 mm outlet fan then it actually cools BETTER than an ATX case with the same number of fans .
The reason is that the average speed of air flow is higher in a smaller case . Image those two fans blowing into a case the size of a room . At any given spot in the middle of the room the air flow is low. Very low. And heat will radiate from heat sinks only slowly .
Now have the same fans in a small case . The air is now moving fast .

The only way to make an atx case cool as well is to add more fans , and move the air quicker again

Good quality m-atx cases are fine
May 22, 2009 6:43:21 AM

Cpt Deadboots said:
I'd disagree with your statement that the 4850 is more powerful than the GTS 250 - as the review on Tom's shows, it 3dMarks higher, but the GTS 250 beats it consistently in just about every other real-world scenario. Additionally, the GTS 250 is built on the SAME size manufacturing process as the 4850/70 (55nm) - and manages to use ~10-20w less power than the 4850. The only card that has a smaller manufacturing process than nVidia's G92b and GT200 is the new 4770 (40nm).

Single-slot 4850 cards garner VERY high temps - there's no question about this. A dual-slot will be better, but your Palit card must have an excellent cooler (and your case must have incredible airflow) to garner temps like the ones you stated.



The Tomshardware comparison of the 4850 uses two non reference cards . The GTS250 has 1 gig of memory , the 4850 has 512 mb .

Its not that fair a test

The reference cards are very close in performance , with the radeon edging the gts 250 at higher resolutions and the gts clear winner in nVidia optimised games . The 4850 is $95 on newegg. Last time I looked the cheapest GTS 250 was $20 more expensive

May 22, 2009 10:32:37 AM

Well 1st off:
720p by its classical definition equals to 1280 x 720 resolution and sometimes in industry it gets mixed up and could also refer to HD Ready LCD TVs which have 1366 x 768 but either way i would look at the HD4770 for this task actually :p  Extremely close performance to HD4850 with far lower power consumption hehe
2ndly:
As for gaming on mATX boxes i have built numerous off cases like Silverstone SG-02F, Cooler Master 340, etc and for their size their cooling options are rather decent if u ask me ^^
May 22, 2009 12:13:18 PM

I still haven't read a competent technical review of that OCZ PSU, and until I do would not use it because it is built by Sirtec.
A 4770 would be a nice choice for this system, then you can power it with an Antec Earthwatts 380.
!