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Best Gaming MicroATX Case, PSU?

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June 30, 2009 9:08:04 PM

I am building a microATX gaming rig for under $700. I plan to purchase materials by around the end of July (so about one month, give or take).
I need help choosing a good case and PSU though.
I am aware cooling won't be great to begin with... but which cases are better for gaming applications?
Also, which PSU's will be worthwhile? How much power do I need? 500w? 600w?

I plan to put in a quad-core AMD and a Radeon 4870 or 4890... I am still debating weather or not I should get a board with 1 or 2 PCI Express 2.0 slots so upgrades are easier.

I would be willing to spend around $200 on the case, PSU, and CD/DVD drive. I would need a pretty good reason to spend over that though : )

EDIT: There is a build later on in the thread; another updated build will be posted today (July 2nd).

More about : gaming microatx case psu

a b 4 Gaming
June 30, 2009 9:30:58 PM

For crossfire 4890s you will need at least a good 750W, so you need to decide first what your plans are.

You also need to be clear about your case needs. Are you looking for something small? How small?

One of the best microATX tower cases is this Antec:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Because you can simply slide out the lower HD cage it makes installing longer cards easy.


a b 4 Gaming
June 30, 2009 9:48:59 PM

Proximons antec mini suggestion is a good case but its actually bigger than may mid tower cases.

Have you read the $1300 system builder marathon ?

They used a silverstone tj08 and SLI'ed 2 gtx 260's in an i7 mb and the thing ran way too hot .

I have a tj08 , an overclocked c2d and a 4850 and it runs really cool .I managed to fit a Scythe ninja in and hardly ever see cpu temps over 35C, GFX temps are low too . Right now CCC is reporting 20C at idle with 20% fan speed [ its winter here and a bit cool in the room ]

M-atx cases can cool better than bigger tower cases because the reduced internal volume means higher average air speeds IF the case has the same number of fans .

You also need to very careful that you have space for air flow.
The sli option in the system builder pc restricted air flow too much , and the PSU was the wrong configuration .
B4 you go further have a look for that article because they did fall into some traps you want to avoid .
Related resources
June 30, 2009 11:45:23 PM

Proximon said:
For crossfire 4890s you will need at least a good 750W, so you need to decide first what your plans are.

You also need to be clear about your case needs. Are you looking for something small? How small?


I am looking for a case that can fit most graphics cards snugly, even if that involves removing drive cages (which I expect it to). I am leaning towards having dual cards in crossfire, so it will probably need a nice amount for fans... as for size, a comment on your link for the antec case sums it up:

"Also, as another review pointed out, this is a very BIG "micro" ATX case. The whole reason I had gone with a uATX system was for size, but I didn't look at the dimensions before buying it, so that's really my fault, not Antec's."

I am choosing to make a MicroATX case because I want it to be portable, but it would be redundant to buy a case that is as large as a normal ATX one, even if it makes putting components in easier (I would say the case you linked is the largest I would like)
a b 4 Gaming
July 1, 2009 12:06:47 AM

You know, I think a good handle is more important than size for portability:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Us a low profile cooler and throw a couple more fans into this case and it could work out:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This Silverstone is pretty much exactly what you need, but I doubt you'll overclock in it and you'll need a cool PSU and a good low profile CPU cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 1, 2009 12:18:52 AM

Proximon said:
You know, I think a good handle is more important than size for portability:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Us a low profile cooler and throw a couple more fans into this case and it could work out:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Both of those links go to the Storm Scout (which looks nice by the way but I imagine you meant to link to 2 different systems?)

Thanks for the suggestions... I am browsing through them and others right now... I will probably make a theoretical build by tomorrow.

EDIT: Speaking of builds... any suggestions for graphics for a $700 gaming build, anyone?
July 1, 2009 1:33:08 AM

I built a setup for my brother a few months ago with the Sugo SG01-BW which can take cards up to 9.5" (which includes the single gpu radeons but not most nvidia cards without removing the HD cage). I really like the setup of it even tho it was a little heavier than I would of guessed. Here is a link to the steel version of it.
But with any small case I would go for a modular PS because wire management can become a real problem (I used a Seasonic 430w).

Here are a few pics of it with a HD 3870 installed.









July 1, 2009 2:11:26 AM

I have a good idea as to what case now... which will be in a posted build tomorrow.
For now, what PSU do you think I should get. It should be modular FOR SURE... cable management would be awful with all the excess cables, let alone while being crammed into a smaller package.
July 1, 2009 5:33:36 PM

I am making a build right now, and of course the timing isn't great since all of the promos are different...
Either way, I will have a draft pretty soon, so stay tuned.


The updated base build is below, on my next post! Please critique!
July 1, 2009 7:41:06 PM

The Silverstone TJ08 is pretty much the same case as the Cooler Master Elite 340 (which is discontinued on newegg, but still available if you google a bit), but with a different front bezel and a more "creative" price tag.
July 1, 2009 9:55:18 PM

Alright, here is the build:

CASE: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... , Thermaltake VF1000BWS Lan Box w/ Window & Handle (Black). $125.49, Free Shipping.

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , Rosewill Stallion Series RD500-2DB 500W ATX12V Power Supply. $39.99, Free Shipping. I made a rookie mistake here - I searched under "Modular" at newegg and assumed this one was modular, but it somehow got into the search even though it ISN'T modular... I am looking for a replacement at the moment.

CD/DVD DRIVE: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... , SAMSUNG SH-S223Q/BEBS 22X SATA DVD Burner Black Drive. $34.99, Free Shipping, $15.00 Mail-In Rebate.

CPU: COMBO DEAL WITH CPU, $35.00 REBATE, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor. $189.99, Free Shipping.

CPU COOLER: Stock AMD Phenom Cooler. $0.00.

MOTHERBOARD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , Open Box: ASUS M4A78-EM AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard. $57.99.

GPU: COMBO DEAL WITH GPU, $35.00 REBATE, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , MSI R4890-T2D1G OC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - OC Edition. $199.00, Free Shipping.

HARD DRIVE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive. $69.99, Free Shipping.

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5C. $54.99, Free Shipping, $20.00 Mail-In Rebate.

Total: $772.43
Shipping: $7.59
Mail-In Rebates: $35.00
Combo Rebates: $35.00

GRAND TOTAL: $710.02

Being $10 over-budget to have what I have is fine with me!

Here is what I like about this build: The processor is an OC-able 3.0GHz QUAD CORE! The GPU is an OC-able 4890, which is enough graphics for me, given this is a $700 build. I have 4GB of good RAM. A 500W PSU should be enough to juice the machine (although I will probably not be able to add much more), and it is modular for much easier cable management. The case is superb, with excellent reviews all around, and is not only good looking, but has many nice touches (easy-removable HD cages and motherboard tray, for example).

Here is what I don't like: The PSU isn't exactly great, and I would rather have a better brand (Ironically, from what I saw in reviews, many people think it runs pretty well, however). The motherboard is an open box item, which, although it gives me a pretty nice price cut, makes the item a small gamble, since I can't return it. I REALLY wanted an aftermarket cooler, but given this is a MicroATX case, I knew that I won't be able to overclock much anyhow, so I determined that spending the cost of the cooler on a better processor was a better idea than getting a less powerful CPU and overclocking that (and thus increasing heat). The motherboard has only 1 PCI Express 2.0 X16 slot, which means upgrades are limited to swapping out the graphics card, although the PSU limits the rig to one card anyhow.

So what do you guys think? I myself believe it is pretty good, but I also think there could be better! I would love some input on how I can improve upon this "base", or how I can eliminate some of the cons associated with it.

EDIT: The PSU change is below

EDIT 2: A new build will be posted today (June 2), I will update this post and the thread once it is posted.
July 1, 2009 10:15:10 PM

As noted above, the PSU I chose wasn't modular as I had thought. Here is a better replacement for only $10 more:

PSU: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product..., OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply. $74.99, Free Shipping, $25.00 Mail-In Rebate.

So the total cost of the build with this PSU would be $720.02... which is pushing it... but what can you do?
a b 4 Gaming
July 2, 2009 6:27:43 AM

Doh, sorry didn't re-read the thread.

On the PSU, I realize you have every reason to think an OCZ is a fine PSU, but this is not actually set in stone. This unit has never been reviewed by a quality site, just one European review by someone with a voltmeter. Experts think, based on pictures of the interior, that it was made by an inferior OEM. It's larger sibling, the 700W, Is decent and made by someone else.

I have far more confidence in the modular 550W PSU from Antec:
http://www.buy.com/prod/550w-truepower-atx12v-v2-3-pwr-...
Note the free shipping. Same deal with Amazon.

And even more for this Seasonic:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Not free shipping but there's a rebate.
July 2, 2009 4:21:05 PM

I will be posting an updated build today... here is what to look for (and what I am considering/trying to change):

Under consideration:

> A different, better PSU from a solid name brand other than OCZ

> Getting an aftermarket CPU cooler for some (but not crazy) overclocking

> A different, better or cheaper case OR possibly more fans for the case that is in the current build

> Upping the 500GB HD to 640GB


What I am trying to change:

> Lowering the total to the goal of $700 from $720

> Avoid using an open box motherboard
July 2, 2009 10:43:02 PM

I should have expected for this to happen earlier, but the Open Box motherboard is out of stock now, so I need to find a replacement. I can spend around $20 more than what I had previous (so $78 and below)... any suggestions?
!