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Looking For Input --- Mini-ITX Micro-ATX Gaming

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January 19, 2010 4:58:40 PM

My little brother (11yr old) saved up for an HD4770 on the condition that I would help him out with the rest of the build. He bought the card, and I built him a box out of spare parts. (Big ugly old ASUS mobo, Pentium D 915, 1GB DDR2-800, 80GB HDD) Boy, was I ever proud of him for putting it all together by himself!

It's been a few months, and while he still loves the box to death, I'd like to set him up with something a bit nicer. His friends are starting to build cases now, and I can hear the sound of a fast-approaching LAN party. What I would like to do, is set him up with a Micro-ATX board and a more portable case. I'm really looking for a community focused on Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX gaming.

#1. Do you guys know of any forums/websites with reviews and information focused on this subject?

#2. I'm going to fill out the new build form just for kicks if anyone wants to chime in. :) 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (3-4 weeks)

BUDGET RANGE: ($300-$400 USD) Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Medium Gaming, LAN parties, Internet)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (ATI HD4770, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Hard drive, Operating System.)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (Newegg.com)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (North America - Pacific Northwest)

PARTS PREFERENCES: None. Intel or AMD, doesn't bother me. I've used all ASUS mobo's in the past, have since moved to Gigabyte. No preference really, as long as it's stable.

OVERCLOCKING: I'm comfortable overclocking, however the old pentium D is a failure at it on the old ASUS mobo.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1280x1024 CRT Monitor) <-- Fail, but hey, little brother gets the hand-me-downs. They're free! Also, if the budget is right I'd be happy to spend $80-$100 on an LCD monitor for him.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <----OMG24HOUR SALE!!! Can I afford this?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I can see two ways this build will pan out. Either hang on to the Pentium D and drop it in a mATX or mITX mobo, or start over with a nice budget AMD processor and go from there. The smaller form-factor the better. He needs to be able to carry it around easily. How does the Pentium D stand up to the HD4770? Is it bottlenecking? If it is I haven't noticed it, but I never use this computer myself. This is a small budget, and little brother is still going to earn every dollar's worth of it. I usually give him all my teardowns, plus reformat/wipe jobs and some of my simpler system builds. He basically works for me when ppl send me their busted boxes.

I'm on Tom's alot so I'll try to respond fairly quickly.

Thanks!

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a b B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2010 10:31:10 PM

How much are you willing to spend?

I'd go for the AMD Athlon X4 620 and a mirco ATX board. You can probably reuse the RAM.

MB/CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 19, 2010 10:53:45 PM

I haven't seen that case before, pretty neat, although a little spendy... At this point I'm wondering if the Pentium D will hold the HD4770 back or not, and I don't think it would.

That leaves me with this plan: Reuse the Pentium D 915 and buy a new mATX or mITX LGA775 DDR2 mobo.

So...

New Mobo
More RAM
New PSU
New Case

The case should be very small, with decent airflow. Preferably 1 drive bay and 1 HDD bay, and needs to fit the HD 4770 listed here.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks for the reply!
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January 19, 2010 11:10:37 PM

Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $41.99

Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $79.99

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $49.99

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $78.49

Grand total before shipping = $250.46

This is a tough number to swallow, can I cheap out on the RAM? I'm not sure about the case, those fans in the back look really loud. Can I go cheaper anywhere?
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January 27, 2010 2:03:59 PM

Best answer selected by NapoleonDK.
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