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$1000 Mini ITX Desktop / Gaming Build

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April 29, 2010 7:41:57 AM

This is what the case looks like:



APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Completed purchase in April 2010

BUDGET: $1,000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Normal desktop use (MS Office, Web browsing, a bunch of multitasking), light Photoshop and Illustrator CS5 use, light gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I need nothing other than a basic computer with a few USB ports.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, ncix.com, any website

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, if applicable.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Dual Monitor 1280x1024 or higher

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Below is my final build list:

Case: SILVERSTONE Sugo SG05-B Black SECC / Plastic Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case SFX 300W 80Plus Power Supply - $99
Motherboard: DFI LANParty MI P55-T36 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard - $139.99

GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1158-TR GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $134.99 after MIR ($154.99 before MIR) $90 on Craigslist.

CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - $199.99 $180 on Craigslist.

CPU Cooling: CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - $79.99

Hard drive: Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M160G2XXX 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM - $419.99

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail - $108.99

Total: $1117.96
April 29, 2010 7:44:25 AM

There may be new Mini ITX boards coming soon that are more future-proof with faster SATA and USB 3.0. In that case I can wait... the items I already bought (Case, RAM, and CPU cooler) won't lose their value much while I wait.

P.S. 80 GB is enough space for me and I have a back-up plan, so there is no need to suggest a larger hard drive.
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April 30, 2010 8:08:49 AM

Thanks. Apparently some owners of this Silverstone case with 300W PSU have no issues running a GTS 250, a few 5570s, and a couple 5850s:

Some examples:

Quote:
Silverstone SG06
Intel q9650 stock
Zotac geforce 9300 itx wifi
2x2GB pc6400 (Gskill)
Sapphire Vaporx 5770 @ 910/1325
OCZ 60GB Agility SSD
Pioneer Slot loading DVDRW

Readings are in AC from a Kill a Watt.

Idle: 72W
Gaming Shattered Horizon: 172W
Prime 95 and Furmark running: 255W


Quote:
Silverstone SG05
e8400@3.5Ghz
2x2GB Corsair XMS2
Nvidia Geforce GTS250 @ stock
Silverstone SOD01

Without the GTS250:
Idle 42W!!
3dMark Vantage: 79W

With the eVGA GTS250 1GB
Idle: 70W
3dMark Vantage: 129W on CPU tests 170W on most other tests


I picked up a like-new EVGA GTS 250 1GB card locally (via Craigslist) for $90 today.. not a bad deal. Will give that a shot.

I've been checking out a couple 5770s but some people complain about flickering issues with dual monitors.
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May 16, 2010 10:27:27 PM

I'm considering using your build for my own set up, but had a few questions. This is my first build, and I'm very unfamiliar with the territory, so please bear with me.

why did you choose that graphics card? It seems like you are paying for SLI, and also its higher power consumption. With a small PSU (concerns already brought up above), why not go with the cheaper GT 240 - only 70w power, and yes, you lose SLI, but doesn't seem like we are going to use it.

Do you think SSD is worth the huuuge increase in cost? I'm thinking of getting a 100GB SSD hd if I do go the SSD route, but I'm worried about how long I will end up using it (with it being only 100gb), and that's a lot of money to put down if I'm not going to be able to reuse it...

I have a 1TB external, so I can keep movies and music on there, and let the SSD speed up all my non-media related stuff..I'm just not sure yet.
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May 16, 2010 10:36:45 PM

^ the GT 240 is crap.

Very slow.

2. Not realy. Nice, but not 400$ nice.
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May 16, 2010 11:07:30 PM

haha of course its not 400$ nice. But in what scenarios are you going to notice a difference? What kinds of gaming would you have to be doing
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May 16, 2010 11:51:25 PM

mcelani said:
haha of course its not 400$ nice. But in what scenarios are you going to notice a difference? What kinds of gaming would you have to be doing


Any time you load something offline you will notice a diffrence.

However, online, load time is determined by the Server, not your HDD.
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May 16, 2010 11:53:08 PM

ohhhh...sorry i misread your post. the second part was in regards to the HD, haha.

So you think I should just avoid the GT240? What about the power supply concerns? Is this something I can just ignore?
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May 16, 2010 11:54:57 PM

Avoid the Gt 240.

Power supply?

A 5770 runs like a charm on a 400W High end PSu.

If it soem crap Hec-Tec PSu, then maybe not.
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May 17, 2010 12:02:22 AM

Who makes the PSU?

I would proably do a 5670 if I were you.
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May 17, 2010 12:04:02 AM

Ic. The major reason I'm interested in this build (title also suggests why the original poster was interested) is the small compact case. However, this case comes with a 300W PSU that has very small dimensions - hard to replace without altering the case. Would you suggest I just learn how to do that and find a better PSU, find an alternative low power video card, or go with the 5770 with a 300W ps.

Note that the i5 is 95W.

Edit:
Also would be open to alternative small dimension micro itx cases with bigger PS

space is definitely an issue though.
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May 17, 2010 12:12:50 AM

Thanks! 5670 looks great! Seems to fit my needs quite well :) 
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May 17, 2010 12:21:16 AM

Yeh....

The 5670 is slowish thou....

I would try to find a t 40$ 400W Corsair PSU and a 5770 for 150$....

Or stick to the 5670....
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May 17, 2010 12:34:36 AM

Some reviews say that the PSU that comes with it can handle the 5770, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Unfortunately, according to a poster on newegg:

"If you plan on buying a new power supply make sure you buy one that is micro-atx and has these dimensions 5”(W) x 2.5”(H) x 4.75”(D), any larger will not fit in the case. "

I've been having difficulty finding one of these.
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May 17, 2010 1:09:27 AM

Maybe this might help:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2010-gaming-graphics...

Looks like your card at high draw will take nearly almost the whole 300 Watts. Even an HD 5750 will pull almost the whole load of that lttle PSU after the CPU. Thats for 3D Graphics though - all other work will pull less, and probably will not reach 300 W very often in light gaming. I would hesitate to take a chance though, but I am conservative. I agree with everyone else that you should have an extra 100 watts.

Oh, for the SSD; I have an Intel 80 GB SSD and it is fantastic. I have the OS and a couple of other things on it. I use a TB of raid drives for the big files. Really is a luxory that I appreciate.

E

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May 17, 2010 1:28:25 AM

^ I would not want a Gaming build with anything slowert than a 4850.
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June 2, 2010 5:07:15 PM

Here's an update on my build:

PRIME95 test shows 50C CPU max. temp. Again this CPU is i5-750 with a Corsair H50 air/water CPU cooler.

I built another mini ITX computer at around the same time: i3-540 CPU with Danatron K199 80mm cooler and it did 70C in PRIME95.

I'm impressed by the Corsair H50 CPU cooler performance.

I had problems attempting to OC the i5-750 CPU with the DFI Lanparty ITX motherboard. It's either because of the 300W PSU or it's because I don't know what I'm doing.

Regardless everything runs great on stock settings. The factory 300W PSU handles the Nvidia GTX 250 video card without issues, even though a 450W PSU was recommended for it.

I have a 24" 1920 x 1200 (not 1920 x 1080) widescreen monitor. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 runs at full resolution and high detail. It's silky smooth except when I'm in the middle of heavy action (especially with smoke). Guess I need a better video card to support that resolution.

This GTS 250 card seems sufficient for today's games with a 1280x1024 monitor. A 5770 or faster would be more future-proof, but $90 for a GTS 250 that runs decent for today's games is a good score. Once I sell it for a better card, I may only lose $40 or so. The more expensive cards depreciate harder. Check Craigslist, there's plenty of people dumping newish video cards because they go out and buy the latest $500+ cards.
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June 2, 2010 5:09:40 PM

builderbobftw said:
^ I would not want a Gaming build with anything slowert than a 4850.


Apparently the 4850 is the same performance-wise as the GTS 250. Because of better cooling and now that prices are low, GTS 250 is probably the better choice (on a $100 budget of course).

There's some discussion about the 4850 vs. other cards for the Silverstone SG05/SG06 case here.
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June 2, 2010 5:33:37 PM

mcelani said:
I'm considering using your build for my own set up, but had a few questions. This is my first build, and I'm very unfamiliar with the territory, so please bear with me.

why did you choose that graphics card? It seems like you are paying for SLI, and also its higher power consumption. With a small PSU (concerns already brought up above), why not go with the cheaper GT 240 - only 70w power, and yes, you lose SLI, but doesn't seem like we are going to use it.


I don't know of any Mini ITX motherboards that support SLI; mine only has one video card slot. A mATX motherboard and a larger ATX case would probably be better for SLI configurations. I'm a fan of the small-form Mini ITX and if I really need a powerful video card, I'll just buy a single high-end card like the GTX 480 or ATI 5870.

My decision to go with the GTS 250 is explained in my previous posts. Also, Nvidia seems to have better support for Photoshop and maybe 3D gaming as well (I'll need a $300+ Nvidia card if I want 3D gaming though because it consumes 1/2 of the frame rates).

mcelani said:
Do you think SSD is worth the huuuge increase in cost? I'm thinking of getting a 100GB SSD hd if I do go the SSD route, but I'm worried about how long I will end up using it (with it being only 100gb), and that's a lot of money to put down if I'm not going to be able to reuse it...

I have a 1TB external, so I can keep movies and music on there, and let the SSD speed up all my non-media related stuff..I'm just not sure yet.


I admit that I hesitated with spending money on a 160GB SSD, but I have zero regrets now. It's very fast and I don't have to worry about space. Right now with a bunch of applications and a handful of games, I have 40 GB of free space on my 160GB Intel SSD. My setup is worry-free and just plain awesome.

On top of that, TRIM still works. The guys running multiple SSDs in RAID to increase space are missing TRIM. Very annoying. TRIM support for RAID is supposedly in the works, but it has been a long wait so far.

It would suck a little if I chose a cheaper 60-100GB SSD and I have to keep making decisions on storing applications/files on a slow 7200 RPM drive. I consider a 10000 RPM Raptor drive slow too; it has a really crappy seek time and random i/o for small files. To me, having separate C:\ and D:\ drives is also a little annoying.

So splurging on a relatively large SSD is worth it to me.

I have a fast network server that can hold 2TB of data for my documents (*cough*porn*cough*) but I have not needed it yet.

I also have three 30 GB SSDs for other computers in my house; a HTPC, an offline Java development computer (I'm using RAMDisk for building Java files - way faster than any hard drive in existence), and for my wife's computer (just web browsing, loading pictures from camera, and MS Word). For my desktop I think 160GB minimum is worth it.

Once TRIM support is finally released, I can purchase another 160GB SSD for cheap (maybe in 1-2 years) and I'll have a nice 320GB. More than I need for a long time. It's also much better than having four 80GB SSDs in a 320GB RAID. That's 4 annoying SATA cables in a small Mini ITX case. Two 80GB SSDs costs basically the same as one 160GB SSD so there is no immediate benefit in buying smaller SSDs and RAIDing them.

Photoshop CS5 loads in what seems like 3 or 4 seconds. Amazingly fast. MS Office applications and web browsers open in less than 1 second. The desktop environment generally feels very snappy. In a game, I'm always the first 10% of all players to join a server after a map/level change because my computer loads quickly.
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June 2, 2010 7:32:29 PM

smittyline said:
Apparently the 4850 is the same performance-wise as the GTS 250. Because of better cooling and now that prices are low, GTS 250 is probably the better choice (on a $100 budget of course).

There's some discussion about the 4850 vs. other cards for the Silverstone SG05/SG06 case here.


Yeh, but both thoase cards own the 5670.
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