Light and Small $2000ish Gaming Build

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 7/15/10 BUDGET RANGE: $1500-$2500 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, networked-to-PS3 media center, surfing, streaming to phone



PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, Intel SSD, otherwise *shrug*

OVERCLOCKING: Minimal. I plan on overclocking the CPU a bit, but I want a small case, so I'm concerned about heat. I don't know anything about overclocking memory or GPU. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe. I'd probably prefer to stick to a single card to limit weight, but I'm not against it.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. Something big if possible.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'd like something small. My last 2 computers have been monster-sized 9000lb full-tower rigs, and I'd like something that can game and that I can carry around. I'm also not big on lights. I would like a pretty case though, something sleek. I'd kind of like to go with a Micro ATX board if it's doable, but I'm not married to that idea at all.

Additionally, I'm getting my Intel products locally slightly used at around half of retail, so note the discounted prices on those my item list below.


Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit - $0 (MSDN)

i7-930 - Discounted at $142
i7-980X - Discounted at $495
I know everybody says the i7-980 isn't worth a grand, but is it worth $500? Hell if I know.

CPU Cooling:
I was thinking the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme - $62.99, but if I go micro ATX, I'd probably have to find something smaller.

No idea here sadly. There are a few Micro ATX LGA 1366 boards on Newegg, but none of them have stellar reviews. Would I be better off just going with ATX and getting a smallish case for it? I'm also worried about massive video cards in my case selection.

Since this depends heavily on the type of motherboard I get, I haven't even considered cases yet. I've looked at a few of the mid/full-tower cases that are recommended here, and I'm cool with those. If I go with a Micro ATX board, I'll want something that's got very good airflow obviously if I end up overclocking.

Ugh I'm so split here. I think I want to go single card... so I was thinking maybe a Radeon HD 5970. But that might be overkill for single monitor 1900x1080 gaming. So maybe the Radeon HD 5850? But then again, I kind of like 3d capability, so maybe a GTX 480? But then again, 3d limits my current monitor choices a LOT, so I may forgo that until my next build.

Intel X25-M 160GB - Discounted at $245

I want 4TB of storage (ISOs, movies, music, etc). This will primarily be for streaming to my PS3 and Nexus One, but I will need them at LANs and the like sometimes (most notably Quakecon). I originally planned to get a pair of 2TB internal drives, but I may end up going with external drives instead. What do you guys think? I'm stumped here.

No idea here. I don't think there's any point in 12GB, so I figure 6GB of... something good? I was just going to list what was used in the last system builder marathon, but I figured I'd rather see if there was a gold standard, or if it really mattered.

Don't care. I figure any Blu-ray combo drive around $100.

If 3d, then the Acer GD235HZbid - $369.99
otherwise, probably the Hanns·G HH-281HPB - $309.99

Don't care. I was just going to buy something well-reviewed I was thinking about a CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX - $89.99

G15? I use the macros on my current (slightly-broken) G15 rarely but would be fine with giving them up. Is there a better option worth the money?


I know there's a lot of blank spots in there, so any input is appreciated. Opinions are helpful too. My budget is really flexible, as I have the money to buy whatever, but I'd like to not spend money just to be spending it and showing off my epeen (okay maybe a little).

Thanks in advance!
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Quote:
    I know everybody says the i7-980 isn't worth a grand, but is it worth $500? Hell if I know.

    I would say no in your case. If you were going to really push it and were water cooling, I might say yes. But your budget is still small enough that the money is better spent elsewhere.

    You can get smaller cases that are still deep enough for a tall cooler.

    There are a few Micro ATX LGA 1366 boards on Newegg, but none of them have stellar reviews

    I really wouldn't pay any attention to motherboard or PSU user reviews on newegg. However, you do want a modern board from a good company... something with USB 3 and such:
    That would be your MB, but where is it? I don't see it at retail just yet.

    NZXT case with handle
  2. Proximon said:

    I've had my eye on that case for a while! If money was no object, i would buy a second system, for carrying around, it looks awesome!!!

    I agree on the rampage iii, the ii is out atm, not sure if/when the iii is coming out
  3. The Rampage III Gene looks great. I've been googling it, hoping to find a release date within the next few weeks, but I had no luck finding anything.

    Are there any other mATX options if that doesn't come out in time? I've got a hard set build date of early August.
  4. When boards are announced like that it's usually only a few weeks until release. They are doing this to take advantage of the new USB and SATA specs, which have been out for a month or two now.

    I have found no other mATX boards with the new tech in other brands. At least for X58. There are options for LGA 1156 and AM3 of course, and downgrading to one of those CPUs would not hurt you much given your usage... but in two years who can say?

    I think you should wait a week or two.
  5. Best answer
    @Kanenfawder how big is small for you...
    That will be the main deciding factor here IMO...
    Check out these cases and see which suits your requirements the best...

    So for ATX/ mATX, you can go with i7 9xx and for Mini-itx, the i7 8xx
    Mobo for Mini-Itx

    Graphics card, make sure you get a Closed cooler type, which exhausts the hot air outside the case and not back inside...

    PSU - Modular for sure...Check out the Seasonic 'X' series Corsair 'HX' series

    CPU Cooler - This will be a good option
    Corsair H50
  6. Best answer selected by Kanenfawder.
  7. Newegg finally has the Rampage III Gene in stock, so I'm going with that. I still need to decide on a video card, memory, and case, but I'll troll the forums a bit and make some decisions on my own. I expect I'll come back with a Yes/No thread with my final build in a day or two.

    Thanks for the input!
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