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$1500 Micro ATX Gaming Computer

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October 5, 2010 8:41:14 PM

Hey guys,

This is my first ever build (as well as first post :)  ), so please bear with me if I screw something up. I've decided that I want to go small with a cube case, and I've tried to go with the smallest case that'll allow me to squeeze in SLI 460's. I have no idea where to start, though, with heatsinks or processor cooling (or if I even need one), so I'll need some help there. Well, here goes:


Wishlist: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=20717348


CASE: Aerocool M40 ($90)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
---it has open spots for 3 80mm fans, and I figured I'd be needing them if I've got two 460's...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($15)


MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Rampage III Gene ($240)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

POWER SUPPLY: Athena Power 550W ($110)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
---not sure if this will be enough power or not.

MEMORY: 6GB G.SKILL DDR3 1600 ($150)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PROCESSOR: i7-930 ($285)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

VIDEO CARD: 2x GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 460 1GB ($440)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HARD DRIVE: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200rpm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD: ASUS 24x ($20)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Windows 7 64bit OEM ($100)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




==========
TOTAL: $1,520
==========


My biggest concerns:

1. What to do about a heatsink/processor cooler
2. Will the power supply be enough?


Thanks. Apologies for my lack of knowledge as I try to iron out the kinks in my first build.
October 7, 2010 12:31:10 AM

You're going to have trouble fitting a cooler into such a small case. I would suggest looking up builds that people have done with it to see if they managed to fit one. In the mean time, the stock Intel cooler isn't terrible.

The PSU looks good.

Also don't forget about combo deals. You can knock quite a bit off of the price with them.
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October 7, 2010 12:37:03 AM

coleam45 said:
You're going to have trouble fitting a cooler into such a small case. I would suggest looking up builds that people have done with it to see if they managed to fit one. In the mean time, the stock Intel cooler isn't terrible.

That's what I was starting to think, that the case will already be too cramped. How hard would it be to add one later (after I assemble it)? That way I can see first hand how much space there is.

coleam45 said:
The PSU looks good.

Just to clarify, are you talking about the previous 550W or the new 750W? Because once the 750W goes back up in price I don't want the extra power if I don't need it.
October 7, 2010 12:49:12 AM

I meant the 750. A 650W would also work fine. You might be able to get by with the 550W, but it would be tight.

Adding a cooler after assembling the computer will basically require disassembling everything because you need to access the back of the motherboard. Some cases have a hole in the back of the mobo tray for installing a cooler (which would mean you would just have to pull all the cards off the motherboard), but I can't tell if this one does.
October 7, 2010 12:55:25 AM

OK, thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was just something you could slap on top of the processor real quick without much disassembly. I'll do some digging then to see what others did.

What do you think the biggest bottleneck would be in this system? The HDD?
October 7, 2010 1:09:22 AM

Yeah, most coolers these days are too heavy to be mounted without an extra bracket. Installing that bracket is why you need to access the back of the motherboard.

The hard drive will always be a bottleneck, but not really during gaming. Once the game is loaded to RAM, the hard drive doesn't do much. It's a pretty balanced system overall, though between the CPU and GPUs, the GPUs are probably the bottleneck (only barely though). In normal 1080P or 1920x1200 gaming, you won't hit their limit except maybe with all the eye candy and DX11 turned on. Mostly, you don't leave any upgrade headroom with the SLI config. If you want to get better graphics, you'll need to replace the 460s.
October 7, 2010 1:17:12 AM

I was afraid of that. So if I want to upgrade the graphics I'll need to buy 2 new 470's. $450 bucks or something.
October 7, 2010 2:14:26 AM

nickf77 said:
OK, thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was just something you could slap on top of the processor real quick without much disassembly. I'll do some digging then to see what others did.

What do you think the biggest bottleneck would be in this system? The HDD?



the hard drive shouldn't create any sort of bottleneck, but if you did want something faster, go with the Samsung F3. It outperforms the WD in all the reviews i've seen
October 7, 2010 4:05:31 AM

nickf77 said:
I was afraid of that. So if I want to upgrade the graphics I'll need to buy 2 new 470's. $450 bucks or something.

Basically, yes. However, a pair of 460s easily beats a single 480, and should give you enough performance for a few years at least. It's a bit of a gamble; if you think that the new games on the horizon are going to radically challenge modern gaming hardware, then go with a single card solution. If you feel confident that games aren't going to scale up that fiercely, stick with the dual 460s. Putting 470s in a case like yours will likely lead to overheating problems; they are very hot cards. If you want something more powerful than a 460, then you'll want to go with the cooler AMD cards (and wait a couple weeks for the launch of the 6xxx series).
October 7, 2010 4:36:12 PM

coleam45 said:
Basically, yes. However, a pair of 460s easily beats a single 480, and should give you enough performance for a few years at least. It's a bit of a gamble; if you think that the new games on the horizon are going to radically challenge modern gaming hardware, then go with a single card solution. If you feel confident that games aren't going to scale up that fiercely, stick with the dual 460s. Putting 470s in a case like yours will likely lead to overheating problems; they are very hot cards. If you want something more powerful than a 460, then you'll want to go with the cooler AMD cards (and wait a couple weeks for the launch of the 6xxx series).

Good call. My first priority is what I like to call "future-proofing", that is I'd like to have it last quite a while, even if it means sacrificing some performance today for more performance tomorrow. Especially the video card situation mentioned above. I'll check out the 6xxx series when they come out (I'm not in much of a rush to build this), and may end up going with them if they'll allow for more future upgrade-ability.
!