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New (small but strong) Computer, could use some input please?

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November 5, 2010 2:31:21 AM

Hey everyone, So my computer I built about a year and a half ago has gone through some trouble and I'm in the market of building (or buying) a new computer. What I've been looking for is a small enough desktop (either a case, or a pre-built computer) that can fit in like say your luggage for an airplane, yet not so small it can't run anything. I'm going to be traveling to college and other places where I should bring my computer, so I'd like to get one that is easy to carry around. I can just put the computer in my bag, and clothes around it, and carry it on the plane with me. I will be using this computer A LOT for starcraft 2. I enjoy playing on low/med settings, so I don't need a video card that is an insane beast.


So, I've been looking around and I've seen the Gateway SX series. http://www.gateway.com/systems/category/529598135.php
Only thing is, they have integrated graphics and small Power Supplies, so I'd have to find a strong video card to install and hopefully there will be enough power for it (only 220W power supply).

Or I can go ahead and build my own, which I will need to find a case for (which I am having difficulty doing), and get all the correct parts, which I'd need some help with.

I don't have a budget, but I don't want to be buying the top-end of everything.


What do you all think? Buy one of the better Gateways and a video card, or build my own from scratch? and I could use some help picking out items as well :) 

THank you all !

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November 5, 2010 4:42:25 AM

Sorry for not using the outline :/ 

batuchka said:
Wow given even a simple GTS 450/HD 5750 could do SC2 Ultra no AA/AF with just a low/medium settings requirement this is way overkill as is hehe If it's too high in $$ feel free to tone down the GPU, etc else look at suggested optional items

$576AR
http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q205/batuchka/Untitled-401.jpg


Optional Items

CM GeminiIIS cooler $33
http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-PBU1&title...

60GB Sandforce based SSD $120AR Free Ship
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Wow thank you man. Here is my current build (computer that I'm looking to replace):
Spoiler
AMD Phenom II x4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ Quad Black edition | 4 GB DDR2 1066 RAM | Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P | Sapphire Radeon 4870 512mb | OCZ 700W StealthXStream | Samsung SH-S223F | Antec 900 Case | Acer 22" Black | Seagate Barracuda 7200 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0GB/s


Hmm, I'm not sure if that case will be able to fit in my carry on bags, I'll do some measurements though. The CPU seems not as strong as my last one, perhaps I could get a different one? This is my 2nd build, so maybe one of the new "i" series from intel? just mix it up a bit? :) 

Also what would I use the SSD for? I've always wanted one, but I'm not sure what I'd do with it. Do I put certain programs or something on it that I wouldn't put on the large hard drive?

I'm going to be getting windows 7 as well. This computer will pretty much be used for starcraft 2, random internet browsing, and occasional Streaming of my starcraft games.

and I don't like overclocking, if that is of any assistance :) 

thank you for your help so far
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November 5, 2010 6:25:24 AM
November 5, 2010 10:11:55 AM

Well for fresh builds just hit a DDR3 platform as the sun is going down on DDR2 and Antec 900 is anything but small @@ As for the GPU, a HD 4870 is still decent but is now inefficient with the release of the HD5k and later GTX 460...
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November 5, 2010 1:36:20 PM

batuchka said:
Well for fresh builds just hit a DDR3 platform as the sun is going down on DDR2 and Antec 900 is anything but small @@ As for the GPU, a HD 4870 is still decent but is now inefficient with the release of the HD5k and later GTX 460...


I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. The antec 900, ddr2 etc is my current computer that I'm using in my house right now, not one I'm looking to build. I'm looking to get an even better (and smaller) computer than it.

and would you mind answering my other few questions after the spoiler tag? thank you and thank you all for your help, later today I'll be measuring out my luggage bag to see what works and what doesn't (got school right now). I feel like I'm close to purchasing a new computer ! :) 
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November 5, 2010 1:58:41 PM

The new Lian-Li PC-Q11 measures 10.24" x 7.87" x 12.40" and can accomodate a dual-width video card.



Review: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/LianLi/PC-Q11/

I've built PCs with the PC-Q07 previous generation of this case and it makes for a nice SFF build.

You could pair that case with any of these mini-itx motherboards and appropriate CPU:

ASUS M4A88T-I Deluxe AM3 AMD 880G HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(maybe with the Athlon II X4 3.0GHz CPU)

GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(maybe with a i5-750 CPU)

Then round it out with a GPU, RAM, Good 80+ PSU (Seasonic, Corsair, Antec), everyone's favorite Samsung F3 1TB drive and a SATA DVD drive. Lots of good suggestions above.

Spendy but good quality in a small package. Nice thing is it's all "standard" sized parts (no 2.5" HDD or slim ODDs) but still compact. You can even get the case in other colors like red, gray and white.
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November 5, 2010 2:11:44 PM

Just playing devil's advocate here: why not buy a gaming laptop? Are you planning on carrying this computer in your carry-on, or in your baggage?

Pros:
more portable than a desktop, even mini-ITX
less likely to cause hassles at the airport
most airlines have a 50 pound weight limit on baggage before they charge additional fees
luggage does get tossed by handlers, a desktop could break/have other issues due to that or temperatures in the baggage compartment.

Cons:
not upgradeable - will need to be replaced outright in 2-3 years
potential battery life issues if you leave it plugged in too often?
costs a lot more

Note: I'm generally opposed to gaming/desktop-replacement laptops, as I had one for 3 years and it wasn't worth it. But if you're travelling a LOT, it might be a good idea. (My travel dropped sharply almost immediately after I purchased the laptop.)
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November 5, 2010 2:54:04 PM

shew said:
I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. The antec 900, ddr2 etc is my current computer that I'm using in my house right now, not one I'm looking to build. I'm looking to get an even better (and smaller) computer than it.

and would you mind answering my other few questions after the spoiler tag? thank you and thank you all for your help, later today I'll be measuring out my luggage bag to see what works and what doesn't (got school right now). I feel like I'm close to purchasing a new computer ! :) 



Given that games now aren't even X4 optimised


The Game Rundown: Finding CPU/GPU Bottlenecks, Part 2
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/game-performance-bo...
Quote:
Conclusion: A Trend Toward 3+ Cores

The average optimal number of CPU cores suggested by the test results is 2.75, showing a clear trend towards at least three CPU cores.The question of whether the CPU or GPU is most important is easily answered. If you don't have a multi-core CPU, then upgrade it. If you have a dual-core CPU at around 3 GHz, then invest your money into a graphics card, as most games are GPU-limited. This is not something that will change with new DirectX 11 games.



I'd just reuse that 940BE, DDR2, hit an mATX mobo and smaller case - done ^^ SSDs used for faster loading of games/apps and boot times in general but one would have to be selective on what goes inside due to it being impractical to rely on SSDs as a storage drive (more boot/OS)
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November 5, 2010 6:49:30 PM

coldsleep said:
Just playing devil's advocate here: why not buy a gaming laptop? Are you planning on carrying this computer in your carry-on, or in your baggage?

Pros:
more portable than a desktop, even mini-ITX
less likely to cause hassles at the airport
most airlines have a 50 pound weight limit on baggage before they charge additional fees
luggage does get tossed by handlers, a desktop could break/have other issues due to that or temperatures in the baggage compartment.

Cons:
not upgradeable - will need to be replaced outright in 2-3 years
potential battery life issues if you leave it plugged in too often?
costs a lot more

Note: I'm generally opposed to gaming/desktop-replacement laptops, as I had one for 3 years and it wasn't worth it. But if you're travelling a LOT, it might be a good idea. (My travel dropped sharply almost immediately after I purchased the laptop.)


I'm going to be getting a laptop next summer time, and I need a desktop to use at home in the mean time. I've always been a fan of desktops, I don't like playing starcraft on a laptop. I'm going to be bringing the desktop in my carry on, so those bag handlers won't be tossing it around.

batuchka said:
Given that games now aren't even X4 optimised


The Game Rundown: Finding CPU/GPU Bottlenecks, Part 2
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/game-performance-bo...
Quote:
Conclusion: A Trend Toward 3+ Cores

The average optimal number of CPU cores suggested by the test results is 2.75, showing a clear trend towards at least three CPU cores.The question of whether the CPU or GPU is most important is easily answered. If you don't have a multi-core CPU, then upgrade it. If you have a dual-core CPU at around 3 GHz, then invest your money into a graphics card, as most games are GPU-limited. This is not something that will change with new DirectX 11 games.



I'd just reuse that 940BE, DDR2, hit an mATX mobo and smaller case - done ^^ SSDs used for faster loading of games/apps and boot times in general but one would have to be selective on what goes inside due to it being impractical to rely on SSDs as a storage drive (more boot/OS)


Thanks for the SSD stuff. So I'll just install my OS onto it and sc2, and do all my storage stuff on the big HDD :) . As far as using my old parts I'd prefer to get all new stuff, seeing as how I'm not 100% sure on what is making my computer crash, and there is probably heat damage to multiple parts.


The msi n460gtx video card you linked I liked a lot, I think I'm going to get that one ! Just trying to think about possibly an alternative mobo and CPU? I'd like to try out an intel cpu, but if it isn't going to work too well for the build then I understand. Everything else looks good though !

edit: also the combo deal for the mobo/cpu isn't available anymore :( 
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November 8, 2010 4:09:46 AM

Bought the computer (what Batuchka linked with the ssd and a win 7 oem), it will be here probably monday or tuesday, can't wait to build it!

thank you all for your help !!
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November 8, 2010 4:56:31 AM

Yep enjoy your new rig and u are welcomed ^^
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!