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$700 - $800 FT03 (mATX) Gaming/Productivity Build

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 3 weeks
Budget Range: $700 - $1000 After Rebates (~$800 preferable)
System Usage: Gaming, Simulations (non-parametric statistics anyone?), Productivity
Parts Not Required: Peripherals, OS, hard drives (I have an SSD and WD Caviar Green), RAM
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:,, anything else would do
Parts Preferences:: FT03 case
Country: U.S.
Overclocking: No, maybe later
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1600 x 1050, may upgrade later
Additional Comments:

I know the case is a tad controversial for being overpriced, but it comes down to a taste thing and I'm willing to spend more on something that looks nice to me.

It's been about 5 years since my last build and I've not been following the market, so I'm shaky on the details nowadays. A couple of my concerns I have include (1) whether the PSU fits into the case and (2) how the graphics card listed below vents. I know the FT03 works optimally with rear-venting only graphics cards, but my understanding is the stock 560 Ti layout is to vent both rear and front.

Below are my current thoughts, but I'm not sure if everything is appropriately calibrated. The prices are from NewEgg for convenience, but when I get down to it, I'll do a bit of comparison shopping prior to clicking the "Buy" button.

Case: SILVERSTONE Fortress Series FT03S Silver Aluminum / Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case - $169.99
Graphics: EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $249 (-$20 MIR)
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom - $89.99 (-$40 MIR)
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - $114.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K - $224.99
CPU Cooling: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 - $25.99 (-$10 MIR)

Total: $875.94 (-$60 MIR)

Any and all thoughts are welcome! Thanks in advance!
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about ft03 matx gaming productivity build
  1. If you arent planning on doing any overclocking then the i5-2500k is overkill. the motherboard would also be overkill, cpu cooler meh its a nice addition. OCZ PSU suck/ really bad to go out.

    i5-2400 189.99

    Gigabyte MB 104.99

    Corsair Gaming series PSU 89.99

    always good to get a reliable PSU and since you arent going to be doing crossfire 600w is more than what you need but good deal
  2. Best answer
    The Fortress FT03 can take PSUs up to 18cm in length. The ModXStream Pro 700W is 16cm long.

    There is no reason to buy the 700W version over the 600W version. This is because the 600W has 504W combined on its 12V rails, while the 700W version only has 552W combined.
    Functionally they are identical as well, in terms of having the same number and length of cables and connectors. Seeing as you don't need that extra 50W to power your build you might as well save the money.
    One of my usual criticisms of the ModXStreams is that they have short cables (~45cm to the first connector) which can be a problem in mid towers, it might actually be an advantage in a mATX/smaller case like the FT03.

    I am not a huge fan of the ModXStreams, so I would suggest trying to find an alternative. It would be a good idea if it is modular.

    One of the PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK IIIs would be suitable and are at fair prices atm.

    An alternative budget cooler you might be interested in is the Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 ($30, $20 rebate)
    There were two TH review roundups of CPU coolers that together showed that the Gaia was superior to the Hyper 212 Plus because not only did it get favourable temps it did so with a fan that spins (at max speed) at 1500RPM rather than 2000RPM. So it will be just as cool but should be quieter.,review-32054.html
    Page 8 for test settings, Page 9 & 10 for results,review-31796.html
    Page 13 for settings, page 14 & 15 for results
  3. Thanks for both replies! It's given me a bit to think about (for the better).

    That said, I have a bit of a naive question -- sorry, I mentioned that it's been a while since I've followed the technology -- regarding CPU selection...

    The second system-use I listed is "simulations" which is tied to statistical analysis that I have to perform. The statistical software that I use (R) does not, to my understanding, natively use multiple cores and while there's some code optimization to be done -- it's often better to keep it simple and let it run longer than risk too much error in coding which can lead to incorrect conclusions. Currently, I'm running those simulations on a laptop (AMD E350). For example, one of the simulations takes between 10-15 hours of run time. These times are compounded, when I am asked to run variants of the analysis or need to correct for errors in the model set-up. While I only do this once every 3 or 4 months, it usually turns into a week or two of frustrating waiting for results.

    I am guessing moving to any i5 processor would be a substantial improvement; however, does this change whether I would want to consider an i5-2400 vs an i5-2500 (k)? Should I more seriously consider an OC? Or would they still work out effectively the same for my purposes.

  4. The jump from an i5-2400 to a 2500 isnt worth the money and getting a 2500k is a waste unless you are going to OC it but you will need a very substantial cooling unit. The 2400 is the best CPU in its price range and hangs right in there with the 2500k you just OC it.
  5. Best answer selected by Protozoan.
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