Micro-ATX vs Mini-ITX - help me make some ITX choices

To be honest, I'm just coming back into the PC arena in general after having used nothing but my MacBook Pro (January 2008-ish) and PS3 for gaming. I swore off of PC for a while...but now Planetside 2 is coming out and I'm looking at another build for gaming. I've built several mid-tower rigs before with no issues, but I've never actually had to worry about space before either. I know I don't want a monstrous full tower like my last build, and there's a strong possibility I'll be bouncing around a lot within the next 6 months to 1 year so I started looking at ITX for a more portable gaming option. I'm aiming for a budget of roughly $1,000. Also, given that I'm cold-blooded and hate AC, my apartment/room/wherever I'm staying is generally around 70-75 degrees inside - NOT the coolest environment for a compact gaming PC. Anyway, all that being said....here's what I'm looking at so far.

Mini-ITX build:
ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 - $149.99
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz - $239.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 1600 - $46.99

Subtotal for Mobo, CPU, Memory - $436.97

- Case:
Either Lian-Li - PC-Q08B ($109.99) or PC-Q18B ($159.99) - or this Silverstone SG07-B (184.99, but comes with a 600w PSU)
- Graphics:
Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 - $399.99 Lengthwise it should be fine in either case, but I'm not sure about width-wise, apparently stuff gets pretty tight in there and I don't know about any potential heat issues as well (hence my reasoning for choosing those two Lian-Li cases - large intake fans in the front, and the Silverstone has a 180mm).
- PSU:
SeaSonic M12II 620W or the PCPCS - $89.99

PC-Q08B + 670 + PSU - $599.97
PC-Q18B + 670 + PSU - $649.97
SG-07B + 670 + no PSU - $544.98

Haven't decided on a hard drive or optical drive yet. The Silverstone case requires a slim, the others can accommodate a full size but I'm thinking about just buying a slim drive in any case as it'll likely rarely if ever be used other than to install Windows...which can be done through USB anyway. I'm really leaning toward the Silverstone case as I like how the video card has the entire side for ventilation and the top fan takes care of the mobo, but then again the Lian-Lis have some pretty sweet builds I've seen on here and people haven't seemed to have had any trouble with the card being on the bottom of the case. I'm not planning on watercooling if I can avoid it to cut costs, so keeping the case relatively cool IS important to me, but keeping it quiet is important as well.


Alternatively, this is my Micro-ATX build for a slightly bigger but still compact and probably cooler (temperature-wise) build:

Micro-ATX build:
SilverStone Temjin Series TJ08B-E - $97.99
Western Digital WD5002AALX 500GB - $99.99
LITE-ON Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive - $18.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 1600 - $46.99
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz - $239.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z77M-D3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 - $114.99
Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2 gb - $399.99
SeaSonic M12II 620W or the PCPCS - $89.99

Total : $1108.92

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  1. I am with you on this smaller is better approach.

    I am currently using a Q08 as a back up pc. I am considering converting it to a gaming system, and it looks very good for that purpose. Take a look at the red version. I have one, and the color is stunning.

    It will hold the longest of graphics cards. I suggest using one of the newer 28nm based cards which will eliminate any cooling issues. With your budget, a GTX680 is good, but a GTX670 will really be all you need for a single monitor.
    If you go crazy, even a GTX690 will work.

    The case will hold a standard ATX psu. 650W should do it. Because of the limited room, I suggest a modular psu.
    The seasonic X650 would be good.

    I would plan on using only a single large 250gb SSD if you can. It should be sufficient for the OS and more than a dozen games. Add a hard drive for overflow if you must.

    One issue with the case is the limited height for the cpu cooler.
    After research, the best one I can find that fits is the tr AXP-140.
    Noctua now makes the NH-L12 cooler which I think will fit.
    I love the noctua fans, so check that one out.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835608025

    The supplied 140mm intake fan delivers plenty of airflow for both the cpu and the graphics card.
    Some will try to fit a liquid cooler into the case, but the radiator will take out one of the supplied cooling openings and screw things up by delivering heated air into the case. That may be good for the cpu, but not for the graphics card. I don'r think it is really necessary. If you oc a 2500K or 3570K to 4.0 or so, you will have no heat issues, and that is plenty fast for any games.

    As it turns out, I also am using a Silverstone TJ08E case.
    I needed a relatively short case to fit my desk space.
    If the size is good for you, I can heartily recommend it.
    There is no problem with a long graphics card or even a tall cooler.
    I have a GTX680 and a Prolimatech megahalems installed.

    I have the front 180mm fan on low and undervolted.
    It turns out that there is no need even for a rear 120mm fan.
    One caveat is to not use an excessively long psu. I am using a Seasonic X750 gold modular psu, and it fits, but barely.
    Another issue is that the side panels feel a bit flimsy. I applied some noise deadening foam panels to the sides, and that cured any noise transmission.
    Silverstone makes the material.
  2. I'm not sure I'm going to add in an aftermarket cooler or that large of an SSD just yet. I was aiming for a budget of about $1,000 give or take and I'm already almost $200 over that. I just don't really see the need for an SSD at the moment. Yes, I see the benefits of faster load times and whatnot, but really, a difference of a few seconds isn't that big a deal compared to nearly double the cost for 1/2 the storage. I'm not planning on liquid cooling, so no worries about a radiator taking up space. I'll keep your recommendation on the seasonic I posted in mind, you're the second one to co-sign with me in thinking that's a good choice of PSU :D .

    I already have two external 500gb hard drives that have plenty of space free on them, so I'll most likely use the same 500gb hard drive listed in the Micro-ATX build for the Mini-ITX build.
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