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MATX Gaming Build Questions

Last response: in Systems
June 29, 2012 11:59:43 PM

Hello all, longtime reader of Tom's, First time poster.

I'm going to be starting a new build here in a couple weeks, and I've been doing my research trying to nail down what works best for my needs. As an avid gamer and CS major, I'm going to be using this new build primarily for gaming and programming, along with using it as a 'Daily Driver' in regards to web surfing, paper writing, etc.

I've decided to go with an mATX build for the first time (I've previously built 2 ATX mid towers in years past), mainly because I don't intend on adding a second GPU anytime in the foreseeable future, and honestly none of my previous builds filled up even half of the available space in the towers I've used. Therefore, as far as upgrade-ability goes the most I can see being added is some more RAM a few months down the line, and MAYBE a dedicated sound card if I happen to luck into a nice cheap stereo system.

I feel pretty good about the parts list I've got so far(Though I'm open to suggestions!), with two main caveats: The motherboard and the power supply.

On the mobo front, I've seen and heard a lot of good things about ASRock and their extreme4 z77 board in both ATX and mATX, my only main concern being the unfortunate placement of the audio headers making it difficult to utilize them with a GPU plugged in. For this reason I'm also considering the ASUS P8Z77 (non pro, mainly for cost reasons) for its more traditional header placements, and general feature parity with the ASRock. I'm definitely open to suggestions here.

On the power supply side of things, I've become a total wealth of indecision. I've been consulting reviews, user reviews, PSU calculators, and basically any other sources I've come across trying to figure out what a healthy amount of power for my build will be. I've considered 650w 80+bronze PSUs, to 450w 80+gold PSUs, and likely everywhere in between. I am keenly aware of the importance of this part, but at the same time don't want to end up buying far to much or far too little power. I'm thinking my limit for this build would be somewhere in the 650w range due to pricing, but this is my main reason for posting, so I'm looking for any and all advice.

Now that you've gotten through that novel (thanks!), here's the parts list etc.

Approximate Purchase Date: This and next week (I will be building the week after july 4th)

Budget Range: $900 before rebates

Parts Not Required: I won't need a mouse/keyboard, monitor, DVD drive, speakers or OS. I've also already purchased a HDD and SSD (Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe MX 120GB, and Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 500GB as both were on pretty good sales earlier this week.)

Country: I'm located in the southwestern US

Overclocking: I plan on overclocking the i5 to somewhere in the low to mid 4ghz range, depending on how hot things get.

SLI or Crossfire: Nope.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Parts List:

SilverStone Temjin Series TJ08B-E

Intel Core i5-3570K

ASUS P8Z77-M LGA 1155 Intel Z77
ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M LGA 1155 Intel Z77

CPU Cooler:

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB)

ASUS HD7850-DC2-2GD5 Radeon HD 7850

Exhaust Fan: (To fill the open spot in the back of the TJ08-E)
Scythe Kama Flow 2 120mm case fan 1400RPM

PSU Finalists So Far:
Antec TruePower New TP-550 550W
PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 500W Modular 80PLUS Bronze
PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular 80PLUS Bronze

The common theme among the PSUs is that they are all semi/fully modular, and are all ~160mm or shorter. This is something I'd like to stick to as close as possible mainly due to the reviews of the Temjin TJ08-E which all mention the lack of clearance between the PSU and the Optical Drive when longer PSUs are used.

Thanks for reading/your help!
June 30, 2012 2:39:16 AM

the pc power and cooling 500 watt would be my choice from that list

you dont need 600 watts , and the antec and silverstone are good units , but not as good
June 30, 2012 3:11:13 AM

Thanks! So you do think that even with an overclock 500 watt would be fine? I guess that's been my main concern.

Any opinions on the motherboards? (or anything else)
Related resources
June 30, 2012 3:18:45 AM

Awesome. If thats the case would you recomend going any lower on the PSU wattage wise? I looked at some 400-460 watt PSUs but the low wattage eventually scared me off.
June 30, 2012 3:25:28 AM

running a psu in the 50- 65% range is ideal . It doesnt get too hot , the fans tend to be quieter and its most efficient
June 30, 2012 6:16:08 AM

Thanks for the advice. I think I will go with the PC Power 500 watt then.

Anyone have any thoughts on which motherboard would be a better bet?
June 30, 2012 1:03:17 PM

These days i specialize in SFFs/mATX rigs and the Seasonic M12II with its 120mm fan, short length and 80+ bronze certification is one of my favorites. Also for 1920 x 1080 gaming peeps are still questioning having quad core chips to this day as the bottleneck passes back to the GPU so why not a stock build and a far beefier GPU in the mix hehe
June 30, 2012 2:45:01 PM

Well, mainly due to the fact that my secondary purpose for this build is to have a solid programming rig for the rest of my college time at least.This is an intriguing idea though. I see that you step down from z77 to h77, why? Also, the main reason I choose the 7850 was due to the ease at which it's overclocked, and that when cooled with a decent fan the reviews I've read make it seem to be rather competitive, not with the 670 certainly, but at or equal a 570.

But these are the opinions I came here to see. I honestly hadn't considered that processor at all, would the difference in games really be that great?
June 30, 2012 5:39:51 PM

Also, would moving to the 670 mean I would need a high capacity PSU?
June 30, 2012 6:00:34 PM

Well as i say a stock build means you dun have to worry about overheating in a smaller case. For non OCing builds one does not need the bells and whistles available on the Z77 chipset so the H77 in no way holds anything back :p 

Definitely huge difference - the i5 @ stock is still a lot more chip than one typically needs for games but the GTX 670 is a far more potent card and if your budget allows it, why not? A quality, well built and efficient 600w+ PSU is more than fine for just the single GTX 670
June 30, 2012 9:06:41 PM

That makes sense. Given that the both the Seasonic you recommend and the PC Power and Cooling 600w that I'd listed earlier are the same price, do you think there's any measurable difference between them? If not I think i'd take the PC Power simply due to the 15% off it has at the moment.
June 30, 2012 11:44:57 PM

Yep looks a decent choice - cheers and happy shopping ^^
July 1, 2012 6:54:14 AM

No difference.