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Inexpensive MicroATX gaming build

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August 6, 2012 6:15:19 PM

Hello everyone! I have plans to build a MicroATX gaming build, though it will not be overclocked or SLI or crossfire will not be used.

Approximate Purchase Date: Mid September.
I won't have all my funds collected until then. Plus, prices could drop on some things :) 

Budget Range:$700 max.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, writing papers for school & internet browsing

Are you buying a monitor: No





Do you need to buy OS: No


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com or microcenter.com

Location: east coast, USA

Parts Preferences: I want to go with an intel processor for sure.

Overclocking: no

SLI or Crossfire: no

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080



I've decided to build this mostly because I have no desktop, I have been using a laptop for the last 2 years and my xbox 360 was fried by lightning recently.

I had plans on building a mid tower sized desktop, but I think it might be overkill size-wise and feature-wise.

Here is a list of the parts I have researched in order to start the build:

Fractal Design Core 1000 Micro ATX Computer Case - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Great design and size. I do not plan on using a optical drive. I own a usb drive and I rarely use it. If I use a 2.5 SSD and mount another 2.5 HDD in the top disk bay, it would give me enough room to add a GPU later on, which I plan to do. it also seems to have great ventilation.

ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't know much about motherboards but this seems like a good choice for an Ivy Bridge cpu and "enough" features to not need an upgrade for a good while.

COOLMAX ZU Series ZU-700B 700W ATX 12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Here I am not sure if the PSU I selected is overkill or not. It is 700w and modular. the case I selected only allows for a top mounted PSU so I believe a modular one would help cable management and airflow alot! As I stated earlier, I do plan on purchasing a GPU sometime around next January. Depending on how the GTX 660ti performs, it is a choice between the GTX 660ti or HD 7950. This is mainly why I chose a 700w PSU.

All that I'd need is a SSD, 8GB of memory and to pick an Ivy Brige i5.

I have a wishlist compiled on newegg including all these parts and I have yet to surpass $550.00.

Considering I want to do some gaming on this build, is this a good start? I won't be needing to overclock as I'm a more casual gamer, though I do want to have a better graphical experience than on my old Xbox.











a b 4 Gaming
August 6, 2012 8:26:39 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Raidmax Simplex ATX-618B MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $651.91
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-06 16:27 EDT-0400)

Go for i3 and H61 if you want to save money. That's $700 with an i5 though :lol: 
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August 6, 2012 8:44:31 PM

Thanks for compiling the list!

A couple of things I noticed,

the i5 sold at microcenter for $149.99 seems to only have the cpu itself, not the stock cooler. I'd prefer to keep things simple and stock rather than adding an aftermarket cooler since I won't be overclocking.

Is the B75 chipset better than the H77? or is the Gigabyte brand more reliable than ASRock? The Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard is $74.99 while the ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard is $69.99.

Would the Corsair 430W PSU handle a future GPU upgrade, for example, an HD 7950?
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a b 4 Gaming
August 6, 2012 8:57:30 PM

chetorch said:
Thanks for compiling the list!

A couple of things I noticed,

the i5 sold at microcenter for $149.99 seems to only have the cpu itself, not the stock cooler. I'd prefer to keep things simple and stock rather than adding an aftermarket cooler since I won't be overclocking.


The build is $700 without the microcenter discount.

chetorch said:
Is the B75 chipset better than the H77? or is the Gigabyte brand more reliable than ASRock? The Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard is $74.99 while the ASRock H77M LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard is $69.99.


Either is fine.

chetorch said:
Would the Corsair 430W PSU handle a future GPU upgrade, for example, an HD 7950?

Yes, but that's not a reasonable upgrade. If you want a 7950, spend $100 more now instead of buying two cards...
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August 6, 2012 9:13:35 PM

Nice, thanks for the help! I seem to have forgotten to mention in my OP that I plan on using the intergrated graphics on the i5, HD2500 i believe, while I save up some money to upgrade to a dedicated GPU! I have also considered getting a inexpensive GPU is the Intel HD2500 is too underpowered. I agree that buying two GPU's would not be ideal though.

I created a parts list on PCPartsPicker, great website thanks for the links!

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dZHj
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August 6, 2012 9:16:49 PM

I figured out how to post the list:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3550 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($40.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Intel 320 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: OCZ 600W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ Microcenter)
Total: $560.93
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-06 17:17 EDT-0400)
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August 8, 2012 6:44:35 AM

I've been doing some reading/thinking and I'd like to add a rear fan to the case. This case uses a top mount PSU so if the PSU's fan is pointed toward the inside, by the CPU, would the PSU be acting as an exhaust fan of sorts?

If that is the case, would it be better to have the rear fan installed as an intake or as another exahust? The fan would end up right next to the CPU and under the PSU.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 8, 2012 8:21:18 AM

Yes, both the PSU and the rear fan should be exhausts.
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August 10, 2012 11:45:30 AM

I've been reading a bit too much into the CPU/GPU overheating horror stories but I haven't been able to find out if it is always caused by overclocking or poor air flow in the case.

If no overclocking will be done, would three case fans (120mm front, 120mm side, 92mm rear and I guess the top mounted PSU?) be enough air cooling for the build I have planned here?
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
August 10, 2012 1:21:21 PM

chetorch said:
I've been reading a bit too much into the CPU/GPU overheating horror stories but I haven't been able to find out if it is always caused by overclocking or poor air flow in the case.

If no overclocking will be done, would three case fans (120mm front, 120mm side, 92mm rear and I guess the top mounted PSU?) be enough air cooling for the build I have planned here?

Yes.
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August 10, 2012 2:09:35 PM

@verbalizer - About 30 mins.

@FinneousPJ - Cool! (get it?!) Lame, I know!

Thanks though, it gives me some peace of mind.
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August 29, 2012 1:43:11 AM

So the time is getting near, I have slightly modified a couple of things on this list, mainly going ahead and going for a GPU and bumping the budget up a bit:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($35.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Corsair Force Series GT 90GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($104.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($212.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($37.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: OCZ 600W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $696.47
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-28 21:35 EDT-0400)

I am still not sure about a couple of things. I'd like to leave some spending money for a decent gaming mouse ( thinking of the R.A.T. 7 ) and a good keyboard but I still need to do some more reading.

I have not been a big PC gamer in a long time. I have mostly been an xbox/console player these past years so I don't know if I'll get the hang of keyboard and mouse for FPS games; I don't know what I should look for or consider...
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September 5, 2012 1:10:21 AM

Best answer selected by chetorch.
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