Gaming build, $1500

Hi all. Longtime reader, first time poster. It's been a while between builds, so I'd appreciate a second opinion.

Approximate Purchase Date: this month. Not a big deal.

Budget Range: $1500, but not rigid

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming - Mostly single player RPGs (Mass Effect, Skyrim, Deus Ex HR) but some online coop (ME3, Borderlands) or MMORPG

Are you buying a monitor: Not at this time. Will be using my TV as a monitor for now.

Parts to Upgrade: Completely new build

Do you need to buy OS: Maybe. I'll start with a Windows 8 RC. I might be able to use an existing Windows 7 licence.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Parts Preferences: Would like to try a mini-ITX build in a BitFenix Prodigy. Size would fit well with the existing entertainment unit and could later be used either as media PC.

Overclocking: Maybe. Not initially, but will want to tinker with overclocking later.

SLI or Crossfire: No. Doesn't fit in a Prodigy.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (Sony Bravia 46") but have my eye on a 2560x1440/1600 later on.

Additional Comments: Will probably be used for media also. Don't need an optical drive straight off, I have a DVD player and a PS3 for bluray. May get a bluray drive later. The room can get quite hot (plus I'll be moving to Darwin later) so decent cooling and low noise to not disturb the baby is important. It's my first build in 13 years (only a AIO and a laptop since), but I'm happy to experiment (last build was a P3-550E, FWIW) I have a Thecus NAS so HDD storage is not critical.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Gaming on a 4 year old laptop is no fun.

Currently I'm looking at:
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC $449.00

BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case Black $99.00

Plextor PX-128M5S 128GB SSD (2 @ $90.00) $180.00

Intel Core i5 3570K $235.00

G.Skill Ares F3-1866C10D-16GAB 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 $99.00

ASRock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX Motherboard $165.00

Seasonic X-660 80Plus Gold 660W $189.00

Sub-Total: $1417.00

Already have mouse and keyboard.

GPU is limited to a 2-slotter by case size. Not sure to go with a Gigabyte OC 670 for 450, a Galaxy reference 670 for 400 or a MSI reference 680 for 500.

Could go for the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini ITX Motherboard for 229 if there was a compelling reason for the extra features, but I don't see it.

The X-660 is a bit of a squeeze in a Prodigy but it can be done...

Needs a cooler. Not sure what size to get to avoid overhanging the PCIe slot. Would get a Corsair H100 if I didn't want to keep the optical drive space available.

6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about gaming build 1500
  1. *bump*

    No room for improvement? Anyone have much experience with the mITX form factor?

    Cooling suggestions?
  2. Best answer
    The problem, with advising on something like the Prodigy, is that without first hand experience, it's difficult to give reliable advice. In general, however, there is little benefit to the GTX680, over the 670, to justify the cost. I would have thought the Gigabyte Windrush 670, as it's a fairly "thin" card, would be ideal. When it comes to cooler, I would presume you could fit a single length liquid cooler, without losing a bay (but it is "presume"), but again I would have thought, given the orientation, of the mobo, most air coolers will fit, although you may have to be careful your choice doesn't interfere with PCle slot, for GPU.
  3. Cheers malbluff. Fair point. I might look into a 120mm rad, but with a WF3 670 I'd only need to cool the CPU, and an air cooler is probably adequate.

    One advantage of the orientation of the moboard in the prodigy is the weight of the cooler is supported, rather than hanging off the side.

    Anywhoo, I've put in an order for everything except a cooler. Went for the 670 WF3 - good review at [H]OCP. Still tossing up whether to first build with stock and get everything working before adding an aftermarket cooler and OCing, or biting the bullet now.
  4. It may well be worth, starting with stock (apart from the hassle of changing later). Will make it easier to judge what space available. I've not used on myself, but have heard there can be issues of conflict between coolers, and GPU slot. Don't know how much of an issue. Water cooling, if you put rad in exhaust air flow, can help in keeping case cooler, in a hot environment (doesn't dump waste heat in case)
  5. I ended up getting a Noctua NH-U12P. It fits, just. Might add a fan controller at some point; 10 fans in the case total currently. Runs like a charm.
  6. Best answer selected by VectorZero.
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