Building a compact gaming pc

Approximate Purchase Date: probably over the course of the next couple months

Budget Range: 400-600

System Usage: gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to obtain: everything

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg

Location: Chicago, IL

Parts Preferences: Intel, evga, corsair if possible

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: no room

Additional Comments: looking to build a compact, but powerful gaming pc. i have some ideas, but my biggest concern is the graphics card. i want a powerful PC but not at the cost of having to go with a mid sized tower to fit the newer 10.5 inch cards. i saw some 8.5 inch evga gtx cards but im not sure if the performance would be good enough compared to better cards. disk and ssd i can figure out myself. im just trying to find the best case/mobo/psu possible for my needs. those will determine what else i can get. so far i like the silver stone fortress ft03-mini as the case. ram im not too concerned about except maybe the heat sinks getting in the way. some suggestions on parts compatible with each other would be greatly appreciated.

Why am i building: a buddy of mine is in the marine core and is complaining his laptop is too underpowered i want to build him something that he can carry around without much trouble and still be able to connect to a HDTV and get some pretty stellar performance. size is the key here though.

parts im considering:

cpu cooler: one of those corsair ready to go water coolers?

SilverStone Fortress Series FT03B :

EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) :
17 answers Last reply
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  1. That's a very steep price for a case. I suggest you find something a little cheaper, and you should be able to get a better VGA card.

    I mainly suggest AMD cards currently as they are very well priced, but if you really want I can get an EVGA.

    I wouldn't suggest any form of closed loop water coolers as they are generally overpriced and get beaten by cheaper air coolers. Plus there's no point in dropping the stock cooler if you aren't OCing.

    I'd be looking at one of these for graphics:
    According to Newegg it's only 8" long, though the cooler won't be the best.
  2. Going to give you a slightly more portable case option here, the BitFenix Prodigy
    Uses a mini-ITX board - there are some very nice mini-ITX boards available, it'll even handle a large graphics card (only one) plus a corsair liquid cooler - and a tad bit cheaper than the Fortress
  3. so would it me best to get a mini itx board i assume they are smaller than micro atx? i dont even remember seeing that form factor last time i built a pc. what are the benifits of a mini itx over a atx?
  4. Smaller is the only benefit - the boards are tiny. 6.7" square.
    Here's one that'll fit

    I wouldn't go with mini-ITX unless you really need to move it around.
  5. i like that case it can fit a huge gpu and has handles! removable drive bays also. now i just need to decide on a motherboard for it, and i think i can start ordering parts.
  6. Get an H77 or B75 based board unless you are getting a 3570K and want to OC (out of your budget).

    Take a look at the board I linked.
  7. There's 2 Microcenter stores in Chicago and they have the cheapest CPU's there so I reccomend yiu get your cpu from there
  8. Someone Somewhere said:
    Smaller is the only benefit - the boards are tiny. 6.7" square.
    Here's one that'll fit

    I wouldn't go with mini-ITX unless you really need to move it around.


  9. At the time I said it he hadn't said anything about wanting a mini-ITX build. AFTER I said that he said he liked it.
    EDIT: Microcenter also gives you $50 off when you get both CPU+MB from them.
    EDIT 2:
    Not sure where that puts you with the rest of your budget, but you could drop to a G2120. I'd suggest a 7850 of some sort, and maybe an SSD. You should be able to run that on a 500W PSU easily
  10. i think im going to stick with either newegg for shipped stuff or comp USA if i go pick parts up (the main warehouse in chicagoland is pretty close to me) i like neweggs return policy and comp USA is an easy drive for me. also i just got word that the budget has increased to 800 dollars up from 600 so im not as compelled to get items together to save money. if i can get a solid mini -itx mobo that has a x16 pci slot and is able to run memory at 16000 mhz ill be happy. i have decided i am probably going to OC the processor so some recommendations on an affordable i7 from newegg would be great. ram im not to worried about right now and i have a spare 800w psu and gtx 260 i can use temporarily im going to get a small ssd for the os and a larger hdd for everything else.

    this board seems expensive for its size but i love that it doesn't really limit the features of a full sized gaming pc. this thing is packed with features that i think my buddy would really appreciate for the price.

    so a cpu that will fit that is really all i need suggestions for.

  11. Note that at CompUSA they dont have good cpu deals like Microcenter
  12. You don't need an i7 for gaming though.

    Here's also a cheaper alternative for the motherboard.
  13. i5 processor **
  14. that's a good mobo compromise excella, ill get that instead. here is the cpu i was thinking. if he gets it in 2 days it will be 185.00 shipped which isn't too shabby.




    i think ill just use my spare 850w corsair psu for this build its not modular.... meh its just sitting here doing nothing. i think ill just buy him the cpu cooler and disk drive. shouldent cost more that 100 bucks for both if i can catch a sale.
  15. I wouldn't get the EVGA, it uses reference cooling so you won't get the most OC out of it, and may give you high temps on load.

    If you're open to AMD, the 7870 outperforms that card at the same price.

    I won't really vouch for that Kingston SSD either, it's not really that great.
    This one is $15 more, but it's the one of the best SSDs in the market. It's also 8gb more capacity.

    If you really want to stay on the $85 price though,

    The RAM is okay, but a lot of decent CPU coolers would have conflict with the tall heatspreaders during installation. I suggest you get the low profile version of the Vengeance.
    or if you want alternatives

    Yes, just use the Corsair PSU you have. It's generally known to be a quality brand.
  16. would like to stick with evga for GPU. they have done right by me in the past, and i love the warranty after you register your card. im not set on which card though. i just thought this one was cheep for a 600 card.

    i can take another look at the ram and ssd. to be honest i just thought Kingston made good stuff so i went the cheep route. is ocz a good brand for ssd? i have never used them. in fact the only ssd i have ever used in a build was a corsair.
  17. OCZ's past SSDs were mostly failures, but they redeemed themselves with the Vertex 4. It's one of the fastest and most efficient SSDs in the market.
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