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New ~1000 gaming build, still some questions (like mATX vs ATX)

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October 28, 2012 2:14:39 AM

I've been lurking on this and other forums for a few months, finally getting close to pulling the trigger on the my first build in about 7 years. I'm close to settling on this mATX rig, which I plan to lightly overclock, nothing too extreme.:

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: within the month

Budget Range: $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, media consumption, video editing occasionally

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: All

Do you need to buy OS: Yes (Win8 for cheap)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: best prices

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Overclocking: Yes (nothing too extreme)

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Replacing a 3 year old laptop with decent gaming ability for its time

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($181.03 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.82 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.00 @ B&H)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($78.24 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($312.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1053.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

A few notes:
1. I've already purchased the RAM ($30) and SSD ($60) for way less than pcpartpicker lists, and I plan to keep finding good deals... I'm nothing if not patient (and frugal)
2. I plan on buying the CPU and motherboard at Microcenter to take advantage of their insane prices, along with Win8 for $40
3. As the title mentions, I haven't totally decided on mATX vs ATX. I have a somewhat awkward desk with an 18.5" clearance where I'd put the computer, so the idea of a ~15" computer is appealing. Plus, I love the idea of reducing the number of pointless slots/bays/ports (I'll never SLI and the only add-on cards I can think of would be Wi-Fi or Sound).

That said, I could probably still be talked into ATX since there are a few shorter models that would give 1" clearance under my cheap desk, plus I haven't found the "perfect" mATX case ($100 for the Fractal Mini just doesn't sit right when I could get an Antec One or HAF 912 for a bunch less).

Other parts I've considered:

-Mobo: Maximus V Gene (mATX, best reviews but $70 more), Asrock Z77 Extreme4 (if I go ATX)

-Graphics: other makes of 7950 or various 660ti models. I don't want to go above $300 though, so I may swap the MSI for the Sapphire on sale right now for $270

-Power: I just want good quality with paying for too much power I'd never use, plus modular is appealing if I end up going mATX

-Case: Also considered Silverstone TJ-08 for mATX, HAF 912, Antec One, Corsair 300R, and InWin Dragon Slayer for ATX

What's everyone think? Should I go back to ATX? Am I crazy for going ATI over nVidia (I know this could start a flame war, not my intention).

And finally, is it worth waiting until Black Friday/Cyber Monday?
October 28, 2012 2:40:02 AM

You're going to OC, but no to SLI/Crossfire? You won't need a z77 board for that.
It totally screams z75. I suggest looking at the ASRock z75 Pro3.

AMD has been doing great these days, their cards perform overall better than nVidia's especially when price:p erformance is considered, so no you're fine.
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October 28, 2012 4:19:27 AM

There are a couple of excellent ASUS m-ATX z77 motherboards . At least one of them can SLI/crossfire

My pic of the performance m-ATX cases would be the Silverstone TJ 08e
The largest graphics card will fit
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