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$700 Compact Gaming Build?

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November 8, 2012 12:05:47 AM

So I want to build a machine that is smaller then my NZXT Gamma.
It would have to support a full size video card (6850 size) and not much else.
Single Storage Drive (SSD), Intel CPU on stock cooler size, and a MicroATX board.

Here is one build idea: http://i.imgur.com/Hk0af.png

I would intend to pay much less than shown there by about 10-20% for those parts.
My biggest thing is the case though, and really what I'm most interested in. The Fractal 1000
is $47 shipped, and it just seems pricey when cases like this are the same price or less:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-Te...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-Te...

Any opinions on other small cases?

More about : 700 compact gaming build

November 8, 2012 12:47:22 AM

That Lian Li is MORE expensive. The best mATX out there is the Lian Li Dragon Slayer, but it's also expensive.

The NZXT you linked is a mid tower - the same exact size as a Gamma Classic.
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November 8, 2012 12:56:06 AM

DarkSable said:
That Lian Li is MORE expensive. The best mATX out there is the Lian Li Dragon Slayer, but it's also expensive.

The NZXT you linked is a mid tower - the same exact size as a Gamma Classic.


Actually it is $50 after coupon and shipping is free. So $2 more expensive.
I'm not sure the "MORE" is justified considering it is $2 more for a case probably much better built in all honest
I understand the NZXT I linked is the same size (well almost) as the Gamma.
My point is the NZXT I linked is $30 with shipping, and has cable management even.

So I'm not seeing much of a value in the Fractal 1000, but my goal is compact.
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November 8, 2012 2:52:54 AM

The Fractal is popular for keeping the system quiet, if that counts.

PSU is a bit too expensive for a 400w unit.
You can get this instead. It's a solid PSU and you get more than what you pay for - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XMS3 I believe isn't a very nice RAM series. It would be wise to get Vengeance or G.Skill.

That 830 is overpriced as well. Get this,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On that note, don't you have an HDD for storage? It's a bad idea to use an SSD for that since more writes would decrease its life.
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November 8, 2012 3:16:40 AM

If you want small, consider a ITX based build.
Your NZXT is 20.00" x 7.48" x 17.68" and weighs 13.23 lbs.

A Lian li LIAN LI PC-Q11A is 10.24" x 7.87" x 12.40"
IDK the weight, but it is made of aluminum.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Another option is the lian li PC-Q08. 13.58" x 8.94" x 10.71" 6.02 lbs.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

They both can take large graphics cards.
And use standard atx psu's.
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November 8, 2012 3:22:09 AM

@excella1221
"On that note, don't you have an HDD for storage? It's a bad idea to use an SSD for that since more writes would decrease its life. "

Not a problem. you would have to do server level writes every day to a modern ssd to shorten it's life to 10 years.
The ssd will be long obsolete before you can wear it out in any desktop use.
That is why Intel warrants theirs for 5 years.
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November 8, 2012 3:26:32 AM

excella1221 said:
The Fractal is popular for keeping the system quiet, if that counts.

PSU is a bit too expensive for a 400w unit.
You can get this instead. It's a solid PSU and you get more than what you pay for - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XMS3 I believe isn't a very nice RAM series. It would be wise to get Vengeance or G.Skill.

That 830 is overpriced as well. Get this,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On that note, don't you have an HDD for storage? It's a bad idea to use an SSD for that since more writes would decrease its life.



XMS3 is their special Overclockers delight RAM sticks, they are priced lower because they are cheaper to make, due to smaller heat sinks.
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November 8, 2012 9:50:24 AM

I only have the SSD there as a place holder. I can pick up that SSD for around $70 in the near future.
As nice as those cases are, we are going the wrong way with the price. :lol: 

Only reason I went with that PSU is due to it being the cheapest decent Modular Power Supply.
The Fractal doesn't appear to have much in terms of cable management, thus modular being a bigger perk.
Regardless a PSU like the CX430 with a rebate deal is the most likely PSU choice.
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November 8, 2012 11:53:07 AM

This would be the best cheap option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tom's did a budget build in it, and said the metal was thin, but everything else was okay for the amazing price. Not a LAN box - too flimsy, but it'll be fine just sitting there. Good cooling - comes with dual fans. Might have a time squeezing in your PSU and HDD, but that's the price you pay for a 14" box. And you'll need to get as small a mobo as you can. Going Mini-ITX may be a better idea.

I would go for the Fractal 1000 because of the better build quality: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 8, 2012 1:57:23 PM

excella1221 said:


On that note, don't you have an HDD for storage? It's a bad idea to use an SSD for that since more writes would decrease its life.


General storage has far less writes than an operating system or program files. So that shouldn't be an issue, other than expensive per GB.

And really, what's an SSD if not for storage? Technically every hour you run your CPU and GPU you shorten its life, too. But that's what you bought it for.


OP: I'd still say if you want compact and don't need a lot of expansion, a good mini ITX case is the way to go. Just knocking 2-3" off the height by going mATX doesn't really do much for you. And the cases you linked aren't even micro ATX. The Source 210 you linked to is the same size as your Gamma, just without the angled design.

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November 8, 2012 6:52:12 PM

twelve25 said:
General storage has far less writes than an operating system or program files. So that shouldn't be an issue, other than expensive per GB.

And really, what's an SSD if not for storage? Technically every hour you run your CPU and GPU you shorten its life, too. But that's what you bought it for.


OP: I'd still say if you want compact and don't need a lot of expansion, a good mini ITX case is the way to go. Just knocking 2-3" off the height by going mATX doesn't really do much for you. And the cases you linked aren't even micro ATX. The Source 210 you linked to is the same size as your Gamma, just without the angled design.


I'm not sure why there seems to be such a misunderstanding here.
I don't consider the Lian Li or NZXT case I linked to be a size improvement over my Gamma.
I linked them solely to illustrate my point that it just seems smaller cases are overpriced for what they provide.

The Rosewill is interesting though. I'd love for there to just be a coupon or something on the Fractal (hell just free shipping would do). :lol: 
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November 8, 2012 11:03:10 PM

twelve25 said:
General storage has far less writes than an operating system or program files. So that shouldn't be an issue, other than expensive per GB.

And really, what's an SSD if not for storage? Technically every hour you run your CPU and GPU you shorten its life, too. But that's what you bought it for.

I wouldn't call it "far less", continuous storage of mp3, movies, files, etc would still be more than just an OS or Program File just sitting there after being installed.

A 64/128gb SSD shouldn't be for "storage" purposes and should be more of a boot drive for your favorite and most used games, apps, programs, etc considering the capacity.
This is why an SSD+HDD combo is most efficient.

I was pointing out that more writes would decrease its life (further) than just general hourly usage like CPU and GPU, but as geofelt said, modern SSDs don't have that limitation anymore.
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November 8, 2012 11:43:44 PM

excella1221 said:
I wouldn't call it "far less", continuous storage of mp3, movies, files, etc would still be more than just an OS or Program File just sitting there after being installed.

A 64/128gb SSD shouldn't be for "storage" purposes and should be more of a boot drive for your favorite and most used games, apps, programs, etc considering the capacity.
This is why an SSD+HDD combo is most efficient.

I was pointing out that more writes would decrease its life (further) than just general hourly usage like CPU and GPU, but as geofelt said, modern SSDs don't have that limitation anymore.



I would like to just pick up a 128GB SSD and then go for a USB 3.0 External HDD for data and media that I can't store on an SSD.
Granted a 256GB SSD would probably store everything I need including data looking at my current HDD space usage.
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November 8, 2012 11:49:22 PM

Ah, okay. Sounds good to me. :) 
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November 9, 2012 12:00:10 AM

go for a 7770 GPU. They run exceptionally well for under $100.
don't spend more than 50 bucks on the case
get a thermaltake 500 W PSU (80 plus bronze) for around 60 odd bucks...
get a dual core intel or tri core AMD CPU (it's all you need for games anyway)
get 4 GB 1600 MHZ ram (like, 20 bucks??)
get a 1 TB Seagate HDD and 64 GB SSD
any 80 odd dollar mobo should do fine...
a DVD writer costs around 20 bucks...
this is without a screen, mouse and keyboard...
that should end up setting you back a fair bit less than 700 bucks.... 550 bucks without a screen, mouse and keyboard, so spend 150 bucks on that stuff. All good!
If it's 700 bucks without the externals, get an ASUS 7870. KILL ANY GAME MAX SETTINGS!! :D 
with an extra 20 bucks, I'd make the most of that dual channel architecture and get an extra 4 gigs of ram. This thing is literally edging on high end for 720 bucks!
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November 9, 2012 4:04:27 PM

@ SingingThroughTheStorm

It is not clear to me what the objective of this thread is.
In the OP, you indicated that you wanted a smaller case than the NZXT gamma.
And, you had a 6850 which is a nice gaming graphics card.

Now, is the desire for a smaller case so that it is luggable to a LAN party?
Or, is there limited room in your working area for a large case?
Or, like me, you just get tired of a case and want to change it out for a new build?
or...?

On the consideration of a SSD, remember that as a SSD gets close to filled, it will slow down.
Best not to get into that situation.
A 120gb ssd is fine, up to a point.
That is what I used for some time.
But, a 120gb ssd will have only about 110gb of useable space.
In that, I had the OS, half a dozen games, and a photo library of 4gb.

I found an Intel 520 180gb ssd on sale and bought it.
I was really looking to a 240gb ssd, but this was before prices dropped.
Primarily so I could use the old 120gb ssd to upgrade a laptop(wonderful improvement in performance!)

Anyway, if you can fit your data comfortably on a ssd, do it, you will not regret it.
Put your old hard drive in a external enclosure, and use it for backups.
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November 9, 2012 10:46:58 PM

geofelt said:
@ SingingThroughTheStorm

It is not clear to me what the objective of this thread is.
In the OP, you indicated that you wanted a smaller case than the NZXT gamma.
And, you had a 6850 which is a nice gaming graphics card.

Now, is the desire for a smaller case so that it is luggable to a LAN party?
Or, is there limited room in your working area for a large case?
Or, like me, you just get tired of a case and want to change it out for a new build?
or...?

On the consideration of a SSD, remember that as a SSD gets close to filled, it will slow down.
Best not to get into that situation.
A 120gb ssd is fine, up to a point.
That is what I used for some time.
But, a 120gb ssd will have only about 110gb of useable space.
In that, I had the OS, half a dozen games, and a photo library of 4gb.

I found an Intel 520 180gb ssd on sale and bought it.
I was really looking to a 240gb ssd, but this was before prices dropped.
Primarily so I could use the old 120gb ssd to upgrade a laptop(wonderful improvement in performance!)

Anyway, if you can fit your data comfortably on a ssd, do it, you will not regret it.
Put your old hard drive in a external enclosure, and use it for backups.


The thread is essentially for planning a future build. There are various reasons I'd like a smaller PC overall:

1. I have my Desktops on my desk, so being smaller is a plus.
2. My build doesn't really require a full ATX board, CF/SLI, or numerous drives. Larger just feels like wasted space.
3. Tired of case (I know that sounds kind of shallow/vain lol)


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November 10, 2012 12:14:58 AM

SingingThroughTheStorm said:
The thread is essentially for planning a future build. There are various reasons I'd like a smaller PC overall:

1. I have my Desktops on my desk, so being smaller is a plus.
2. My build doesn't really require a full ATX board, CF/SLI, or numerous drives. Larger just feels like wasted space.
3. Tired of case (I know that sounds kind of shallow/vain lol)


Those are exactly my three reasons:) 

1. I have limited depth available for my case.
I switched to a M-ATX case, for my main pc, and ITX for a second pc.
That worked so well for me that I am planning on ITX to replace the main gaming pc.

2. I need only a ssd, and room for a good gaming card. GTX680 ATM.

3. On a new build, I itch to change cases, even when the old works perfectly well. I find that the planning part is one of the most fun aspects of the hobby. Thinking about haswell in a PC-Q08 next spring.
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November 10, 2012 1:12:49 AM

geofelt said:
Those are exactly my three reasons:) 

1. I have limited depth available for my case.
I switched to a M-ATX case, for my main pc, and ITX for a second pc.
That worked so well for me that I am planning on ITX to replace the main gaming pc.

2. I need only a ssd, and room for a good gaming card. GTX680 ATM.

3. On a new build, I itch to change cases, even when the old works perfectly well. I find that the planning part is one of the most fun aspects of the hobby. Thinking about haswell in a PC-Q08 next spring.


Glad I'm not the only one that enjoys planning builds and such. :lol: 


I've also toyed around with the idea of going with an A10 AMD APU and putting it into a Mini-ITX enclosure.
Although I still think an Intel build with dedicated GPU is the way to go, as an APU would be sort of a downgrade.

If I go the Intel route in the future, I have to admit I'm really liking this case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not sure why I didn't see it before. The price point, feature set, size, and capabilities all seem to be pretty decent as well.
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November 10, 2012 2:31:40 AM

geofelt said:
Have you looked at this one?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I did indeed look at that case a while back. I have a few issues with it though compared to the CM case:

1. Price. Seeing the CM at $49.99 and Free Shipping through Amazon is makes the BitFenix seem somewhat overpriced.
2. Size. It's dimensions are pretty crazy. By that size going with a mATX case might be best.

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November 13, 2012 2:48:55 PM

I'm leaning towards the Fractal Core 1000 at this point in time.
The CM case has a larger foot print in terms of width compared to the Fractal.
The Fractal is short enough to be able to tuck away behind my monitor without being visible height wise.

The other plus is the Fractal would allow an mATX board, which means $40 less for a decent mobo.
Granted I prefer the airflow and included fans on the CM case.
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!