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BestConfigs: MicroATX Gaming Build

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November 15, 2012 4:27:39 PM

It's that time again! Time to update the Tom's Hardware BestConfigs! Once again, we are opening the field to user recommendations to get the best consensus for the absolute best of the best in each category. Post the best configuration you can put together for the following build category and our editorial team will pick 5 of the best to be put up to a public vote right here in the Systems forum. The top-ranking build will go on to become one of Tom's Hardware BestConfigs and you'll get the credit for having put together a brilliant build with a special credit in the feature article.

Post your entries to this thread for the category of:
MicroATX Gaming Build

Stay within $1,200 (without shipping) and no need to include OS, monitor, mouse/keyboard. To keep things fair and level the playing field, we ask that you restrict your product links to Newegg or Amazon. Please be sure to format your list of components as follows:

Joe's MicroATX Portal Turret Custom Case Build
Processor: Component Name and Component Price
Motherboard: Component Name and Component Price
RAM: Component Name and Component Price
Graphics Card: Component Name and Component Price
Hard Drive: Component Name and Component Price
Case: Component Name and Component Price
Power Supply: Component Name and Component Price
Cooling: Component Name and Component Price
DVD Burner: Component Name and Component Price

See below for quick-copy/paste text of the BBcode.

  1. [b]Joe's MicroATX Portal Turret Custom Case Build[/b]
  2. Processor: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  3. Motherboard: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  4. RAM: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  5. Graphics Card: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  6. Hard Drive: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  7. Case: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  8. Power Supply: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  9. Cooling: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]
  10. DVD Burner: [urlExt=http://Link to Component for Sale]Component Name and Component Price[/urlExt]


You can also use the Tom's Hardware System Builder to build your recommendation and use the BBCode export option at the bottom of the build. If you do, be sure to include a link in your post to your build on the app for quick viewing.

Good luck, and may the best builds win!
November 15, 2012 7:41:12 PM

The "Chameleon" Build (looks every bit like a home theater component but is an overclockable gaming beast) :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L12 37.8 CFM CPU Cooler ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($285.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone SST-GD05B-USB3.0 (Black) HTPC Case ($122.56 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($95.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1192.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-15 16:44 EST-0500)
November 16, 2012 12:22:39 AM

upgraded a few components form g-units build to be more overclocking and gaming friendly

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nT0j
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nT0j/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nT0j/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 54.4 CFM CPU Cooler ($61.91 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($28.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($103.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($285.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($98.50 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1032.32
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-15 21:22 EST-0500)

us.ncix.com is the same if not better than all the other stores due to price matching
Related resources
November 16, 2012 3:29:40 AM
November 16, 2012 1:14:05 PM


The Mini Gamer
PCPartPicker part list /
Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus V Gene Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($312.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($109.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1140.76
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
November 16, 2012 2:38:45 PM

Brandon402's "Big Mini" Micro ATX Gaming Build

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.29 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($97.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($81.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($93.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($100.70 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Arc Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($98.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS DVD/CD Writer ($29.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1149.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-16 11:36 EST-0500)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nWsB
November 18, 2012 1:56:58 PM
November 19, 2012 12:43:05 PM
November 19, 2012 6:01:52 PM

Zared619's "Little Giant"

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($122.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($66.15 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($429.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1162.07
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-19 15:01 EST-0500)
November 24, 2012 6:37:41 AM

Why is everyone getting so close to the maximum price range? Can you guys do some lower priced ones for those looking for cheaper micro-atx builds? thanks :) 
November 24, 2012 2:20:52 PM

sodapop707 said:
Why is everyone getting so close to the maximum price range? Can you guys do some lower priced ones for those looking for cheaper micro-atx builds? thanks :) 

Certainly.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($46.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $594.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-24 11:20 EST-0500)
November 24, 2012 5:49:05 PM

Thanks! :) 
November 27, 2012 7:06:53 PM

mousseng's "LANdshark"

Processor: Intel Core i5-3570k for $220
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M for $140
RAM: G.SKILL Ares 2x4GB DDR3-1600 for $38
Graphics Card: Sapphire Vapor-X 7970 GHz Edition for $475 (with a $20 rebate)
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black for $88
Case: NZXT Vulcan for $80
Power Supply: Seasonic G-Series SSR-550RM for $75 (with a $15 rebate)
Cooling: Tuniq Tower120 Extreme for $65

Total: $1181 with shipping (1146$ with rebates)

This is designed to be an overclocking-friendly LAN rig. There should be enough money left over to replace the case fans to overcome the heat issue and the mesh side-panel issue (get some positive airflow to keep the dust out).

Edited for formatting.
November 27, 2012 7:46:29 PM
November 27, 2012 7:49:08 PM

Bejusek CAS8 FTW Mini build

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($329.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone SG09B (Black) MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.90 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic G 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1198.81
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-27 16:48 EST-0500)
November 27, 2012 7:56:49 PM

"Little Monster" Fractal Arc Mini
Processor: Intel i5 3570K @ $220
Motherboard: Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M @ $140
RAM: GSkill 8gb RAM 1600 (2x4GB) @ $25
Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon 7970 3Gb @ $380
Solid State Drive: Samsung 830 128gb SSD @ $105
Hard Drive: Western Digital 7200 1TB Drive @ $70
Case: Fractal Design Arc Mini @ $100
Power Supply: Seasonic 750W Modular PSU Gold @ $100
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ @ $25
Optical Drive: LG Blu-Ray ROM, CD/DVD Burner @ $35

Total: $1200
Crossfire compatible for future upgrade.
SSD + 1TB Storage
Blu-ray Drive
Great minimalistic-design case with high air-flow (with slot for 240mm water cooling)

November 27, 2012 8:10:26 PM

Size Isn't Everything

Processor: Intel Core i5-3570k, $220
CPU Cooler: Hyper 212 EVO, which does fit in this case, $30
Cooling: Cougar Vortex HDB 140mm Fan, $18
Motherboard: AsRock Z77E-ITX, $150
RAM: The best overclocking ram made (Samsung's), $35
Graphics Card: MSI Radeon 7970 HD - Best blower cooled out there, which is best for this case; $419
Hard Drive: Western Digital 500GB Blue, $58
SSD: Samsung 830 128GB, $103
Case: BitFenix Prodigy Black, $80
Power Supply: OCZ Fatal1ty 550w modular PSU, $70
DVD Burner: Samsung DVD/RW Burner, $15

Total: $1198, with $2 to spend on a congratulatory beer.

This is a bit of a cheater's build, I'm afraid. It's an miniITX box (that could easily be modded to be mATX), but it's small enough to count as a carry-on on an airline and large enough to pack a HUGE punch - no sacrifices are made over a desktop, aside from Xfire/SLI capabilities. (But a single, more powerful, card is almost always the better option anyways.)

It's easy to assemble, easy to disassemble, and has the best SFF case out there for modding. (And it's one of the best just plain, too.)

Oh... and the reference design on the video card was intentional - it'll perform better than a non-blower fan in this case.
November 27, 2012 10:15:24 PM

No real OC capabilities on this guy, but who is really going to want to OC with a mATX form factor and a smaller case? Killer gaming performance.

Isaiah4110's MicroATX 'Double Shot' X-Fire Build

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($110.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.89 @ Amazon)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($294.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($294.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 311 (Orange) ATX Mid Tower Case ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1,192.80
(Prices include discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-27 18:40 EST-0500)
November 27, 2012 11:08:31 PM

A balance of gaming performance versus CPU over clocking all wrapped up in a high end case.
Went for a matte black theme with components coolers and such.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Dark Knight SD1283 Night Hawk Edition 89.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($122.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Agility 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($229.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($229.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1155.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
November 28, 2012 12:17:11 AM
November 28, 2012 2:43:59 AM
November 28, 2012 3:31:53 AM


1. Matt's MicroATX Little Zerger
2. Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
3. Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
4. RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($45.99 @ Newegg)
5. Graphics Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($306.98 @ Newegg)
6. Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.99 @ Newegg)
7. Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($109.98 @ Newegg)
8. Power Supply: SeaSonic 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ Newegg)
9. Cooling: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($69.99 @ Newegg)
10. Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1155.87
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-27 23:59 EST-0500)
November 28, 2012 8:54:00 AM

The budget limit you imposed is very high, considering it's mATX. I think a $900 limit is more realistic so that is what I stuck to.

Efficiency is King
Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4-M ($109.99 @ Newegg)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 C8 1.35v Low Profile ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card: Sapphire HD 7850 1GB ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung 840 120GB 2.5" SSD ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone SST-PS07B mATX ($78.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill CAPSTONE 450-M 80 PLUS Gold Modular ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($29.99 @ Newegg)
DVD Burner: DVD Burner ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $866.91

Undervolt and Overclock the CPU as much as you can. 3.9Ghz @ .95v is reasonable.
This build assumes a 1920 x 1080 60Hz Monitor is hooked up to the graphics card.
November 30, 2012 4:38:23 AM

Blazor's Little Box of Horrors
Processor: i5-2500K $199.99 (Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77M $89.99+$7.56 shipping=$97.55 (Newegg)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X 2x4GB DDR3-1866 9-10-9-28 1.5V F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL $29.99 (Newegg)
Graphics Cards: Diamond Radeon 7850 2GB 7850PE52GV2 $184.99+$6.98 shippingX2=469.98+13.96 shipping (Newegg)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003 $69.99 (Newegg)
Solid State Drive: Corsair Force 90GB CSSD-F90GB3-BK $94.99 (Newegg)
Case: Inwin Dragon Slayer $79.99+$10.99 shipping=$90.98 (Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec HCG-620M High Current Gamer 620W $79.99+$3.99 shipping=$83.98 (Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Rosewill RCX-ZAIO-92 $14.99 (Newegg)
Top VGA Cooler: Arctic Accelero Hybrid Graphics Card Liquid Cooler $149.99 (Amazon)
DVD Burner: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer $15.99 (Newegg)

Total: $1195.88 w/o shipping, $1232.38 w/ shipping

I'd have preferred an i5-3570K, but budget did not allow for it. The i5-2500K should still do well anyway. The CPU cooler isn't anything special and probably won't get you far past 4GHz, but that's plenty anyway. More budget would have allowed for a better cooler. The same goes for the motherboard, but again, it should do the job just fine (mid-ranged Crossfire won't suffer from using one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot much at all). The RAM isn't in any way squandered on at all (quite the opposite). I opted for two 7850s instead of a single 7970/7970 GHz Edition or 670/680 because they're superior for overclocking. To ensure that space constraints aren't an issue on temps, I went as far as getting in a good water cooler for the top card. The hard drive is a decent 1TB model. The SSD isn't what I wanted, but again, budget got in the way. Regardless, it's decent and should serve well as a boot drive. The power supply was not squandered on and should prove excellent for the task. The DVD burner was just the cheapest that I could find without major flaws that I'm aware of. The case is more expensive than I'd like, but nothing that I found cheaper seemed capable enough for the task.

Given the huge amount of attention that AMD has been giving to Crossfire drivers lately and the huge improvement on what was already generally quite excellent, I felt that opting for a dual-GPU AMD option would be better, especially since two overclocked 7850s can best any single GPU card on the market in general gaming performance even if that single GPU card is overclocked, albeit not necessarily by large margins.
December 1, 2012 8:31:08 PM

I just finished buying all of these components this afternoon, all from Amazon, Newegg, and Microcenter. I wish I had found this thread earlier!

Processor: i5-3570K ($214.99 @ Newegg, I paid $169.99 @ MicroCenter)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE G1.Sniper M3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard ($159.99 @ Newegg)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ($39.99 @ Newegg, I got them free with the motherboard as a deal from Newegg)
Graphics Card: GIGABYTE GV-N66TWF2-2GD GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg, I paid the same @ Microcenter)
Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg, I paid $99.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: SilverStone Sugo Series SG09B Black Steel / Plastic MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case ($99.90 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SilverStone ATX12V/EPS12V 750W Silver PFC Power Supply ST75F-P ($129.99 @ Amazon, I paid $112 on Nov 25 @ Amazon)
Cooling: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler ($80.99 @ Newegg)
DVD Burner: None!

The total here comes to $1225.82, which is just over the limit using today's prices. My cost for all of this was $1142. There are also a number of rebates going on which total $140, so I'll end up spending just over $1000!

I also bought an OEM copy of Windows 8 from Newegg for $70 ($100 - $30 coupon).

I haven't opened any of the boxes yet ... here's hoping it all fits!
December 7, 2012 9:16:03 AM

It's Cool

Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K - $215

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M - $130

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB), 1.35v - $40

Graphics Card: Galaxy 67NPH6DV5ZVX GeForce GTX 670 GC 2GB - $380 (has $20 MIR)

SSD: ADATA S510 Series AS510S3-120GM-O 2.5" 120GB - $105

Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB - $65

Case: Fractal Design Arc Mini - $100

Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze (520W, Modular)- $80

Cooling: CORSAIR Hydro series H50 - $65

Side Intake: NZXT 140mm Performance Case Fan FN 140RB - $9 (Amazon)
(Low in stock so there, so just in case here's the newegg link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... )

DVD Burner: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner- $20

Total: $1209
With Rebates: $1189


Freebies:
Borderlands 2 and AC3 worth $100 total with the GPU.
-------------------------------------------------

Notes:
1) The Arc Mini has 1 front 120mm, 1 rear 120mm and a top 140mm included, newegg says that the bottom intake included.

2) Rear exhaust gets replaced by radiator, so it goes to the front as second intake (or even to the bottom, though i wouldn't).

3) The top filter should probably be removed, unless you want to keep the top as an intake.

4) The top hard drive cage *should* be removed, since the second lower intake will cool the drives, allowing more air to go to the motherboard without being obstructed. The GPU should fit (at least on paper, it does) even with the cage installed.

5) You may want to make/buy a filter for the side intake.
December 10, 2012 5:38:51 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rQR5
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rQR5/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rQR5/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M PRO Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($374.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair C70 Gunmetal Black (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec TruePower New 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($110.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS DVD/CD Writer ($29.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1184.06
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-10 14:37 EST-0500)
December 18, 2012 12:18:16 AM

$500 gaming build. Moderate bang for a little buck. Critique.


CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz Dual-Core Processor ($104.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($53.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: GeIL Black Dragon 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($32.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.16 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Diamond Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($174.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.49 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($38.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $512.59

(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-17 21:57 EST-0500)

You've got SATA 6gb/s, USB 3.0 (Case & Mobo), PCIE 3.0, a solid PSU, good midrange graphics and a very solid Dual Core with Hyper Threading
December 18, 2012 3:08:54 AM

Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K @3.4GHz ($214.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M Pro ($139.99 @ Newegg)
RAM: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card: Sapphire HD7950 3GB ($299.99 @ Newegg)
Solid State: Crucial M4 256GB ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Blue 1TB ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Case: SilverStone Precision SST-PS07W ($83.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair CX600 ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling: Cooler Master 212 Evo ($29.99 @ Newegg)
DVD Burner: LG 24X DVD writer $16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1165.90

They don't have that case in black, so I went with white. Black is like the new beige. :p 
December 23, 2012 2:03:05 AM

TheBigTroll said:
this isnt a budget gaming build

Best configuration for the price :bounce: 
December 23, 2012 6:11:14 AM

Firespert said:
Best configuration for the price :bounce: 


it isnt either. you arent getting even high settings at 1080p with this
December 23, 2012 7:16:43 AM

What are you talking about? You can play minesweeper on "high" settings just fine. :sol: 
December 23, 2012 7:44:47 AM

we dont play minesweeper
December 25, 2012 12:47:42 AM

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($15.51 @ Amazon)
Memory: Samsung 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($15.51 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($77.73 @ Amazon)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1132.66
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
You also get 3 free games with the video card right now: Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs.

This build just squeaks under the budget and absolutely wrecks pretty much every game, bar Crysis and Metro 2033, at 1200p with full effects according to Anandtech's Bench. The 7970 is a better value than a 670 because it can overclock to match the GHz edition, which is markedly superior than the price-comparable 670, winning in framerates within 9 out of 14 games at 1200p in Anadtech's bench. (these results are not cherrypicked other than the resolution. The results remain consistent at higher resolutions; the 7970 is generally superior or at least equal to the 670). If you want the GHz Edition's power without overclocking, the Sapphire Ghz Edition 7970 puts you over budget by less than $10 before a rebate of $20; if you are a die-hard Nvidia fan, this $360 670 is the card for you. Even the memory is overclock friendly; its the oft-talked about Samsung "magic" RAM. There are threads on both Ars Technica and Anandtech about how high it can clock.

On the storage side, it comes with the reasonably good 128GB Crucial M4 for the OS, some often-used applications, and the games you're currently playing. Right now, SSD prices fluctuate pretty wildly; I expect a 256GB SSD to be available for around $170 ($65 more than the current 128GB SSD) within a week or two. Getting that will allow for an extra few games and programs. The 1TB hard drive is enough to hold a large amount of music and another dozen or so (modern sized) games.

It's also got size going for it. The Temjin case is quite small at 15.16" x 8.27" x 14.72". That's about the size of three shoeboxes, one atop the other. Despite it's small size, the case is a great thermal performer, keeping the CPU under 60 degrees Celsius and the GPU under 90 degrees Celsius, while remaining around only 42 dB loud--between a whisper and a quiet conversation, again according to Anandtech.
December 26, 2012 1:56:05 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-P45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($77.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($120.00 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($379.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Commander MS/I Snow Edition (White/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Raidmax 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHOS104-06 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive ($39.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1183.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-25 22:53 EST-0500)
December 26, 2012 11:16:36 AM

benchu said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-P45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($77.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($120.00 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($379.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Commander MS/I Snow Edition (White/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Raidmax 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHOS104-06 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive ($39.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1183.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-25 22:53 EST-0500)



-k chips in a b75 board make no sense
-the sapphire version of the 7970 costs less but performs better
-raidmax makes crap

just pointing out some stuff for ya
December 27, 2012 5:35:56 PM

benchu said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-P45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($77.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($120.00 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($379.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake Commander MS/I Snow Edition (White/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Raidmax 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHOS104-06 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Drive ($39.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1183.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-25 22:53 EST-0500)

that's not really a NAS
December 29, 2012 7:20:51 AM

could play guild wars 2??
January 9, 2013 5:09:15 PM

I thought I'd throw in this:
Some components may be on sale, but I'll be posting their regular price. All parts are from Newegg, except for the GPU.


Graham's Misleading Glance (couldn't think of a better name)
Processor: Intel Core i3-2120 - $125
Motherboard: BIOSTAR B75MU3+ Micro ATX- $69
RAM: Kingston HyperX Blu Red Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $46
Graphics Card: AFOX Radeon HD 6850 Video Card (low profile) - $270
Hard Drive: Intel 330 Series 120GB SSD - $139
Case: hec 7K09BBA HTPC - $75
Power Supply: included with case - $0
Cooling: Rosewill RCX-Z300 92mm CPU Cooler - $15
DVD Burner: LITE-ON Bluray burner with Lightscribe and 3D support - $109

Total price (before discounts): $845

If you are in the UK I'd recommend trying to get the AFOX AMD Radeon HD7850 version, but it's limited in stock.
January 10, 2013 9:52:36 PM

The Radeon 7750 wouldn't handle any resolution far above maybe 720p except with highly reduced quality settings in some of today's most intensive games. Getting an i3 and a Radeon 7850 would make the system far more balanced.
January 10, 2013 10:02:52 PM

blazorthon said:
The Radeon 7750 wouldn't handle any resolution far above maybe 720p except with highly reduced quality settings in some of today's most intensive games. Getting an i3 and a Radeon 7850 would make the system far more balanced.

I couldn't find a low profile 7850 in Amazon USA (there's one in the UK), but there's a 6850, so I'm using that. I changed the components to reflect the new colour scheme.
January 10, 2013 10:55:52 PM

grahamf said:
I couldn't find a low profile 7850 in Amazon USA (there's one in the UK), but there's a 6850, so I'm using that. I changed the components to reflect the new colour scheme.


Just be sure to realize that a Radeon 6850, even if low profile, is extremely overpriced at $270. Radeon 6850s shouldn't be priced over $160. I know that there are low profile Radeon 7770s, although I don't know if any of them are still selling much in the USA. If there are any still around, that'd at least be a good compromise compared to a similarly performing yet far more expensive Radeon 6850 at $270.
January 10, 2013 11:11:37 PM

blazorthon said:
Just be sure to realize that a Radeon 6850, even if low profile, is extremely overpriced at $270. Radeon 6850s shouldn't be priced over $160. I know that there are low profile Radeon 7770s, although I don't know if any of them are still selling much in the USA. If there are any still around, that'd at least be a good compromise compared to a similarly performing yet far more expensive Radeon 6850 at $270.

I haven't seen any low profile 7770's. the 6850 seems to be the only one that's somewhat easy to find. In the end i guess it depends on if you're committed to a low profile case or not.
January 10, 2013 11:14:50 PM

grahamf said:
I haven't seen any low profile 7770's. the 6850 seems to be the only one that's somewhat easy to find. In the end i guess it depends on if you're committed to a low profile case or not.


I can agree to that. I'm not that committed to low profile cases with such a high cost for anything more than low-end performance involved compared to a somewhat larger Micro-ATX mini tower, so I can be biased against their high prices.
January 15, 2013 5:15:43 PM

This topic has been desticky in top of the forum by Jpishgar
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