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Critique my mini-ITX build, please

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February 20, 2013 9:21:45 AM

I want to build a living room mini-ITX 1080P capable gaming machine to last me 3 years.
This is what I came up with:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($183.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.48 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($73.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($184.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone SG06BB-450-USB3.0 (Black) Mini ITX Desktop Case w/450W Power Supply ($145.00 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Acer H236HLbid 60Hz 23.0" Monitor ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Logitech K360 Wireless Standard Keyboard ($34.45 @ Adorama)
Mouse: Microsoft 3KJ-00001 Wireless Optical Mouse ($47.94 @ Amazon)
Total: $1202.58
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-20 06:20 EST-0500)


Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 months
Budget: 1100-1200$
System Usage: Gaming, Web design
Monitor: Yes
Parts to Upgrade: Everything
OS: Yes, Windows 8
Preferred Websites: Whatever is cheapest and whatever can be delivered to Miami
Location: Miami
Parts Preferences: No brand preference, but I'd prefer lower voltage/noise/heat parts (exception being video card, as I'm not gonna be gaming for hours regulrely)
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 if the price is right. I'd also prefer IPS screen.
Additional Comments:
1) I want a mini-ITX build. I'm pretty much set on Silverstone SG06BB-450-USB3.0 case, but am open for alternative suggestions.
2) I also want a quiet PC during general use (browsing, media, as this is going to be a living room PC. Moderate noise is acceptable while gaming. Should I get a better cooler for i5 for quieter PC (not overclocking)? If so, which one?
3) Games I'll be playing: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Witcher, Dawn of War 2/3, Company of Heroes, Civilization series. Very few FPS titles, and if so, nothing seriously. I want them to play high/ultra on 1080 30-60 fps
4) I will not be upgrading anything for at least 3 years, and would want to retain the ability to play new games at medium-high settings.
5) I'd want a motherboard to support 2 front USB 3.0 ports.
6) 1200$ is the absolute maximum. I'd appreciate suggestions to bring the price down. I don't want to pirate windows, so cutting costs there is out of the question. Maybe 7850 is an overkill for me, or i5? I picked them simply because I wanted to leave myself some breathing room, as I will not be upgrading this system for at least 3 years, possibly more.
Also, I chose H77M board because of the 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports for the harddrive and SSD. If there are no benefits to having harddrive on SATA 6 Gb/s, maybe I could save few $ on the motherboard?
7) How do I handle bluetooth and wifi in a desktop PC? Do I need additional cards for this? If so, can the even fit in here?
8) Is 450w bronze PSU going to be enough? PCpartpicker says 271w for my system, so it should be plenty?
Why Are You Upgrading: I decided to go with desktop+tablet combo, to replace my laptop. I already have a tablet.
February 20, 2013 1:43:21 PM

i would get the case and power supply separately and maybe a higher end graphics card so that it can last you for the next three years unless you are okay with medium graphics settings. it'll be hard to do that and stay under the 1200 budget but if you take the ssd out it'll be doable
February 20, 2013 2:09:57 PM

HopelessNoob said:
i would get the case and power supply separately and maybe a higher end graphics card so that it can last you for the next three years unless you are okay with medium graphics settings. it'll be hard to do that and stay under the 1200 budget but if you take the ssd out it'll be doable


How difficult would be to get the PSU that fits in this particular case, and be sure that I'll be able to fit in everything else? I know PSU is like a foundation, and I need a good one, but I never assembled an PC before, let alone a mini-ITX.

I researched 7850, and I don't think I need anything stronger. Medium is fine. I was actually considering getting a comparable kepler nvidia, if there are power advantages to that.
Related resources
February 20, 2013 2:12:53 PM

BitFenix Prodigy BFC-PRO-300-OOXKO-RP Atomic Orange Steel / Plastic Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-Z77N-WIFI LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-1866C9D-8GAB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100354XTL Radeon HD 7870 XT w/Boost 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SanDisk Ultra Plus SDSSDHP-128G-G25 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) for Notebook
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That would be my options for 1000$. Bitfenix Prodigy is the best ITX case for me and I would definitely build my PC around it. There are other colors too but they're not available at Newegg. Also for sure go with modular PSU as you need max airflow in the case. Also I would leave H77 and go straight forward for a K CPU and Z77 chipset. The mobo is a great one as It has build in WiFi and Bluetooth. Also 3570K will allow overclocking if someday you are not satisfied with the perfomance! Finally you have the best value card out there which is only ~3% slower than a 7950/660ti and can handle the games you list @1080p and an SSD to speed things up. Only thing I would add is some cooling, either a water kit or a low profile heatsink :) 
February 20, 2013 2:42:03 PM

michxymi said:

That would be my options for 1000$. Bitfenix Prodigy is the best ITX case for me and I would definitely build my PC around it. There are other colors too but they're not available at Newegg. Also for sure go with modular PSU as you need max airflow in the case. Also I would leave H77 and go straight forward for a K CPU and Z77 chipset. The mobo is a great one as It has build in WiFi and Bluetooth. Also 3570K will allow overclocking if someday you are not satisfied with the perfomance! Finally you have the best value card out there which is only ~3% slower than a 7950/660ti and can handle the games you list @1080p and an SSD to speed things up. Only thing I would add is some cooling, either a water kit or a low profile heatsink :) 


Thanks for the MBO advice, I'd be willing to pay extra for wireless! I'm surprised how hard it is to figure out which motherboards do have that. PCpartpicker makes no mention of it.

Also, modular PSU, I sure need all the space I can get.

As for the other suggestions:

Prodigy is substantially bigger than Sugo SG06. And it's not just aesthetics. I forgot to add that I will be also transporting the PC at least once a month. Dimensions are important. That said, I do prefer Prodigy for the extra space during assembly. Can those handle bars be removed?

I'm definitely not going to overclock. I'm fairly certain mid-range i5 will be plenty strong for my needs. And stability is by far the most important thing to me. It's the reason I still have not pulled the trigger, because I'm not sure about the PSU in Silverstone. Anandtech says it's a problem to get everything up and running, but it should be ok once you do (for sg05): http://tinyurl.com/8w699mv

One other thing I need to know:
which brand of ATI do I choose? Stability and noise are main factors. There is a lot of contradicting information online, and I don't really know what to believe in :) 

Also, i have a 1200$ budget for EVERYTHING: monitor, OS, mouse, keyboard. That leaves me with 850 for everything else. I can't afford your build.

February 20, 2013 2:51:28 PM

Get this one instead of 3570k

Intel Core i5-3350P Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.3GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 69W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80637i53350P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get the H77 version of the motherboard

GIGABYTE GA-H77N-WIFI LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That saves you some dollars and you can now buy this

Acer G245HQLbd Black 23.6" 5ms Widescreen LED Monitor 300 cd/m2 ACM 100,000,000:1 (1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and Windows 8
February 20, 2013 3:22:22 PM

michxymi said:
Get this one instead of 3570k

Intel Core i5-3350P Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.3GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 69W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80637i53350P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get the H77 version of the motherboard

GIGABYTE GA-H77N-WIFI LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That saves you some dollars and you can now buy this

Acer G245HQLbd Black 23.6" 5ms Widescreen LED Monitor 300 cd/m2 ACM 100,000,000:1 (1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and Windows 8



Thanks a lot, those are some awesome parts!
In my situation, 8W that this i5 saves me is precious, and I really will not notice those 100 mhz missing. Don't know how I missed it..

And the board is just perfect. Has absolutely everything I need, or think I need: wifi, 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports, enough USB, even Intel WiDi! :) 

What about these new acer IPS displays:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't mind that it's glossy.

Is there a to-go website with monitor reviews?


EDIT:
Just googled i5, and found out haswell i5's will be coming in april? If that's the case, I'm better of waiting, or?
February 20, 2013 3:27:55 PM

markiz said:
Thanks a lot, those are some awesome parts!
In my situation, 8W that this i5 saves me is precious, and I really will not notice those 100 mhz missing. Don't know how I missed it..

And the board is just perfect. Has absolutely everything I need, or think I need: wifi, 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports, enough USB, even Intel WiDi! :) 

What about these new acer IPS displays:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't mind that it's glossy.

Is there a to-go website with monitor reviews?


TDP doesn't always says the truth though...They are great but if you want to spend more money for a monitor go for a bigger one ;) 
February 21, 2013 9:50:31 AM

michxymi said:
TDP doesn't always says the truth though...They are great but if you want to spend more money for a monitor go for a bigger one ;) 



Thanks michxymi, you've been a great help.

One other question:

If it says max TDP 130W for 7850, does that really mean that the max draw the card will pull? I've came across some people saying that it can actually dram more.
!