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Mini Itx build ~$2000 usd

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February 23, 2013 9:31:22 PM

This may be a bit premature on my part given it will be awhile before i sit down and order all the parts but with what I've researched myself I still feel like i'm missing a lot and i'd appreciate a little help.

Approximate Purchase Date: ~June - I'm waiting to get away from California before i start ordering parts (would rather not pay another 9%)

Budget Range - ~$2000 i'm willing to go over a bit but not if i don't have to

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Schoolwork (mostly research papers), watching movies

Are you buying a monitor : Yes

Upgrading, literally from nothing

Yes i'm buying an OS

Location : i'll be buying everything while i'm in Washington about an hour out of Seattle

Overclocking : it's a possibility but as long as games don't require it i'll try to refrain

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

I'm upgrading because I'm slowly getting back in to mmo's and arpgs after a few years of riding the console wagon.

My part list so far:

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

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-I Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($103.93 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($133.99 @ Mac Mall)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($498.99 @ Amazon)
Case: BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($104.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 760W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($184.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($279.00 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($126.47 @ Amazon)
Total: $1931.28


My concerns:

Would it be better to use air cooling or is water cooling necessary in this small of a form factor?

Should i get a HD or a second SSD to run alongside the one i have? I don't think i'll need more room but if i have plenty of room I wouldn't mind buying a TB hard drive

Is my PSU overkill? Since it's such a small case i'll never manage to fit another gpu in there so should i knock off 200 watts or keep it at 50% load

Also will it be worth it to upgrade to an i5 46xxk cpu if the rumours about it being mainly a graphics boost are true?


sorry if anythings too vague or this is too far out to guess at but i thought it might be better to get a little advice now rather than ask way down the road when it's too late

Best solution

February 23, 2013 10:40:19 PM

Your build is reasonable, with a couple of exceptions.

1. The "K" in the 3570K lets you Overclock. If you are conservative, a 4.0-4.3 OC gives you a nice boost.
But... you will need a Z77 based motherboard to do that. The asrock Z77 ITX is $150, and the asus P8Z77-I Is $185. If you want included wifi, the Asus has a version for $200.

2. A liquid cooler is really not necessary, and will tend to be more expensive and noisy. The stock cooler will work, but probably an aftermarket cooler will be better.


3. The prodigy Phoenix is actually a relatively large case, even if it is ITX. I might look around a bit. I happen to like the Lian Li PC-Q08.
There is a new ITX case(NCASE M1) being developed, and it may be available in your time frame. Check out the dimensions and thread here: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1717132 Look at some of the silverstone cases too.

4. A GTX680 only needs a 550w psu. And, you will never recoup the price premium for gold silver or platinum efficiency.
I would look at a quality 600-650w unit and save a few bucks.

5. I think I would buy a 240gb ssd instead. I have found it to be plenty, assumimg you will not store large files like video's. You can always add a hard drive later.

6. Good pick on the profile ram. Vengeance tall heat spreaders can interfere with coolers.

7. Haswell may well alter your plans. If it is available when you build, you will get about a 15% boost in performance for about the same price as today's 3570K.
And... it will requiere a different socket motherboard, so no upgrade will be possible. If you build with a 3570K, though, I would still expect it to be a 4 year cpu.

8. I might pick a GTX680 that uses a double slot dsirect exhaust cooler. It will solve your heat problems by sending the hot gpu air directly out the back of the case,
Here is an example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It is cheaper, and about the same speed as the msi unit.
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February 23, 2013 11:02:38 PM

i honestly wouldnt even build itx in the first place. matx is cheaper and isnt much bigger. the prodigy is pretty big for itx if you dont know. one more thing is that if this is your first build, it would be a nightmare given the super confines of itx building

if you must go itx, get this
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FwVn

case. its red
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=76992&promoid=1302

ram
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=78420&vpn=KHX16C10B1BK...

hard drive
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=70854&promoid=1302

matx.
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FwXj

case
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=58474
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February 23, 2013 11:25:46 PM

Thanks a lot for the responses guys, exactly what i was hoping for i'll look more in to other cases and some after market coolers 2 things though

1.
I spend the bulk of my year in a poorly ventilated room in southern california as such my ambiet temperature is insanely high, I mean in the ~100 Fahrenheit range during a bad day. Would this be a major issue?

2. As far as Matx/itx builds go i'd just like something that would fit comfortably in a suitcase or in the back of my prius when i'm going between southern California and northern Washington so i'm not sure how big I can go

(sorry if my questions don't make sense or if i'm asking too much i'm just nervous as a first time builder and don't want to invest in something that I can't travel with or that overheats in a couple months)
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February 23, 2013 11:28:04 PM

I would look for the fractal design node 304, and an aio watercooler +gfx card with blower style cooler.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H55 57.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($63.24 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($118.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.48 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($186.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($380.04 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case ($104.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid Wired Gaming Keyboard ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1482.63
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

You can find the case cheaper here : http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=75056&promoid=1302
The ram : http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=74758&promoid=1321
And psu : http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=59615&promoid=1257
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February 23, 2013 11:37:20 PM

Best answer selected by ratiller.
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February 24, 2013 12:31:20 AM

ratiller said:
Thanks a lot for the responses guys, exactly what i was hoping for i'll look more in to other cases and some after market coolers 2 things though

1.
I spend the bulk of my year in a poorly ventilated room in southern california as such my ambiet temperature is insanely high, I mean in the ~100 Fahrenheit range during a bad day. Would this be a major issue?

2. As far as Matx/itx builds go i'd just like something that would fit comfortably in a suitcase or in the back of my prius when i'm going between southern California and northern Washington so i'm not sure how big I can go

(sorry if my questions don't make sense or if i'm asking too much i'm just nervous as a first time builder and don't want to invest in something that I can't travel with or that overheats in a couple months)


1. 100F... my sympathies! That is about 38c. At idle, you might expece a delta of about 10c. True also for liquid coolers; the only difference is where the heat exchange takes place. Under load, you really don't start to have a problem untiil over 70c.
If your case has decent ventilation, I do not see a problem. A 140mm fan in the case should do the job. You always have the option to change out the fan for a higher cfm version at the expense of noise.

2. Check the case dimensions and weight on newegg or the case web site. If you are really picky, tape up a cardboard model with those dimensions and see how it suits you.

One of the fun parts of this hobby is figuring these things out.
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February 24, 2013 2:47:01 AM

geofelt said:

5. I think I would buy a 240gb ssd instead. I have found it to be plenty, assumimg you will not store large files like video's. You can always add a hard drive later.

I would have to agree with all your advice EXCEPT this. I don't think that an SSD should be the only drive for a few reasons.

Relatively small
Price / GB is very high
Mechanical disks are tried and tested
You can add things like swap and near-useless data to a traditional hard disk without worrying about space or wear.

Quote:

I spend the bulk of my year in a poorly ventilated room in southern california as such my ambiet temperature is insanely high, I mean in the ~100 Fahrenheit range during a bad day. Would this be a major issue?

Crap! How do you deal with that? Once the house temp. gets over ~75-78 I have to crank up the A/C.

BTW What part of WA? I am also located in Western WA.
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