Building "Lan Box" Rig Seeking Input

Hello Tom's Hardware Forum,

I am planning on building a Micro ATX / Mini ITX ""Lan Box"" Rig.

Before I proceed, here are my current specifications:
-ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO Motherboard
-AMD Phenom X4 975 OC to 3.8gHz w/ Zalman CPU fan
-8GB Crucial RAM
-HD 5970 GPU @ 850/1200
-Antec 750W PSU
-250GB Sata HDD Western Digital
-No name terrible DVD Drive
-Xblade case w/ fan control and temperature monitor Gage.

Also to note, I am building this as a gaming rig. However, I also compete in OC/Benchmark competitions with my buddies. Noise is NOT an issue, I don't care if it is loud of quiet.

Now onto the goodies:

What I am thinking about getting:

Thermaltake ARMOR A30 Case
ASRock Z77 Professional Motherboard
Intel Core i5-3570K Processor
CORSAIR H50 CPU Water Cooling
XFX P1-750B-BEFX 750W PSU Full Modular

Still thinking about either:

a) Keeping my HD 5970
b) Getting a GTX 670

I am willing to cut and dremel into the case in order to put on after market fans and improve cooling, however with the liquid cooling I think the only thing that could give me heat issues is the GPU.

On my current Mid Tower I had a custom mounted 1st PC Corp 120MM Fan that I can take off and add onto this case.

Any Suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

14 answers Last reply
More about building seeking input
  1. If you compete in oc competitions and are breaking out the dremel anyway, why not add a second loop & waterblock for your video card?

    here's one for the 670.
  2. Quilciri, I am new to water cooling, as every system I have had in the past has been air cooled.

    The CPU water cooling I picked out seems pretty simple to install and use, I am not experienced enough to install a water block and hook up water cooling to it I dont think. I dont even know what I would need. But I am open to trying it out.

    Thanks for the reply!
  3. Ah, fair enough. Well, the airflow in that case can easily dissipate all heat thrown by the stock coolers on either the 5970 or the 670.
  4. Thank you. Any other suggestions? Good choice of motherboard and other components?
  5. 16gb is a bit of overkill for a gaming system. If you're editing video or something else memory intensive go ahead with 16, but 8gb is plenty for gaming.

    Given the level of quality components you seem to be trying for, I would strongly suggest a Seasonic PSU (or seasonic-built, i.e. XFX, PC Power & Cooling).
  6. That Antec might be Seasonic built as well, a lot of their higher end ones are.
  7. Thanks for your input! I will look into seasonic built PSU's

    I am however confused as to what type of PSU will fit in this Thermaltake case? Any idea? Reagular ATX?

    Also, I will keep it at 8GB then. Is it worth getting DDR3 2800 memory? or should I stay at or around 1600?
  8. you can overclock RAM if you so choose. I'd advise sticking with 1600, or at the most 1866 if you can find a reasonably priced set.
  9. Again, thank you for your input quilciri! I have updated my original post with new items.

    Switched the EVGA PSU with an XFX one.
    Switched from 16GB G.SKILL RAM to CORSHAIR 8GB

    I feel as though I'm spending too much on the Maximus Motherboard. Is it worth it?

    Or would I be better off going with a cheaper ASUS or AsROCK?
  10. Well, it looks like the Asus board has a slightly better voltage regulator than the best mATX asrock board.

    Asus is running a 8+2+2 phase converter, while the asrock has what appears to be 8+2+1. what that means is the Asus board has a bit more stable voltage going to either the RAM or the video card. Since you'll get far more game performance form overclocking your video card than RAM, I would wager that the Asrock board put the single phase on it's RAM, and left 2 for the southbridge (vid card).

    Up to you whether or not that's worth the $65 premium.l
  11. Eh, not worth the $65, plus I've used ASUS for years, I'll give ASrock a shot. Thank you again for the helpful information.

    It seems as though I have all the components I need.

    The last thing is the GPU

    Would you see it fit to upgrade from my HD 5970?

    To a GTX 670 or 7950 or anything else?

    Or should I keep the 5970 for now and wait for the next generation gpu's?
  12. You won't see any noticeable performance gain by swapping a 5970 out for a 670. Really about the only thing you'd gain is dx11 support (and of course, physx).

    Also, Asrock used to be part of Asus. They created the brand to compete with more budget oriented boards like foxconn, but asrock turned out higher quality boards than their competition and eventually bought themselves out. If rumors are true, Asus is looking to buy Asrock back, which would create a de-facto duopoly between Asusrock & gigabyte (with gigabyte a distant second). cross your fingers that doesn't happen.

  13. Great information quilciri! I will be keeping my 5970 then, and waiting for something more substantial to come out that will be a huge upgrade from a 5970.

    Very interesting information about ASrock, I'm very eager to get their board start playing around in the BIOS and see how it compares to other boards including Asus.

    While on this topic, I have one more question about RAM:
    How much of a difference is there from RAM that has a CAS LATENCY of 7 to one that has a CAS LATENCY of 9 or 11?

    I ask because the RAM I have selected above is 1866 but has a Cas Latency of 9. There is another CORSHAIR Vengeance that is 1600 but Cas Latency of 7. Which one would be better?
  14. The speed of the RAM doesn't make much of a difference for gaming on an Intel system. I'd just go for 1600Mhz CAS 9
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