what is the best mini itx gaming build I can get for >$500?

So I have been chewing my way through the appropriate guides (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/355046-31-guide-choosing-computer-parts, http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/324368-28-computer-power-supplies-guide, http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html, etc) but I thought I would post up here to get a rough idea of what to look for in my build. This is my first build and I kind of have no idea as to what part x goes best with part y.

quick rundown of what I'm looking for: I'm going to be going to college out of state so I want something that I could feasibly pack i a suit case/bring as a carry on so I was thinking mini itx. However if the budget doesn't fit for it I would not be closed to the idea of a atx/mid atx case I just don't know how portable that would be. Im not a graphics snob and I really don't need/want to be playing games like far cry 3 on high/ultra res or anything, I just don't want any slideshows.

Approximate Purchase Date: anywhere in the next month or two. not very time sensitive

Budget Range: not more then $500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: casual gaming, surfing the internet, light video editing (very light)

Are you buying a monitor: no

Parts to Upgrade: everything except for hd and optical drive (maybe)

Do you need to buy OS: no

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: whatever is best
Location: Pasadena, CA (los angeles)

Parts Preferences: no preference

Overclocking: Maybe? does this even work with mini tx?

SLI or Crossfire: no

Additional Comments: I would like for this to be a mini itx build. noise is not an issue for me. I'm going to be playing games like portal 1-2, LOL, Mass Effect. Just casual stuff or other indie games off of steam. Maybe a couple of shooters if i get them. I'm still debating the ssd (maybe just get a small one?) and I will need a wifi card.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I have been living with cast off computers for years and its time to upgrade to something that will last me for a while without giving me issues all the time.

any recommendations would be great! and when i get a build together I'll post for comments.
12 answers Last reply
More about mini itx gaming build 500
  1. Here's a nice mini-itx build that won't allow overclocking:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard ($103.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($55.97 @ Newegg)
    Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($20.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $509.08
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:32 EDT-0400)
    -The integrated gpu paired with the 6670 will max out your games.
    -Cheap 8gb of ram.
    -A 120gb SSD. Will be an improvement over your HDD.
    -Cheap mini-itx that should have a good amount of room on the inside.
    -A decent 430w psu gives tons of headroom for future upgrades.
    -You have to use a usb wifi adapter since there's no pcie slot on the motherboard

    Or you can go with an intel processor and no SSD:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($101.24 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($89.00 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $508.40
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:34 EDT-0400)
    -Wifi built into motherboard, so you won't need a wifi adapter
    -Removed SSD and upgraded gpu to a 7770.

    The intel build will do much better in gaming due to the 7770, but it loses the SSD. Your choice :D
  2. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Pentium G2020 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor ($49.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($76.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: PNY Optima 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($44.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($159.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($34.28 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $491.19
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:53 EDT-0400)
  3. realchaos said:
    Here's a nice mini-itx build that won't allow overclocking:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard ($103.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($55.97 @ Newegg)
    Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($20.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $509.08
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:32 EDT-0400)
    -The integrated gpu paired with the 6670 will max out your games.
    -Cheap 8gb of ram.
    -A 120gb SSD. Will be an improvement over your HDD.
    -Cheap mini-itx that should have a good amount of room on the inside.
    -A decent 430w psu gives tons of headroom for future upgrades.
    -You have to use a usb wifi adapter since there's no pcie slot on the motherboard

    Or you can go with an intel processor and no SSD:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($101.24 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($89.00 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $508.40
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:34 EDT-0400)
    -Wifi built into motherboard, so you won't need a wifi adapter
    -Removed SSD and upgraded gpu to a 7770.

    The intel build will do much better in gaming due to the 7770, but it loses the SSD. Your choice :D

    No storage on the second build
  4. "Parts to Upgrade: everything except for hd"
  5. CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock H77M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX12V Power Supply ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $508.13
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    Features:

    Stronger CPU
    High quality Motherboard
    Better GPU
  6. I would think an i3 + like a 7870 would be the best gaming performance at this sort of price range. I would never recommend spending more on the CPU than the GPU when you want to do any form of gaming.

    @Bob I'd be wary about recommending Antec's Basiq lineup. They are tier 3 units, which is very borderline: http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx Correction: So is the CX 430, but it does have other advantages. I'd feel much more confident in something like a CX 430, it's only $15 more, which is worth it for the stability/increased reliability. The Basiq also doesn't have a PCI-E power connector, and it's not a good idea to use those Molex adapters!

    M
  7. Except the Corsair CX series are also tier 3, though I would recommend grabbing the CX430. The Antec one isn't even rated 80+ and has very little cables. No pcie, like you pointed out and only one sata connector so the OP can't grab a SSD in the future. Spend a little bit more money now and save some money later.
  8. Oh my mistake, I remember it being it Tier 2b... Oops! Still the short cables/lack of a PCI-E connector are a big downside.

    M
  9. realchaos said:
    Here's a nice mini-itx build that won't allow overclocking:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($99.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX Mini ITX FM2 Motherboard ($103.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($55.97 @ Newegg)
    Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N180UBE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($20.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $509.08
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:32 EDT-0400)
    -The integrated gpu paired with the 6670 will max out your games.
    -Cheap 8gb of ram.
    -A 120gb SSD. Will be an improvement over your HDD.
    -Cheap mini-itx that should have a good amount of room on the inside.
    -A decent 430w psu gives tons of headroom for future upgrades.
    -You have to use a usb wifi adapter since there's no pcie slot on the motherboard

    Or you can go with an intel processor and no SSD:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($101.24 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.20 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($89.00 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Total: $508.40
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-04-21 16:34 EDT-0400)
    -Wifi built into motherboard, so you won't need a wifi adapter
    -Removed SSD and upgraded gpu to a 7770.

    The intel build will do much better in gaming due to the 7770, but it loses the SSD. Your choice :D

    Ok wow thanks for the choices! I am liking the intel build and I can just upgrade to the ssd in the future. Just because I'm curious would this be portableish? Like I could potentially pack it as a carry on and take it on a airplane?
  10. Here's the dimensions, as found on newegg: 9.4" x 8.2" x 15.8"
    It's not that big compared to other cases, but it's still pretty big for an airplane. I would say you have to find a decently sized packing box and just keep it in there. You could measure it out yourself before buying it and see if it's too big for you.
  11. realchaos said:
    Here's the dimensions, as found on newegg: 9.4" x 8.2" x 15.8"
    It's not that big compared to other cases, but it's still pretty big for an airplane. I would say you have to find a decently sized packing box and just keep it in there. You could measure it out yourself before buying it and see if it's too big for you.


    ok thanks. also can I have another psu option? it is sold out on newegg and like $10 more on amazon.
    could I go with the next level up? its discounted and with the 10$ rebate its about the same acutally
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027
  12. Yes! Grab that one instead.
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