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System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: The $400 Spirit Of Mini-ITX

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June 26, 2013 9:00:04 PM

Not satisfied with the size of the mini-ITX-based boxes our team just built, Paul returns with a purpose: construct the smallest possible PC still capable of gaming at 1920x1080. With $400 in-hand, he set off to show us the real spirit of mini-ITX.

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: The $400 Spirit Of Mini-ITX : Read more
a b 4 Gaming
June 26, 2013 9:36:44 PM

great article. this type of look at how a low end "budget" build handles modern titles was perfect. Loved it. I think you got about the most you could hope for out of a $400 budget. Frankly i can't find a way to make something better at that price point. spot on really. nicely done.

I do like how most of those games were "playable" on high settings at 1080p with that tiny rig... very cool.
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June 26, 2013 9:40:39 PM

Nice build, makes me wonder how it would stack up to my old 4.0 GHz overclocked Core 2 Duo office PC. Which gets gamed on occasionally using its HD 6850 graphics card.
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June 26, 2013 9:57:33 PM

This is a great build and worthy of sitting next to any big screen.

Great job
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a b 4 Gaming
June 26, 2013 10:11:52 PM

Enjoy the $400 build. Kinda hoped for an A10-5800k build to compare to.
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June 26, 2013 10:29:26 PM

250 bucks makes HUGE difference. Unlike 2500 vs 1300 systems.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 26, 2013 10:41:05 PM

FINALLY! I agree this whole system builder was almost a fail.
Also, I can't believe you had a SG05 and didn't build with it,it has an awesome power supply. Again,if you weren't getting a disk drive the V3+ was the smaller, higher quality case than CM 120 ( though they're finished on newegg)
The obsession with ginormous cards in tiny places made your cases not tiny.Clearly,a more sensible build,like with a 670,would fit in a much smaller footprint.
The lack of the FT03 Mini is a fail. It's a Mac killing case,and should've been the go to case for the $2500 build, because at that price,my case better look it.
Otherwise I like that you were at least up to the challenge, and I applaud this last build.
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June 26, 2013 10:51:06 PM

allanitomwesh said:
FINALLY! I agree this whole system builder was almost a fail.
Also, I can't believe you had a SG05 and didn't build with it,it has an awesome power supply. Again,if you weren't getting a disk drive the V3+ was the smaller, higher quality case than CM 120 ( though they're finished on newegg)
The obsession with ginormous cards in tiny places made your cases not tiny.Clearly,a more sensible build,like with a 670,would fit in a much smaller footprint.
The lack of the FT03 Mini is a fail. It's a Mac killing case,and should've been the go to case for the $2500 build, because at that price,my case better look it.
Otherwise I like that you were at least up to the challenge, and I applaud this last build.
The FT03 Mini would have probably caused the $2500 PC's graphics card to overheat, or caused the graphics card to overheat the CPU. And a 670 might have worked, but then it wouldn't have been a $2500 PC. But please don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

You could say that nobody should even bother spending $2500 on an ITX-based system, or that a system with ITX limitations should never be expected to provide top performance. At least those opinions would make more sense than the stuff you said above.

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June 26, 2013 11:13:55 PM

My favorite of the builds. Feels congruent to me in that budget, form factor and system capabilities all align to each other and to my personal sensibilities. I could see making a system like this for a bedroom or den.
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June 26, 2013 11:44:40 PM

brucek2 said:
My favorite of the builds. Feels congruent to me in that budget, form factor and system capabilities all align to each other and to my personal sensibilities. I could see making a system like this for a bedroom or den.
Or even an office! Really. I might not build one of these for a performance competition, but it looks like a solid alternative to my retired-gaming office PC.

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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 12:07:44 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Foxconn H61S Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint M8 500GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N180UB 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($9.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill RS-MI-01 BK Mini ITX Tower Case w/250W Power Supply ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $371.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-27 03:06 EDT-0400)

Some improvements I would like to suggest , Maybe I am crazy , but felt I should do this.
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June 27, 2013 12:41:44 AM

Even this diminutive little machine would significantly outpace my old Phenom II X3 710, XFX HD 4830 and 4x1GB DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12) for a pretty decent price.
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June 27, 2013 1:10:37 AM

When I read how it's smaller than the Tiki in every way, I got kinda excited. It is pretty neat how small (and thin) this thing is. How one could wish that more low-profile decent-performing cards were made. That HD 7850 by Afox is interesting.

Once the Kaveri APU's start rolling out, I wonder if you guys would end up choosing them over Intel CPU's + discrete GPU's for SFF builds like this or for any other budget configuration for that matter.

BTW, was the Athlon X4 750K/760K not chosen due to its power req. and heat or was it just not available at the time?
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 1:36:19 AM

This build definitely deserved an APU...
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 3:23:50 AM

Crashman said:
The FT03 Mini would have probably caused the $2500 PC's graphics card to overheat, or caused the graphics card to overheat the CPU. And a 670 might have worked, but then it wouldn't have been a $2500 PC. But please don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

You could say that nobody should even bother spending $2500 on an ITX-based system, or that a system with ITX limitations should never be expected to provide top performance. At least those opinions would make more sense than the stuff you said above.


I will say,since my point was lost in the rant

Nobody should be building an ITX rig for $2500 that's bigger than the Silverstone SG10.

A system with mini ITX should crunch top numbers and remain small.The two cheapest rigs prove that.


I hope I make sense now.
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June 27, 2013 4:17:40 AM

So AMD has APU CPU with integrated videocard that can run any game decently on low-mid setting and u choose for this matter intel? intel is really really paying u off very well to keep people away from good stuff... This build will kick the......butt of your intel build.

AMD A10-5800K APU: http://goo.gl/XaFFP

MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Motherboard: http://goo.gl/DXM3W

8GB Samsung DDR3 1600Mhz RAM: http://goo.gl/gVqCL - Another great option: http://goo.gl/Jbtye

500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive: http://goo.gl/bM1Ww

NZXT Source 210 Case: http://goo.gl/2wlae

430W Corsair CX430 Power Supply: http://goo.gl/QzWZo

These parts make up the $350 build however since this is a custom PC feel free to customize it with some of these options!

OS - Windows 8 System Builder: http://goo.gl/OTZAL

OS - Windows 7 System Builder: http://goo.gl/7hc9M

Optical Drive - Lite-On DVD Burner: http://goo.gl/DCVBn

Wi-Fi Adapter - Asus PCE-N15: http://goo.gl/JQ7Mt

RAM Upgrade - 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133Mhz: http://goo.gl/bTOiK

Graphics Card - Sapphire Radeon 7770: http://goo.gl/FrSHW

SSD - 120GB Samsung 840: http://goo.gl/ykuCA

HDD Upgrade - 1TB WD Caviar Blue: http://goo.gl/MZTnq
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June 27, 2013 4:28:03 AM

allanitomwesh said:
Crashman said:
The FT03 Mini would have probably caused the $2500 PC's graphics card to overheat, or caused the graphics card to overheat the CPU. And a 670 might have worked, but then it wouldn't have been a $2500 PC. But please don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

You could say that nobody should even bother spending $2500 on an ITX-based system, or that a system with ITX limitations should never be expected to provide top performance. At least those opinions would make more sense than the stuff you said above.


I will say,since my point was lost in the rant

Nobody should be building an ITX rig for $2500 that's bigger than the Silverstone SG10.

A system with mini ITX should crunch top numbers and remain small.The two cheapest rigs prove that.


I hope I make sense now.
What you're saying is that a $2500 ITX rig simply shouldn't exist, and you're contradicting yourself to say that it should remain small and crunch top numbers. The two cheapest rigs prove that.

What you're really saying is that all the people who loved the $2500 PC were wrong. It's OK to believe that, but the reality is that your opinion on their market doesn't count any more than my opinion on feminine hygiene products. Both of us are ill-equipped to speak with authority on those respective issues.

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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 4:32:58 AM

re-play- said:
So AMD has APU CPU with integrated videocard that can run any game decently on low-mid setting and u choose for this matter intel? intel is really really paying u off very well to keep people away from good stuff... This build will kick the......butt of your intel build.

AMD A10-5800K APU: http://goo.gl/XaFFP

MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Motherboard: http://goo.gl/DXM3W

8GB Samsung DDR3 1600Mhz RAM: http://goo.gl/gVqCL - Another great option: http://goo.gl/Jbtye

500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive: http://goo.gl/bM1Ww

NZXT Source 210 Case: http://goo.gl/2wlae

430W Corsair CX430 Power Supply: http://goo.gl/QzWZo

These parts make up the $350 build however since this is a custom PC feel free to customize it with some of these options!

OS - Windows 8 System Builder: http://goo.gl/OTZAL

OS - Windows 7 System Builder: http://goo.gl/7hc9M

Optical Drive - Lite-On DVD Burner: http://goo.gl/DCVBn

Wi-Fi Adapter - Asus PCE-N15: http://goo.gl/JQ7Mt

RAM Upgrade - 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133Mhz: http://goo.gl/bTOiK

Graphics Card - Sapphire Radeon 7770: http://goo.gl/FrSHW

SSD - 120GB Samsung 840: http://goo.gl/ykuCA

HDD Upgrade - 1TB WD Caviar Blue: http://goo.gl/MZTnq


Your case is much much bigger.
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June 27, 2013 4:56:46 AM

re-play- said:
So AMD has APU CPU with integrated videocard that can run any game decently on low-mid setting and u choose for this matter intel? intel is really really paying u off very well to keep people away from good stuff... This build will kick the......butt of your intel build.

No. They chose intel for the cpu, not for it's integrated gpu. They used the fastest half height, single slot gpu available to them along with it. Swapping out the intel cpu for the A10-5800K would have been a step down in gaming performance. Don't make stupid accusations.
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June 27, 2013 5:10:12 AM

This build just resonates positive on me. It's not as beautiful or powerful as the $2500 build but I gravitate toward it just a tad more. This is something I'd build myself. And a year down the road it will have a few upgrades:

-a core i5 3350P or whatever haswell version is available by then
-the AFOX 7850 is available in my country :-P
-a 120 or 240Gb SSD
-more ram
-a slim optical drive
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June 27, 2013 5:41:46 AM

Nice, enjoyed reading. What i'm wondering is, could you guys get your hands on a Kabini board and add a 7870 or 7850 to see how it does? Obviously i'm thinking about the new consoles here...The fact that Sony managed to fit all of that into $400...

Crashman said:
Nice build, makes me wonder how it would stack up to my old 4.0 GHz overclocked Core 2 Duo office PC. Which gets gamed on occasionally using its HD 6850 graphics card.

Well i have a Core 2 Quad and a GTX560, manages fine at 1024x768, but a lot of times i'm intensely CPU bottlenecked. Arma 3's killing my CPU like no other game. Ok, maybe the FreeSpace 2 Open engine, but then that's single threaded.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6670/dragging-core2duo-in...
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June 27, 2013 5:46:55 AM

Great build, great article. I didn't even know you could get cases that small. Now I'm seriously considering making something like this with a Blu ray drive and a much larger HDD for a HTPC.
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June 27, 2013 5:52:56 AM

Wouldn't it make more sense to go with A10 6800K? CPU performance of A10 trumps SB Pentium and 8670D is comparable to 7750. You can eke out up to 50% GPU performance out of the 8670D with a decent cooler according to the review on Overclock3D.
This would make the build even cheaper, not to mention much more feature rich.
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June 27, 2013 6:15:48 AM

Great build for HTPC. But what person on a budget chooses to build a mini itx gaming machine?
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June 27, 2013 6:42:08 AM

re-play- said:
So AMD has APU CPU with integrated videocard that can run any game decently on low-mid setting and u choose for this matter intel? intel is really really paying u off very well to keep people away from good stuff... This build will kick the......butt of your intel build.

AMD A10-5800K APU: http://goo.gl/XaFFP

MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Motherboard: http://goo.gl/DXM3W

8GB Samsung DDR3 1600Mhz RAM: http://goo.gl/gVqCL - Another great option: http://goo.gl/Jbtye

500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive: http://goo.gl/bM1Ww

NZXT Source 210 Case: http://goo.gl/2wlae

430W Corsair CX430 Power Supply: http://goo.gl/QzWZo

These parts make up the $350 build however since this is a custom PC feel free to customize it with some of these options!

OS - Windows 8 System Builder: http://goo.gl/OTZAL

OS - Windows 7 System Builder: http://goo.gl/7hc9M

Optical Drive - Lite-On DVD Burner: http://goo.gl/DCVBn

Wi-Fi Adapter - Asus PCE-N15: http://goo.gl/JQ7Mt

RAM Upgrade - 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133Mhz: http://goo.gl/bTOiK

Graphics Card - Sapphire Radeon 7770: http://goo.gl/FrSHW

SSD - 120GB Samsung 840: http://goo.gl/ykuCA

HDD Upgrade - 1TB WD Caviar Blue: http://goo.gl/MZTnq


Next time you try to talk trash first make sure you are getting the components correct. This is an ITX builders marathon. Not a throw together whatever cheap crap you can find into a cheap midtower. I read the motherboard and case you selected and instantly realized you have no idea what the point of this article is... pretty sure a 7750 will beat up on a A10 5800k too...
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 6:58:12 AM

vehlor said:
Great build for HTPC. But what person on a budget chooses to build a mini itx gaming machine?


College student.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 7:01:18 AM

Soda-88 said:
Wouldn't it make more sense to go with A10 6800K? CPU performance of A10 trumps SB Pentium and 8670D is comparable to 7750. You can eke out up to 50% GPU performance out of the 8670D with a decent cooler according to the review on Overclock3D.
This would make the build even cheaper, not to mention much more feature rich.


Yes it would have made more sense to get the A10. You don't need a GPU with it, and shouldn't. And you should buy 2133 RAM instead of 1600. So you really pay an extra $15 (1600 to 2133) for a remarkable increase in performance.

An A10 build could reach $350 which is remarkable.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 7:03:10 AM

hasten said:
re-play- said:
So AMD has APU CPU with integrated videocard that can run any game decently on low-mid setting and u choose for this matter intel? intel is really really paying u off very well to keep people away from good stuff... This build will kick the......butt of your intel build.

AMD A10-5800K APU: http://goo.gl/XaFFP

MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Motherboard: http://goo.gl/DXM3W

8GB Samsung DDR3 1600Mhz RAM: http://goo.gl/gVqCL - Another great option: http://goo.gl/Jbtye

500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive: http://goo.gl/bM1Ww

NZXT Source 210 Case: http://goo.gl/2wlae

430W Corsair CX430 Power Supply: http://goo.gl/QzWZo

These parts make up the $350 build however since this is a custom PC feel free to customize it with some of these options!

OS - Windows 8 System Builder: http://goo.gl/OTZAL

OS - Windows 7 System Builder: http://goo.gl/7hc9M

Optical Drive - Lite-On DVD Burner: http://goo.gl/DCVBn

Wi-Fi Adapter - Asus PCE-N15: http://goo.gl/JQ7Mt

RAM Upgrade - 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133Mhz: http://goo.gl/bTOiK

Graphics Card - Sapphire Radeon 7770: http://goo.gl/FrSHW

SSD - 120GB Samsung 840: http://goo.gl/ykuCA

HDD Upgrade - 1TB WD Caviar Blue: http://goo.gl/MZTnq


Next time you try to talk trash first make sure you are getting the components correct. This is an ITX builders marathon. Not a throw together whatever cheap crap you can find into a cheap midtower. I read the motherboard and case you selected and instantly realized you have no idea what the point of this article is... pretty sure a 7750 will beat up on a A10 5800k too...


+1

agree with you man. not only would that intel system smoke the a10-5800k.. but he didn't even grab an mITX case... ugh. totally agree. missed the point completely.

envy14tpe said:
Soda-88 said:
Wouldn't it make more sense to go with A10 6800K? CPU performance of A10 trumps SB Pentium and 8670D is comparable to 7750. You can eke out up to 50% GPU performance out of the 8670D with a decent cooler according to the review on Overclock3D.
This would make the build even cheaper, not to mention much more feature rich.


Yes it would have made more sense to get the A10. You don't need a GPU with it, and shouldn't. And you should buy 2133 RAM instead of 1600. So you really pay an extra $15 (1600 to 2133) for a remarkable increase in performance.

An A10 build could reach $350 which is remarkable.


Ugh... listen, there is no way on earth a a10-6800k will match a g860+7750... it's not happening. The a10 will be lucky to match the g860+6670, and the 6670 is a 30%-45% weaker gpu.

Sorry... i love competition as much as the next man... this usually means i end up square in the AMD corner most times around just because in 90% of day to day uses there is no discernible difference between an fx8350 and an i5-4670k. This calls into question the whole point of spending more for an intel if your usage isn't going to take advantage of all that extra power the intel brings to the table.

That said... what you're talking is pure 100% nonsense. There is no way an a10-6800k will match this system. it's just not happening no matter what overclock you stick on it. The only possible match AMD might have for this build would be if you could figure out some way for an Athlon II x4 750k to be matched with a 7750 and keep it on a mITX board, in a mITX case and keep it all under $400.

Unfortunately, i don't think you can do it for less then 500... let alone 400.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a PC
Step-by-Step Guide to Building a PC Original Posting of Guide was Last Updated on February 12, 2012 This thread is to provide a step-by-step guide to how to build a PC. These are the general steps required in building a PC, which can be... See full content
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 7:06:28 AM

^^^^----funny comments. Someone missed the point of the build. mITX isn't common but a segment of the market.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 7:24:00 AM

Crashman said:
What you're saying is that a $2500 ITX rig simply shouldn't exist, and you're contradicting yourself to say that it should remain small and crunch top numbers. The two cheapest rigs prove that.

What you're really saying is that all the people who loved the $2500 PC were wrong. It's OK to believe that, but the reality is that your opinion on their market doesn't count any more than my opinion on feminine hygiene products. Both of us are ill-equipped to speak with authority on those respective issues.



What I'm really saying is that the $2500 rig as configured here is a bad idea,not shouldnt exist.Simply because a) the new Prodigy M/ Collosus M cases are mATX but the same dimensions as the itx Prodigy. That's a whole extra pci express slot for, say,a 780 sli and a whole lot fancier motherboard for say 32gb ram. b) The Silverstone SG10 is SMALLER,but mATX for again,a whole extra 2 slots at the back of the case.
I don't mind people who want to spend big cash on their PC at all.
I hope now your seeing my point.
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June 27, 2013 7:28:43 AM

It's absolutely adorable! I want to give it a hug.
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June 27, 2013 7:36:07 AM

I thought Tom's no longer recommended the Pentium line for gaming, due to the dual core limitation.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 8:00:09 AM

Yes, yes, yes! But then, so sadly, no...
Your results with the HD7750 were inspiring. I'd already seen for myself that it is sufficient for my most graphically demanding game (GW2) on "acceptable" settings. Unless its platform bottleneck has been addressed, "Neverwinter" may not be quite as playable, but hopefully it has been alleviated since the game is now "live" (please test this game again for that; pretty please...)
I loved this one, I really did, but there were a couple of dealbreakers for me. Fortunately, they have workarounds, but not quite in the same budget.
Your chosen motherboard...Foxconn? Iron chokes? Only two SATA ports? Well, I guess it doesn't matter in competition with a console, but for an otherwise suitable "daily driver," it's a dealbreaker. The 5400RPM drive just adds insult to injury.
Fortunately for me, I have an ASRock Z77E-ITX sitting on a shelf (back from a RMA of one that was apparently killed by heat). At around $150 new, it's a budget-buster to be sure, and overkill for a Pentium or i3 as well, except that at this point for me it is essentially "free." Next, I will build this in a slightly larger case, that fits an optical drive and has room for a 3.5" drive. The 3.5" bay will get one of those 2x2.5" adapters though. That will take a 128GB SSD (assuming I don't use the mSATA slot under the mobo!) and a 7200RPM laptop drive in the 500GB-1TB range.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 8:21:36 AM

Fermm92 said:
would this fit in?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , it would be awesome. (provided you upgrade the cpu for avoiding bottleneck)

you will get a 650$ build for sure but with a very small foot print, right?


Wrong
Single slot,low profile only.That card is neither, just short.
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June 27, 2013 10:00:58 AM

Nice article. I sincerely hope AMD will be able to squeeze HD7750-7770 level of GPU performance in Kaveri APU.

100W TDP for top model (similar to their current APUs) would mean identical results in gaming, better results in multi-threaded productivity and similar results in single-threaded applications, better HSA support, identical power consumption, easier cooling (with a single, better solution and more room left around for airflow) and lower price than this build.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 10:47:20 AM

I built a near identical machine last year with an ISK 310-150 but with with an i3-3220 and Gigabyte H77 board instead. My power draw is the same as mentioned in the article even though I have a beefier CPU. The fact that AMD recommends a 400W PSU or greater for the 7750 is laughable.

Thank you thank you thank you for doing this article. When I was planning my own build I was constantly told it couldn't be done with a 150W power supply. After I built it many said sure, it works now, but it will blow up if stressed. It's been running for nearly a year now with very heavy use and hasn't had a single problem. It's nice to see Tom's showcase this build to demonstrate what is possible in such a small case with a small power window to work with.

For those crying for an AMD APU, maybe when Kaveri is out... Intel + 7750 trumps an AMD APU for now.
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June 27, 2013 11:05:51 AM

rwpritchett said:
For those crying for an AMD APU, maybe when Kaveri is out... Intel + 7750 trumps an AMD APU for now.

But by then, you'll have the lower end Haswell parts, plus both Nvidia and AMD will have faster discrete GPUs.

Kaveri's out in 2014 (heard it from the horse's mouth), btw, in case you were about to tell me that Nvidia's not releasing any other GPU this year.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 11:08:12 AM

rwpritchett said:
...The fact that AMD recommends a 400W PSU or greater for the 7750 is laughable.
.
.
.

They do that in an attempt to account for all the liar-labeled junk out there (e.g. Apevia, Logisys, Diablotek). They figure that even a horribly overrated "400W" PSU is capable of providing the power needed by a HD7750. Considering how many 5-egg "reviews" such PSU-shaped objects get, they are often correct, though I have to wonder how many of them have blown chunks because Mom used the garbage disposal, or Sis used a blowdryer...
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 11:29:57 AM

nice little build. the case comparisons made me want to buy a case and build one myself even though i can't right now. :) 

@amd apu: an a10 5800k with ddr3 2133 ram may reach up to radeon hd 6670 ddr3 level performance(after o.c.), not radeon hd 7750 level. a little bit newegg searching shows that at current prices (likely different from april prices) that combo costs $200~. iirc desktop richland wasn't available in april, so i am not considering those relevant. just in case, a combo with 6800k comes to $220 and you have to keep in mind that 6800k is validated for 1.5v ddr3 2133 ram only. the cheapest quadcore a8 5600k costs $100. may be socket fm2 quadcore athlons would be able to undercut the pentium, but i doubt any of them was available during the ordering the parts. blame amd for not selling those athlons sooner after trinity came out.
the cheapest socket fm2 mini itx motherboard costs $85~ with $7~ shipping (current price). the amd platform got undercut by intel in both cpu and motherboard departments. however, it's worth mentioning that the asrock mobo has many more features (e.g. 4 sata ports, 2 usb 3.0, 4 usb 2.0 ports etc). higher mobo price woulda cut into the gfx card budget even if a 4c athlon was available at pentium's price.
besides, i wouldn't feel comfortable putting in an unlocked, 100w quadcore cpu/apu that's able to possibly draw over the capacity of the 150w psu (if/when overclocked).

@alternatives: a slot-powered, low profile radeon hd 7770 or 7790 or gtx650 woulda been awesome, along with 4 core desktop kabini apu with x16 pcie 2.0/3.0 lanes. sigh...
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June 27, 2013 11:33:28 AM

envy14tpe said:
^^^^----funny comments. Someone missed the point of the build. mITX isn't common but a segment of the market.

Totally agree. The segment is getting larger too as we get more powerful and efficient single sot video cards. I just sold off ton of hardware to build a monster rig, but held onto a 2500k with the intentions of replacing the mATX HTPC (part of the hardware sold) with a very small form factor ITX build. The price:p erformance for something like this is fairly reasonable as well - I'll use my main rig for demanding things fps, strategy, and the like while using the HTPC ITX build for games built for a pad from the comfort of my couch.

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June 27, 2013 11:45:04 AM

I'm pretty impressed with how much $400 can get you. And I daresay that this might even compete with next generation consoles in terms of performance (extra features aside).
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 1:12:17 PM

slomo4sho said:
This build definitely deserved an APU...

Hmm, would've been interesting, but I doubt even the best APU right now could match a 7750 ( I may be wrong here, but I don't think so. )


envy14tpe said:
Yes it would have made more sense to get the A10. You don't need a GPU with it, and shouldn't. And you should buy 2133 RAM instead of 1600. So you really pay an extra $15 (1600 to 2133) for a remarkable increase in performance.

An A10 build could reach $350 which is remarkable.

The A10 will give you better processing since you've got four integer cores instead of two. But again, I really doubt the APU could match the 7750 in gaming. But for a quick and dirty office mini PC, you're right, a $350 build that could do all that is remarkable.


Onus said:
Yes, yes, yes! But then, so sadly, no...
Your results with the HD7750 were inspiring. I'd already seen for myself that it is sufficient for my most graphically demanding game (GW2) on "acceptable" settings. Unless its platform bottleneck has been addressed, "Neverwinter" may not be quite as playable, but hopefully it has been alleviated since the game is now "live" (please test this game again for that; pretty please...)
I loved this one, I really did, but there were a couple of dealbreakers for me. Fortunately, they have workarounds, but not quite in the same budget.
Your chosen motherboard...Foxconn? Iron chokes? Only two SATA ports? Well, I guess it doesn't matter in competition with a console, but for an otherwise suitable "daily driver," it's a dealbreaker. The 5400RPM drive just adds insult to injury.

Yeah, I wasn't too pleased with the Foxconn choice either, but at this low of a budget I suppose that's one of the sacrifices you have to make. However, I have to give you props for using GW2 since it's also my most graphically demanding game ( which I guess is kinda sad for both of us. )

Kudos to Paul for not risking CPU and mboard incompatibility out of the box. I know that's sometimes a risk you want to take, but I agree that some builders don't have that luxury.

I really liked this build. I loved the spirit of it, I liked how cleanly it came together, and I like the vibe of the box. It's the Little-PC-That-Could in terms of size and performance. It got me thinking what you could do with a $500 budget for someone who wanted a compact box for work and a little play ( granted, these prices aren't indicative of April, so I can't say this compares fairly with this build. )

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: Intel Pentium G2020 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($95.38 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card ($123.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Thermaltake VL52021N2U Mini ITX Desktop Case w/200W Power Supply ($72.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($23.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $484.29

I wanted an Ivy Bridge for the better thermals and efficiency. The B75 mboard also has USB 3.0 headers. And I really wanted a 7200 rpm drive to give the build a little pep. I'll admit, I'm not familiar with this case and I've heard varying things about Thermaltake PSUs. I mainly picked it because it was almost as small as the Antec ITX used here but can take a full height GPU and full size 5.25" drive.

My only question is whether the 7770 will fit. It's technically a single slot card, but that fan does rise up a bit. I don't know if it will fit inside the case or not.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 1:18:39 PM

Onus said:
Yes, yes, yes! But then, so sadly, no...
Your results with the HD7750 were inspiring. I'd already seen for myself that it is sufficient for my most graphically demanding game (GW2) on "acceptable" settings. Unless its platform bottleneck has been addressed, "Neverwinter" may not be quite as playable, but hopefully it has been alleviated since the game is now "live" (please test this game again for that; pretty please...)


i was playing nw just fine on a phii x4 965be +9800GT, haven't tried it yet with my new 7770, but since the 7770 is so much better a gpu i'm sure it will be fine.

Read the review of nw again... the issue was on the highest settings... i found the game looked great on high settings, and there was no serious graph issues.
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a c 272 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 1:41:42 PM

Nice build, good general purpose machine but could do with an I3.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 1:52:06 PM

ingtar33 said:
i was playing nw just fine on a phii x4 965be +9800GT, haven't tried it yet with my new 7770, but since the 7770 is so much better a gpu i'm sure it will be fine.
Perhaps he was referring to dual-core CPUs, like the one used in this build, not the quad-core you're using.

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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 2:01:23 PM

I don't think that HD7770 will fit in that case.
I've been gnawing on this one for a while now. I can't decide on slim vs. shoebox for the case style. The slim is smaller and has the fan, but the shoebox can have a 3.5" card reader in addition to a 3.5" drive (where I'd actually put a pair of 2.5" drives). I have a 100mmx10mm fan that ought to fit somewhere on the shoebox too. Quality PSUs are available for either, in higher wattages with PCIe power connectors for the shoebox. This would be a "daily driver," which means I probably wouldn't even play GW1 on it.
Edit: and that's correct about Neverwinter; it had an atrocious CPU bottleneck in the review, needing a good quad to run maxed at 1920x1080. Now that it is live, a retest would be very much appreciated.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 2:09:01 PM

Onus said:
I don't think that HD7770 will fit in that case.
I've been gnawing on this one for a while now. I can't decide on slim vs. shoebox for the case style. The slim is smaller and has the fan, but the shoebox can have a 3.5" card reader in addition to a 3.5" drive (where I'd actually put a pair of 2.5" drives). I have a 100mmx10mm fan that ought to fit somewhere on the shoebox too. Quality PSUs are available for either, in higher wattages with PCIe power connectors for the shoebox. This would be a "daily driver," which means I probably wouldn't even play GW1 on it.
Edit: and that's correct about Neverwinter; it had an atrocious CPU bottleneck in the review, needing a good quad to run maxed at 1920x1080. Now that it is live, a retest would be very much appreciated.


no... a 7770 won't fit, but they do make a 7850 in slim profile format.
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June 27, 2013 2:25:17 PM

What kind of gaming you gonna do with a 5400rpm drive? Major Fail. This is my biggest complaint with a 2.5" drive. What happens when your Game is on a DVD?
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a b 4 Gaming
June 27, 2013 2:25:52 PM

ingtar33 said:
no... a 7770 won't fit, but they do make a 7850 in slim profile format.

I've seen those, but as mentioned in the article, they're somewhat hard to find state-side.
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