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Help! Need help picking parts for a Mini ITX Gaming PC, $800 budget.

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January 23, 2014 6:37:29 PM

Hi guys. I used to build and repair PCs all the time, but besides the occasional PC repair for a friend or family, I haven't really been that active building computers lately, so my knowledge of computer hardware is outdated.

I currently have an HP Pavilion DV6T laptop, which is several years old, and failing on me. I was thinking about replacing my laptop with another HP laptop, as I truly love them, and this is my second one. However, for the sake of ease of future upgrading, I figured I would just build a PC this time.

It has to be Mini ITX, because I really don't want something any bigger. I enjoy the small size.

I'm looking for recommendations on a Case, PSU, CPU, Vid Card, and ram.

Here is what I was thinking:



PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Gwq6
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Gwq6/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Gwq6/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3330 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($125.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($152.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 3GB Video Card ($234.99 @ Amazon)
Case: BitFenix Prodigy M Midnight MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($89.99 @ TigerDirect)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $805.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 21:33 EST-0500)




This is obviously just the most important components, and just something I put together real quickly (based on some ideas I've been tossing around for a few days now).

I am NOT looking for a high end system......mainly a fast PC that will be used for entertainment (music, videos, video games) on a daily basis.

I won't be playing the newest, most demanding video games, but I DO want a PC that can play just about anything on the market (doesn't have to be highest settings).


Any help? I'm open to all suggestions - the PCPartPicker list was included just to give you guys an IDEA of what I'm looking for....so please, by all means, come up with something with or without any of the components....so long as it fits the category of what I want. THanks!
a b 4 Gaming
January 23, 2014 6:58:30 PM

I built my own ITX rig, so I know a bit about this stuff:

For a case I recommend the Bitfenix Prodigy. I know it's a bit big for ITX but the airflow is great for gaming: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for a CPU I went with an AMD x4 750k quad-core with no integrated graphics to cut down on cost. ($79.99): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I use an XFX Radeon HD 7850 GPU, but you could probably do better if you have a higher budget. This card is still pretty good though, and runs great with the CPU i mentioned: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I used an AsRock Fm2/Fm2+ a88x+itx motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (It also has built in wifi and bluetooth)

Finally for ram I use Team Vulcan 2x4GB sticks at 1600MHz (I got it because it was cheap, and the performance really surprised me after the fact): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a c 160 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
January 23, 2014 6:58:48 PM

Quite a lot of stuff to discuss here.

You say you want ITX, but you've picked the mATX version of the Prodigy case. Both versions are the same size, and neither is terribly small. They are shallow and not terribly tall, but they are fairly wide. If you want to keep the size down, but keep all the components you have listed, there's a lot of options (see link at the bottom for pictures of stuff).

You have a non overclockable cpu in a Z-series motherboard. Z77 provides basically two features over H77 which are SLI (can't use anyway due to a single PCIe slot) and overclocking. There are a few reasons you might pick a Z77 over a H77 or B75 board, but they are fairly limited.
If you need Wifi, I'd suggest going with a 3350P/3330 and a Gigabyte H77N-Wifi or going for the newer Haswell 4430/4440 with a Gigabyte H87N-Wifi. If you don't need Wifi, you can save some money here by looking at cheaper motherboards.

240Gb SSD is pretty expensive and takes up a significant percentage of your build total. There is nothing wrong with this, but it's worth thinking about how much space you actually need. Often, a 120/128Gb SSD and a 1TB HDD makes a lot more sense economically as it gives you a lot more storage at a similar price, without really hurting performance.

That graphics card is ludicrously priced for it's performance. You can pick up a GTX660 for $160. There is little to no purpose in having a 3Gb GTX660, it just isn't powerful enough to exploit that kind of memory.
If you want a GTX660, then definitely keep it below $200, and consider both the R9 270 and R9 270X which might pop up around that price too (they will drop a little). When you start to get nearer your listed price, the GTX760 makes a lot more sense, and might be more appropriate for your build.

For PSU, I'd go with the XFX 550. It's reasonably priced, often has rebates on it, and great quality.
For memory, go with whatever is cheapest. You want a 2*4Gb, CAS8/9, 1.5V, 1600Mhz kit. It sounds complicated, but you'll find a huge amount of memory meets that criteria, and pcpartpicker can filter them for you.
Building an ITX system. Information and FAQ
ITX Builds There have been an ever increasing number of questions regarding ITX builds, and given my interest in the topic I have been answering quite a lot of them. My aim with this guide is to type less, and hopefully cover more ground. I aim for... See full content
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a b 4 Gaming
January 23, 2014 7:05:31 PM

I should probably also add that I used all of these parts in my build, and tested them thuroughly.
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January 23, 2014 8:04:17 PM

Rammy said:
Quite a lot of stuff to discuss here.

You say you want ITX, but you've picked the mATX version of the Prodigy case. Both versions are the same size, and neither is terribly small. They are shallow and not terribly tall, but they are fairly wide. If you want to keep the size down, but keep all the components you have listed, there's a lot of options (see link at the bottom for pictures of stuff).

You have a non overclockable cpu in a Z-series motherboard. Z77 provides basically two features over H77 which are SLI (can't use anyway due to a single PCIe slot) and overclocking. There are a few reasons you might pick a Z77 over a H77 or B75 board, but they are fairly limited.
If you need Wifi, I'd suggest going with a 3350P/3330 and a Gigabyte H77N-Wifi or going for the newer Haswell 4430/4440 with a Gigabyte H87N-Wifi. If you don't need Wifi, you can save some money here by looking at cheaper motherboards.

240Gb SSD is pretty expensive and takes up a significant percentage of your build total. There is nothing wrong with this, but it's worth thinking about how much space you actually need. Often, a 120/128Gb SSD and a 1TB HDD makes a lot more sense economically as it gives you a lot more storage at a similar price, without really hurting performance.

That graphics card is ludicrously priced for it's performance. You can pick up a GTX660 for $160. There is little to no purpose in having a 3Gb GTX660, it just isn't powerful enough to exploit that kind of memory.
If you want a GTX660, then definitely keep it below $200, and consider both the R9 270 and R9 270X which might pop up around that price too (they will drop a little). When you start to get nearer your listed price, the GTX760 makes a lot more sense, and might be more appropriate for your build.

For PSU, I'd go with the XFX 550. It's reasonably priced, often has rebates on it, and great quality.
For memory, go with whatever is cheapest. You want a 2*4Gb, CAS8/9, 1.5V, 1600Mhz kit. It sounds complicated, but you'll find a huge amount of memory meets that criteria, and pcpartpicker can filter them for you.


Thank you very much! That was extremely helpful, and I wrote down all of your suggestions. I will now update my PCPartPicker from there, that definitely helped me on my search for parts to use.

I'm still open to any more suggestions! Thanks guys!
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January 23, 2014 8:30:38 PM

What do you guys think?

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GAdv
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GAdv/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GAdv/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($176.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($104.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Case: BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($69.99 @ TigerDirect)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $681.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 23:29 EST-0500)
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a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2014 1:19:08 PM

Dalee said:
What do you guys think?

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GAdv
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GAdv/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GAdv/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($176.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($104.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Case: BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($69.99 @ TigerDirect)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $681.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 23:29 EST-0500)


Make sure that if you get an aftermarket slim-line CPU cooler, it is high enough off of the CPU. This is because your ram is pretty high and will obstruct the heat sink. Since the Bitfenix Prodigy has plenty of room for a heat sink anyway, you should just go ahead and get a vertical heat sink, instead of a slim-line. A good example of this would be the coolermaster hyper 212 evo heat-sink.
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a c 160 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2014 1:30:21 PM

The Hyper 212 would not be compatible with the setup he has listed, nor would any other 120mm+ fan tower coolers.
He'd need to look at 90/92mm coolers like the Hyper TX3.
Not that it'd be necessary of course.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2014 1:33:40 PM

Rammy said:
The Hyper 212 would not be compatible with the setup he has listed, nor would any other 120mm+ fan tower coolers.
He'd need to look at 90/92mm coolers like the Hyper TX3.
Not that it'd be necessary of course.


Like he said, it is a good idea to do some research on the allowable heights of CPU coolers. I only mentioned the issue of slim-line coolers, because in my build the Gelid Slim Hero cooler is very low to the motherboard, and if the ram were just a bit taller, the heat sink would not fit.
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a c 160 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2014 1:42:56 PM

When did he say that?
A lot of coolers can have memory clearance problems, but that's predominantly a motherboard issue. In the Prodigy a low profile cooler makes little sense due to the high ceiling and the direction of flow. You can fit any air cooler on the market into that space, it's just a case of finding a compatible motherboard (that's the hard bit).
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a b 4 Gaming
January 24, 2014 1:43:50 PM

Rammy said:
When did he say that?
A lot of coolers can have memory clearance problems, but that's predominantly a motherboard issue. In the Prodigy a low profile cooler makes little sense due to the high ceiling and the direction of flow. You can fit any air cooler on the market into that space, it's just a case of finding a compatible motherboard (that's the hard bit).


I was referring to you sorry :D 
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