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Building New Mini-ITX Moderate Gaming Machine

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  • Gaming
  • New Build
Last response: in Systems
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July 21, 2014 5:51:18 PM

Hey guys,

I haven't built a PC before, however I am rather tech savy and I'm looking to finally take on the challenge of building my own. I've put together this build based on some various builds from various sources and before I pulled the trigger on ordering anything, I wanted to ask for some opinions/advice from people who know a lot more than I do in this area.

Just a couple quick notes. I plan on doing some moderate gaming (Diablo 3) but nothing with any major graphics requirements. One main requirement I have is to minimize the footprint and I think this is probably one of the best cases I've found that does that, without sacrificing performance too much. My current goal is to keep this build under $1,000 excluding an OS (probably Win 8) and monitors. One concern I have is the cooling for this build. Do you think I need a CPU Cooler? If so, I'll have to do some more research to see what ones, if any, will fit into the case with this build.

Being new to this, I'm open to any criticism and/or advice so no need to hold back.

[PCPartPicker part list](http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gDqgFT)

CPU - Intel Core i5-4690 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
Motherboard - MSI Z87I AC Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory - Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage - Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD
Video Card - EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card
Case - Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini ITX Tower Case
Power Supply - Corsair CX 430W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply

Total - $824.02 (Based on PCPartPicker)

More about : building mini itx moderate gaming machine

a b 4 Gaming
July 21, 2014 10:46:26 PM

I would suggest that you get a h87 or h97 motherboard as you don't need the overclocking ability of the one that you have selected as that CPU can't be overclocked
July 22, 2014 2:40:44 AM

Thanks Nuckles... I have updated my build with an H97 based on your advice. (http://pcpartpicker.com/p/HTGD7P) Slipped past me that the Z87 was for overclocking.

Any other comments on the rest of the build? Power supply look ok? How about the need for a CPU cooler? My thinking was that I didn't need a CPU cooler since I wouldn't be OCing, but would like to hear others opinions on that. I definitely don't want this thing to be too loud though.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 22, 2014 3:05:27 AM

Here are a few more changes for you to consider, I have a preference for seasonic PSUs and I have also got some better RAM. The CPU will come with a stock cooler which will be fine for the job, though it may be a bit noisier than an aftermarket one, but it will definitely fit in the case.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI H97I AC Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($108.99 @ Mac Mall)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($139.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 110 Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($58.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $837.91
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-07-22 06:02 EDT-0400
July 22, 2014 5:34:52 AM

Thanks again Nuckles. I've incorporated your suggestions into my build and I'm planning to move forward with buying this build in the next couple of days.

Does anyone else want to chime in with their opinions before I go ahead and start purchasing equipment?
a b 4 Gaming
July 22, 2014 6:20:10 AM

I'd say your biggest issue is value for money here. You can do an ITX i5+GTX750Ti build from around $600, so spending $800+ on what is fundamentally the same thing is never going to give you great value.

If you aren't overclocking, cheapest i5 is the best i5. You can go into great detail here, but basically all current gen i5s (except the 4690K) are basically the same but run at different clock speeds, and clock speed isn't really a great indicator of performance. Faster is better of course, but the real world differences are going to be insignificant. $30 for 0.3Ghz might seem like good value, but I challenge anyone to notice the difference without using benchmarking software. My advice - get a 4460.

If you need Wifi, you are sort of limited in the amount you can save on motherboards. When the H97 and Z97 versions of the same board - ie the MSI ones, are basically identical in price, I'd get the Z97 even though I might not want to use those extra features. There is however a cheaper ASRock board which has a rebate on it right now, I'd go for that - ASRock H97M-ITX/AC
If you don't need Wifi, you can save a load here.

16Gb of ram is likely to be more than you need. I understand the mentality of going for overkill on the logic that you can't upgrade later on ITX, it actually makes a lot of sense, but 8Gb is more than sufficient for most people.
If you do want to cover yourself for upgrades, leave a slot free. Dual channel memory still works in single channel mode and the performance loss is not as dramatic as some might try to convince you.
My advice - get a 2*4Gb or 1*8Gb kit unless you have a specific need for higher memory.

250Gb SSD is a huge luxury. Great thing to have but really poor return on investment - do you really need 250Gb of high speed storage? Is 250Gb enough for your system overall?
At your kind of price bracket (ie. ~$600, not ~$1000) I'd suggest either going for a 1TB HDD and 120-128Gb SSD, or ditching the SSD altogether.

A GTX750Ti is fine for mid level stuff. It's a great low power card, but if you have a larger budget and potentially want to keep the machine for a reasonable period, then it's possibly worth considering stepping up to something a little more powerful - it's the component with potentially the shortest lifespan.

Elite 110 is pretty good value and tiny, but it can be a little limiting in some areas. By this I mean lack of access to improved graphics or cooling if you needs change. As your budget is pretty flexible, it might be worth considering some of the other cases on the market, depending on what sort of dimensions work best for you.

I'd agree not to get a Corsair CX unless you have limited options. I'd probably use an XFX550W simply because it's very good, very reasonably priced, and gives you a huge level of flexibility if you do decide to change the graphics card - it can power more or less any card on the market.

I always work on the logic that you have a certain percentage of spending on the non-essential, non-performance parts, and most of that extra $200 or so is going into that rather than into your direct performance.
What I'm really saying is that if a GTX750Ti is all you need, and it might well be, then I'd probably build to a lower price point on a machine which is primarily gaming focused.
July 22, 2014 11:36:45 AM

I hear what you're saying about the i5. I'll strongly consider the 4460 instead of the 4690.

As for motherboards, from what i've seen the z87 is $30 cheaper than the z97 so I will probably stick with the z87 for this build. To my knowledge there aren't many/if any significant differences between the two.

I hear you on the RAM as well. I'm on board with dropping down to 2*4GB. While I'll be doing some multi-tasking, I can't think of any instances where I would really need 16GB of RAM. Not to mention, it can save me $60-$70. Do you have any recommendations on which RAM to get? As mentioned earlier in the thread, I currently have the Crucial Ballistix Sport identified as the RAM I'm going to go with. Any good/bad experiences with this? Do you recommend a different brand?

The SSD is a definite for me here. While I agree it is a luxury, I have had both standard HDDs and also have had PCs with SSDs, and this is one place I am definitely willing to pay the premium for. As for the size, 250GB is enough storage for my entire system. I have a Synology NAS that I use for storing my larger items (Pictures, Videos, etc.) and I could probably get by with just a 120GB SSD, but I'm fine paying the extra $40 or so for the additional storage.

As for the GTX750Ti, I've read some pretty positive reviews on this one. I only plan on doing some moderate gaming on this PC so I don't need one of the big powerful beasts of a graphics card.

The Elite is very appealing to me because of it's size. I'm trying to build a capable rig while keeping the size down due to some space constraints I have where the box will be sitting.

Thanks for all of your input. It's definitely very helpful.
!