Page 1:A More Affordable Gaming Alternative
Page 2:CPU And Cooler
Page 3:Motherboard And Memory
Page 4:Graphics Card And Hard Drive
Page 5:Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
Page 6:Assembling My Gaming Box
Page 7:Improving High-Res Gaming By Overclocking Graphics
Page 8:Test System Configuration And Benchmarks
Page 9:Results: Synthetics
Page 10:Results: Audio And Video
Page 11:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 12:Results: Productivity
Page 13:Results: Compression
Page 14:Results: Battlefield 4 And Battlefield 3
Page 15:Results: F1 2012, Grid 2, and Arma 3
Page 16:Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim And Far Cry 3
Page 17:Power Consumption And Temperatures
Page 18:Summarizing The Performance Of Three Gaming Builds
Page 19:Did I Achieve My Goals, Or Is This A Failure?
Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
Case: Rosewill Line-M MicroATX Mini-Tower
I swapped my case choice out at the last minute because the mid-tower I picked originally was bigger than it needed to be for my microATX motherboard (and frankly, it clashed with my own sense of style).
I'd personally prefer the reserved lines of Fractal Design's Arc Mini or SilverStone's Temjin on my desk. But both options were a little too pricey. So, I decided that Rosewill's affordable Line-M would work well enough with my entry-level H81-based board.
This simple little mini-tower is still a solid choice for gaming, though. First, it can house monstrous graphics cards up to 12.5”-long. There's even a fifth expansion slot, accommodating motherboards with two PCI Express x16 slots for CrossFire and SLI with space in between for ample airflow. Speaking of flow, Rosewill bundles a pair of 120 mm fans to push and pull air straight through the system. And two more can be mounted on the side panel, if you want.
Front-panel connectivity includes a pair of USB 2.0 ports, plus an additional pair of USB 3.0 ports and audio I/O. While space for water cooling and storage is limited, there are three external and three internal drive bays that are more than adequate for our modest Haswell-based gaming PC. We could even add an SSD, fan controller, and card reader, if we had the money.
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone-450-M 450 W
I wanted to use the 500 W 80 PLUS Bronze-certified EVGA power supply from last quarter, which was still available at the same price. But when it sold out, I stepped back to the company's 80 PLUS-certified model instead. I'm sure it would have worked, but the truth is that I know very little about the PSU.
As an alternative, I went with Rosewill's Capstone 450 W unit, which I've purchased for personal projects on a couple of occasions. Priced similarly, it's a good fit in the small enclosure I picked.
This 80 PLUS Gold-certified PSU delivers between 87 and 92% efficiency between 20 and 100% loads. It is both CrossFire- and SLI-ready, sporting a single beefy 37 A, +12 V rail, and a pair of 6+2-pin auxiliary leads.
Rosewill backs this unit with an impressive seven-year warranty.
Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
While an optical drive may no longer be necessary in most builds, they're affordable, and I still think they're useful occasionally. Asus' 24x DVD burner is quite popular with Newegg's customers, so I'm going to give it a shot.
- A More Affordable Gaming Alternative
- CPU And Cooler
- Motherboard And Memory
- Graphics Card And Hard Drive
- Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
- Assembling My Gaming Box
- Improving High-Res Gaming By Overclocking Graphics
- Test System Configuration And Benchmarks
- Results: Synthetics
- Results: Audio And Video
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: Compression
- Results: Battlefield 4 And Battlefield 3
- Results: F1 2012, Grid 2, and Arma 3
- Results: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim And Far Cry 3
- Power Consumption And Temperatures
- Summarizing The Performance Of Three Gaming Builds
- Did I Achieve My Goals, Or Is This A Failure?