Build It: Half-Height Gaming PCs For The Living Room

Test Systems And Benchmarks

Our two half-height builds are detailed below:

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Header Cell - Column 0 Mini-ITX Half-Height BuildMicro-ATX Half-Height Build
CPUAMD Phenom II X4 705e2.5 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache, 65 W TDPAMD Athlon II X4 6453.1 GHz, 95 W TDP
MotherboardAsus M4A88T-I Deluxe Socket AM3 Chipset: AMD 880G, BIOS 0410Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H Socket AM2+ Chipset: AMD 780G, BIOS F11
NetworkingOnboard Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryMushkin PC3 10700 SO-DIMM  2 x 2048 MB, 1333 MT/s, CL 9-9-9-24-1TWintec AMPO PC2 6400  2 x 2048 MB, 800 MT/s, CL 5-5-5-16-2T
GraphicsRadeon HD 5570 Reference650 MHz GPU, 512 MB DDR3 at 900 MHzPowerColor Radeon HD 5750700 MHz GPU, 1 GB GDDR5 at 1150 MHz
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 750 GB 7200 RPM, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s
PowerIN-WIN IP-AD120-2 160 W (included with case)Antec SP-400 400 W
CaseIn-Win WavyMoneual MonCaso 312
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics DriversAMD Catalyst 10.11
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Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
F1 2010In-game benchmark High Quality Preset, No AA
Aliens vs PredatorAliens vs Predator DirectX 11 benchmark Medium Settings, SSAO, tessellation, and shadow sampling off, No AA, 8x AF
Just Cause 2 DemoIn-game benchmark Everything set to On or Medium, Texture detail set to HighV-sync set to Off, No AA, 8x AF
  • Poisoner
    This is an interesting article and goes a direction where nVidia has no way to compete.
  • nevertell
    I'd mod a case and mount my videocard horizontally.
  • dirtmountain
    Good article and an interesting read. You can get a half height GTS450.
  • fatkid35
    awesome article. i love small pc's! my silverstone sg05 is modded with a 600 watt psu and 6870 stuffed inside.
  • shovenose
    the antec sp-400 has issues! it has lousy fuhjyyu capactiros that fail even just sitting there. i suggest you find a different psu!
  • cleeve
    shovenosethe antec sp-400 has issues! it has lousy fuhjyyu capactiros that fail even just sitting there. i suggest you find a different psu!
    I've been using this one in my main HTPC for a couple years now at least. Haven't had any problems.
  • Mr_x
    Typo on Test Systems And Benchmarks
    AMD Phenom II X4 705e isn't it x3???
  • carlhenry
    that's weird, a 160w power supply powering up a 5570? (and you also intended to slap in the 5750 there?) did i miss something?
  • dEAne
    Looking for a case like that is next to impossible - but for a 160W wow I never have though of that, it gives me another idea. thanks tom.
  • Th-z
    Thanks for the article. I have a question, where do you find quality small PSU? If you want to go as small as you can, one would need to use small PSU. But it seems they are scarce in terms of wattage selection and brand, no where comparing to standard ATX PSU.

    Many small mini-ITX cases do include a small PSU, but what if you want to mod the PSU, or the included one breaks down? Falling back to standard ATX PSU would have to use a bigger mini-ITX case.