Your Top Picks: Tom's Hardware Forums' Q1 2013 BestConfigs

MicroATX Gaming PC

We picked five submissions for the MicroATX Gaming PC this quarter.

Ultimately, Brandon402’s “Big Mini” Micro ATX Gaming Build triumphed over the other four configs to receive 18 votes.

Congratulations to forum member Brandon402 for having his recommended build picked by the Tom's Hardware community this quarter! 

The MicroATX Gaming Build has always been about portable power for LAN parties. This year, an Ivy Bridge-based Core i5-3570K replaces the Sandy Bridge-based Core i5-2500K found in the 2011 system. Cooler Master’s award-winning Hyper 212 Evo keeps the quad-core processor cool, while providing decent headroom for overclocking.

ASRock's Z77M motherboard is equipped for SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0, and dual CrossFire.

Each of the motherboard’s two memory slots are fitted with an 8 GB stick of Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3-1600.

A single GeForce GTX 670 from EVGA was chosen to power this build’s intended application of hardcore PC gaming.

The system drive is a 128 GB Samsung 830 SSD, with a 1 TB Caviar Black from Western Digital storing user data. A Rosewill Capstone 80 PLUS Gold PSU powers this beast.

Fractal Design’s elegant and diminutive Arc Mini tower keeps this impressively powerful system somewhat portable. Asus’ DVD burner makes a second appearance in this year’s BestConfigs list as the obligatory optical drive.

This system came out to $1,149.46 when Brandon402 originally configured it. The current prices of Brandon402’s “Big Mini” Micro ATX Gaming Build can be found in the BestConfigs shopping tables.

  • k1114
    Congrats to everyone!
  • echondo
    That is not a "budget" AMD system...
  • EzioAs
    10451168 said:
    That is not a "budget" AMD system...

    Still within a certain budget. Just not on the lower side for a gaming PC.
  • nevertell
    Why do all the builds use poser ram ?
  • nordlead
    A good thing I don't use these "forum best configs" as guides. It looks like every single one of them was built by a power hungry gamer rather than an economical engineer that builds to meet specific requirements.

    The NAS chosen here has WAY to much space dedicated to the OS drive (driving up costs), and all the benefits of the SSD are lost (you won't be loading new programs off the SSD) except for the low power. But that can be achieved for much less cash with a CF or SD card (or even a USB stick, but I don't care for those since they can easily be unplugged). You also don't need 4GB of RAM in a NAS, nor do you need a fancy case with a window when it will be stuck in a closet. I could shave $150-200 off of that machine no problem and cut the electrical costs, all while serving files via NAS to multiple machines at the same time without missing a beat. Heck, my Atom D525 does all of that at a measly 30W (measured at the wall) along with online backups, and serves web pages at a decent clip for myself and my close friends. Since I'm sure the intent of the 3x 3TB hdds was for RAID 5, you could put that $ towards a 4th and do RAID 10. Or you could put it towards actual backup instead of redundancy.
  • samwelaye
    budget AMD gamer: 1000$. budget intel gamer: 500$. wth is going on here. sure 1000 IS a budget by the definition of it, but this is by no means a "budget" build
  • internetlad
    nevertellWhy do all the builds use poser ram ?
    And what RAM would you suggest, Mr. RAM Expert? What's wrong with brands like Mushkin and G.Skill? They're incredibly popular.

    Honestly, does brand even make a difference in RAM besides warranty? You put it in and it works or it doesn't. As long as you have enough RAM to accomodate what's running, and it doesn't BSOD, I don't really care about the brand.
  • s3anister
    Interesting builds and over all decent. Can't say I agree with the choice of Motherboard and PSU for the High-End Intel build, though. Would have gone with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH or a similar Asus mobo and a Seasonic PSU myself.
  • g-unit1111
    The name of my AMD Office PC was a quote from Bill Lumbergh from Office Space. "Yeah I'm gonna have to ask you to work on Saturday, Sunday too. We lost a lot of people over the weekend and we need to play sort of catch - up. If you could get here around 9:00, that'd be greaaaaaaaaaaaat."
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Why would you use the 5800k over the 65w 5700 for a mere office machine? Not to mention the mobo chosen for it has no VRM heatsinks and therefore cannot reliably overclock anyway, making the aftermarket cooler pointless in the first place.