New gaming rig build - parts picket out - feedback?

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
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So as I'm working myself up to buy a new gaming rig, I'm back to wondering if there are already reasonably priced, pre-built gaming PC's that are just perfect off-the-shelf.

My goal is to acquire a new small factor, i mean as small as possible gaming rig - think PS3 or whatever console. I know of the NUK but this thing needs to have a video card. I've also seen custom built websites that offer very small factor PC's, but kinda pricey as one would expect.

Do you know of any good machines like this? Just ready to go?
  • One thing that keeps me wanting to build is saving money, getting just what i want and the fact that i have a few SSD's already i can use.
  • The part that wants me to just buy it is that I'd rather spend a small % for a stress-free, already tested and researched system.

Look fellas, I'm 35, IT sys admin, doing PC gaming since the birth. I know my hardware, but it takes time to look up the latest and greatest, research the prices and find the sweet spot for bang/buck (i know i should be on top, but I'm busy). At this point I would like to just say "here take my money" and figure it out. There must be a reasonable solution out there. I'm curious as to what people have to say while i research sockets/CPU's/combos on Newegg, etc :wub:

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
Primarily gaming, studying, sysadmin/dev, maybe virtualization (VMWare workstation or Hyper-V)

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
1000-1500?

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
USA, newegg, compusa(tigerdirect), microcenter, B&H photo.

5. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.
This time, Intel, nVidia preferences.

6. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
primary SSD drive (i got a few choices), peripherals like kb/mouse/monitor

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
Overclock

8. What resolution, not monitor size, will you be using?
I plan on getting the VG248QE which is True Resolution : 1920x1080. Currently i have one of i think the same res.

9. WHEN do you plan to build it?
About a week?

10. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software?
Got it already (Win8.1 pro/ent).

To add a bit more about what I want:
  1. New gaming PC that should be moderately good and last for a few years
  2. As small space as possible, my space is limited.
  3. Power efficient (80 Plus)
  4. Quiet (Water cooling?)
  5. Simple external design (case), slick, sexy, not busy or flashy.
  6. Virtualization (SLAT support, i think all i3/5/7 cpu's have it)

Here's what I've sort of narrowed it down to (loosely):
Alternatively these cases:
For RAM i'd just find something that matches.. So far the total is under $880 which could leave some room for a new monitor, or some other junk. Maybe I'll start a new thread with the build goals etc as pointed out earlier.

A bit about me
  • 35yo, IT sys admin
  • experienced in HW, just out of the loop from the latest trends
 
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lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
11,900
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91
Welcome.

I don't know of pre-build mini ITX gaming systems that are affordable, or affordable in the same sense as custom builds are affordable. I'm gonna recommend just building it yourself. You don't really have to research it or spend much time finding the bang for buck sweet spot, that's what this board is for. ():)

What you do need to do if you want advice for what parts to buy though, is to provide some more info: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=80121
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
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I'm looking at some ITX boards but find that finding an ITX video card is a bit difficult. Also the choices are quite limited. Going up a size opens up a lot of options!
 

lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
11,900
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There are no ITX video cards. ITX boards have the same PCIe interface that all video cards use. The only restriction you need to worry about when picking a video card is whether the case you're considering is spacious enough to fit it in, and typically the length of the video card is what matters.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
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www.mfenn.com
There's really no such thing as an "ITX video card". There's no standard for the internal length of an ITX case, so you can only compare on a pairwise basis when asking "will it fit?".

EDIT: lehtv beat me to it.
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
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0
Thanks, I'm aware, i was just referring to the size and how hard it is to find a smaller card, or to even determine its size (no filters in searches for size).

From what I'm seeing, i'm hovering around mini-ITX or micro-ATX.. but with micro-ATX the cases just start getting big. EVGA has an interestingly small tower:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811205011
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
0
0
I think i've narrowed it down some:
CPU:Intel Core i5-4670K Haswell 3.4GHz LGA 1150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116899

Mobo: ASUS MAXIMUS VI IMPACT LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813132039
GPU: ASUS GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 GeForce GTX 760 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121775

Case: EVGA Hadron Air Mini-ITX Chassis Black with 500W 80Plus Gold Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811205011

Alternatively these cases:
Corsair Obsidian Series 250D (CC-9011047-WW) Black Aluminum / Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811139033
LIAN LI PC-Q25B Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112339

For RAM i'd just find something that matches.. So far the total is under $880 which could leave some room for a new monitor, or some other junk. Maybe I'll start a new thread with the build goals etc as pointed out earlier.
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
I don't think large OEM's or even custom build shops want to take responsibility for making compact ITX gaming machines. It is too risky without good air flow. I have a Mini-ITX case but it has no video card other than the Intel IGP on the CPU. Maybe look up something like Bitfenix and custom build. They make some ITX cases that can take some drives and a long video card.
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
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0
I think that Bitfenix case is larger from the ones i listed (or so i remember). It seems the limitation with building a "steambox" is that the video cards are too large for super slim cases. Falcon-NW does this well: http://www.falcon-nw.com/desktops/tiki

Any thoughts on the Config? Should i go with all EVGA equpment? :) Is it overkill with the mobo? should I get an i7? as in, may as well go all the way... its an extra $100.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
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www.mfenn.com
I think i've narrowed it down some:
CPU:Intel Core i5-4670K Haswell 3.4GHz LGA 1150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116899

Mobo: ASUS MAXIMUS VI IMPACT LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813132039
GPU: ASUS GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 GeForce GTX 760 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121775

Case: EVGA Hadron Air Mini-ITX Chassis Black with 500W 80Plus Gold Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811205011

Alternatively these cases:
Corsair Obsidian Series 250D (CC-9011047-WW) Black Aluminum / Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811139033
LIAN LI PC-Q25B Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112339

For RAM i'd just find something that matches.. So far the total is under $880 which could leave some room for a new monitor, or some other junk. Maybe I'll start a new thread with the build goals etc as pointed out earlier.

The EVGA case looks pretty reasonable and will even fit a big card like a GTX 780. If you like the looks of it, I don't see any reason not to get it.

Here's what I would go with:

i5 4670K + ASRock Z87E-ITX combo $300 @ MC - there are a ton of MicroCenters in the NYC area: Brooklyn, Queens (Flushing), Westbury, Yonkers, or Paterson. Take your pick.
Team DDR3 1600 16GB $120
PowerColor R9 280X $300 AR - 10.5" so it should fit
Reuse SSD $0
Seagate 7200RPM 2TB $90
No ODD $0
EVGA Hadron Air + 500W PSU $140 AR
EVGA ACX HSF for Hadron Air $45
Total: $995 AR
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
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0
Wow, I'm glad you pointed me to the Microcenter CPU price! That's a deal! Maybe I should get the i7 :)

I prefer the nVidia cards, any compelling argument to go with the PowerColor TurboDuo AXR9 280X?

I'm not sure I like the look of that coolmaster case :\

I've been told that that micro ITX builds tend to get hot, has anyone had this problem?
 

nsafreak

Diamond Member
Oct 16, 2001
7,093
3
81
How how hot they get really depends on the case and the components that you put in there. They can be built to be fairly cool but you have to be sure to have proper airflow through the case.
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
0
0
Thanks NSFreak, but that's a given. Can you recommend any good CPU coolers? I'm thinking of going water cooled - worth it? Is it quieter?
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,186
9,961
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Thanks NSFreak, but that's a given. Can you recommend any good CPU coolers? I'm thinking of going water cooled - worth it? Is it quieter?

I'm not really so sure watercooling will fit in an ITX case. Although, I think that the CM Elite 130 advertises WC support somehow. Maybe it will fit.
 

lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
11,900
74
91
Thanks NSFreak, but that's a given. Can you recommend any good CPU coolers? I'm thinking of going water cooled - worth it? Is it quieter?

I got this idea from someone's build thread at OCN: Fractal Design Node 304 ITX case, plus Corsair H90 140mm closed loop cooler. Its a really nice combo. A bit expensive, but the CPU cooling performance will be excellent for such a compact case. It's only worth it if you intend to overclock the CPU.

Generally speaking, liquid cooling is not quieter than air cooling unless you build an expensive custom liquid setup. But the h90 is pretty balanced in terms of noise versus cooling.
 
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mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
14,539
428
136
You can also pick up better quality fans for the water cooler they will run cooler and quieter.
 

Torn Mind

Lifer
Nov 25, 2012
11,508
2,613
136
The GPUs in many, but not all, so-called pre-built gaming rigs, of any shape or size, are almost always weaker than even a $150 GPU bought separately, so if buying a pre-built, getting a decent CPU should be the main priority.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
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Wow, I'm glad you pointed me to the Microcenter CPU price! That's a deal! Maybe I should get the i7 :)

I don't think it's worth it over the i5 for gaming. You'd be better off putting the price difference into something else, like a better monitor, bigger SSD, etc.

I prefer the nVidia cards, any compelling argument to go with the PowerColor TurboDuo AXR9 280X?

It's more like the other way around in my opinion. Is there any compelling argument to get a GTX 770? The R9 280X is faster on average, costs less, and has an extra gig of VRAM for games that make heavy use of large textures or AA. At current pricing, the GTX 770 only really makes sense if you are heavily tied into the Nvidia ecosystem, You're probably not invested in Nvidia's ecosystem if you haven't been gaming on the PC in a while.
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
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DSF

Diamond Member
Oct 6, 2007
4,902
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Are you sure you have your wishlist set for sharing? The link doesn't work for me.

Without looking at the prices and everything, my main concern in terms of a gaming rig would be that you have more RAM than you need and an over-featured motherboard at the expense of a better graphics card.

Your PSU is also more expensive than it needs to be. The flavor-of-the-week 550W-650W PSU deal is going to get you something of fine quality for $30-40 less.

Also, a word to the wise. I own that exact Corsair PSU and some users experience a flaw where the fan has an annoying clicking noise. For some people it never happens. For me it happened for a few days and then went away before I could even bother to RMA. For some it seems to stick around indefinitely, but Corsair has been willing to send warranty replacements for the issue.
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
0
0
What do you mean by being invested into an Nvidia ecosystem? I've been gaming forever (took a short break) :) and have been using NVidia for a long time now. In the past I had issues with the Radeons, but this was probably 10 years ago and I will admit that this bias is not based on anything... factual?

Also, I decided not to go with the microITX and moved up to miniATX - this allows me to reuse my ASUS Xonar sound card (dolby headphone = surround) and to have the ability to bump the ram to 32GB once i retire it to a server. Also gives me much more flexibility with parts, cases, etc.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2379348
 

MrFrenzy

Junior Member
Apr 16, 2014
23
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0
The 16GB of ram is a bit overkill, but its in preparations for the future when i retire this to a server and will add another 16. What do you think of the RAM choice?

The PSU - i plan on overclocking and read that its better to get a higher tier (not necessarily wattage but line) of PSU's.

Why do you think this is an over-featured mobo?

Does this wishlist link work? http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=25496086
 

Ken g6

Programming Moderator, Elite Member
Moderator
Dec 11, 1999
16,204
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The RAM is faster than you need, takes more volts than you should use, and has fins that could interfere with a large CPU cooler. The first thing only affects price; the second can be fixed by lowering the clock and the volts; the third could only be fixed by water cooling the CPU.

The price isn't extremely bad, especially for those clocks, but Amazon has a sale on 1600 PNY RAM for $120.

I suggest you use that money to get a 2GB 770 instead of a 4GB 760. (There's an even cheaper PNY at Amazon, but there's some confusion about whether it's a multi-fan or blower model, if that matters to you.)

"Higher tier of PSU" means choosing the right brands (Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, etc.), not a higher 80-Plus level. Then again, you are in NY, NY, where electricity is very expensive.