First Build (SFF budget build)


Feb 24, 2009
I'm looking for guidance with what will be my first build if I go through with it. What I want is a home/LAN party computer. As such, I need to be able to lug it around here and there.

The kind of gaming my friends and I do is not very intensive graphically (not Crysis, more Half-Life 2). We tend to like the older games more. However, I will want to play Diablo 3 and I do play TF2, Guild Wars, and WoW.

My budget is a soft $500. I'm cannibalizing my nearly 5-year-old Dell for the HDD and the optical drive. I already have all of my peripherals as well.

Here what I have figured out so far:

Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BNS Black SECC Gaming Cube Computer Case

SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5

AMD Phenom 9600 Agena 2.3GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HD960ZWCGDBOX
ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$157.99 (combo)

Subtotal: $487.95
Shipping: $7.59
Grand Total: $495.54

I went for the combo since I feel that it is a good deal (maybe I'm wrong?). My only concern with having a small box is getting a new fan for the CPU. I don't really desire to overclock so I don't know if it is even necessary to worry about that.
If you're after a SFF build you should take a closer look at the case. It's not exactly "small".
The case is more a matter of personal preference. But it's a good idea to look at all your options.
Compare other things like price (incl shipping), layout, installation ease, cooling options, etc.
For comparison:

HEC 6T Series 6T10BB MicroATX Mini Tower $40 + free shipping
Dimensions 14" x 6.9" x 13.7" = 34.6"

COOLER MASTER Elite 360 RC-360 $40
Dimensions 5.8" x 15" x 16.1" = 36.9"

Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BNS $75 +Free Shipping
Dimensions 17.0'' x 11.8'' x 9.1'' = 37.9"

COOLER MASTER Centurion 541 MicroATX Mini Tower $45
Dimensions 15.4" x 7.1" x 16.6" = 39.1

I know the Corsair 650TX is an excellent value, that price is so close to the 450VX and 550TX it's really attractive. But you could easily downsize the PSU a bit and still have plenty of power for a beefy video card.
OCZ StealthXStream 500 $40 or PC P&C 500 $60


Feb 24, 2009
Okay, here's what I updated my build to:

HEC 6T Series 6T10BB MicroATX Mini Tower -- $39.99
ASUS M3A78-CM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780V Micro ATX AMD Motherboard-- $74.99
MSI R4850-512M OC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 Video Card-- [strike]$154.99 [/strike] $124.99
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply -- [strike]$59.99[/strike] $39.99
G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 Memory -- $59.99
AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor -- $63.50

Shipping: $11.63
Grand Total: $415.08

How does this sound for someone who is not planning to OC, but if the need arises he can squeeze out a little more performance?
15% savings and a faster system - it's looking good.

If you're even thinking of "squeezing out a little more performance" in the future you might want to add an aftermarket CPU cooler now, and save the hassle of removing the stock cooler, cleaning the CPU casing and adding a cooler later. For that small case you'd want a CPU cooler in the 92mm size and I think the ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler $20 will do a good job. Even if you don't OC the CPU you'll have a cooler CPU and quieter case.
Doesn't look to be any major differences in the side-by-side comparison: Patriot Viper vs G.SKILL PI Black
Both are CAS 4 but the PI Black can do that @ 1.8V-1.9V which usually indicates higher quality.
Both have mostly positive reviews @ NewEgg. I think the prices pretty much match the item quality. I can't see any reason not to go with the least expensive option and that includes the Corsair you looked at earlier.


I use that PI Black G.Skill RAM and love it, not only is it the fastest DDR2 RAM, at the lowest voltage, it also has great heat sinks. However since your on a smaller budget, I would recommend the Patriot Viper, same performance, but theres a nice rebate.