small PC with gaming performance (dota 2) (budget)


Jul 25, 2015
I am currently looking to replace my behemoth of a desktop to get something that does not warm my room in the winter. lol I want something I can place on the shelf and play dota 2 with amazing graphics and load into the game fast. I have a AMD setup now in a full tower with a fx 8 core cpu running at 3.5ghz. I am thinking uatx or mini-itx. I don't want to break the bank with this build. what is the most economical way of doing this? I have been doing research for a while but what are your ideas? I was looking at server boards as I would get two Ethernet ports so I could tie them together not sure how much speed I would get out of that but thoughts?
For small, look at the ITX motherboards.
For fast loading, use a SSD.
Intel cpu will be less power hungry and run faster.
Gaming over the internet will depend more on ping latency than bandwidth. Do not chase dual lan.

What is your budget, and what class graphics card do you need?


Jul 25, 2015
OS: Windows 7

Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz

Memory: 4 GB RAM

Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600

DirectX: Version 9.0c

Network: Broadband Internet connection

Hard Drive: 8 GB available space

Sound Card: DirectX Compatible

This is what they say I need to run the game correctly. I am well above that now but I load very slow and I am sick of my room being 80 degrees because my pc is on for a few hours. need to lower down on the power consumption lol.I would like 4gb of video but I am not 100 % knowledgeable about gaming computers. I know standard computers pretty well but not graphic cards and such. I was hoping for $700 but if I sell my current rig, my ps4 and xbox 1 I could go to $1,000.

Current specs below if you need them...
VIDEO: AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card
MOTHERBOARD: * [CrossFireX] GIGABYTE GA-970A-DS3P AMD 970 Socket AM3+ ATX Mainboard w/ On/Off Charge, Ultra Durable 4 Classic, 7.1 Audio, GbLAN, 2 Gen2 PCIe X16, 3 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI
NETWORK: Intel Pro Gigabit 10/100/1000 Network Card
MEMORY: 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory
HDD: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 32MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (1TB x 2 (2 TB Capacity) Raid 0 Extreme Performance
FAN: Corsair Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan
CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.50 GHz Eight-Core AM3+ CPU 8MB L2 Cache & Turbo Core Technology
CAS: Thermaltake Level 10GTS Mid Tower Gaming Case w/ EasySwap HDD bays, 2x Front USB 3.0 Ports, & Headset Holder

I suggest you start looking at the upcoming 14nm Skylake launch.
It is looking like the integrated graphics will be much improved and will exceed your minimum requirements.
Likely, you should be considering a modern nvidia Maxwell graphics card. They are the most power efficient. A GTX660ti is about the equivalent of your 7870.
You will want a 2 x 4gb DDR4 ram kit. Speed is irrelevant.
A psu will only use the power demanded of it, regardless of the max capability.
You can likely reuse what you have.

Plan on a single ssd of whatever capacity you need. Samsung 240gb is about $100.

VRAM has become a marketing issue.
My understanding is that vram is more of a performance issue than a functional issue.
A game needs to have most of the data in vram that it uses most of the time.
Somewhat like real ram.
If a game needs something not in vram, it needs to get it across the pcie boundary
hopefully from real ram and hopefully not from a hard drive.
It is not informative to know to what level the available vram is filled.
Possibly much of what is there is not needed.
What is not known is the rate of vram exchange.
Vram is managed by the Graphics card driver, so there may be differences in effectiveness between amd and nvidia cards.
Here is an older performance test comparing 2gb with 4gb vram.
Spoiler... not a significant difference.

Look at Lian li for high quality small cases.
The Q08 is compact, well ventilated and can hold full size components.


Jul 25, 2015
Hello, Sorry about the late response. We had a bad storm and like a bad computer owner i forgot to unplug my desktop before heading out. Well now i need this PC ASAP so i can work and game (after work). If you have a perfered build for my price range i would enjoy looking at it. If not no worries. I have to buy this setup for Friday to hope to get it for Monday or Tuesday. I could do $800 at the most now.

And thank you for the lesson in vram. I will start working with what you have told me in your latest comment and try to get something planned out and i will have to measure my desk to see my clearance to see how big of a case i could get.
I have read about today's Skylake launch, and I think it is not for you.
Only the high end processors were announced, they are $250/$350. Moreover, I do not see them in stores.
I suggest a high clock I3-4170@3.7 which will run most games well. About $125.

A GTX960 @$200 or so is about right.

A H97 ITX motherboard is about $100, A 8gb( 2 x 4gb)of DDR3 1866 ram will be about $50.

I like lian li Q08 for quality, but look at Silverstone and cm for small itx cases.

Look for a tier 1 or 2 unit on this list.
Seasonic, xfx, antec for starters.

I will never again build without a ssd for the "C" drive. It makes everything you do much quicker.
120gb is minimum, it will hold the os and a handful of games. If you can go 240gb, you may never need a hard drive.

I would defer on the hard drive unless you need to store large files such as video's.
It is easy to add a hard drive later.
Samsung EVO is a good choice.
Intel 730 is OK too.

I am guessing that this will meet your budget.
Post a list with links to where you might buy.


Jul 25, 2015

i could work from either of these but mostly because i have used both before for replacement parts for old computers.
I can do the Q08 if you think that is the best bet.
My go to source is newegg. Good service and a good place to research parts.

I have a lian li Q-08 and it will do the job.
Perhaps the only negative is the limited room for an aftermarket cpu cooler.
However with a I3, you will not need more than the stock cooler.
There are a number of forum posts on Q-08 builds; look for them to get more info.
The Q-08 is 13.58" x 8.94" x 10.71"
There are some other useful cases for ITX. I might exclude the prodigy if you want small, it is the size of many mid size cases.
The cm elite 120 is 8.20" x 9.40" x 15.80"
The Silverstone SUGO is 6.93" x 8.74" x 10.87"
It requires a slim dvd which can be a bit expensive.
But... both the above cost less. Look for case reviews of each to see if either will work for you.

You buy an apu for the good integrated graphics.
Once you install a discrete graphics card, you negate that plus and are left with a weak cpu that can't compete with a good I3.
And... there is no real upgrade path with a apu.
What you buy is what you will have to live with forever.

You would be better off to try to find a M-ATX motherboard for your FX-8.
I don't think there is a ITX motherboard for a amd cpu.