System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $650 Gaming PC

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nokiddingboss

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a great starting build at a very reasonable cost. it was a good read mate. gotta <3 the 7870xt for gaming. best bang for the buck. if only the i5's are a little cheaper... next quarter perhaps?
 

sbudbud

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I think this is for performance reasons, dual channel memory beats single channel in performance but more memory is better. I guess the reason is that 4gb is the sweet spot in terms of what is recommended and that going single channel 4gb for future upgrade to 8gb dual channel will has diminishing returns..
 

sarinaide

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$650 called budget, clearly my definition and the going opinion is far from budget, with it possible to build a ATX Intel or AMD system for a little extra but a lot more performance. I did see the Day5 $400 Ultimate Purist M-ATX, this I gotta see, my guess is another Intel build.
 

jestersage

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Thank you for acceding to reader requests for an itx based SBM!

I have similar preferences as the author when it comes to what I'd change here... a step down in graphics, a step up in CPU performance and bring up RAM to 8gb. I'm not very concerned about noise. I almost always put on a headset when I game.
 

MuadDibTM

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Great job on the build and the article. Would have liked a noise comparison as well. Just so we'd know what we're talking about when going for a mini-ITX build.
 

ojas

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Guessing dual channel mode.


Um why not?


Yes, lets not read the article at all and rush to the comments section. SBM defeats its purpose if we're going to stick to the same old stuff. What you're looking for has already been covered many, many times before in previous SBMs.


Because there are more games that would benefit from a 7870 than 8GB of RAM? And anyway, 8 gigs is a relatively cheap upgrade, compared to the GPU.
 

pauldh

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No, not at all. Just contrasting the shift in platform balance from CPU to GPU. i3-3220 was perfect for this high-res mini-ITX gaming PC. Wouldn't have changed that up at all at this budget.

However, it's not the way to go for winning the SBM (overall performance/value), factoring the 60% applications weighting. With an upwardly locked multiplier, we knew exactly how this i3 would rate there (been there, done that already).

 

ryanrich83

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Jul 31, 2012
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I have a build with the same Cooler Master Elite 120 case. Good to finally see it included in a SBM article.

For the money, it is hard to beat in an ITX case. There are better options, like the BitFenix Prodigy, but they cost almost twice as much.

Only downside to the case is the noise. Fans are running at near max to keep temps tolerable.
 

Killroyjenkins

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Jun 12, 2013
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If you were going to leave the cpu at stock frequency, why not then undervolt it too? Certainly that would reduce heat a bit and could help with the graphics card issue.
 

airborn824

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a budget PC with i3 instead of AMD? o find that odd. anytime you get a CPU under 200 its obvious to go AMD.. Isnt it? or is society blinded by shiny s?
 

ojas

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1st thing: when gaming is priority, go Intel

2nd thing: Below $200, look at the i5s. There isn't much point to lots of GPU muscle if you're going to be held back by a CPU bottleneck.

3rd thing: The moment you hit thermally constrained spaces, Intel is the company of choice.
 

David Siebert

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Jun 17, 2013
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I could not help myself so I built my own version of this on PC parts picker.
I used a different case and power supply and bumped the ram up to 8Gb and swapped the 500GB hard drive for a 120GB SSD. I can in under 650 after shipping and rebates.
You could do a 64GB SSD and the 500GB drive for the same price but I figured Hard Drives are cheap and you might have one sitting around that you could add if you did this build or add one when you find a good deal.
 

pauldh

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For a budget mini-ITX gaming PC... Yes, i3 is spot on.

You'd have preferred Trinity, or Vishera? ;)
 
Oooh, no. And here is why: Heat. Sadly, this build won't last; I wouldn't give it six months. The non-modular Corsair "CX" units were built with some inferior Samxon capacitors that don't like heat and are known to fail early. Even without considering the radiant heat from the graphics card, you're running it at a high enough percentage of its capacity that it will cook. I also don't care for what all that [radiant] heat might do to the motherboard.
Will this HIS card fit in that case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161428 ? It exhausts its heat. You'd give up a chunk of performance, but 1) solve the heat problem and 2) allow for an optical drive and/or 8GB of RAM in the budget. The benchmarks show that frame rates are high enough that you're still going to get smooth 1920x1080 gaming out of it, plus you'll have something cooler and quieter that will still be running in a year or two, or three...
If the HIS won't fit, this EVGA FTW-version of the GTX660 will: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130829. It costs more, but performs better than the HD7850, and still exhausts most of its heat.

Edit: I'm really happy to see m-ITX in a SBM. Without necessarily repeating it any time soon, I think a little refinement still merits discussion and maybe more testing.
 

pauldh

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As mentioned on page 1, only the PC Myst edition was in stock. To change it up, I would have given the slightly more expensive Sapphire XT a shot if available. The included power adapters would allow a drop to a 430W PSU, making up for the added graphics expense, and keeping it at $653.
 

roman1024

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May 27, 2013
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Actually, there is overlooked mini ITX AMD option: Athlon X4 750K and one of the mITX FM2 boards. And it has some overclocking potential, costs like $50 less than i3 and should perform close.
 
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