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Thread: Stylish gaming system

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    Question Stylish gaming system

    Hi all,

    It must be >5 years since I last visited these forums but I'm looking at building my own system for the first time in ages. I'd really appreciate your assistance as my familiarity with HW specs is now pretty obsolete!

    Need: I'm looking to build a new general use and gaming system into a small, stylish unit that balances form, function and expense.

    The box will drive a 1920x1080 monitor and it would be good to game at this resolution with all/most of the eye candy turned on. Games I foresee playing are the likes of Arma2, Shogun2 and various sims rather than uber-fast FPS and I think the spec below will be able to handle that... or conversely perhaps it's a little overkill (e.g. will CPU be at <50% while GPU maxes out)? I'd appreciate some real world experiences to complement the reviews/benchmarks I've read.

    Limitations: I'm open to all suggestions but I strongly prefer an Nvidia GPU as I use Linux for everything except gaming that I can't do through native/through WINE and Nvidia produce the best Linux drivers. Only an SSD is shown as I have plenty of HDD hanging around/in servers for data storage needs and 128GB seems sufficient for Linux (inc apps) + Win7 + couple of games.

    Questions:
    1) Is it enough/too much? Any issues with skipping the optical drive?
    2) Are all the parts compatible?
    3) Will it all fit in the case?!

    Silverstone SG08B USB 3.0 Sugo SFF Mini ITX, w/ 600W ATX PSU, 80 Plus bronze, Black
    £178.76 inc VAT
    Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI, Intel H77, 1155, DDR3, SATA III 6Gb/s, RAID, PCIe 3.0, DVI-I/HDMI, Mini ITX
    £84.92 inc VAT
    Intel Core i5 3570K,1155, Ivy Bridge, Quad Core, 3.4GHz, 5 GT/s DMI, 650MHz GPU, 6MB Smart Cache, 34x Ratio, 77W, Retail
    £167.94 inc VAT
    2GB EVGA GTX 660 Ti, 28nm, 6008MHz GDDR5, GPU 915MHz, Boost 980MHz, Cores 1344, 2x DL DVI, DP, HDMI
    £225.19 inc VAT
    8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 XMS3, PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.65V
    £24.49 inc VAT
    128GB Crucial RealSSD M4, 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD, MLC-Flash, Read 500Mb/s, Write 175Mb/s *New Version*
    £78.14 inc VAT
    TOTAL: £770.42
    For simplicity all prices are from Scan but I imagine shopping around will save a few ££. I wouldn't really like to spend any more than £800 unless it really makes good 'bang for buck' sense. Thanks for help to get me going!

    PS I tried to post this in the HTPC/SFF subforum given it's mini-ITX but I can only see 2 x sticky posts and nothing else there - is that a bug?
    Last edited by Jake_UK; 17-10-2012 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Removed the 3rd party heatsink - seems superfluous

  2. #2
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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    So a bit more reading today suggests that the GTX 660 TI is going to be just fine with Shogun 2 and that there may be an even better case for me out there: reading the 'Chassis & Mods' forum, CAT-THE-FIFTH linked to the Fractal Node 304 which looks pretty sleek and only slightly larger than the SG08. Seems to retail around £75 without a PSU. Interesting...

    Sorry no links, I've not got 5 posts yet!

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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Here is a review of the Fractal Node 304:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cas...e-304-review/1

    This case is also worth considering:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5848/s...e-you-fun-size

    The H77N cannot be used to overclock the CPU. TBH,I would get this CPU:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel...tio-69w-retail

    It is basically a Core i7 3770 with slightly lower clockspeeds,no IGP and a lower TDP. Due to the slightly larger 8MB of L3 cache,I suspect performance in lightly threaded applications will be the same as a Core i5 3570K.

    OTH,this CPU would also do the job:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel...dmi-69w-retail

    It lacks an IGP too.

    Regarding the RAM go for a 1.5V set:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%...9-9-24-xmp-15v

    I would look at this GTX660 non-TI card too:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-g...098mhz-cores-9

    This PSU is a decent Seasonic based modular unit:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/450w-...odular-atx-psu

    This PSU is also modular but is extremely small:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/450w-...r-80-plus-gold

    Here are some reviews:

    http://www.chiphell.com/article-4711-1.html

    http://article.pchome.net/content-1539701-1.html

    It looks a decent unit.

    450W is more than enough for a Xeon E3 or Core i5 and a GTX660 non-TI.

    I would also go for a Samsung 830 128GB too.

    Also,if you get to 20 relevant posts you get Scan free postage:

    http://forums.hexus.net/scan-care-he...tup-guide.html

    Scan also does special offers every weekday:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/todayonly/index.aspx


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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake_UK View Post
    Questions:
    1) Is it enough/too much? Any issues with skipping the optical drive?
    2) Are all the parts compatible?
    3) Will it all fit in the case?!
    If it were my money, I'd probably spend a little more on the motherboard, & get this:

    If you get your games through Steam or some other digital distribution service, then an optical drive isn't often needed. However I occasionally need one, so I have an external USB DVD writer that I share between my 3 PCs.

    The only incompatibility I can see is that the memory you specify is rated at 1.65v, whereas Intel recommend 1.5v for use with Ivybridge processors (something I only found out yesterday in fact!).

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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Thanks guys - good point on the 1.5v RAM, I just read that advice myself too.

    The FT03 case looks interesting. It will probably sit better on the floor than the SG08 but the lack of side vent for the GPU seems a bit unusual. Reading a review on Anandtech or somewhere it doesn't seem to really affect the thermals though and although the space for the card is a little smaller than the SG08 can accept it looks like the GTX 660 Ti still fits. Adding a Gold PSU also makes it about the price as the SG08. Hmmm....

    Jimbob, I don't plan to overclock given the space/heat/noise issues with such a small unit (it can be done but the fiddle factor, complication and time aren't worth it for me) so I think that MoBo is all I need (though happy to hear other reasons why I may be wrong).

    CAT, will those CPUs both go straight in this motherboard? The IGP feature seems redundant with a dedicated card (I assume) but I'm not clear on all the other technicalities/differences!

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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    shogun 2 is a CPU hog (as are most RTSes)....I would consider the possibility of at least a small overclock if the price isn't effected much.

    Although if you have your heart set on mini-ITX then something has to give......and it might just be settings in CPU-limited games.
    Main PC: Asus Rampage IV Extreme / 3960X@4.5GHz / Antec H1200 Pro / 32GB DDR3-1866 Quad Channel / Sapphire Fury X / Areca 1680 / 850W EVGA SuperNOVA Gold 2 / Corsair 600T / 2x Dell 3007 / 4 x 250GB SSD + 2 x 80GB SSD / 4 x 1TB HDD (RAID 10) / Windows 10 Pro, Yosemite & Ubuntu
    HTPC: AsRock Z77 Pro 4 / 3770K@4.2GHz / 24GB / GTX 1080 / SST-LC20 / Antec TP-550 / Hisense 65k5510 4K TV / HTC Vive / 2 x 240GB SSD + 12TB HDD Space / Race Seat / Logitech G29 / Win 10 Pro
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Has the OP considered this system:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/shutt...hdmi-dvi-d-sub

    The R5 system can also take mini-ITX motherboards as an upgrade path. I use the same PSU in my system and it is decent for a SFF unit IMHO.

    The Shuttle motherboards also have 4 RAM slots too and overclocking is not too bad on them either. The motherboard also has standard cooler mounts so you can change the cooler too.

    Edit!!

    Just saw this:

    http://forum.overclock 3d.net/showthread.php?t=44507

    The test uses a pair of HD7950 3GB cards.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 18-10-2012 at 02:14 PM.


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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I would look at this GTX660 non-TI card too:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-g...098mhz-cores-9
    Shogun 2 is almost the perfect game for the 660 Ti, it doesn't seem to mind the 192bit bus but loves the cores and performs very nearly the same as the 670.
    However that 660 is such good value and still performs very well, I'd probably choose to save the money, the difference isn't that big even in Shogun 2 and much less in many other games.
    Plus I'd prefer Gigabyte over EVGA.

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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake_UK View Post
    Jimbob, I don't plan to overclock given the space/heat/noise issues with such a small unit (it can be done but the fiddle factor, complication and time aren't worth it for me) so I think that MoBo is all I need (though happy to hear other reasons why I may be wrong).
    My inclination would be to go down the Z77 / unlocked processor route, simply as a way to extend the usefulness of the system. I tend to keep two gaming systems, & 'cascade' components from one to the other as I upgrade. The Asrock ITX board is just one I read a review on, which seems good value, if you want to overclock in the future. ITX cases like Bitfenix Prodigy have good enough cooling to allow some moderate overclocking.

    http://www.kitguru.net/components/mo...rboard-review/

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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    If you are getting a K series you should get Z77, it's not like there is any real price difference.

    It's less than £8.

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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    That Shuttle looks nice - a lot better than their previous cases.

    If I take that advice and a bunch of the other suggestions I get the below. This includes an optical drive but I could either leave it out and save £45 or put that saving into getting the Ti rather than vanilla GTX660. I've kept the original CPU as the Shuttle-bundled MoBo allows overclocking. How does it look??

    Shuttle SZ77R5, S1155, Intel Z77, DDR3, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), No OS, Black, HDMI/DVI/D-Sub
    £287.72 inc VAT
    Intel Core i5 3570K,1155, Ivy Bridge, Quad Core, 3.4GHz, 5 GT/s DMI, 650MHz GPU, 6MB Smart Cache, 34x Ratio, 77W, Retail
    £177.78 inc VAT
    2GB Gigabyte GTX 660 Windforce 2X, 28nm, PCIe 3.0 (x16), 6008MHz GDDR5, GPU 1033MHz, Boost 1098MHz, Cores 960, DP/ HDMI
    £171.19 inc VAT
    8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance Racing Red, PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.5V
    £30.96 inc VAT
    128GB Samsung 830 Series, SSD Basic Kit, Ultra Slim 7mm SATA III, Read 520MB/s, Write 320MB/s PC/MAC
    £78.14 inc VAT
    LG 10x Blu-ray Reader, 16x DVD±R, 8x +RW, 6x -RW, 12x RAM - OEM
    £45.58 inc VAT
    TOTAL £811.34

  12. #12
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
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      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
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      • OVERSIZED
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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Looks good IMHO. TBH,I would get a standard DVD drive,get a GTX660 and get this SSD:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-256G...0652703&sr=1-2

    You also get Nectar points on Amazon purchases. Also,the CPU and RAM are on offer:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/todayonly/index.aspx

    Don't forget once you get to 20 relevant posts you also get free postage from Scan.

    I assume you have a HDD too??


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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Yes, have HDD capacity for data files all over the place so just looking for enough on the SSD for Linux, Win7 and a handful of apps.

  14. #14
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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Have you had a look at the Bitfenix Prodigy case?

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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Yes - I quite like the look of it but it's far too large a case for what I need to put inside it.

  16. #16
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    Re: Stylish gaming system

    Spare space inside doesn't matter, it's whether the outside fits it's surroundings isn't it?

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