Allround/gaming rig for my brother, how small can i go?

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ATWindsor
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Allround/gaming rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by ATWindsor » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:51 am

I am building a computer for my brother as Christmas present. He is a student, so I would preferably make it pretty small. I need it to have a decently performing i5-CPU, 8 GB ram or maybe a bit more, and a pretty good (but not stellar) GPU (Thing someting around the 200-250dollar range). My main focus is making it silent, the CPU should be ok with a decent heatsink, but what about the gpu? How small of a computer can i make where the cooling for the GPU is big enough? Is mATX the way to go, or can i actually do it with ITX? What would you guys advice, as mentioned, i would prefer it small, but its not critical, so if I have to increase the size to make it useful, thats what I have to do.
Last edited by ATWindsor on Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:18 am

If the AMD HD6870 might suffice, actually the MSI Twin Frozr II is an extremely quiet GPU, even at load.

Nvidia cards are (without modding the BIOS) noisier.

Personally I wouldn't shrink at mITX, but if in case give a look at LanGear boxes.
Regards,
Luca

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corrion
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by corrion » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:52 am

What's your budget for the case? The design of Silverstone's SG07 really fits your description (mini-ITX, supports long video cards, comes with large power supply), currently $169.99 AR from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Mini- ... B003V8ATLS

If you want to go mATX with better ventilation and acoustics, take a look at the TJ08-E.

Abula
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by Abula » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:46 pm

Second the TJ08 recommendation, i did a build with it (check my sig), and its been a great case for building around mini ATX, even SPCR gave it editorial award, SilverStone Temjin TJ08-E: MicroATX Evolved, the only thing i had to do is lower the frontal fan to 650rpm, i didnt like the 900rpm of the low settings. Check SPCR Fanless Power Supply PC Build Guide they use a 6870 + Gelid cooler, i would probably also consider the GTX560 as an option for your price range, and now there also the Arctic Cooling Accelero TWIN TURBO II Quad Heatpipe Universal VGA Cooler
GameMi - Intel i9 9900K + Gigabyte Z390 AM + Asus RTX2080Ti Strix | MiniMi - Intel i7 8700K + ASRock Z370ITX + MSI RTX2080Ti
StreaMi - Intel i9 7940X + AsRock X299 Taichi + Asus GTX1080Ti Strix | WorkMi - AMD 1950X + AsRock X399 Taichi + MSI GTX1080
ServeMi - Intel Xeon E3-1230 + Supermicro X9SCM-F + 144TB | StoreMi - Intel Xeon E3 1240v5 + Supermicro X11SSM-F + 42TB | CamMi - Intel i7 4770K + MSI H81i + Blue Iris

ATWindsor
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by ATWindsor » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:47 pm

Thank you for very to the point and useful tips! The MSI GPU is that quiet without further modding, or do i need to control the fans in some way (besides the way the card doses it itself), and would that kind of card fit the SG07? (being twin slot)

corrion
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by corrion » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:58 pm

I can't say for the first part (though I'm sure you can control the fan speed via MSI Afterburner software), but you can fit a dual-slot video card in that case:

http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?s=8eb ... tcount=312

quest_for_silence
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:47 pm

ATWindsor wrote:The MSI GPU is that quiet without further modding, or do i need to control the fans in some way (besides the way the card doses it itself)

The MSI continues its well rewarded tradition: after the R5770 Hawk and GTS 450 Cyclone, the R6870 TF II OC can be run at stock very quietly. MSI Afterburner is an added bonus, if you mind.
ATWindsor wrote:would that kind of card fit the SG07? (being twin slot)

IIRC it's the most compact high performance solution available (though Gelid & AC are triple slots ones): however, it fits.

But if I were you, I would be more minded (more than on GPU) about how to address the top fan and the PSU noise, particularly the first (as you won't have a rheobus or enough controllable fan headers on a mITX mobo: even if with a low power CPU - 2390T, 2500T - you might get rid of). And I would be very cautious on the CPU heatsink clearances, as there aren't so many high performance ones under 115mm while being not so wide (some 1155 mITX may have a relatively odd socket placement, check twice): the very first candidate should be the Thermalright AXP-140, maybe with the optional TR Universal Vault (aka Venomous BTK), but YMMV (look at the HDD bay, a 140mm fan might easily interfere with a 3.5 drive). If you drop the top fan, MAYBE an NH-C-14 could also fit.
Obviously you may go for a low performance one, like the Scythe Samurai ZZ or the Big Shuriken (maybe swapping the fan with a regular SlipStream) with relevant mountings, saving some bucks and space, but personally I wouldn't recommend them with a >65W (TDP) CPU.

Eventually, if you aim at a true quietness, such a setup won't be such an easy day, and however you are likely to build a relatively very expensive system (particularly if you shouldn't like the PSU tonal quality). If you dont' mind about that, a Lian-Li TU 200 would look also very classy for a student (but you have to choose carefully a storage strategy).
Regards,
Luca

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ATWindsor
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by ATWindsor » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:11 am

Thanks again for the advice. I have tried a ninja mini in a HTPC-case i have, and that worked out suprisingly well with a mid-range i5, might that be an otion, or is the fan-layout in the case not very good for this? (fan beeing on top and all). The thermalright you mentiones seems like a very good candidate though. I haven't thought about the lack of fanheaders on a mini-ITX-board, but that is a good point, I would probably need 2 or 3 of them, i guess i kan buy one of those installable fan control-devises if needed, however that would limit control-possibilities.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Allround/gmaing rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by quest_for_silence » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:37 am

ATWindsor wrote:might that be an otion, or is the fan-layout in the case not very good for this? (fan beeing on top and all).

It might be a good option: but as you may note, it's 115mm tall (apart sample variance) without the fan. With 80mm fans you may have a limited choice (lots of SB boards don't deal well with not-PWM fans), with 92mm ones you - more probably that not - could intefere with the top fan (not to mention a regular 3.5" HDD). It could be tricky, and moreover the TR should offer better performance, if you mind about it.
ATWindsor wrote:I haven't thought about the lack of fanheaders on a mini-ITX-board, but that is a good point, I would probably need 2 or 3 of them, i guess i kan buy one of those installable fan control-devises if needed, however that would limit control-possibilities.

I think you haven't the room to fit a common fan controller (a Scythe Kaze Server would be my first choice): if in case, you might look at some mCubed T-Balancer, they're also SpeedFan controllable, if you can fix somewhere inside the case.
Or you might swap the top fan with a PWM 140mm one (something like an high-end Noise Blocker, mandatorily, as it's horizontally mounted and several good 140mm fans are sleeve bearing ones) and use the Akasa PWM splitter.
Or eventually you could drive the top fan with a 5V or 7V fixed source (or a Zalman FanMate 2).

Definitely YMMV: so that, apart drive mountings, the Lian-Li TU200 might be (just a bit) more flexible.
With reference to this enclosure, you may give a look to the SPCR article about building a SFF server (as it uses the Q08 cousin of the TU200).
Regards,
Luca

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ATWindsor
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Re: Allround/gaming rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by ATWindsor » Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:44 am

I have decided to try the SG07-build. With the AXP-140 cooler from thermalright. And probably a i5 2500s cpu. I have a couple of questions though:

1. The MSI Frozr 6879 is not available in norway, how about the 6950 frozr, is that a quite graphics card too, or should i goo for a weaker card, or a 3rd-part cooling solution, if so, which?

2. What mobo is recommended? Most cards hare are H67 or z68, I don´t think z68 is needed. Basically, intel, asrock and zotec are the only brands available here. I guess wifi can´t hurt. Can i just choose any or do some of these have problems with the cooler?

ntavlas
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Re: Allround/gaming rig for my brother, how small can i go?

Post by ntavlas » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:18 am

Maybe you`d also like to take a look at the Lian Li PC-A04. IMO it`s got a very nice layout (psu at the bottom, relatively unrestricted twin intake fans, removable drive cages that you can also rotate) and should fit any gpu and most tower cpu coolers. http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/pr ... dex=63&g=f It should also be a little cheaper (over here it costs about $40 less than the SG07).

Not that I would recommend against the SG07, which is probably the best mini itx gaming case save for semi custom solutions like the Lan Gear Infinity.

As for the motherboard, if you go for a mini itx build, yes, there are some limitation in what kind of cooler you can fit because the cpu socket is usually right next to the pcie slot. I don`t know if the AXP will fit but I`ve seen some successful mini itx builds using the Prolimatech Samuel 17. I would probably go for an Asrcok board because of the fast boot up sequence and more mature bios (bested only by Asus) which also seems to have the best fan control options of the three. Zotac is the only choice if you`re looking to go mini itx and overclock the cpu.

Of course, if you go for a uatx board you won`t have to deal with many of these limitations. You could go for an Asus, which seem to be the best regarded SB boards, fit a tower cooler etc. You could even go for a Z68 model "just in case" and still spend less than what a good mini itx board costs.

Hope that helps :)

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