How to Build a Small Gaming PC

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How to Build a Small Gaming PC

3. Opening the Case
Flip over the front panel and remove the two screws holding the optical drive bezel in place (image C). On the front of the chassis, pry off the metal bezel in front of the optical drive tray. Replace the front panel and slide the optical drive into the bay, stopping when it’s flush. Secure with the same M3 screws you used for the SSD.
Opening the Case
Image C

4. Add the PSU
Unscrew the four thumbscrews securing the PSU backplate. You’ll want as short a PSU as you can get for this: anything longer than 140mm and you’ll have a hard time routing the cables. As tempting as it is to go modular, a nonmodular PSU will be easier to deal with here. Attach the backplate to the PSU and install into the chassis, but don’t put all four thumbscrews back in, as you may want to be able to slide the PSU out later for ease of wiring (image D).
Add the PSU
Image D

5. CPU and Cooling
Remove the CPU socket protector and install the CPU. Lower the gate arm to secure it (image E). Add the RAM. Although the Prodigy has room for the large skyscraper-style air coolers we like in our builds, those coolers don’t play nice with our solitary PCIe slot, so we’re going with a water cooler. 
Thermaltake’s Water 2.0 Performer (catchy!) is an Asetek-built dual-fan 120mm all-in-one cooler that should keep our CPU nice and chilly. But first we have to install the backplate. Find the Intel backplate and assemble it for Socket 1155 per Thermaltake’s instructions. Attach it to the rear of the motherboard. Assemble the retaining clips and screws in the socket ring.
Take the motherboard I/O shield, pop off the tabs covering the Wi-Fi antenna ports, and install it into the case back. Unscrew the case’s 12cm exhaust fan and set it aside. Install the motherboard into the case using four screws (image F). 
Image E
Image E

Image F
Image F

6. Add the Cooler

Take the all-in-one cooler and one of the 12cm fans, as well as four of the mounting screws and four washers. Run the screws through the washers, through the mounting holes at the back of the case, through the fan (making sure it’s oriented to exhaust out of the case), and into the mounting holes on the radiator. Attach the pump unit to the CPU with the socket ring. Turn to tighten, alternating in an X pattern.

Take the other fan, positioned to blow air through the radiator out of the case just like the first, and install it on the side of the radiator. Plug the fans into the included Y cable and into the CPU_FAN header, and plug the pump unit into the SYS_FAN header near the SATA ports (image G).

Image G

Image G

 

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Comments

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Mediziner

Actually, most mATX cases are smaller than the mini-itx Bitfenix. lol :3

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mrbofus

Perhaps I missed it, but is there any mention of cost? I couldn't find anything except how much the PC two years ago cost to build.

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morgo_mpx

I like it.

I recently did a similar build using a Lian Li PC-TU200 asrock Z77 Wifi M-ITX board, core i5 but my main differences were a Corsair H60 cooling kit and a Silverstone Strider Plus ST50F-P. The reasoning for this is the h60's really low profile cpu block and the psu being 140mm deep and fully modular. You guys may have opted for the non-modular, but being fully modular helps alot.

pic = http://i.imgur.com/l0D17.jpg

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Alfaa

You guys could have done much better with this PC. The parts are meh, but what are you gonna do?

The real problem here is the wiring though. What really stands out to me is the 8-pin CPU power going OVER the GPU. Come'on, really?

My friend and I recently built him a Prodigy rig, and we found that one of the best solutions for wiring was to route the cables from the other side of the case. Now, I'm not expecting yours to look like ours, but that CPU power cable really stands out to me as lazy.

Check out our work here: http://imgur.com/a/Roia4

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tmattrobinson

Bought this case a little while back and I have to say, I haven't regretted the purchase at all. There are lots of little quirks with the motherboard being mounted the way it is, but they're all fairly easy enough to work around.

I will say that the case does wobble - A LOT. But once I installed all of my components and removed the top hard drive cage, it balanced itself out very nicely.

Most casual builders really don't need anymore than one PCI-e slot. I've got a 670 in mine and couldn't ask for more. The only real issue I have is with the motherboard companies themselves. I've got an ASUS P8H77-I and while I love it, I hate the placement of the CPU socket. I've got the stock cooler on it right now since I'm not overclocking but if I wanted to add an aftermarket cooler, it would have to be a liquid cooler. The socket is so close to the PCI-e slot that no heat sink would fit. And that's really a shame since the case has ample room to fit a beastly aftermarket heatsink in it.

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Keith E. Whisman

Hey guys, they weren't asking for what you would do, they were showing you what they think is an awesome small gaming PC. It's their article and their opinion. It's their build and it may differ from yours. I'm sure they didn't make this article with the intention of drawing so much derision and other peoples build ideas. I would build a different computer entirely because I have a different budget and different tastes but I won't put up a lame build in some dumbshit attempt to prove the world rotates around only you. Take your build ideas and leave them as dream builds on newegg.com

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D4rkr4in

$1600? Really?

First off, your motherboard doesn't need to be Z77, H77 is ample. A 3570K with a liquid cooler? why? From my perspective, you don't need to overclock your CPU when all you're going to be doing is just bringing this around as a LAN machine. Just get an i5 3330 and use le stock cooler. 7950 > 670 in power, cheaper in cost. And finally, who needs 3TB and an SSD for a LAN party rig? Just stick with a single 256 for games, plus as a LAN rig, HDDs are not a good thing as the computer will be brought around and things prone to shock are not recommended.

It comes down for me as only (very rough estimate) $720. That's half the price for the same performance, if not more in games because 7950. GG.

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Bean Bandit

What do you expect here. It's always about how much money they can spend.

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ronmccord

Does it bother anyone else that this case wobbles? Watch the Avadirect video build of a black one and its lie a weeble wobbles, that may be something that precludes me from jumping on it. At least until I see what the new Falcon Northwest fragbox looks like next year as well as if Alieware gets it together and updates the X51 with better graphics options and design.

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Strangelove_424

Yes, the flexible feet are extremely bothersome to me and ruin what would otherwise be a great little case.

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Jeffredo

While I own a GTX 670 and love it a GTX 650 Ti would fit perfectly in that tiny case.

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Suijen

It is a nice looking case. I've always wondered about getting one of these small form factor cases. It's just too bad they couldn't cram another videocard inside it. One more and it would have kicked major arse.

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fruergaard

What do you mean not possible??

sure you can put two GPU's and a X79 motherboard in there:
http://www.cooledpc.com/build/224

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iplayoneasy

Tricky? Please stop. Give the mag some laptop building tutorials. That is truly miniature power in a small form factor.

We all can build a desktop pc in our sleep. But not all of us can build laptops.

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machew100

Well somebody's a jerk.

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iplayoneasy

Sorry. Just sick of the easy desktop builds

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tekknyne

Sick build and I definitely like that case a lot. Cool how the mini itx board sits in there horizontally on top of the power supply and video card is in there vertically. I would almost keep that side off showing off the video card.

Not sure I would spring for the sff case and board or optical drive :), but for an HTPC, this thing has some balls.

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fruergaard

Then you would like Unobtainable:
http://www.cooledpc.com/build/224

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Drew7

Personally, I would have went with the AMD HD 7850. Especially the CORE Edition by XFX for $179.99 (New Egg)... Way faster than the GPU you all chose. And overclocks nicely with AMD Catalyst. One review got it up to 1Ghz, stable.

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turbogamer1000

got my msi 7850 up to 1.2ghz stable

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Zefram0911

You're out of your mind if you think a 7850 beats a 670. The 670 trounces the 7850 in virtually every benchmark. It's not even close. A more fair comparison might be a 7970 and even then, at stock, the 670 trades blows with the 7970 in many games. But when it wins, it wins by a lot. I'm assuming, budget wasn't really a concern here, so performance/price ratios don't matter.

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Drew7

Oh damn! My bad... Honestly. I mis-read. I thought they were using the GTX 460, NOT the 670. In which case you're right. Either way... I love my 7850 :)

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Drew7

Damn! The GTX 670 is also WWWAAAAYYYYY more expensive than the HD 7850!!! For $179.99, I'm more than happy!

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Drew7

Actually, I just looked-up a comparison between the GTX 670, the HD 7970, AND the HD 7950... BOTH AMD cards beat the 670. Eh, whatever. I ::Heart:: AMD :)

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Andrew.Hodge

You know max pc. They can't use amd parts. Not expensive enough for them.

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Bean Bandit

Yea it seems it's more about what cost the most vs the best performance. lol

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Drew7

LOL! eNvidia probably pays them to use their parts. Wouldn't surprise me. Whatever. I never understood these people who need the best, anyway. That new released $500 graphics card is gonna be obsolete in like 3 months. My 7850 can play anything in far better detail than an XBOX 360, or a PS3... That's really all I care about. Hell, a 7850 is like 2.5 XBOX 360s, power-wise.

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Angelman0401

Nice build. In case I missed it, what's the total price on this build? Also, isn't the benchmarks chart messed up? Shouldn't the numbers on the right side be on the left as the zero point numbers? The only thing left to do with this machine is to give it away....

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Andrew.Hodge

Nice crapple case. Honestly, it looks like a gimpy mac pro. I think I'm in hate. As for everything else, I really like it. The specs are strong, and the build quality is great.

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Alfaa

If you don't like the look of the feet, they easily pop off to make it a smaller box. It actually looks quite good without the feet, too.

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don2041

How much it cost

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457R4L

I have the same mobo but sprung for the sg08 case, also you can save more space and money by going for a msata ssd. For a serious modification you could even remove the wifi/bt module and replace with a mpcie tv tuner such as http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816321017&Tpk=mini%20pci-e%20tv%20tuner and even use the antenna.

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chippy121

Don't you mean Core i5 3570k?

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joshnorem

Yes, we did. Thanks for the help!

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tweeve

I like it.

I have been thinking of making my next rig as a small gaming rig that is easy to transport. I will have to give that case a serious look when I go to build.

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