Author Topic: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build  (Read 25528 times)

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2016, 04:34:04 PM »
Looks good but I'd suggest you have a look at TBG's recent gaming peripherals shootout for some other ideas regarding mice and keyboards. You've picked some pretty old models.

Yes that was the last thing I'm touching up.

I know about the newer Corsair Strafe MX Red but liked the more modern look of the K70. The Strafe has a more plain look but I'll switch it just for the cost offset. The system total is now at $2,018.

Keyboard: Corsair Gaming STRAFE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Red           CH-9000088-NA   $90   Newegg
Mouse:    Corsair Raptor M45 USB Wired Gaming Mouse                                           CH-9000052-NA   $60   Amazon

I like backlit key caps for I can use it with the room dark but not sure RGB is needed. Also I have to watch out for reports of key caps coating rubbing off. My fingertips must have alien acid on them! The G15 lasted the longest resisting my evil touch.  Also I only use a wired keyboard and mouse. When I first got my current PC over 8 years ago I bought a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse combo. My favorite keyboard that I've owned was the Logitech G15 gaming keyboard. My favorite mouse was the Logitech MX518. When that died I replaced it with a G400 mouse which was its updated version. I like the Corsair Raptor M45. I might change the one in my list to that. I don't like the newer RGB version.

What do you think about the Razer keyboards and mice?

[EDIT] I didn't read your winners list and pros and cons. I'll have to review that now. ;) I like that matched Razer keyboard and mouse on looks alone.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 04:42:07 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2016, 05:01:47 PM »
Looks good but I'd suggest you have a look at TBG's recent gaming peripherals shootout for some other ideas regarding mice and keyboards. You've picked some pretty old models.

Yes that was the last thing I'm touching up.

I know about the newer Corsair Strafe MX Red but liked the more modern look of the K70. The Strafe has a more plain look but I'll switch it just for the cost offset. The system total is now at $2,018.

Keyboard: Corsair Gaming STRAFE Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Red           CH-9000088-NA   $90   Newegg
Mouse:    Corsair Raptor M45 USB Wired Gaming Mouse                                           CH-9000052-NA   $60   Amazon

I like backlit key caps for I can use it with the room dark but not sure RGB is needed. Also I have to watch out for reports of key caps coating rubbing off. My fingertips must have alien acid on them! The G15 lasted the longest resisting my evil touch.  Also I only use a wired keyboard and mouse. When I first got my current PC over 8 years ago I bought a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse combo. My favorite keyboard that I've owned was the Logitech G15 gaming keyboard. My favorite mouse was the Logitech MX518. When that died I replaced it with a G400 mouse which was its updated version. I like the Corsair Raptor M45. I might change the one in my list to that. I don't like the newer RGB version.

What do you think about the Razer keyboards and mice?

[EDIT] I didn't read your winners list and pros and cons. I'll have to review that now. ;) I like that matched Razer keyboard and mouse on looks alone.

I have to say, I like the Razer gear a bit more than the Corsair gear. But keep in mind that if you buy the single-color LED products rather than the full-RGB, Razer is green and Corsair is red. You may like one or the other more. Both are effective backlights for typing (assuming you don't use maximum brightness, which is blinding!).

If you go with Corsair for looks or name or any other reason, note that the Corsair Raptor M65, which features a fancy metal frame and an extra sniper button, happens to be on sale right now, making it a bit cheaper than the M45. It also uses a laser rather than optical sensor, but I'd consider that a wash - both have their pros and cons.

As for your two concerns on keyboard wear and mouse feel, here are my impressions:
(1) The Logitech G910 and Corsair are both using a "soft-touch" coating on their keycaps. The Razer and G.Skill KM780 use a hard plastic coating. I can't say for sure which will ultimately wear faster, but I'd guess hard plastic is more durable.
(2) In terms of mice with a shape most similar to the MX518/G400, I'd go with the Razer or the Logitech G502. The Corsair models are really different. I like them in some situations (fast game play), but they aren't as comfortable for daily use. If it says anything, the mice I have hooked up to TBG's test benches right now are the Logitech and Razer.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 05:03:51 PM by Ari Altman »

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2016, 06:55:56 PM »
I have to say, I like the Razer gear a bit more than the Corsair gear. But keep in mind that if you buy the single-color LED products rather than the full-RGB, Razer is green and Corsair is red. You may like one or the other more. Both are effective backlights for typing (assuming you don't use maximum brightness, which is blinding!).

If you go with Corsair for looks or name or any other reason, note that the Corsair Raptor M65, which features a fancy metal frame and an extra sniper button, happens to be on sale right now, making it a bit cheaper than the M45. It also uses a laser rather than optical sensor, but I'd consider that a wash - both have their pros and cons.

As for your two concerns on keyboard wear and mouse feel, here are my impressions:
(1) The Logitech G910 and Corsair are both using a "soft-touch" coating on their keycaps. The Razer and G.Skill KM780 use a hard plastic coating. I can't say for sure which will ultimately wear faster, but I'd guess hard plastic is more durable.
(2) In terms of mice with a shape most similar to the MX518/G400, I'd go with the Razer or the Logitech G502. The Corsair models are really different. I like them in some situations (fast game play), but they aren't as comfortable for daily use. If it says anything, the mice I have hooked up to TBG's test benches right now are the Logitech and Razer.

At the moment I'm checking out Cougar wired gaming keyboards and mice. I'll have to research the reviews to make sure they're not crap. They look pretty nice. For example the Cougar 600K mechanical Cherry-MX/LED keyboard (brushed aluminum structure) and Cougar 530M Silver gaming mouse. The colors go together I think. They have braided cables too. Some of these come out sometime in 2016.


Also the Cougar Attack X3 mechanical keyboard (red LED keys) goes well with the Cougar 500M black gaming mouse.

« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 07:32:28 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2016, 07:13:50 PM »
The Cougar stuff is decent, but Cougar is a lower-tier manufacturer. It's playing out of its league in this price range

The G.Skill KM780 that I reviewed is based on the same platform but is much better for the exact same price.

Here's the matching MX780 Mouse.

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2016, 07:34:44 PM »
They are a little too crazy looking for me LOL. I'll probably stick with a Corsair K70 and M45.

I'll take my old G15 and MX518 any day if they were still around. :)

Has anyone here actually built in the Phanteks Evolv ITX?

« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 01:47:19 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2016, 03:38:23 PM »
Comparing (semi-scale graphic mockup) build of the Phanteks Evolv ITX case - black exterior & interior vs red interior. Which is your pick?
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2016, 03:58:40 PM »
Comparing (semi-scale graphic mockup) build of the Phanteks Evolv ITX case - black exterior & interior vs red interior. Which is your pick?


I'd go with the Evolv ITX in Red.

Here's why: while it looks a bit overdone in the mockup, the side panel actually covers most of the red PSU shroud, and once you have the system full of cables and other gear, you'll just get glimpses of the red back panel.

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2016, 05:56:21 PM »
I'm torn between the two. The black interior would look nice with red cables and vice versa. My wife and daughter like the red one.
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2016, 07:34:42 PM »
I'm torn between the two. The black interior would look nice with red cables and vice versa. My wife and daughter like the red one.

You have your answer right there!

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2016, 05:41:20 AM »
I wish others would chime in too. We can't be the only ones interested in building in this case. Maybe these graphic mockup examples will help others choose as well. I've posted the same in other PC groups and forums and get about the same 50/50 split of opinion for both color schemes.

Myself, I'm still leaning for basic black which goes with everything. Plus I'm thinking about purchasing the Evolv ITX "HDD Bundle" direct from Phanteks for $85 which only comes in black. That includes a 140mm fan and HDD tray. You can also get the bundle with an SSD tray instead. For that price you are getting the tray for free.

I'm thinking this because I'm also buying 2 more 140mm fans from them to replace the stock 200mm intake fan and insure positive pressure to keep dust out. If I don't like the mid-plate (Phanteks logo piece covering the end of the GPU) for the HDD mount (thinking of removing the HDD rack assembly below) then I might re-purpose the mid-plate w/tray upside down attached to the removable roof rack to put a HDD there out of the airflow path.

Also I will attach 1 or 2 standoff(s) to the PSU shroud vent hole(s) under the GPU to level it and prevent sag stress on the motherboard PCIe slot.

Anyway that's where I'm coming from and hope this helps others in planning their build to make it better than out of the box.
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2016, 06:15:58 AM »
I've added a direct link in the Buyer's Guide to your air cooling thread. Hopefully that will generate some more traffic to this interesting discussion! Truth is that most people are still looking at the smaller ITX cases for a gaming build, such as the Silverstone RVZ02 and SG13, as well as the more traditional Corsair 250D.

The Phanteks Evolv ITX is unique in being able to fit big air coolers, and people are probably just catching on to this option. I'm sure your research will help plenty of folks over time, don't worry!

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2016, 03:06:27 PM »
I guess the immediate rival to the Evolv ITX is the new Fractal Design Define Nano S which is slightly smaller. It has a couple issues though.
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2016, 03:41:54 PM »
I guess the immediate rival to the Evolv ITX is the new Fractal Design Define Nano S which is slightly smaller. It has a couple issues though.



The Define Nano S, which hasn't yet been released, is more like existing cases than the Phanteks Evolv ITX. With CPU cooler clearance of only 160mm, it can't accept any high-end 140mm air coolers, and with a 160mm PSU limit, you have to be very careful about PSU selection as well, with most high-end models not fitting.

It certainly offers a different style than the Evolv - I'd say that if there were a reason to choose it over the Evolv, that would be it, although I prefer the Evolv personally. Given that it will be $90, it also comes out quite a bit more expensive than the Evolv.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 06:31:31 PM by Ari Altman »

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2016, 04:14:15 PM »
Yeah I agree with all points made. I like the Evolv ITX too. Definite sex appeal for a case.  Here is an excellent review of the Phanteks Evolv ITX.

The Mod Zoo - http://themodzoo.com/2015/03/phanteks-evolv-itx-case-review/

« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 07:28:53 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2016, 09:31:07 PM »
Yup, looks good. But you still haven't seen it built with an air cooler. I say go for it and tell us how it works!