Author Topic: TBG's $1,200 Slim Gaming Mini-ITX Build  (Read 19258 times)

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's $1,200 Slim Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #150 on: April 13, 2018, 01:00:21 PM »
Hi Ari,

Would you mind taking a look at a part list and answering a few questions for me?  If you can make some affiliate links for the parts, I'd like to use them to support the site (though for budget reasons I'll probably acquire parts in stages).

Here's the parts list I'm considering:

Case: Silverstone FTZ01S (might already have a link for this from another forum post)
MOBO: ASUS mini-ITX Z370
CPU: Intel 8600K (is there an AMD alternative I could use here?)
Cooler: Noctua NH-L12S OR be quiet! Shadow Rock LP
RAM: Corsair LPX 16GB 3000 or 3200 (whichever is cheaper)
GPU: ??? (please help, more info below)
SSD: Samsung 960 EVO 500GB
PSU: ??? (again, please help)
Optical Drive: Blu Ray/DVD player

I'd like to use this machine to play games in my living room on a 1080p tv.  I'd also like to be able to watch BDs and DVDs without being stuck with the region restrictions that are baked into my current BD player.

Can you give me some advice on the NH-L12S vs the Shadow Rock LP?

As for GPUs, given that I'm limited by my display to 1080p at 60Hz, do I stand to gain anything by going beyond a GTX 1060 6GB card?  Second, is a blower style card preferable for a small case like this one?

Finally, I hear great things about both Corsair and Silverstone's fully modular SFX PSUs.  How should I pick between the two companies?

Thanks in advance for all your help. The little STX machine I built from your guide is still going strong, and I've been wanting to do another build for living room gaming ever since.  You got me hooked!

Welcome back to the TBG Forum, bensrichards! Glad to hear your SFX experience has got you interested in building an ITX machine!

You've picked out some really good parts there. The SilverStone FTZ01S is a truly premium case option. You are going to really like it in terms of its fantastic aesthetics. I also think you're going in the right direction with the 960 Evo, which has dropped in price recently, making it a serious bargain in terms of price/performance. As for RAM, Corsair's Vengeance 3000 is typically $15 less for 16GB versus the 3200 kit, and I don't think there's a reason to spend extra on what's really a nominal performance difference (the tighter timings of the 3000MHz kit make it perform similarly).

Now, as for the coolers, I really like the L12S, which happens to be sold out at the moment. It's a truly modern design, and I think it surpasses the be quiet! model. I like what be quiet! is doing, and spent a lot of time with them at CES 2018, but I do think they are sort of playing catchup with Noctua. Note that you can't mount either of these coolers with the case's side-mounted fan in place above the motherboard, but the Noctua is overall a better fit at 70mm versus 74mm for the be quiet!.

Now, you say you're gaming on a 1080p TV, but that may change. I definitely wouldn't go lower than a GTX 1060 6GB, even if it's slight overkill for 1080p/60hz. The best deal right now is this PNY XLR8 model, which comes factory overclocked and offers a nice cooler.

The power supply is easy: go with the Corsair SF450. Unlike the SilverStone, it has silent operation at low wattage, which I think is very helpful for HTPC use. The SX500-G is better as a high-end gaming PSU.

Note that with this slim chassis, you need a slimline blu-ray drive, and SilverStone is one of the only vendors that offers one with its SST-TOB03. It's a bit expensive, but you probably figured this out already. To get movie playback, you'll want to pick up PowerDVD 17. The issue is that it's still locked down by region, which is really a legal issue, not a technical issue. Not sure you can get around this, but I'll have to leave it to you to explore!

If you wanted to buy this part-by-part, my advice would be to get the case, CPU, motherboard, RAM, SSD, OS, and cooler, and hold off on the blu-ray and graphics card, which together represent 1/3 cost. You don't need either to get the system up and running, as the motherboard has built-in video. While AMD has some very impressive CPUs (including the latest Ryzen 2000-series processors, which I'm currently testing for the big April 19th release!), I like the Core i5-8600K for this build.

As always, thanks for using the affiliate links here to buy the gear. You can find them all in this post, but if you need any others, please let me know.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 01:04:56 PM by Ari Altman »

bensrichards

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Re: TBG's $1,200 Slim Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #151 on: April 16, 2018, 05:41:00 PM »
Thanks for all of this, Ari!  I just pulled the trigger on the case and the 960 EVO.  I figured both of those are a little longer in the tooth than other components, and unlikely to have as many price fluctuations.  I'm really psyched for the case.  I know I paid a premium, but I really wanted it to feel substantial.  I'm also hoping I'll be able to use the case for a while even as other components get upgraded.

I will confess, I did not realize the ASUS Z370 ITX board had reached the $200 mark.  Do you think I would be losing a lot if I went for AsRock's cheaper Z370 board (not the Fatality one)?  I thought it was cool that the ASUS board has a heat sink for M.2 drives, but I'm not sure it's $50 (or more) worth of cool!

Thanks for your help!

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's $1,200 Slim Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #152 on: April 16, 2018, 08:16:18 PM »
Thanks for all of this, Ari!  I just pulled the trigger on the case and the 960 EVO.  I figured both of those are a little longer in the tooth than other components, and unlikely to have as many price fluctuations.  I'm really psyched for the case.  I know I paid a premium, but I really wanted it to feel substantial.  I'm also hoping I'll be able to use the case for a while even as other components get upgraded.

I will confess, I did not realize the ASUS Z370 ITX board had reached the $200 mark.  Do you think I would be losing a lot if I went for AsRock's cheaper Z370 board (not the Fatality one)?  I thought it was cool that the ASUS board has a heat sink for M.2 drives, but I'm not sure it's $50 (or more) worth of cool!

Thanks for your help!

Glad to hear you've started picking up some of your components. In terms of motherboards, yes, the Asus Z370I has jumped in price a bit lately. With the AsRock Z370M-ITX, you lose out on USB 3.1 Type C, DisplayPort out, and the high-end ALC1220 audio. Why not split the difference and get the Gigabyte Z370N? It has the heatsink shield, USB Type-C, and ALC1220, along with DisplayPort. The only thing the Asus really has on it is a better UEFI interface.