Author Topic: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build  (Read 61568 times)

Ari Altman

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The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« on: March 04, 2014, 01:47:57 PM »
Here's the thread to discuss the "Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build" on The Tech Buyer's Guru.

The original article can be found here:

http://techbuyersguru.com/miniITX.php

Feel free to start your own threads to discuss your personal builds in this category!
« Last Edit: March 06, 2014, 08:04:55 AM by Ari Altman »

Relfar

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 06:50:27 PM »
I have a question about the build. The graphics card in question, at least on the supplier side, recommends at least 600W. What would this recommendation be accommodating? Is this more as a benchmark for full-sized builds? 

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 07:14:20 PM »
I have a question about the build. The graphics card in question, at least on the supplier side, recommends at least 600W. What would this recommendation be accommodating? Is this more as a benchmark for full-sized builds?

This is a great question.  600W is a pretty common specification for a high-end video card, and it's actually unnecessary in this situation. Here are the two reasons video card manufacturers set a high wattage requirement for video cards:

(1) not knowing what other equipment you have in your system, manufacturers have to compensate by setting a wattage requirement that will work even with a system full of very high power draw components.
(2) historically, many power supply manufacturers over-rated their products, leading to power supplies that could not actually provide the necessary wattage for video cards despite very high overall wattage levels. These power supplies often provided the power over many different rails, adding up to a high wattage, without having sufficient power on the 12-Volt rail used by the video card.

Luckily, there are two reasons the power supply suggested for this build (a Seasonic 550W) will work just fine. First, Seasonic is one of the very best manufacturers on the market, and when it says a power supply can provide a certain amount of wattage, it is almost always below the actual limits of the unit. Furthermore, most of the wattage on today's quality power supplies is provided on a single 12V rail, so it's all available to the video card.

Another major factor in decreasing wattage requirements is the incredible efficiency gains achieved by Intel on its CPUs and chipsets. A modern 4670K and its chipset will use only about 100-110W under load. Older systems, such as the AMD FX series or Intel Core i7-900 series, would easily approach 200W. That extra wattage is now available to be used by the rest of the system. Thus, a modern PC needs about 50-100W less overall  than a PC just a few years ago, meaning builders can safely spec 500-550W power supplies without fear of overloading them, at least when only one video card is used (as is the case in a Mini-ITX system).

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 02:51:53 AM »
Brilliant build. One thing that I'm missing is some benchmarks. Perhaps some frame rate of current gaming titles at 1920x1200 resolution?
Thanks again for all your awesome work and amazon links!

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2015, 06:23:26 AM »
Brilliant build. One thing that I'm missing is some benchmarks. Perhaps some frame rate of current gaming titles at 1920x1200 resolution?
Thanks again for all your awesome work and amazon links!

Glad you like the build!

The benchmarks for this system would be identical to any other system running a 4690K and a GTX 970, give or take a few percentage points based on varying overclocks.

TBG will soon be putting up some benchmarks for the 4790K/GTX 980 combo, the optional upgrades for this system. Look for those sometime early next month!

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2015, 07:04:00 AM »
Hm, from all the YouTube videos I found it seems thatís more than enough to plan anything current on the highest settings at 1080p.
Any clue whether it would behave similarly at 1920x1200? If not, Iíll wait for your article.
Cheers!

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2015, 08:05:37 AM »
Oh, one more thing. Iíve noticed that for "EVGA Z97 StingerĒ the Amazon UK link leads to an "ASRock Z97E-ITX/AC MotherboardĒ.
Is that intentional? Why so?

There is an asterisk next to some of the links. What does that indicate?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2015, 02:42:29 PM »
Oh, one more thing. Iíve noticed that for "EVGA Z97 StingerĒ the Amazon UK link leads to an "ASRock Z97E-ITX/AC MotherboardĒ.
Is that intentional? Why so?

There is an asterisk next to some of the links. What does that indicate?

The build guides often substitute different products in Europe due to price and availability (that's what the asterisk means). The EVGA is a particularly good deal in the U.S., but the Asrock Z97E-ITX is a fantastic board as well and is a better deal in Europe. It's the board I actually used in the Project ITX article linked to in the guides.

By the way, while I used to bench at 1920x1200, I don't anymore because it's no longer a common resolution. It will perform about 10% below 1920x1080 in most games, which is not enough to require a video card upgrade. The next step up is 2560x1440, which usually does require an upgrade to get equivalent performance.

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2015, 01:37:18 AM »
Awesome, thanks for that information!
What about future-proofness of such a build? This is probably going to be a naive question, but can it be extended with an additional GPU and linking those in SLI mode? I guess a more powerful power supply unit would be required.
In case thatís not possible, then what else? Get a new GPU in a few years? Or scrap the whole setup and build it from scratch in two/three years? Whatís your take upgrading such a build and whether itís possible / feasible.

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2015, 07:14:00 AM »
Awesome, thanks for that information!
What about future-proofness of such a build? This is probably going to be a naive question, but can it be extended with an additional GPU and linking those in SLI mode? I guess a more powerful power supply unit would be required.
In case thatís not possible, then what else? Get a new GPU in a few years? Or scrap the whole setup and build it from scratch in two/three years? Whatís your take upgrading such a build and whether itís possible / feasible.

While no mini-ITX system can fit more than one video card (so going SLI is impossible), upgrading the video card will definitely extend the life of the system. Video cards generally become outdated in 1.5-2 years, meaning that they can no longer play new games at the detail levels possible when they were purchased. The CPU should be viable for at least 3-4 years, although for a bit more future-proofing I'd suggest the Core  i7-4790K over the i5-4690K. CPUs advance much, much slower than video cards.

This is just about the fastest system you can fit in a mini-ITX case. For the ultimate ITX build, you'd have to go with the ASRock X99 ITX board and the six-core i7-5820K, but that is a very niche solution. It really isn't necessary for gaming, and requires significant overclocking to perform well in games.

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2015, 02:40:23 AM »
It seems that ASRock X99 ITX + i7-5820K is a bit of an overkill for my current needs. I was thinking of getting the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SC + i7-4790K combo.
Looking at benchmarks posted online that seems to be a solid combo. Iím a casual gamer here, that enjoys playing Diablo III with his cousin from time to time in full details what seems the the challenge for my trusty macbook from 2012.
Would 16GB of RAM make sense instead of the proposed 8?

In the meanwhile I found this :: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/building-the-ultimate-matx-sli-pc-with-intels-5960/1100-6423349/
Priced at $3.7k it might a wee bit too much :)

Thanks for all the advice!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 04:18:26 AM by bpawlak »

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2015, 07:14:07 AM »
It seems that ASRock X99 ITX + i7-5820K is a bit of an overkill for my current needs. I was thinking of getting the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SC + i7-4790K combo.
Looking at benchmarks posted online that seems to be a solid combo. Iím a casual gamer here, that enjoys playing Diablo III with his cousin from time to time in full details what seems the the challenge for my trusty macbook from 2012.
Would 16GB of RAM make sense instead of the proposed 8?

In the meanwhile I found this :: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/building-the-ultimate-matx-sli-pc-with-intels-5960/1100-6423349/
Priced at $3.7k it might a wee bit too much :)

Thanks for all the advice!

Yes, indeed, that awesome system you found is truly a bit more than you need!

If you're just a casual gamer playing Diablo 3 on a screen with a 1920x1200 resolution, I would suggest saving a bit of money and going with the GTX 970 rather than the GTX 980. The 980 is 15-20% faster, but you don't need the extra speed in Diablo 3. If you were playing first-person shooters and had a higher resolution, than you'd notice the difference, but otherwise, you won't. If you just want it for future-proofing to play new games in the future, than it's not a bad idea, but realize that you do not need a GTX 980 for Diablo III.

As for the RAM, the one nice thing about getting 16GB is that you're already at maximum capacity. If you bought 8GB and wanted to upgrade, you'd have to remove the existing 2x4GB set and install a 2x8GB set. Keep in mind that again, for casual gaming and typical computer uses, 8GB is more than enough. But if you want more future-proofing, 16GB is the way to go. Everything requires more RAM over time, not just games, so it will eventually help, just not so much today.

I personally run a 4690K in my ITX system because it uses a bit less power and generates less heat than a 4790K, but then again, I use a passive heatsink to cool it. If you went with a liquid cooler, the 4790K would be no problem at all, and yes, it is more future-proof than a 4690K.

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2015, 07:40:40 AM »
Ari, thank you so much for all your great answers!

A few more questions from me:
1) Liquid cooler, like the Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX?
2) Any clue how loud this system is? Approximately, I donít need super exact numbers :-)
3) The guide mentions 'EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SCí - why not the ACX edition? Too noisy? Not necessary to have those additional fans?
4) Perhaps unrelated to the build, but my Dell U2713HM has a DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2, and a HDMI socket. The Displayport is already occupied. Does the DVI-D or HDMI support 2560x1440 output?

Oh, and by the way. I was totally wrong about the resolution, itís 2560x1440 and not 1920x1200. Will that setup work decently with 2560x1440 resolution?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2015, 12:08:33 PM »
Ari, thank you so much for all your great answers!

A few more questions from me:
1) Liquid cooler, like the Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX?
2) Any clue how loud this system is? Approximately, I donít need super exact numbers :-)
3) The guide mentions 'EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SCí - why not the ACX edition? Too noisy? Not necessary to have those additional fans?
4) Perhaps unrelated to the build, but my Dell U2713HM has a DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2, and a HDMI socket. The Displayport is already occupied. Does the DVI-D or HDMI support 2560x1440 output?

Oh, and by the way. I was totally wrong about the resolution, itís 2560x1440 and not 1920x1200. Will that setup work decently with 2560x1440 resolution?

Great questions - here are your answers:

(1) The Corsair Hydro H100i GTX is a high-end liquid cooler, but it will only fit in cases with room for a 240mm radiator, like the Corsair Obsidian 250D. This type of case is always going to be very big in terms of mini-ITX, so if you want something smaller, like the Cooler Master Elite 130, you'll want to go with the Corsair Hydro H60.

To be completely clear, you do not need any aftermarket cooling if you will not be overclocking, especially for the Core i5-4690K, which runs very, very cool. Because the Core i7-4790K is basically pre-overclocked by Intel, further overclocking using the stock cooler will be nearly impossible.

(2) The noise produced by a PC is entirely based on the fans and coolers in use. Liquid cooling tends to be louder at idle and quieter at load than air cooling, and therefore I only recommend it for "Extreme" systems, like the one you've been looking at. But if you are not an extreme user and just want a high-end ITX system, I'd flip over to TBG's Gaming/HTPC ITX Guide. The systems profiled in that guide can't use most liquid cooling systems, but actually work fairly well with low-profile air coolers. Using an air cooler, you'll never exceed about 44dB from six inches away, based on my testing, and it will usually be a lot lower.

(3) For ITX systems, it's always more straight-forward to use blower-style video cards that exhaust hot air out of the case, like the EVGA GTX 980 SC. This is particularly true for ITX cases that have little to no exhaust out the top of the case, like the Elite 130. Its top vent is a power supply intake, not an exhaust, and an open-air video card like the EVGA 980 ACX will quickly fill the case with hot air, and the CPU area in particular, which is not ideal. It will typically be quieter than a blower fan, but makes setting up your overall cooling scenario much, much harder in a case with little exhaust airflow.

(4) As for your monitor, you're now talking about a fairly high resolution. As it happens, the Dell U2713HM is the exact monitor I am using right now to type this message, and it's fantastic! Even with its higher resolution, for Diablo 3, you really don't need anything more than a GTX 970 (or even a GTX 960), but for future games at the native resolution of the 2713HM, yes, a GTX 980 is preferable. And note: HDMI will not output at this resolution. Only DisplayPort and and DVI-D support it.

bpawlak

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Re: The TBG Extreme Gaming Mini-ITX Build
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 04:10:49 PM »
What do you guys think about this case http://www.corsair.com/se-fi/graphite-series-380t-portable-mini-itx-case?
Would this build work with it? Or are there any obvious show stoppers here?