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Mini ITX Upgrade

gaming and blu ray

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#1 thefonz

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:58

My current HTPC setup connected to a 42'' LG screen has served me well the past year and a bit.

However now I find myself wanting more and more to watch blu ray's and connect to my Steam Account for some gaming action from the sofa (I have a PS3 but i like the steam indie games).

Current setup is this which is fine for watching basic tv shows and movies but absolutely not powerful enough for high def or even the simplest gaming.
What I want is to keep as much of what's there as possible, ideally just buy a new processor and an actual graphics card and keep the rest...so what do you think?

Link to the mobo is here:

http://www.gigabyte....spx?pid=3681#ov


MB Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB 3
RAM Corsair 4GB DDR3
HD Western Digital Green 2TB
Power Supply Corsair CX-430 V2
Case Lian Li PC-Q11 Black HTPC USB 3.0

Advice welcome as always!


#2 abysal

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 06:08

Unfortunately your board does not have an upgradable processor, so you will have to upgrade the board as well as get a CPU. Keeping everything else as is, you'll probably want to stay with the mini-itx form factor.

Your options are to go with either an Intel socket 1155 mini-itx paired with an Ivy Bridge i3 CPU to get the HD4000 built in video; which should handle most Steam indie games fine.

Or the other option is to with with an AMD FM2 platform and one of their A-Series CPUs which will provide very good built in graphics that can handle more games better.

AMD build:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157340 - $90 - FM2 motherboard
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819113280 - $130 - A10 5800k Quad Core - 3.8 GHz with Radeon HD 7660D graphics

Intel Build:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157310 - $90 - Socket 1155 motherboard
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819116774 - $145 - Ivy Bridge i3-3225 Dual Core - 3.3 GHz with HD4000 graphics


Whats your budget for the upgrade?

#3 OP thefonz

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 06:54

Definitely go with more power if oaaible as I might boot up half life 2 or dishonoured T some point so would be nice to run at a semi decent graphics setting.

Ance I am in Australia our prices are insane so if I can get the all in upgrade to fit in the box for around 300 AUD that would be ideal but I could maybe push it a little bit...

The mini itx form factor certainly suits me...

#4 OP thefonz

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 23:31

Ok did some research and i want to build a proper gaming mini itx...here's what i've got sofar buying both new and using what i already have...


ASRock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX Motherboard
ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II 2GB OC
BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case Black
Intel Core i5 3570K

RAM Corsair 4GB DDR3
HD Western Digital Green 2TB
Power Supply Corsair CX-430 V2

Opinions? Would my current 430v power supply be enough?

#5 abysal

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 02:20

Looks like a good build. I would get a better power supply; The power draw of the 660 Ti is said to be around 140 watt to 300? watts. The 300 watt number seems high, I don't know how they tested it. The 2nd link seems to show more reasonable power draw, and is in line with what i remember reading else where.

http://www.techspot....-ti/page11.html
http://www.tomshardw...ng,3283-14.html

I'd estimate the rest of your system will draw maybe 80 - 150 watts. I would get a 500 - 550 watt PSU to go with this build to be safe.

#6 OP thefonz

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:57

What would you build :)

#7 neoadorable

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 09:06

fonz, get a nice 500W power supply from Corsair, SeaSonic, or Cooler Master, Delta etc if you want something cheaper. you need min 500W to be safe with that build.

#8 OP thefonz

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:46

EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB
Corsair CX-600 V3 Power Supply
Samsung 840 Series 120GB SSD Retail Box
ASRock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX Motherboard
BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case Black
Intel Core i5 3570K

RAM Corsair 4GB DDR3
HD Western Digital Green 2TB
Power Supply Corsair CX-430 V2

Howzzat?
That would all come in at a cool 1000 AUD...if I can get it below 800 then i'm happy...not sure though.
Basically i would want to play my steam games and that includes cod black ops 2, dishonoured and a few other older games...

#9 OP thefonz

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:06

So here is what I settled on...opinion?


4GB DDR3 Corsair RAM
ASRock Z11E Itx mini mobo
Intel Core i5 3570k
Corsair 450w psu
Lian Li Q11 Black
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB OC


Only thing is that psu may not be strong enough...

#10 hjf288

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:29

I run a 2600k with GTX 560 Ti (Overclocked) 16GB RAM, 5 hard drives and 2 SSDs - My peak draw running including my monitor is below 400W,.

So tbh I think you'll be fine as long as the Corsair PSU can deliver around 400W on the 12V side.. hell probably less but was being quite generous with the numbers.

#11 clearlynotjoe

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:12

MB Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB 3


I had this exact board (notice the past tense...) - it was really slow and ran really hot. Normal operating temp was about 50C, and would get up to 70C under load. For all the heat, was really really slow. Dumped it & got the ASRock FM2A75M-ITX with the AMD A8-5500 with 8GB of ram (and a generic 300w psu) - running Windows Server 2012 with HyperV no problem. Its much much faster, runs a lot cooler (right now CPU is sitting at 25C~). The only downside is cost - the new mb & cpu cost about $170 ($30 more than the E350), and because the A8-5500 draws more power, my power bill should be a little higher per month, but honestly, I don't see a real difference. I didn't get an aftermarket GPU since this is more of a file server/play-with-WS2012 machine, but if it were to be converted to a gaming rig, it would be less likely to bottleneck any good GPU like the E350 surely would.

Much happier now - suggest (as the others on this thread have) that you get something a bit more powerful.

#12 OP thefonz

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:32

Hmm ok.any suggestion on a psu modular maybe to get?

Agree on the E350, it's been great for a while but literally watching a simple high def youtube video didn't even work.

The Gtx650 ti is an awesome purchase also by the looks of it...

#13 Ulpian

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:03

I just made my own ITX home server. Well, I failed to upgrade BIOS via internet (Asrock, btw. always upgrade from USB, never from internet), so I'm forced to use my server as home computer temporarly. I even tried playing some games. All indie games are OK so far.

So I have:
Asrock B75M-ITX
Celeron G550
8GB Corsair 1600 CL9
Be quiet! 300W
CoolerMaster ELITE 120
SSD Kingston 300+ 60GB (main, SATA3)
HDD WD RED 3TB (better lifespan than Green, 24/7 ready)
Prolimatech Samuel 17

I never wanted to spend too much money or make my computer power-hungry. It is mainly home server, backup station, dedicated downloader, and in the future: virtualization playgroung.

What can I recommend you?

1. I suggest staying with Intel
2. Abolutely don't buy Intel Atom or AMD E-xxxx
3. I really recommend SSD as primary (only?) disk. It is totally quiet, needs less power and... it is ultra fast. I recommend Windows 8 with metro stripped, start menu enabled. Computer will boot in seconds :>
4. Depending on how big is your case and how much money you have I recommend you PSU with removable cables.http://www.bequiet.com/en/powersupply/248 otherwise 300W is sufficent if you don't use dedicated graphic card.
5. If you choose Intel, then give i3-3225 (it has HD4000 graphic card) a try and check if your game works correctly. If yes, then don't buy dedicated card. Buying I5/I7 is overkill for HTPC IMO. My celeron plays 1080P x264 content and I can't see any shuttering.
6. RAM is SO cheap, so you can buy 2x4GB. Your integrated cards performance depends on ram, processor will support max 1600MHz, so buy 2x4GB 1600 CL9 (less CL=faster). Don;t forget to update BIOS to latest version, download latest drivers (don't depend on CD only) and enable XMP (1600MHz ram). Also, I recommend disabling SWAP (pagefile), especially on SSD disks. To do it safely, 8GB+ ram will be best.

BUT! If you choose AMD, buy FM2 like clearlynotjoe said and 1866MHz RAM.
7. If you want SILENT! PC, then forget AMD (unless you have space and money for very big CPU heatsink). Use any IVY Bridge Intel processor. Because my PC case is flawed by design (CPU heatsink just under PSU) I tried passive cooling. Well, after 15min stress I reached 80oC, so I decided to use fan. I use it up side down (normally it is wrong), on ~5V, so everything else, inluding HDD, makes more noise. Maximum temperature now is ~50oC. It is so silent, that I hear HDD vibration more than fans. Even electronic elements do more noise (yes, they do, you can hear them well from your dedicated graphic card under load)
8. Forget intel T processors (underclocked, you can do it yourself).

#14 OP thefonz

thefonz

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  • Location: Sydney

Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:34

Great advice!

Here's what've gone with...



1 x ASRock Z77E-ITX Mini ITX
Motherboard $165.00

1 x Samsung 840 Series 120GB
SSD Retail Box $105.00

1 x Intel Core i5 3570 $205.00

1 x Silverstone Strider Plus
600W ST60F-P $109.00

1 x G.Skill Ares
F3-1600C9D-8GAO 8GB
(2x4GB) DDR3 $55.00

1 x Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650
Ti 1GB OC $165.00


Should get all that fit into my Lian Li Q11




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