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The Cutest Gaming Machine! Mini-ITX budget gaming build.
by Reflect
Permalink:   (16 comments)
Description

I wanted to build the smallest possible gaming machine so I set out to find the smallest possible mini-ITX case. The Silverstone SG05 is literally the smallest case that will fit a 2 slot standard GPU so that's what I went with. The case requires a SFX form factor PSU only so I went with the largest wattage available - only 450 watts.

The build was really cramped and there was pretty much no possible way to manage the cables. Everything barely fit. CPU temps get a bit high under load (72 C) and on 100% load with prime 95 go up to 82C. I'm a bit worried. GPU temps are wonderful even on 100% load.

For under $800 I think I did pretty well.

CPU: I need a low power consumption cheap i5 so I went with the i5-3350p. Picked up an open box (but never installed) one on e-bay for $130.

Motherboard: Cheapest motherboard with SATA III and USB 3.0 Can't overclock in such a small case so I got H77 instead of Z77.

Memory: 8 GB of 1600 Mhz is the sweet spot for a budget build.

Storage: 120 GB SSD as a boot drive and a 500 GB storage drive

Video Card: I wanted to find the best performing GPU that would fit in this case (10 inch length limit). I thought a 7950 was out of the question since they were all over 10.2". Then I came across this particular 7950 that is only 9.4"!! It is the only 7950 under 10" that exists. The only better GPUs that will fit in this case are a 7970 also made by XFX that is under 10" and a GTX 760 but I ruled these out as they cost $50-80 more than a 7950.

Note this is the GPU listed in the build is not the one I used. It is the XFX DD Radeon 7950- TDKC. PC Parts picker doesn't have that particular model though. Price is after rebates and selling the Radeon Gold rewards card for $40 on e-bay.

Optical Drive: Case only fits a slim optical drive. You make sure to buy an adapter for it if you're using this case.

OS: Got a Windows 7 key off e-bay for $50

Part List
Details
Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.1GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle40.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load72.0° C
XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate800MHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate1.25Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle40.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load68.0° C
Comments
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Sorted by:
 
 
sketch24 [6 Builds] 1 point 12 months ago

Nice build.

 
 
onlinefreak [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

Sweet price for this build!

 
 
Liam81 1 point 12 months ago

Hi Reflect, I was looking at your build and when I read that you were trying to build the smallest gaming PC I wondered why? In gaming we typically push our systems which results in more stress and heat which by the nature of the beast is detrimental to the health of our components. Did you do this because of space limitations? I ask because as gathered the parts it seems that the PSU is lacking in power for the GPU. I am curious......

 
 
Reflect [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

I just think big computers aren't as attractive as small ones. The total power draw from the socket I measured at 422 Watts so it's using only 337 Watts. That's enough headroom.

 
 
Liam81 1 point 12 months ago

Thanks, because when I read the specs n the XFX website they suggest a minimum 500W PSU or their own 650W.

 
 
Enlyten [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

Smart move going with the 3350p to save money. +1

[comment deleted]
 
 
Reflect [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

The case has a huge vent on the side where the GPU is enough for both fans. The case was designed with higher power parts in mind but it's still small so there are some thermal issues.

 
 
dkevelx 0 points 12 months ago

At stock clock speeds your idle temperature is 55 degrees? Even for a mini-itx case, that seems high. This will be difficult in such a small build, but I would try getting more air to flow over the cooler by moving around some of the cables.

Other than that, it's a lot of power for such a small build. And at a low price point too.

 
 
Reflect [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

I just remeasured the idle temps. They are actually around 40-42 C. I'm still worried about the load temps though. Should I get an aftermarket cooler?

 
 
dkevelx 3 points 12 months ago

Ok, 40-42 is more or less around normal for a case with limited air flow options.

Keep in mind, Prime95 is an unrealistic load test. No application is ever going to push your CPU that hard, especially not games. If your load temp is around 70 or so degrees and you aren't pushing it that hard for extended periods of time (like 24 hours+) than you should be fine.

The thermal limit on these things are pretty high, after all (105c, I think before it throttles).

If you really want to lower temps, then the cooler that DjArtifact suggested is pretty good for an ITX build. Though I think airflow would benefit you more than another cooler, to be honest. Maybe you can try and ghetto rig a 120mm fan on the right panel as exhaust? Take some of that hot air out of the case.

Edit: Curious as to why I got a downvote considering I was only giving logical suggestions.

 
 
Reflect [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

I thought about adding a case fan, but I don't think its an airflow issue. When I ran the system with the cover off, temps were the same.

 
 
dkevelx 1 point 12 months ago

That could still very well be an airflow issue. If the air from the front fan is not reaching the motherboard, it makes sense that the temps are the same with the panel on or off.

If the air from the front fan was reaching the mobo, it would passively vent out of the sides, but it seems like the heat is just kinda not moving away from the computer at all.

I have seen a computer in this case that runs much cooler, but that computer has Gelid aftermarket fans and an aftermarket cooler. In case you're curious, its Awesomesaucenews on youtube, the temps are in the video titled Kyle's New HTPC Part III (he works for Newegg TV). His gaming load temp is in the 50's.

Like I said, 70 degrees isn't that bad. It's actually pretty close to average. You should worry if it keep peaking over 80. The 55 degree idle temp was high, but you said that was an error and 40-42 degrees is well within the safe idling threshold. If you really want to lower temps, then invest in an aftermarket cooler, or higher powered fans (though Silverstones 120's are pretty good) or both.

 
 
Reflect [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

There are no places to mount case fans on this case though!

 
 
dkevelx 1 point 12 months ago

Yeah, you'd have to get pretty creative with really smaller or slim fans or just get a high CFM front fan and just passively exhaust out the side. Like Gentle Typhoons.

That HDD cradle is in a really unfortunate position as it blocks half the front fan. Though if I recall correctly, you can't move it anywhere else.

As of right now, I wouldn't worry about temps. They're ok.

 
 
DjArtifact 1 point 12 months ago

A Noctua NHL9i would be a lot quieter if the noise is bothering you.

 
 
SquirmSquirrel 1 point 12 months ago

It would only benefit you, And since you moved the cables and still have high temps then it's even more critical.