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550$ budget BF4/Crysis 3 mITX Fragbox
by candy
Permalink:   (47 comments)

Build went well, made a few noob mistakes, such as not putting the mounting bracket on before putting the motherboard in and things like that.

I just have a few minor complaints: The liquid cooler's pump clicked at first, but then once I maxed out the fan setting for the header that the pump was plugged into, it stopped clicking.

The motherboard's audio has a little bit of static, but when you listen to a game or music you can't notice it at all.

The SSD caching software found the SSD and it cached, but sometimes it randomly crashes and requires you to open the program again.

It may be my fault, but I feel like the 750k shouldn't be running as hot as it is on a liquid cooler. Maybe it's because I touched the top of the CPU and the oils from my finger blocked some of the thermal transfer, but it's not major and it only hit 70 degrees because I had it in prime95 for 30 minutes. During gaming it only hits about 50 degrees.

Good things: Case was amazing despite the size, cable management was easy (in the pictures it may look bad, but that's because all of the cables are on the outer edges of the case, the middle is completely empty for airflow.

The GPU overperforms in its class. It hasn't gone over 59 degrees (in Furmark for 30min) and during gaming it never breaks 42 degrees. I can max out BF4 and almost Crysis 3 (TXAA, Water is set to medium) and it is pretty quiet too.

The PSU is upside down so it exhausts warm air from the inside of the case. It was perfect for a Mini-ITX build and is a perfect gaming PSU due to it's single 12v rail.

The motherboard is great, everything works fine except the audio which had a little static. It managed to survive a thrashing of putting everything together and having to force some cables and stuff into place. Didn't come DOA

Overall a great build and it fit the budget (Went over with the OS)

I got the PSU cheap on a random newegg sale and the GPU for 129$ but in a combo with the RAM I got 17$ off of it so it was a great deal.

Part List
AMD Athlon X4 750K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.4GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle42.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load70.0° C
MSI Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.05Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate4.8GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle26.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load59.0° C
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
dweller12 [2 Builds] 4 points 7 months ago

When you notice the static, are you using the port on the front of the case or the motherboard output?

Very nice build.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 3 points 7 months ago

I've tried bluetooth and the front audio, but not the actual headers. The audio ports on the IO work fine. Maybe I just messed up the front panel audio header or something.

Edit: Nevermind. For some reason it started working :P

NH4ClO4 [1 Build] 4 points 7 months ago

Front panel audio is almost always pretty staticy- noticed that with my build. What happens is the connector acts as a giant antenna, picking up everything that could possibly interfere in the computer with the audio. As a result you get serious signal degradation along the way. Audio out the back panel is so much better, and even if you just extend it with a male-female audio cable it would still sound better than the front-panel.

Microshrimp [1 Build] 3 points 7 months ago

Thank you for pointing this out. I just built (lats week) a similar build to this one (same case, and Intel version of the Gigabyte MB) and I wasn't too confident with the options I had for routing the front audio cable. I haven't actually tested the front audio, but it wouldn't surprise me if it gets some interference. I can't tell from the photos, but it appears that OP has slipped the audio cable under the GPU? I thought about doing that, but things were getting a little tighter than I wanted so I ended up routing it high near the PSU and then dropping down to the board. I'm sure the PSU would be a big source of EMI. (I'm going to post my build soon when I get all the photos and description ready.)

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 2 points 7 months ago

Yes I tucked it under the GPU due to the unfortunate placement of the audio header on the motherboard. During gaming or listening to music I can't tell that there is any static so perhaps listening to something prevents interference?

jcagara08 3 points 7 months ago

Very nice build man! Looking forward to make the same set up!

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 2 points 7 months ago

Thanks! I recently got a 24" 1920x1200 monitor

Milan10 2 points 7 months ago

How much FPS do you get in Crysis3 and BF4...pls let me know

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 5 points 7 months ago

Bf4 maxed out is 50+FPS Crysis 3 with everything maxed out except antialiasing (TXAA) and water (Medium) is 30+FPS. CPU never goes above 45 degrees during gaming and graphics never over 45 as well. It does get a little noisy at times but that can be fixed by buying better fans. I have my PSU upside down so it intakes heat from the motherboard and RAM and exhausts it out of the back of the case. An instant space heater

But keep in mind my monitor is 1650x1050, its not full 1080p. Definitely my first upgrade will be the monitor

Microshrimp [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

Very nice! I just built a very similar build to yours (same case, and the Intel version of your MB. I'll post it here soon.). I haven't had a lot of time to enjoy it to the full potential yet, but I loved building it and I really like what I've been able to experience so far. I see you got a RAM/GPU combo deal-- that's a great price on the 7870. I just got the MSI 7850 for $99. I own a lot of games that I haven't played yet and I think the 7850 will be fine for me.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 3 points 7 months ago

Yeah it's a great card. Props to MSI. It plays any game I want to play at great settings and I just overclocked and it handles it like a beast. I got 1250mhz core and 1300mhz memory and it's completely stable. I have yet to see it go over 72 degrees even overclocked. I presume that the intel version of this board is just a gigabyte z87 variation of it?

Microshrimp [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

They make a Z87 and an H87. I don't have any interest in overclocking so I just got the H87 (about $30 cheaper). I think another difference between ours is the number of USB 3.0 ports on the back (two versus four).

illogicgate 2 points 7 months ago

Good choice going with FM2+, seems like it'll be supported for a while as opposed to AM3+...I think.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 2 points 7 months ago

Yeah AM3+ won't be having any new CPUs any time soon and the FM2+ socket is supposed to have two new generations of CPUs released on its platform.I presume you're the illogicgate from oc.tc?

illogicgate 1 point 7 months ago


specsy12 1 point 7 months ago

buying same cpu and gpu as you mate what fps do you get in bf4 ?

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

On my resolution 1650x1050 I get 50+ maxed out in all maps except dawnbreaker which is mid 40s or higher due to all of the physics calculations the core has to do. Keep in mind I also overclocked my GPU, but stock is essentially the same with 5fps less (I really recommend overclocking it). If you plan on recording, it is possible, but your frames will be in the mid 30s because the cpu bottlenecks the GPU during recording, hence the reason why I bought a motherboard that will support the new AMD processors when they come out.

TheGeck0 1 point 7 months ago

How are recording games at 720p while playing at 1440x900? (or whatever res you play on)

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

Recently got a new monitor... 1920x1200. Campaign in BF4 is fine and singleplayer Crysis 3 is decent but playing BF4 (Recording with 1080p, idk about 720p) is not really playable tbh. If you're going to buy a similar computer I would wait until the release of kaveri and see what better processors you can use on the same platform. The bottleneck here is my processor. If you want to see some footage go here: https://www.youtube.com/user/clickitHD

2cool4me4 [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

You should do two things:

  1. Get another hard drive to dump all of your recordings on to. This reduces storage bottlenecks.

  2. If you can, record uncompressed. This allows you to compress with whatever you want after recording takes place (so you don't have to recompress and degrade the quality before Youtube does it again). It also uses fewer CPU cycles.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

To record bf4 I use obs... Is there a way to record uncompressed in obs?

I know my problem isn't storage...

2cool4me4 [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

Hmm. It seems that there isn't a way. Try recording with MSI Afterburner. It just got 64 bit support, so it works with the newest games.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

I didn't know the new version has 64 bit support


chriswelle [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Nice MINI ITX build. After my first build for my son I'm thinking I want one of these for myself. I'm drawn to this form factor.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks! I spent a lot of time researching components for mini-itx builds so I can help you if you want. Do you have a budget?

chriswelle [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Not yet, but within the year the goal is 600 to 800. I'm really drawn to this build too (http://pcpartpicker.com/b/EwW) but the case-mod is way over my head at this point.

jcagara08 1 point 7 months ago

In addition to my previous comment, any video review or gaming footage for this amazing build? Can you please make one and upload to Youtube, Vine, Twitch, Vimeo, etc.? How is BF4 Multiplayer on this? 64 man battle?

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 7 months ago

If you want to record I would suggest buying an FM2+ kaveri processor (why i bought this motherboard in particular) when they are released so you can have a more powerful system and support for pcie 3.0 GPUs like the 7870 I got. I believe they will be released on the 14th, so you don't have to wait long. I have some footage, but to be honest when I record the processor bottlenecks the graphics card so I would only record single player. Perhaps an over clock will help reduce some of the lag. A 64 player map is around 40 fps when in a non fighting area and low to mid 30s when in action during recording. But when you're not recording, its butter smooth. 50+fps maxed out. Here's a link to some crysis 3 and battlefield 4 I recorded on it: https://www.youtube.com/user/clickitHD

Also if you're going to be playing minecraft I would buy a 270 or a newer card as this one in particular doesn't recognize the game and sticks to 2d clocks during minecraft gameplay and its laggy

Hisham99 1 point 4 months ago

i like your build but why did you buy thermal compound isn't it included with the CPU cooler???

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

Yes but the included thermal compound doesn't work well

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candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 1 month ago

I bought it December 2013 so prices may have changed since then

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candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 1 month ago

I posted an updated version with better cable management and pictures if you'd like to see them

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candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 1 month ago

Just buy a lot of zip ties and you'll be fine

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ryan2pro [1 Build] 1 point 28 days ago

whered you find windows 8 for 79.99?

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 28 days ago

Black Friday sales

YoJeff 1 point 21 days ago

Was it easy to remove the bracket for the hard drives (below the space for the 5")

I looked at a build with the Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced, and the person said that the mount was riveted.


candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 21 days ago

The Cooler Master Elite 130 doesn't come with a drive bracket underneath the 5" bay so you will not have to worry about rivets or anything along the lines of that. HDD's will be mounted on the bottom, sides, and in the ODD bay.

_Pheonix_ 1 point 19 days ago

Hey i was looking at your build and i was wondering how is the wireless network for gaming?

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 1 point 19 days ago

The wireless network works well, but only on the 5ghz band. If your router doesn't support a 5ghz network band then forget gaming on WiFi, you'll experience extreme rubber banding. Even on the 5ghz band there's a little rubber banding occasionally and I have 30mbps down and 5mbps up

_Pheonix_ 1 point 19 days ago

Thanks.. I'l have to check about the 5 GHz bandwidth. I'm in the process of building a new netflix machine for the couch in my room so i just need something cheap and from what i heard the motherboard is quite good.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 2 points 18 days ago

Yep, it holds a 4.4 GHz overclock stable from 3.4ghz. My only complaint is that it lacks any useful software

_Pheonix_ 1 point 18 days ago


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dweller12 [2 Builds] 4 points 7 months ago

I wouldn't promote pirating an OS, nor does everyone have the resources to legally get a copy for free.

mallocunbounded [1 Build] -3 points 7 months ago

Student versions of Windows are free. Virtually every student has access through their college.

dweller12 [2 Builds] 5 points 7 months ago

Not everyone here is a student or in college. While many people may have access to free copies, it's not something that everyone can do.

mallocunbounded [1 Build] -3 points 7 months ago

It wouldn't take much effort to find a college student with access to Microsoft Academic Alliance or a similar program. I am done with college so I don't have such an account, but I'm a responsible alumni and keep in touch with engineering majors who do. Part of paying the sticker price for Windows is getting Microsoft support. I don't think anyone here has ever used, or needed their support.

candy [Submitter] [3 Builds] 3 points 7 months ago

My dad works as a professor and we looked into this but his University only sold Windows for campus computers. Using a student's license for someone else (or yourself) to get something using the benefits of being a student is illegal like pirating. (at least where I am)

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