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Mini Tower of Power (REDO!)

by Akut


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

March 26, 2014

Date Built

Feb. 7, 2014

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

39.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

77.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

25.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

78.4° C


Edit: Pics are all over the damn place. Not in order FYI...

Got some better parts in, and now I'm updating the "Mini Tower of Power" Gaming rig. Swapped that 4430 for an unlocked 4670K, to finally make proper use of my Z87 board. OC is bugging me, can't get a stable 4.3Ghz in stress testing, so 4.2Ghz will have to do. Dropped another 8GB of RAM (overkill :P ), but at least I got dual channel now, and should see some improvements in my AAA titles. Buddy of mine sent me EVGA's mITX cooler, so I slapped that in there as well.

CPU-i5 4670K: Originally had a 4430 in there, (budget ran thin at the time) but was replaced with this within a month. Some games saw a boost in performance, even more so with the 4.2Ghz overclock. I COULD push it farther, but thermals started to be an issue. Overall, Happy with the unlocked part.

MOBO-MSI Z87I GAMING: Has everything I was looking for. Built in wifi (up to ac speeds), great new BIOS (holy hell it's not all blue!) and matched perfectly with the red "MSI" theme I wanted.

HDD/SSD-Seagate Barracude 1TB 7200/Crucial M500 480GB: Yeah, yeah, the hard drive works as intended. :P The SSD I was initially gonna go for was a 240GB Samsung Evo, but got an email from Tiger Direct that morning with this SSD at around 30% off. A little reading showed that I wouldn't take any sort of performance hit, in terms of gaming (BF3/4 and a few other games are on the SSD), so I picked this up. I move over many of my documents on a regular basis to keep it from filling up too much. From power on to opening up a web browser takes a whole 13 seconds (quick boot enabled, no password, one account).

GPU-GTX 770 MSI 2GB: I just really like MSI components, alright :D . Card works great, and is the quietest part of my computer (more on that later). I was thinking of opting for the 4GB version, but decided against it, thinking that if I need more vRAM on a single 1080p monitor, I'm doing something wrong :P. Will upgrade once I find the room for a multi-monitor setup, to something like a 780Ti or 290X.

Case-EVGA Hadron Mini ITX Tower: A price to pay for such a case, even on sale (20% off) the case itself is pretty pricey, but what you get is a 500W Seasonic Gold rated PSU that can run pretty much any single card (minus any of those dual GPU cards). Can't fit much in there, but it holds what I need. I love the look, very sleek and black, with the front cover being glossy as hell. The rest is powder-coated black. They missed a few spots inside, but nothing you can see with the covers on. A few complaints: 1) negative pressure designed case: To be fair, I dust my computer every month, but I do notice a difference in how much dust gets in. The stock fans are pretty loud, but they never rev up (plug the case fans into the case port... NOT the PSU, they whine under full load) Optical drive also adds to cost of this case, as this is the only one that will fit.

RAM-Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600 x 2: Originally only bought one stick in single channel. A fair price too, all things considering. Bought a second about a month later to fill the slots and get dual-channel running. 16GB is overkill for my uses, but I do run a few servers (Minecraft, WC3, so forth) from time to time while still using my computer as normal. No complaints.

As for the other parts, they work too (CPU cooler made navigating the insides of the case rather tricky, once installed). Opted for Windows 7 over 8/8.1, as it's what I'm used to. The Naga needed an RMA only after 11 months of use. New one working just fine (hopefully for longer than the previous). The Sidewinder is an OK keyboard, and is comfortable once you consider the narrow keys, as they curve in a bit towards the top. For gaming, it works good, and is probably my best recommendation for a low-budget gaming keyboard (complete with anti-ghosting, adjustable back lighting, macro recorder & profiles, and even a button that opens up calculator)

All and all, some mistakes were made (the 4430 specifically) and rectified, and I am overall pleased with how this turned out.

Comments Sorted by:

cacolaco 2 points 44 months ago

Nice build. Has me thinking that I might swap out the hard drives on my newest config for an M500 480Gb for that price... Those tested a lot better than the smaller drives did, and I've been thinking of moving storage to an external hdd anyway...

Sorry to see that the cooler gave you so much trouble, but it looks awesome.

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

I was thinking of just going straight SSDs, and putting em in RAID 0. Just so I can have more room.... And the higher capacity M500s (240+) are rated for 450mb write, 520mb read, and are a steal compared to the high end drives, which you won't notice a difference with gaming.

FYI, I got the M500 on sale during black firday. Good luck finding it that low again (at least for a while)

Really2n2 2 points 44 months ago

Wow....just wait....wait... MSI came out with an mini-itx gaming motherboard? ANNNDD back to mini-itx

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

Yes. Yes they did. :P it's a pretty sweet board.

L8r_Space_Cowboy 2 Builds 2 points 43 months ago

Great build! +1

redstar 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

I love that red glow!! :D I was originally going to go with that msi vid card as it had the best reviews for the cooler. Canada computers was out ...then out of sapphire and the bf4 I wanted.

I am afraid of water coolers (not the kind you hang around ;)) and slicing off your fingers just about...is another reason. but they sure look awesome when done and working. all looks great!!

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

Thanks! The red theme came form all the MSI components and gear I own/owned.

Water coolers are a hell of a lot simpler than a few years back, as AiO liquid cooling setups are as easy to install as any aftermarket air cooler.

BorgLore 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Neat build u have here. Really great cooling and cable management. Beautiful red glow coming out and dat case. Great build +1 :)

Akut submitter 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

Thanks man!

TooGood 1 Build 2 points 42 months ago

It looks amazing!

plgdg 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

CPU cooler should blow vertically towards the top... not horizontally...

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

That is actually the suggested orientation. I tried it the other way and it idled 3-4C more, and about 5-6C under load. The dual 120mm output fans at the top is all I need for ventilation.

plgdg 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

Idk about that

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

I didn't either. I had to check EVGA's website, and thats what they said. It seems to work just fine, even under load.

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

OK. Messed around with the cooler orientation, and flipping it 90 degrees clockwise and reversing the fan got me a couple extra degrees of headroom.

sopwerdna 1 point 43 months ago

Best name I've ever seen on a build, and nice case :D I'd use it if I weren't operating on a $0 budget :(

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

It's definitely not a budget case. Never been a huge fan of negative air pressure (pun not intended :D ), but this case's dual 120mm output fans do a good job at recycling air, and it ensures that the GPU get the freshest of the air.

And ty for the compliment :D

KVNG 1 point 39 months ago

Does the EVGA mitx cooler have a noisy fan. If so, I'll go with a Noctua U9B-SE2

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 39 months ago

Once it starts to spin up, yeah, it gets audible, even above the case fans (which are pretty audible to begin with, even on idle). I even toned down my OC from 4.3Ghz to 4.0 just to keep the fan from revving too high.

The cooler itself works pretty good. Thinking of replacing the fan for a quieter one.

If colour scheme isn't important, go for the Noctura. It's better in nearly every way (but its not black :D )

187flatliner 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

whats the size of the fan on the cooler?

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 38 months ago

Fan cooler is an 80cm fan.

DavisTheWalrus 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

nice vase (you spelled case wrong)

Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 34 months ago

Best "vase" ever :P I'll fix that.

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Akut submitter 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

Thanks! Much appreciated. I've been doing some work to it, and should be ready for a second show-and-tell soon. That damn USB 3.0 header isn't blue anymore :P

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