Description

For the longest time I was stuck using an entry-level desktop and laptop setup due to budget constrains. But after landing a nice job I finally got the chance/budget to make a high-spec gaming rig but still placing budget a priority. I'm a road warrior at heart and will always prioritize portablility (and value) above other factors when buying a gaming rig. I was supposed to save money so I can grab my hands on an asus ROG laptop or the MSI GT70 and was supposed to settle on a sager/clevo laptop but saving money to reach $2000 felt like an impossible task because somehow the money I'm saving are spent on unexpected expenditures like sending money to relatives etc so I just can't save enough to reach my goal budget. I was getting frustrated since I can't enjoy the games I'm playing being forced to be on the lowest settings available. I made a compromise and I decided to build a mITX desktop PC instead. The change was perfect for me because 1. I get to buy the parts individually and as soon as the money is available (and not spend it to other things). 2. The budget was slashed into less than half of what I wanted to buy. The catch is that it's not as portable as I planned it to be; portable may an mITX can be but its still bigger than a 19" laptop and I will need to bring an external monitor of I plan to travel or go to LP's. I setting my eyes on wearable tech to solve the monitor issue.

A lot of the components don't have a price tag since I already own them before so they do not count on my budget. All purchase price are the final price (+tax) and everything was ordered via amazon (except the PSU). I currently live in qatar so aside the item price I also paid extra for the freight which was by weight. I was forced to buy the PSU locally because the spare I have was not working anymore. I really hated buying that PSU here but I had no choice... it was really a ripoff because all PC components (which are outdated BTW) here are double, triple, or even quadruple the price compared to the US (PSU price converted from QAR to USD at time of purchase)... seriously parts I ordered in amazon are way cheaper than what they sell here and that includes freight charges added on top.

The components are simply the bang-of-my-buck at the time of purchase and also taking advantage of the discount. I split my purchases into to sets. The 1st batch were the APU, Mobo, RAM, Case & PSU since those were the essentials and the core parts to get my setup up and running. The 2nd batch which I bought the month after were the Liquid cooler & GPU because I had to wait for my next salary and waited for a sweet discount which was very difficult for the GPU with all the bit/litecoin mining rush going on.

Case - I got the Elite 130 mITX case since it was so far the best for my needs. 1. It's very affordable 2. You can fit ANY GPU and still have extra space. 3. You can fit a 120mm liquid cooler 4. Portable being a mITX case but a handle or a bag would be great if you plan to travel with it. I have no problem recommending it to anyone who wants to build a mITX rig but if I have to point an issue with the case that would be the reset button. If you put enough pressure on the front panel the reset button will be pressed. I encountered the problem when I hit the front side with my knee and at times when I try to re-position the rig. But as I said the button will only be pressed if you reach a certain amount of pressure like pushing the case firmly even if its already against the wall. Cable management is good. You can do a clean cable management but don't expect anything fancy enough for a clear case mod but who knows... someone might take the challenge.

CPU Cooler - The H80i was not really necessary but just in-case I plan to OC the APU for future-proofing my setup... at least I'm ready and I figure that most of the months here in Qatar are really hot though my room is centralized so yeah just making sure.

Mobo - The gigabyte mobo was one of the most affordable available that is a socket FM2+. It's a nice hardware but it has a couple of compatibility issues with the H80i. One of the pictures I uploaded will show you how I wanted to install the H80i because the tubes were twisted in a good angle and it felt (and looked) right but I was forced to rotate the cooling block 180 degrees (no pics so just imagine) because the tube blocked the ram slot nearest to the CPU. Turning the cooling block around felt like one of the tubes are slightly overstretched than the other and the arc of the tubes were unequal and not like how I wanted it but nonetheless still ok especially since you need to consider that the radiator is placed at the front of the casing. Even rotating it 180deg still has problems... I can now fit both rams but its a really tight fit on the ram slot nearest to the CPU because of the H80i Corsair Link cable. It turns out that Corsair placed the Corsair Link connection (a female mini-USB) across the tubes on the cooling block. So this time its the Male mini-USB connection blocking the RAM slot but fortunately there was enough room for me to still install both rams. One last issue is about the H80i Corsair link cable... One side of the cable is a MALE mini-usb connection which you plug in the H80i cooling block and the other end of the cable is a USB Header. The Gigabyte mobo I'm using only has one USB Header available so I sacrificed the USB 2.0 on the front panel so I can utilize the Corsair Link feature. To sum it up, if you don't want to encounter the issues I have then try looking for another motherboard which has the ram slot father away from the CPU slot and has 2 USB 2.0 Headers so you can still use the USB 2.0 on the front panel but its not a difficult sacrifice since the Elite 130 has another 2 USB 3.0 slots on the front panel that you can still use.

APU - nothing much to say here... if gaming is the most heavy task your rig will process then the A10-6800k is more than enough and you cant argue with the price. You can even get decent gaming without the GPU if you're using this or you can also get the Kaveri APU.

GPU - simply a sweet sweet deal the price is amazing and the performance is superb, you will not go wrong with the r9 270x. I could have gotten it cheaper but I had to buy it ($119.99 - not tax) when it was at that price point in amazon or I might have to wait another month to get one.

RAM - it was the cheapest among the 2x4gb ddr3-1600 available at that time. It looked nice so I got it but I took a risk because one comment on amazon said the buyer got a 1333mhz version of the thing but it turned out I got what was advertized. I could go with higher frequency but the cost did not justify the performance boost. I could also go with higher memory but hands down 8gb is the "sweet spot" in ram; less than 8gb will hinder your rig's performance and anything higher than 8gb is just too expensive for a small performance boost

Storage - SSHD is no SSD when it comes to speed but for the price point... it's perfect. Get the ST750LX003 and nothing else because of its "7200rpm". I'll get an SSD once a 750GB or 1TB is reasonably priced.

PSU - I really hate this PSU for a lot of reasons but I had to since I wanted the rig to run as soon as the parts arrived. 1. It's semi-modular 2. It's not even 80+ bronze but 87% efficient 3. I bought it twice (almost) thrice its price. 4. the fan blows the air into the case - I really wanted it to do the opposite. On the other hand It does what it needs to do really well but if I plan to change it I will get myself a Silverstone Strider Gold 450W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply because its full-modular, its smaller than ATX which means lighter and cable management would relatively easier and gives extra breathing space in the case and its 80+gold.

Some inputs with the peripherals I have:

Keyboard - Logitech K750: It's Wireless and it's solar powered - it's an AMAZING keyboard. It's wireless but the response is unbelievably similar to a wired keyboard. If there are any input lags then most-likely the Pro FPS & RTS will be the once to notice it. And as for me and the rest of the world you will still have your names land on the top spot of the gameboards with this keyboard. It's solar powered - yes it is. It has a dry-cell battery that stores power and can hold charge a long time... like weeks or months long even if you game alot. I leave it near the window if I go to work to get it charging efficiently which also can be done anywhere with good lighting.

Mouse - Razer Ouroboros: Really expensive for a mouse but it's a wireless gaming mouse mind you plus it has swag if you plan to go for all razer setup. Downside is that the synapse is causing trouble making the mouse useless on wireless mode. Battery life sucks too if you game too much, what I mean is that the mouse will last the whole duration of your gaming session but you tend to forget to dock the mouse after gaming forcing your to go wired mode on your next gaming session... ultimately, there are better gaming mouse available in the market - get the Ouroboros if your in for a all-razer setup with their latest release.

Speaker - Razer Ferox 2.0 - 2.0 is the green colored one and the second version razer realeased. I'll make this short... I got this stowed away and I'm currently using a 5$ speaker that I also use as a night lamp. I might use the ferox if travel like an outing or an LP but there are WAY MORE BETTER speakers out there for the price tag.

Projector - LG PB60G: It's a portable DLP projector which amazingly have 500 lumens, a USB port that supports storage devices 1TB+ File supports all popular video container from avi to MKV; also supports popular audio formats, word, excel, powerpoint etc. I basically have a mini-theater in my room and the main reason why I use a wireless mouse and keyboard because there is nothing better than playing all your games on a 80-100" screen. Watching movies the projector is amazing too especially if you play media at 60fps using Splash PRO EX.

EDIT/PS:

Total Freight Cost: 810QAR or 222.41USD (rate: $1 = 3.64QAR)

Total Build Cost = $1007.08

This will look very expensive for anyone living in the US but TRUST ME when I say all this stuff here in Qatar will easily cost me $3500-$5000 and I would have still settled with alternative components since the stores here don't have parts like this available... I mean for crying out loud they are still selling AGP slot video cards and IDE HDDs and for the same price as the new tech on shelves today. lol!

Comments

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Why go with an APU and a separate card?

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  • 71 months ago
  • 4 points

I don't see the point really though, when you have a 270x...

EDIT: Ah. I see. No mini-itx boards for FX series.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

yes there is no mITX board for the FX series. I will consider switching IF they make an mITX & I hope AMD will continue to evolve the FX series.

  • 71 months ago
  • 3 points

I agree, I'm pretty sad that they haven't done that yet. It would open up so many opportunities for small, awesome rigs.

  • 71 months ago
  • 4 points

The processors are too big and power hungry for such a small motherboard. If AMD released 6/8 core athlons for fm2+ then they would absolutely dominate the market for price/performance

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

They may or they may not... they may not do it like how we want it that's why its better to switch to what's new and better supported by AMD. APU is AMD's future at the moment.

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  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I think that eventually, AMD will add more support for dual graphics processing betwixt their APUs and Radeon graphics cards. Right now, it's limited, but I'm sure it'll expand to include more cards.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

You cant run a 270x in crossfire with any apu

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

im just throwing out words here but if some programmer put some effort to it, I think it's possible but nobody's probably gonna do it because CF between the APU and and R9 270x would mean that the 270x is stepping down to the performance of the APU instead of the other way around. The righ way to do it is if AMD somehow can make an APU with a iGPU that can match the 270x now that's a sweet CF.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

this is a pretty awesome build. How's that mouse? I really want to get that particular one.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you srs922 and believe me I had so much fun building this rig. As for the mouse... Ouroboros really looks amazing. Buddies of mine said that it looked like a tank or a spaceship and I think it looks like what a Terran Unit could look like in starcraft. Performance-wise you can expect nothing less from a wireless gaming mouse, lots of stuff you can customize on the software end if you want to take advantage of the synapse 2.0. The mouse itself can be slightly adjusted so that it fits perfectly into your hands. But honestly the Ouroboros is an expensive wireless gaming mouse, it has some bugs that is very annoying when it happens and battery life can be an issue if you forget to dock the mouse for charging (which happens all the time -.-). If I wasn't having the "Razer Cult" mentality at the time i bought this then I would have gotten a different wireless gaming mouse. IMHO I will buy this if 1. I have spare cash to burn 2. If I'm planing for an all-razer setup or a black/green theme rig 3. If the wireless feature was actually put to good use like how I sometimes play using my DLP projector where all I have on the table in front of me are both my wireless keyboard & mouse (and snacks... and soda). Aside from the reason I mentioned above.. then you'll be better off with a different mouse.. but that's just me and if you do decide to get one and not happy with it then I'm pretty sure you can find lots of ways to dispose of it and get back all or most of the money you spent.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

I have a question that I haven't been able to find an answer to. Is there room in this case for a Blu-Ray drive, an SSD AND a 3.5" platter drive? (Assuming the same HW you have in it otherwise)

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Nikitaluger had a great response, but I wanted to chime in because I used this setup with the optical, SSD and platter drive. I elected to remove the side harddrive mount, so, technically, had I left that in I would've been able to install more drives. I used the boxed CPU cooler and not liquid. That's important to note.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Well That's why I was asking because it looks like the radiator would cover one of the mounts on the bottom of the case beside the Mobo. And without a liquid cooler then you free up the space that the radiator requires.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

hi killxzero and sorry if I was not able to get back to you sooner. Ok I popped my rig open and inspected the HDD mounts and based on what I saw... If you're using the H80i + a 5.5" ODD you will be left with 2 spaces to install your HDDs (both 2.5" & 3.5") and that would be on 1. the base of the case (bet. the mobo & radiator); turns out the mounts are still visible with what I think is just the right fit. 2. is the detachable mesh on the side. You wont be able to place an hdd (even a 2.5") on the bottom part of the 5.5" bay since half of it is covered by the cooler fan + radiator.

So IMHO there is room in this case for a Blu-Ray drive, an SSD AND a 3.5" platter drive including the setup I have. worst case scenario would mean you sacrificing one of the two fans on the radiator.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Okay awesome thanks for the input!

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

thanks TexasTrev it's a pleasure to help whenever I can. If you use like a fan/default CPU cooler then I have to say that you need to be concerned more on your cable management because of airflow issues. It's not a biggie since the case has boat-loads of mesh/holes for air to get out of the case but you can never be too careful especially if the cable management is causing air to stagnate inside. In this setup I made, the airflow might be an issue due to the fact all fans are "intake" the CM elite 130 product page suggested a good airflow scheme based on using a liquid CPU cooler and the default CPU fan and its just a matter of flipping the PSU. Liquid cooler = PSU fan facing the mobo & moving air out of the case through the back & CPU fan = PSU fan facing the roof of the case getting room air via the top mesh and exhaust at the rear which basically mean the PSU has it's independent airflow. For some weird reason the fan in the PSU I have takes air outside and blows it in the case and yes i installed it with the fan facing the mobo. Like I said all fans are blowing & doing "intake" I just hope the holes on the case somehow manage the exhaust properly.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

To answer your question: 1. Blu-ray drive - yes there is a dedicated 5.5" drive bay right on top of the front side case fan (which you can also fit a 120mm radiator) 2. SSD & 3.5" HDD - with a slight modification on the cable management (since I got lazy and use the 5.5" bay to put some of the cables) you can still fit three - 3.5" HDD or 4 - 2.5" HDD/SSD which are located on a. base of the case between the mobo & radiator b. a single 3.5" or two 2.5" on the bottom side of your 5.5" ODD bay and another HDD on the detachable mesh located on the side of the case. This might be subjected to change but just because I'm using a H80i cooler. Location A & B might not fit a 3.5" because part of the space is occupied by the radiator + 2 fans and I can't open my rig at the moment - I'll get back to you after I'm done with work.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Okay cool. All I saw in this case was the mounting positions between the Mobo and the radiator which looked like one of them would work for a drive but the other would get partially covered by the radiator. I read the specs but I have had some cases with all the right specs but still didn't work out the way it was written down. Lol

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Sick build. The 3-fan GPU looks awesome in this.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

I have to say the 3-fan GPU definitely looks amazing and it actually helps reduce the noise to be honest since there are 3 fans blowing, each one doesn't need to work that hard to maintain temps so all three runs on "silent mode" and the only fan noise I hear are the 2 120mm fans on the H80i which you can also reduce significantly via the Corsair Link software placing both fans on quiet mode

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build. :)

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

thank you

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Swanky build. I had to go with an APU as well to get a mini-ITX build that wasn't Intel. I'm hoping to transition to an AMD GPU in the future, too. Kaveri and NVIDIA cards clash too much to get the most out of either of them.

Also, that video card. Noooiiiiiceeeee.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

thanks cmd_cnsl if I had the extra cash I would love to go on Intel CPU + Nvidia GPU but surprisingly this setup is really doing great for me. Tried this on the Titanfall Beta last week and some of the games I have on steam and it did a great performance, getting 60fps on max settings. Just got COD Ghosts on steam (50% off) will try that after im done downloading.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

I get you. I have a GTX 660 Ti, and it works pretty well with the APU. I'm personally fine without having an Intel CPU, but I definitely would like a better NVIDIA card. I could have gone Intel on my current build for about the same price, but I'm glad I have an AMD processor, all things considered.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Mate marhaba as we say here in the middle east! I am suffering also with the same dilemma as I am based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Which site did you use for shopping all parts? Newegg, NCIX, Amazon? Which courier service you used? ARAMEX Shop and Ship? I figured through this local site (gear-up.me) I can build the same setup at 3368 Qatar Riyals, are the figures near enough? Sorry for many questions yanni I need to make sure before splashing out my hard earned money, yeah everything here in the middle east are outdated and prices are rip offs, whats holding me back is just the shipping rates really. Jes

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I used Amazon to buy parts since they are hassle free when it comes to payment and shipping. Unfortunately you will be charged a couple of extra $$$ since Amazon started charging customers sales tax. Newegg is the best of all because of their unbeatable price-tags and they are the cheapest in general and have most of the best combo deals among online shops but there is no way you can buy from outside the US... well there are methods but not worth the trouble. As for getting the stuff here in Qatar, yes I use Aramex - Shop and Ship. I'm not familiar with gear-up.me but they have good prices for a PC shop in the middle-east and up-to-date parts too. If you say you can buy this setup for 3368QR there then lucky you since it's cheaper (minus the freight and tax) plus you get your stuff faster.. I took me 2 months to build this thing since my budget required me to split my order into two.. essentials on the first month and the performance parts on the second.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah I saw that one, last week I purchased something from amazon and they will not specify how much the amount is, Newegg yes I think we can but from them using aramex shop and ship but anything above $269, there's 10% customs tax contrary to dubai customs declaration above $500 for UAE still a different thing, I think I will go will gear-up.me since the difference is BIG!, yeah I will probably just buy the other parts here locally or by batch since money is of the essence too. Thanks habibe!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

glad to help you out my friend. Good luck with your build and would love to see it when its done and maybe game with you if the time comes. Add me on steam, username: nikitaluger

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

how many frames do u get on minecraft with shaders.

  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

I would redo the thermal paste if you're getting 76c on full load. Nice build +1

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

soo ancient!!!

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