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 it was really a ripoff because all PC components (which are outdated BTW) here are double, triple, or even quadruple the price compared to the US (PSU price converted from QAR to USD at time of purchase)...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.
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!