Description

Built this to use as a low-cost gaming machine for specific games that will run just fine on it, namely EVE Online, but with potential to play other games such as Killing Floor 2 and CS:GO.

CPU

While the G3258 is the popular choice for budgeters, I went cheaper and selected the G3220. Still with a decent clock speed, it performs well in all games tried so far, and basic tasks such as web browsing are nice and quick. It also had the advantage of working with any LGA1150 MB, so there was no worrying over BIOS updates. Very impressed for a £40 CPU.

Motherboard

For just under £50, I grabbed a Mini-ITX Board with built in WiFi! It supports overclocking as well, but it was mainly purchased for being the cheapest board i could find that came with WiFi built in. Decent set of features for my money so can't complain here.

Memory

Went with a single stick of 4GB incase the need for an upgrade 8GB surfaces. Nothing much to say about the exact choice, it was decent according to reviews and the cover matches my Case I guess?

Storage

I decided to use a small SSD for now, primarily since this isn't really intended for mass storage and if I really need to, I can add a 1TB Drive later on. Having the SSD now means a fantastic performance boost even with budget parts. With Samsung's 120GB SSD, I'm getting 530 Read / 470 Write, which I'm very happy with.

GPU

This card was interesting. It's a normal GTX 750, but comes with 2GB of Video RAM rather than the 750's normal 1GB. This meant it performed on par with the GTX 750Ti, yet cost less overall. I've been able to run EVE Online, Killing Floor 2, Skyrim (Vanilla), CS:GO and Borderlands: The Pre-sequel all on 1920*1080 on high detail settings with smooth FPS. It doesn't need any extra power from the PSU other than the PCI slot, same as other 750/750Ti's, which meant one less cable to use. It keeps amazingly cool, even cooler than the CPU under load. I've not seen this card in use on builds, so I wanted to see it's performance firsthand. For the price, it's fantastic!

Case

For a cheap case, it comes with some nice features. The Cube design allows you to switch the side and top panels around, so you can have the window on the side rather than the top if you prefer. This lets you configure it for the best airflow depending on where you're keeping the unit. PSU goes underneath the MB, and the cables can be stowed away in the space between the Case fan and the motherboard. No other cable management options exist, so make sure you at least go Semi-Modular with this! Case fan itself is fairly quiet on the sysfan connector, not sure if you were to 100% load it with a direct PSU connection.

PSU

Stuck with corsair for reliability. Semi-modular was used to keep the cables to a minimum, though fully modular may have been slightly better, but it was till fairly painless to manage. I went for 500W in case the CPU or GPU gets an upgrade, allowing the PSU to support them better.

Verdict

For less than £370, I've gotten a fast dual-core, with a 2GB sub-1300MHz GPU and a 530/470 R/W SSD. It performs brilliantly through web browsing and office software and has impressive gaming performance given the price. I'm dead happy with it and it was great fun for my first Mini-ITX build.

Part Reviews

CPU

Cheaper alternative to the G3258. Still quite powerful and good enough for quite a few games with the right GPU. Don't expect to play demanding titles with the Dual-core though.

Motherboard

Exceptional Value for money if you are currently in the UK. Has Overclocking support, comes with built in WiFi and has all the standard features of good Motherboards such as HDMI for Integrated graphics, USB 3.0 etc. It does only come with 4 Sata Ports though, so storage may be limited.

For less than £50 you cannot get much better than this. Just make sure BIOS is on at least version 1.6, as earlier versions had issues when restarting and shutting down the PC. Same applies if you intend to use Haswell Refresh CPUs.

Video Card

Very good variant of the GTX 750. Performance is close to the 750Ti and has very low temps under load (Under 50C).

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Comments

  • 59 months ago
  • 3 points

+1

I'm always happy when I see someone define their need and POV, adhere to a budget, and build reliably and efficiently. The case, the PSU, the SSD, the mobo, and the RAM will last you a good long while. Over the next half decade, should you want more CPU or GPU, you're golden. Have fun, dude!

  • 59 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! It was a fun build and the parts are really good so far.

  • 59 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for Eve Online, Pentium chip and V1 case :)

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, thanks! Stationing spinning in EVE has never been so smooth.

  • 59 months ago
  • 2 points

Woot, EVE! The 3258 would have been a better choice for higher clock speeds, and overclocking capability if that is desired. Love the case! +1 Fly safe!

  • 59 months ago
  • 2 points

I did note it was better, but made an error of buying the MB earlier than the CPU. Which meant I had no guarantee it had the right BIOS version to run it.

IT DIDN'T. Was a good call to grab the G3220, else I would be stuck with an un-bootable machine and have to fork out £30 just to get a cheap Celeron to Flash the BIOS with.

Don't regret it much though, performance is still very good paired with that GPU and SSD.

Case is really good, aside from aesthetics it also has great airflow and a pretty big stock fan, which means noise is fairly minimal.

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Great!

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! Great parts selection and well done on the price you paid for everything! Really enjoyed viewing this!

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! I did a similar one last year and loved how well it performed for such "low end" parts.

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, I have a very similar gpu, but made by gigabyte, and it does perform well. Good call on the SSD.

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

i like it, would have liked to see the elite 110 used instead of the v1 but still cool

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks nice, compact,small. Well done!

If you got a Pentium G3220, you didnt really need to get a high end mobo such as the Z-series(meant for Overclocking) as a H81/H87/H97 would do the job fine.

As a side note, as strange as it may sound; I got an asus H81m-c which DIDNT have the right bios to support the Pentium G3258. I still managed to access the bios with the cpu but couldnt boot. I then used a Utility called ez-flash to update the bios from a usb stick. Afterwards I was able to boot.

Just curious, what OS are you running?

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

MOBO was actually chosen due to the price being the lowest for a Mini-ITX board integrated with WiFi. Overclocking was essentially an extra feature tagged onto it for me.

That's an interesting point regarding the BIOS flash. I just didn't want to take risks when i forgot to ask for the MB to be flashed before shipping.

Windows 8.1 is the OS.

  • 59 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, I see. Well, you could have gotten an extra PCIE or Usb wireless adapter. I have a USB one that only costs $3(tp-link). Still nice build.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

How much FPS does it get on CS:GO and on what settings,very nice build btw(price too) <3

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

I've actually done some extensive upgrading to the system since the initial build, but from memory I was able to get 60fps as a minimum on CS:GO with high detail settings.

If you did replicate the build above, I'd aim for a 750Ti instead, as they are practically the same price but with improved performance.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, I got the same case wrapped in carbon fiber vinyl !

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