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Old 08-12-2011, 05:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Red face A bit of a challenge!

Hey guys, long time no see.

For the past couple of months I've been trying to sort out a laptop. Now I've realised that I won't get what I want for my budget, so here I am! With a bit of a challenge...

The one thing I still need is semi-portability (moving it all a few times a year and taking it on the train), so the only way I can do this feasibly with a desktop is with a Mini PC. Now, I know very little about these pint-sized marvels, so I don't know what is/isn't possible.

Here's what I've got to work with:

-£830 ($1345), absolutely no more, preferably less.
My biggest desire is to play Skyrim at absolute max settings. So Ideally I need -
-A decent GPU - 560 ti would be nice, 570 would be even nicer but I don't think possible.
-A nice fast CPU - was looking at the 2630QM for a laptop, so something similar. I don't know what kind of motherboards are available and searching hasn't helped a lot, so I don't know whether the sockets/CPU are the same as a standard desktop.
-8GB Ram would be hot but so much has changed since I last looked at RAM that I really need some advice.
-Single HDD with room for an SSD in the future.

This is one case that I've found that appears to fit the bill but I'm by no means stuck to it - Lian Li PC-Q08B Frankly if I could find smaller, that'd be even better. But I think I may be tight for space already.

Also I'm in the UK so I can't buy from Newegg, Tiger Direct etc.

I think really, I've been out of the loop for a long time (you can tell by my sig), so I just don't know where to begin. Especially now that I'm after a mini itx. Any help would be really greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

So here's one quick build I threw together with not 100% certainty of compatibility:

Motherboard - Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
CPU - i7-2600K - Maybe I can save a bit here?
GPU - EVGA 560Ti DS SuperClocked
HDD - WD Green, 1TB
RAM - Corsair Vengeance 8GB
PSU - OCZ ZS 550W - If this is overkill this would be a good place to save money I think?
Hs/Fan - Cooler Master Hyper TX3 - I don't think this will fit! Maybe I'm stuck with the stock fan.
Cheapo Akasa AK 455 paste.
Case - Lian Li PCQ08B

So, does this all work or have I made any grave errors? Also, that case is still too large... but I can't seem to find any smaller that will work. Maybe I should take up welding and make my own...
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

Tiny case, from uk, smallish budget (ok not really), must max skyrim. Can you make it any harder?
I'm just about to pass out on a couch (work ftl) but when I wake up I'll see about knocking something up
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

Quote:
Originally Posted by S0ULphIRE View Post
Tiny case, from uk, smallish budget (ok not really), must max skyrim. Can you make it any harder?
I'm just about to pass out on a couch (work ftl) but when I wake up I'll see about knocking something up

Well I wouldn't want to make it too easy now would I?

And thanks, I really appreciate it.


Edit: As a note, Hs/fan and thermal paste can be updated later, so I may just stick with the stock i7 one for now, to save some pennies.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

The big bonuses to a 2600k vs 2500k are hyper-threading and better integrated graphics.
You're getting a discrete GPU, so if you aren't doing a ton of multi-tasking grab an i5 2500k and save £58.

The PSU is right where you want to be, GTX560Ti suggests 500w and 30A minimum, the OCZ is 550w and 38A.
Only thing I might suggest is looking at a modular PSU, nice being able to remove extra cables working with a small case.

Look at the WD Caviar Black series hard drives, I find it suspect that they don't list the RPMs for the Caviar Green (might be very, very slow).
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

The green drives are strickly storage. Theyre 7200 but theyh shutdown to save power, making search speeds slow.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

Hmm, so perhaps go for a lesser CPU and a better HDD then.

One of the reasons I went for a green was because they were just that, 'green'. Still... seeing as everything else is supposed to be going for performance, I might as well go for a 'black'.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

They call the drive "Green" because it's suppose to be energy efficient compared to a Blue or Black drive. A Green drive uses 5 or 6 watts of power and a Black uses around 10 watts. If you really want to go Green then you should look at a SSD which only uses about 2 watts. But just like any other "Green" product you have to pay more for it.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

Yeah I understood it being green due to eco-friendliness. That was the appeal. I am planning to add a SSD in the future (case permitting), but I just plain don't have the cash to have SSDs only, sadly, so my priorities will have to lie on the side of 'doing what I can'.

That said, I might just get a performance drive and play less, that'll save the planet, right?

So with the 2500k I've popped it up to a WD Black. Would have loved the Momentus XT Hybrid but there we go, if I had that I couldn't do the following:

I now have headroom for a MSI GTX 570 OC. Very happy!

I think we're getting there. But does it all fit in the case...?


Edit: A run down of everything so far. Would someone mind double-checking for me to see whether it'll all work? And if someone can recommend and inexpensive fan that might fit that'd be great. I'd rather not stick with the stock fan if I can help it.

CPU -i5 2500K
GPU -MSI GTX 570 OC
Motherboard -Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
RAM -Corsair Vengeance 8GB
or if I'm feeling thrifty on purchase day -G.Skill RipJawsX 8gb
HDD -WD Black 1TB
PSU -OCZ ZS Series 550W
Case -Lian Li PC-Q08B
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: A bit of a challenge!

Quick update:

Going for the G.Skill RAM and an Antec modular PSU (due to clearance issues in the tiny Lian Li) but when finalising I noticed I have the option of buying an i5 2500k with either HD 2000 or HD 3000 graphics. Obviously I'm getting a discrete graphics card, so does this affect me at all? After a quick search I can't actually find anything that mentions the difference when coupled with a discrete GPU.

If it doesn't make a jot of difference I might as well go for the HD 2000 and save myself a few quid.
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