Mini-ITX Game PC - August 2014

By Hardware.Info

The Mini-ITX Game PC is a desktop computer that is small enough to be portable, but has better performance than a gaming notebook. Previous time, we built a pricey 4K gaming system, this time our target is an relatively affordable build.

Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.

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Intel Core i5 4690K Boxed

Processor - Intel Core i5 4690K Boxed

HyperThreading has very little added value for gaming, so for our mini-ITX gaming PC we picked the Intel Core i5 4690K. This unlocked CPU can be overclocked, is fast and also energy efficient. This is important considering the more limited cooling options of a mini-ITX enclosure.

Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B

CPU cooler - Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B

The Mini-ITX Game PC can't have a cooler that's too high. Many common coolers won't fit, but a nice exception to that rule is th Big Shuriken 2 rev. B by Scythe. It has excellent cooling results and is very quiet. It has one more heatpipe than its predecessor and is slightly more expensive, but is an excellent choice.

MSI Z97I Gaming AC

Motherboard - MSI Z97I Gaming AC

We rewarded the MSI Z97I Gaming AC with a Silver Award in our tests. Despite of its small size, it houses all features you could probably wish for: a Realtek ALC1150 audio codec, 802.11ac WiFi by an Intel chip and a Killer NIC. Only the lack of a M.2 slot bothers us.

Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 CL9 kit

Memory module - Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 CL9 kit

8 GB of RAM is enough for a solid PC. Games won't benefit if you have more. The Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 CL9 is a quality kit that's also affordable. Thanks to its low height it will fit in Mini-ITX boards inside Mini-ITX chassis.

MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming 3GB

Graphics card - MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming 3GB

AMD's R9 280X graphics card offers excellent value for your money. It's powerful enough for Full HD and even WQHD gaming. The MSI Radeon R9 Gaming 3GB is both affordable and silent.

Crucial MX100 256GB

Hard disk/SSD - Crucial MX100 256GB

SSDs have finally gotten cheap enough to be used as standard storage device. The Crucial MX100 offers great value, and 256 GB is enough for a sizeable game library. With cloud services such as Steam, Origin, Uplay and others you no longer need to keep tons of games installed at the same time.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB

Hard disk/SSD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB

To store media files we added a 3 TB 7200rpm conventional hard disk. The Seagate 7200.14 Barracuda is fast and very affordable.

Lite-On DS-8ABSH

Optical drive - Lite-On DS-8ABSH

The chassis does not have room for a full-size optical drive. As long as not all video games are available digitally, it makes sense to include one. Even slimline DVD burners are not expensive anymore, so we included the Lite-On DS-8ABSH.

SilverStone Sugo SG07B 600W (USB 3.0)

Case - SilverStone Sugo SG07B 600W (USB 3.0)

There is a lot of choice among mini-ITX chassis. A good and affordable option is the Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced. You do need a separate power supply, but there is plenty of space for a full ATX PSU. It has since been replaced by the Elite 130, but the 120 is still more than good enough.

To keep the weight down and leave enough space for a CPU cooler, we picked the new USB 3.0 version of the SilverStone Sugo SG07 600W. It delivers 600 watts, and is 80 Plus Bronze certified. According to our test, it is one of the best cooling Mini-ITX chassis.

Corsair Vengeance K95

Keyboard - Corsair Vengeance K95

The Corsair Vengeance K95 has very durable mechanical keys that can withstand prolonged use, and dome switch keys for the peripheral (non-numeric/ letter) keys. The macro functions are useful for games. The 18 macro keys can be set directly on the keyboard with the dedicated macro record button.

The buttons M1 to M3 let you change the position of all keys at the same time. The Windows keys can be disabled and are located in the top-right corner. The blue backlight makes the keys visible in the dark, and has three brightness settings. It can also be disabled.

Corsair Vengeance M95 Black

Mouse - Corsair Vengeance M95 Black

As a gamer you of course need a solid gaming mouse. We went with Corsair's M95 which we compared a while back to the Logitech G700s. Both are excellent, but Corsair's is a little cheaper.

Razer Goliathus Fragged Alpha Control

Mouse pad - Razer Goliathus Fragged Alpha Control

Not only should you get a quality mouse for a gaming PC, but the mousepad matters as well. We recently tested a whole bunch of them, including the Razer Goliathus Fragged Alpha Control. We can't get into specifics yet, but let's just say this one should be on your shopping list if you need a new mousepad.

Iiyama ProLite GB2488HSU-B1

Monitor - Iiyama ProLite GB2488HSU-B1

As a gamer, you want a fast display, so you will end up with a TN panel. Nothing wrong with that, proofs the Iiyama ProLite GB2488HSU. It's a 120 Hz monitor with remarkable good viewing angles and color fidelity. Due to the reasonable pricing, this is the perfect display for this advice.

Razer Carcharias

Headset - Razer Carcharias

If you can't blast your speakers during late-night gaming sessions, a good headset should be part of your setup. The Razer Carcharias has soft, round earpads that don't squeeze your ears too much. The headband has steel wires for added support, and you're not limited by increments when you adjust the size of it. It's a great headset for longer sessions, in terms of comfort. The microphone sounds crystal clear. We were positively impressed when we tested it, so it's earned a spot in our gaming configuration.

Configuration overview

Components Price
Processors Intel Core i5 4690K Boxed £239.99
CPU coolers Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B £37.99
Motherboards MSI Z97I Gaming AC
Memory modules Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 CL9 kit £75.59
Graphics cards MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming 3GB
Hard disks/SSDs Crucial MX100 256GB
Hard disks/SSDs Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB
Optical drives Lite-On DS-8ABSH
Cases SilverStone Sugo SG07B 600W (USB 3.0)
  Subtotaal: £353.57
Randapparatuur Price
Keyboards Corsair Vengeance K95
Mice Corsair Vengeance M95 Black
Mouse pads Razer Goliathus Fragged Alpha Control
Monitors Iiyama ProLite GB2488HSU-B1
Headsets Razer Carcharias
  Subtotaal: £0.00
Total Price
Save as your own wish list Average total price: £353.57

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