Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

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Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:36 pm

Hey all,
So I'm looking at doing a system refresh with some new games coming out this season. Most of my current will remain intact as I'm going to switch it over to be my Plex server (nothing kills a gaming session more than my GF starting a stream as I'm taking on a raid boss), with only my GPU (nVidia GTX 760) getting moved across and one of my older cards getting put in in it's place. I'll also scavenge one HDD to use for My Documents. Everything else (CPU, mobo, RAM, case, PSU, SSD, etc.) will be new.

CPU wise, looking at the i7-4790K (coming from an i7-860). Definitely a respectable boost. Was debating on waiting for Broadwell, but that looks to be too far out. Everything else I'm still undecided on.

Big thing holding my back is form factor. Since I last did my big system refresh 8 years ago, my life has changed a fair bit. Moved into a new apartment with my girlfriend a couple months ago, so I now have a dedicated office space instead of just the bedroom, as well as a couple cats that like to shed. A lot. With that, I'm thinking I want to get the computer up off the floor and onto the desk, so looking at doing micro-ATX. As well, since the cats enjoy climbing over everything, I'm also thinking positive pressure.

I should note: don't plan on overclocking, at least not heavily, and I'll only ever go with a single GPU.

As much as I hate to do single supplier, looking at things, I can't help looking at Corsair for most of the externals.
- Either the Carbide Air 540 or the Obsidian 450D for the case.
- AX 760i for the PSU. Although I could probably drop that down to non-i version if I'm worried about price.
- For cooling, was debating between sticking with air and using a Noctua again (currently have an NH-P12), or switching to water cooling with Corsair's stuff

Lastly, comes the mobo. I like Asus, and what they've been doing with their BIOS'es, so I think it'll come down to one of these.

So what are people's thoughts? It a positive pressure setup possible with either of those cases, and does it work with a radiator (never done water-cooling before)? Anything else that I should consider? Thanks
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:57 pm

The Carbide Air 540 or Obsidian 450D are not really mATX cases. They're full size ATX. If you're really stuck on Corsair, the Obsidian 350D is their mATX case. Although, even the 350D is the same size as many other manufacturer's full size ATX cases.

I'd encourage you to look at something like the Silverstone TJ08-E as an example of a nice, compact mATX case. I have it's brother the PS07B which trades the big 180mm front fan for a more "conventional" dual 120mm setup.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:19 pm

That's my bad. Actually meant to go with either the Carbide 240 or Obsidian 250D. Too many windows open.... I do see now that the 250D is a mini-ITX, which will probably make it a no go. And I'm having trouble finding someone that sells the Carbide 240 in Canada.

Mostly, I like the concept of the more cube-like cases if it's living on top of my desk, rather than tower based. Lower center of gravity, and not sticking up as high. If you got any other options, please let me know.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:39 pm

emorgoch wrote:I like the more cube-like cases...If you got any other options, please let me know.

BitFenix Phenom M?
That's the only other cube-like mATX case I can think of. Given the choice, I'd pick the Corsair, but if availability it's an issue...
Is there a specific reason you don't want to build a powerful mITX system? (Need the expansion slots, etc)
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:57 pm

I agree that you don't want a tower on your desk, only under your desk.
For desktops you either want an HTPC case that you can put a monitor on top of like the desktop cases of old, or more likely an mITX option.

The Silverstone Sugo SG08 is one of the best mITX "cubes" though it's more of a shoebox really. You can fit a few drives in there, you can use normal ATX power supplies and it'll handle12" dual-slot graphics cards which means pretty much anything. Unlike anything Corsair make, it's actually really space efficient - small on the outside and still easy to build with lots of hardware inside. It also looks good with the aluminium anodised fascia and it's small enough that you can sling it into a rucksack if you ever need to take it anywhere.

In the HTPC case, there are more options but I like the new Milo ML07 again from Silverstone because it's low profile, yet the use of a 90-degree riser means you can fit 13" dual-slot graphics cards in there. I have yet to build anything in this case though, so if you're interested, check out the reviews first since I can't recommend it from my own experience.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:10 pm

emorgoch wrote: Either the Carbide Air 540 or the Obsidian 450D (fixed link) for the case.
Did you consider the micro-ATX Obsidian 350D? I believe that Silverstone does compact cases better than anyone. My gaming PC sits behind my monitors in a Temjin TJ08-E. It's only 14-3/4" tall, while my UltraSharp 3007WFP and 2001FP are adjusted to be 21½" tall. The compact Silverstone case is going to require more patience in assembly, but once it's together it takes up significantly less space than the Corsair Obsidian 350D does.

emergoch wrote: AX 760i for the PSU.
Do consider SeaSonic as a supplier of quality power supplies.

emergoch wrote: I like Asus, so I think it'll come down to one of these.
I like the Gryphon Z97 of those. I disqualify the Z97M-Plus because two of its four slots are obsolete PCI slots rather than potentially-useful PCIe slots. The expensive Maximus VII Gene has only three slots, but the one that it gives up is going to be covered by your GPU's cooler anyway, so I'll accept that as a reasonable design.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:40 pm

Fractal Design makes a cube case as well. Their newest is the Node 804. mATX with room for water cooling. And it looks just as nice as the Corsairs you listed. It's gotten a lot of favorable reviews. They also make a smaller mITX case as well, the Node 304.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:05 pm

A vote for the AeroCool Dead Silence cube here. Don't get the white one, but the case itself is solid and well laid-out. AeroCool have come quite a ways in fit and finish.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:27 pm

If you only need an SSD+HDD, or maybe SSD only, and you are set on a case on your desk, you should really consider ITX rather than mATX. The whole purpose of ITX is to enable SFF PCs. Narrow it down by deciding whether you want an optical drive or not, how many drives you will want (or consider storing your documents on the server, or an external drive), PSU size (ATX or SFX), video card length, cooler size and clearance.

Also, I will say as a cat owner who lives in an area that gets dusty too, you can keep any PC case clean, even on the floor, if you: 1) vacuum or clean regularly, 2) have good air filtering on intakes and get very anal about sealing off the various small cracks and crevices through which dust can sneak into the case. Rather than using the usual open cell foam PC 'filters' (or god forbid, the far worse simple nylon or metal mesh filters), you can use a real air conditioner filter like a 3M Filtrete cut to size.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:42 am

In my opinion, A small tower makes more sense than a cube on the desktop. I've got five feet of mostly-empty vertical space above my desktop. The horizontal space on the surface of the desk is much more valuable to me, since that's where I spread out things that I'm working on.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:15 am

The problem with a lot of towers is that the status lights, buttons and ports are on top, because the tower is designed for the floor.
When you put a tower at desk height all these things are suddenly in the wrong place.

More importantly, most towers have larger desk footprints than mITX cubes anyway.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:32 am

Fractal Design Node 304 Mini-ITX: 9.84" wide x 14.72" deep x 8.27" tall
Footprint: 145 in², Volume: 1198 in³ (19½ L)

Corsair Obsidian 250D Mini-ITX: 10.9" wide x 13.8" deep x 11.4" tall
Footprint: 150 in², Volume: 1715 in³ (28 L)

BitFenix Phenom Mini-ITX: 9.84" wide x 14.72" deep x 12.99" tall
Footprint: 145 in², Volume: 1882 in³ (31 L)

Corsair Graphite 380T Mini-ITX: 11.5" wide x 15.5" deep x 14" tall
Footprint: 178 in², Volume: 2493 in³ (41 L)

Silverstone Sugo SG10 Micro-ATX: 8.7" wide x 13.9" deep x 11.6" tall
Footprint: 121 in², Volume: 1402 in³ (23 L)

Lian Li PC-V351 Micro-ATX: 11" wide x 14.7" deep x 10.3" tall
Footprint: 161 in², Volume: 1664 in³ (27 L)

Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E Micro-ATX: 8.27" wide x 15.16" deep x 14.72" tall <--- My suggestion
Footprint: 125 in², Volume: 1846 in³ (30 L)

Corsair Carbide Air 240 Micro-ATX: 10.2" wide x 15.6" deep x 12.6" tall
Footprint: 159 in², Volume: 2005 in³ (33 L)

CoolerMaster N200 Micro-ATX: 7.95" wide x 17.52" deep x 14.9" tall
Footprint: 139 in², Volume: 2075 in³ (34 L)

Fractal Design Define Mini Micro-ATX: 8.27" wide x 19.29" deep x 15.55" tall
Footprint: 160 in², Volume: 2481 in³ (40½ L)

Fractal Design Node 804 Micro-ATX: 13.5" wide, x 15.3" deep x 12.1" tall
Footprint: 207 in², Volume: 2507 in³ (41 L)

Aerocool DS Dead Silence Micro-ATX: 10.4" wide x 15" deep x 16.2" tall
Footprint: 156 in², Volume: 2532 in³ (41½ L)

Corsair Obsidian 350D Micro-ATX: 8.3" wide x 17.7" deep x 17.3" tall
Footprint: 146 in², Volume: 2537 in³ (41½ L)

Corsair Carbide 200R ATX: 8.3" wide x 19.6" deep x 16.9" tall
Footprint: 162 in², Volume: 2739 in³ (45 L)

Silverstone's Micro-ATX tower case has a smaller footprint than other manufacturers' Mini-ITX cube cases have.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:04 am

The reason I'm looking more at cube cases is not for space and foot print, but because of weight balance. The cats like to chase each other, and one day, one of them is inevitably going to try jumping on top of the system to get away from the other. Last thing I need is for it to topple over.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll definitely take a look through them all. I did forget to discuss the noise factor. Currently, my case is at the point where I don't notice it while things are running, but then you realize how loud it actually was when you turn it off. I'd like to maintain at least that standard (in particular, that it's constant rather than going up and down all the time from load. At least with that it becomes background white noise you tune out).
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:23 am

How about the Silverstone Sugo SG10, then?
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:15 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:How about the Silverstone Sugo SG10, then?

Looks pretty good. However, there's a few concerns I'd have with it:
1) From this review, it doesn't look like it would really work to get the watercooler in there.
2) No airflow on the 3.5" drive bays, so the HDD would get pretty hot.
3) No airflow for the underside of the GPU, so it's going to be drawing hot air in, keeping the card running pretty hot.

On the plus side, positive pressure. Definitely something to look at. Wonder how well that 80 mm fan in the bottom would work.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:56 am

I wouldn't worry about trying to squeeze watercooling into a cube/shoebox case.

The 4790K runs pretty cool anyway, and overclocking always reaches diminishing returns. You could likely run 4.4GHz at voltages which keep everything under 100W, or you could shoot for the moon and pass 200W whilst only reaching 4.7GHz. Do those 300MHz even matter, and with double the fan noise and cooling complexity you need to wonder whether the extra 2fps in games was worth the hassle.

Get a good air-cooler for your 4790K, make sure your graphics card is a quiet one and you'll have a quiet system. There's a limit to what cases can do to keep things quiet - most of the work in building a quiet PC is in choosing quiet components.
I can recommend the Noctua NH-L12 for excellent quiet cooling even when you only have 100mm or space above the socket or so. Coolermaster make a Geminii that's very good for its low height and it's much cheaper. Scythe do the Shuriken too, though I've seen too many of their slim fans fail before to recommend them.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:21 am

emorgoch wrote:2) No airflow on the 3.5" drive bays, so the HDD would get pretty hot.


You know, I've never been worried about airflow for 3.5" drives. Unless you have something like 3-4 smashed together in a small space, I wouldn't think it's really needed all that much.
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:38 am

I just came across this while surfing around the web. I don't own one or know how good it is but it fits your not easy to knock over Cube style case preference. One reviewer had to teach his cat not to sleep on top of it. I had to chuckle at that.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119265&cm_re=HAF_XB_EVO-_-11-119-265-_-Product
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Re: Looking to build new gaming rig for home office

Postposted on Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:23 am

Thought I'd throw this in here since I just saw it on a TH article I was reading. The DeepCool Steam Castle mATX cube case for $100. Looks unique enough to showcase on top of a desk.
Here's the TH article. While it's not a case review, it does lightly touch on assembling inside the Steam Castle.
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