Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

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Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:12 pm

So my wife needs a new pc and loves the LAN box style of the dorm 2.0 model, but for the games she likes to play (FPS like BF3), I'm worried that the HD 7770 might be a little underpowered. Is it feasible to use a HD 6870 in lieu of the 7770? The power supply should be able to handle it but I'm worried about the temperature under load in that tiny box. Any advice on this or direction to a place better suited to handle this sort of question?

Also, would the performance bump going from 8 gb of RAM to 16 be worth the 40 dollar price increase?

Thanks!
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:36 pm

Have you read through TR's review of the 7770 in BF3? If not, I don't see why that case couldn't handle a 6870, anandtech had it running with a 560Ti inside and it didn't do too bad. A blower-style cooler might keep the hot air from accumulating inside the case.

I doubt you'll see any gaming benefit from 16GB of RAM.
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:39 pm

I was about to say that they pointed out that the 7770 could handle BF3 on medium settings, so you really only need more power if you want better settings than that.

In which case, however, TR did a "Next-Gen Console" guide, which dropped a 7850 into the same enclosure with confidence. Perhaps that would be a better place to start, too, as the guide was put out only a couple months ago.
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:52 pm

A 6870 would do fine and would be a slight upgrade IMO. I run BF3 on high quite smoothly with my 6870.
One of the shorter cards like the XFX HD-687A-ZHFC might help with thermals. It's only 8.66" long.

As for the RAM, I don't really think so in this case. What RAM are you considering?
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:50 pm

I had a 6850 which was replaced with a 7770 and I could barely tell the difference in performance, though the 7770 was much quieter.

It means that the 6870 isn't going to be a drastic upgrade. 7850 would make more sense if you're unhappy with medium settings.

Oh Nvidia, where is your midrange card? An as-of-yet unreleased GK106 (the inevitable half GK104) would be just perfect for this....
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:15 pm

Thanks guys, you're awesome! I think I will push for the HD 7770 since the only thing she likes more than tiny is quiet especially if its only a small upgrade to go with the 6870.

As a late edit, I've seen in some requirements that a 7850 requires a 500 watt power source, would that be an issue since the box comes with a 450 watt bronze PSU?
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:21 pm

The Radeon HD7850 only requires a "500-watt" power supply if it's one of those cheap Chinese models that lies about its capacity. A decent power supply with 30 or more amperes of current available on the +12 volt header isn't going to complain. The Silverstone power supply in the Dorm PC 2.0 build can provide 36 A at +12 V. No worries.

Note that you could spend a bit less money, have much more expandability (4 PCIe slots vs. 1) and have many more alternatives available if you went with a Micro-ATX build rather than Mini-ITX.
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Re: Variation on the Dorm PC 2.0

Postposted on Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:30 pm

Yeah, that 450W PSU that comes with the SG05 is plenty. You can check with a power supply calculator. Keep in mind the recommendations from PSU calculators assume everything is at 90% load and the PSU is at 50% load. (ie, for a system that will pull 250W under 90% load, a PSU calculator will suggest a 500W PSU)

Make sure you pay attention to the length of the GPU you buy. According to the anandtech review I linked earlier, 10.2" is the MAX.
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