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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus bonkers's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012

    [help needed] Building a cheap and small "secondary" PC

    So my current setup (E8400, GTX460) is getting on my nerves so I am currently thinking about getting a new PC. I am actually planning on getting a small one which will carry me through 2014 and maybe some of 2015 until I can buy a new beast in the 800+ euros category. This PC outlined here will then be used as a secondary linux based PC which my current one will be until then. The size is still subject to change but if possible I want to avoid the size of a regular midi tower. I added some price ranges (total budget should be around 500 euros as it is more of a temporary solution) and also added some "ideas" to work with. But feel free to change anything that you think is a stupid idea ;)
    The PC is most likely being bought around the end of November, so there might be some changes happening until then but I doubt anything too fancy is going to happen hardware-wise withing the next four weeks?


    Case: 50-60 Euros. Looking for something small but cheap.
    Lian Li PC-Q27A or Cooler Master Elite 130 seem to be in that range. The Bitfenix Prodigy also seems nice but also is a lot bigger. Also frontal USB3.0 would be nice as I have external usb3.0 hard drives. But that's not absolutely necessary.

    CPU: about 110 Euros. Should be rather cheap, pack some punch but also not getting to hot because of the smaller case.
    Intel i3-4310 or 4330. i5 seems to be out of the question due to the price. For AMD it seems like there are very little to no small form factor motherboards. Or the shop I was looking it was simply not selling those.

    CPU Cooler: about 30 Euros?
    With an i3 I could also go with the stock cooler from what it seems. Also I could still upgrade it later on if it's too loud or whatever. Maybe I cut off some of the price here and better invest it into a better gpu or else.

    Board: about 50 Euros
    As no overclocking is planned and price is a criteria: nothing too fancy. There seem to be plenty of choices but I have too little knowledge to know which one to choose. Maybe something from ASRock. I actually have good experience with their products. Also wi-fi would be good becasue if not I might be forced to upgrade that later on.

    Ram: 60 to 70 Euros
    Plenty of choices in the 1600-8GB sector. No idea what to choose. From looking at benchmarks it doesn't really seem to matter anyway. The difference between the known manufacturers seems marginal.

    GPU: about 120 Euros. Maybe up to 150, depending on what the other components turn out to be
    As Nvidia cards tend to run cooler maybe a 650 ti? Although the 750ti seems to be around the corner. But I doubt Nvidia will settle it in this area. An AMD card would also be possible of course. They seem to offer way more "bang for the buck" in this segment.

    PSU: about 50 Euros
    I have absolutely no current knowledge on PSUs

    HDD: will continue to use my old hdd and ssd for the moment. doesn't seem necessary to invest here. My hdd seems to be still running fine (accordig to some short tests I ran) and the ssd is a samsung 840 which i just bought recently.

    Optical drive: I could just use my old one. But from what it looks some of those cases require a slim line drive? (The prdigy shouldn't) But honestly, I haven't used an optical drive in months. Bluray not necessary as I don't own blurays. So I could also just skip this one...

    So I hope I haven' forgotten anything. Any help is really appreciated because I really am no longer informed about pc hardware anymore. I stopped caring a few years back ;)

    PS: I also don't need to get everything new. Especially the GPU could also be a used one from ebay or the likes. Although I would prefer to buy new hardware. Simply because of warranty and the like.
    Last edited by bonkers; 22-10-2013 at 01:14 AM.
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    AMD has small form factor boards, but then you're looking at their FM2 boards which are for APUs and derived Athlons (APUs with disabled graphics). So for pure CPU performance in a small form factor, Intel is the undisputed winner. It's fine, their power draw is a lot more suitable for small cases anyway.

    The CPU cooler depends on the case and how much heat there'll be in there (big GPU -> better CPU cooler may be necessary). With reasonable components and reasonable airflow, the stock cooler is sufficient. But an aftermarket cooler may still be more quiet. Since a CPU cooler can be upgraded anytime, you could start off with the stock cooler and then see whether that's good enough or you'll want to add a better one.

    Here's an example build:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor (102.79 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Motherboard: ASRock B85M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard (77.89 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Memory: GeIL EVO Leggara Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (71.90 @ Caseking)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card (109.89 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Case: BitFenix Prodigy (White) Mini ITX Tower Case (70.67 @ Amazon Deutschland)
    Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (44.90 @ Caseking)
    Total: 478.04
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-22 02:28 CEST+0200)

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