Everyday I sit next to my computer, i just look at the tower in disgust. It is so big and ugly. I want to build a small gaming computer. About 4-5 years ago I looked into it once before but it didn’t seem like the idea was ready. Small computers were hard to build, noisy, and had heat problems. Have things changed?
For one, I don’t need an optical drive anymore. Few of us rarely do. Routing cables around the drive bay cage was half the problem of putting together a small system. Is there a case that doesn’t even have the bay? Maybe even a case that only supports a 2.5 inch drive bay but still has room for a decent video card?
No doubt some hardware whiz can advice you better on this, but based on my experiences, you are likely to run into one big problem: the graphics card.
Graphics cards nowadays are just monsters. I was shocked when I upgraded the graphics card in my PC last year (October) to find that the even mid-range graphics cards could barely fit into the PC I built in February 2009. In fact, I had to return the ATI5850 card that I initially bought - I simply could not make space for it in my PC cabinet (one of these, which I - at least - wouldn’t consider small). Assuming the current trend continues, the next time my graphics card burns out, I will probably need to buy a bigger case.
If you can make do with a weaker graphics card, though, it might be doable, though.
If you just don’t want something portable like a laptop (because that’s where this path led me,) you could look into the micro-ATX or mini-ITX stuff. Essentially, think along the lines of “somewhat portable,” and small.
How small is “small?” MicroATX? MiniITX? A proprietary SFF like the Shuttle boxes? The smaller you want it, the more you constrain your build options. Likewise, what’s your budget for this? As others said, the video card will be the biggest constraint on size; even a lot of budget video cards are dual-slot (sometimes inexplicably so, IMHO), which is wider than most small cases can hold (to say nothing of length).
This is a full computer (sans KB/monitor) at $620 that is that small? For serious?
That is extremely doable for me, and convenient for NYC moving. I must have it!
edit: Would I need a copy of Windows to install on it? And does it have slots for plugging in ethernet cables or what have you for internets? AKA wtf do I do to go from a box of parts to a functional machine with limited effort? I haven’t needed to upgrade since like 03, so I have no idea!
So I’d need to add in an HD? What cost conscious HD would you recommend that would fit in there? I also don’t use CDs/DVDs, so not having them is zero problem so long as there’s a way to get the OS on there.
I’m going to put a 2.5" 128GB SSD to boot Windows and a 2TB Green ($70) 3.5" HD.
If SSDs are too expensive, you can probably get away with a WD Scorpio Blue (Black costs a bit more if you want 7200rpm vs the 5400rpm) 1TB 2.5" laptop sized boot drive or 500GB if cooling is paramount.
Otherwise a single 3.5" 2TB green drive is enough for most people.
I think a single 2tb drive would be far more than I need or am used to. And at like 75 bucks that’s a steal. It’s fine with just that, right? There’s no need for a second drive? And I do need to purchase/have an OS as well, correct?
Yeah I have free/cheap licenses from MSDN/work/MS employee store I can leverage so I didn’t factor in Windows cost either.
Is this for gaming at all?
You can get cheaper $100ish or sub $100 mini ITX boards that don’t have the price premium of Asus (heck Asus makes a non-Deluxe version of the same board with fewer bells and whistles) and you can do with a cheaper or non-existent video card…or even a smaller case depending on what your plans are for the cube.
You could use the stock CPU fan the intel chip comes with to save $40 on an aftermarket.
Looks like all the 2tB green 3.5" drives (Seagate, Samsung, WD) are $79.99 regular on newegg.com for example.
I’m planning to play vidya games on it, but as I’m playing Civ5/Dragon Age/Stalker/Shogun 2 on an 03 machine I’m fairly confident I don’t need a super whizz bang product. So I prefer something I can cart off wherever at my convenience.
And this seems A) cheap B) conveniently sized and C) far more powerful than my current thing, so it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.
If it’ll boot off a usb then I’ll probably buy it today and put it together over the weekend or whenever.
edit: How risky is buying an open box thing on newegg?