Thoughts on a PC build - MicroATX ROG Mini-Monster
Written by: Mark - 21:20 Nov-11-2017

So, a friend of mine over at Steam posted a status about a PC he built for a 14-year-old, who's really into videogames. So far he has only ever been able to play games via a PS3 -- his mom got him years ago -- but he loves to get into PC gaming (who doesn't?).

He built it already, but some final advice may come in handy. What are your thoughts on the build, described and shown below? Feels like a stable OC with those Prime95 temps, no? A very decent and efficient PSU with 71A on +12V & enough wattage room; better 'heart' for the same price? Would you manage cables differently in this case -- no pun intended -- or won't it affect the effective airflow (noticeable)? Some pointers and some of my thoughts.


".....Anyway, so I built the PC. 99% of the parts were just spare components that were lying unused around my PC building room. Only had to "pay" for the GPU. It's not the super l33t PC I normally do since I didn't have any other spares around...but I think I did good for what I had on hand, plus the GPU.

So, before I send it and package it up, just wanted to know what you guy's think if any improvements/mods could be made to make it better. I already put better TIM on the GPU (same as CPU which is Phobya HeGrease), and I know the cable management could be a bit better. So what do you think? Also Win 10 Home fully updated + Comodo FW+Eset Nod32 AV Premium. Bios updated and all that jazz.

Tell me what ya' think, or if I should just go all out and put a clc hydro on the cpu instead, even though I'm stable @4.8GHz on air and idle temps are 22-38c, full Prime 95 loads are 55-72c???

These are the full specs, any advice or tweaks would be appreciated. Thx in advance to anyone who helps, really trying to make this special for him. Also, all mice, k/b, and monitor recommends are welcome too. Already throwing in a Asus Wireless-AC1300 Dual-band Adapter fyi.

"MicroATX ROG Mini-Monster" 

-Trusty Shinobi XL spare case
-Core i7 7700K OC @4.8 GHz (on air!!!)
-Noctua CPU Cooler
-1TB Mushkin SSD
-4TB WD Black HDD
-LG Blu-Ray Reader/Writer/Rewriter
-32GB G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR4
-Seasonic X Series 850w PSU
(TIM was Phobya HeGrease)
-Win 10 Home
-EVGA 1080 Ti FTW3 Elite 11GB GPU
-Asus Maximus ROG MicroATX mobo.................."

Thanks in advance for all your input on this build. Someone will be very happy, maybe happier while applying a few changes/tweaks to the final build :)

Some thoughts from others over at Steam:

"I'm not the computer guy, but these specs look insane :P I would shit my pants if I got PC like this as a present (if I were that kid ofkz, I'm too old to get excited about PC stuff now :P). I can recommend a mouse though - Razer Deathadder Respawn 3500dpi. It's old and cheap now, but I've never used better gaming mouse than this" -bullex

"Those are some insane specs!

For a monitor, I can't recommend a specific one, but I'd say what makes sense to have today is:

10 bit panel IPS for the best possible color quality and viewing angles.
144hz for smooth gameplay.
1440p (not 4k).

The reason not to have 4k is because the computer will get obsolete much quicker at that resolution.

Just my 2 cents." -Rudolf Von Goldenbaum


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man this is good rig

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Says the Chairman; means a lot (;P)

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to be honest, I don't see a purpose of such specced rig,
mini-ITX based rig is supposed to be small, this one isn't,
I built mini-ITX beast years ago (you may remember) with i7-3770K at 4.5GHz cooled by Noctua, ASUS Z77-I Deluxe (killer power phase cascade, wifi etc..) and went for smallest possible case (Fractal Design Node 304) which would fit a regular-sized blower-cooled card (EVGA GTX770 SC),
building at such big case, I would definitely go for at least microATX, which would have 4 ram slots

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466

Yeah, I understand (and remember your build), but the 'excuse' would be that >90% = spare parts, except for the GPU :D


And this is what he also said regarding the choice for mATX:


"Finally, I used the mATX mobo because I actually didn't have a better full-sized mobo on hand without buying it. The Asus ROG mobo's mATX or not are as good or better than 90% of others for OCing imo, at least in mATX size."

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What do you think about adding Tobii eye tracking? :) https://tobiigaming.com/

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Hmm, that's basically a €60,- bonus; not bad :D

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It's something you don't get with a console :)

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An amazing gaming machine,that's for sure.As someone mentioned before,I would have also gone for an ATX mobo.And probably rather for ryzen than seventh gen i7 cause it would be more futureproof.I instantly clicked 10 cause i didn't read it was the ratio,but i think the mobo and the cpu are a bit too expensive for what you get.
Now,for the peripherals:Is there any budget or can I go all crazy with the suggestions? :D

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Regarding the choice for mATX: "Finally, I used the mATX mobo because I actually didn't have a better full-sized mobo on hand without buying it. The Asus ROG mobo's mATX or not are as good or better than 90% of others for OCing imo, at least in mATX size." He mostly used spare parts ;-)


Yeah, I couldn't use commas and such in the poll, but wanted to write "Price vs. Performance & Balance (lack of bottlenecks…)" ;-)


I haven't noticed anything from him concerning the budget for the peripherals, so fire :D
Thanks!

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75

I'm using Logitech's prodigy lineup and it's awesome in every way,especially comfort.I'd recommend the g410 or g910(depends how many keys you need or how much space you have) and g402,403 or 502,all are amazing mice,but I'd recommend g403 all day since i use it all day :D
As for the monitor,do calculate how far the boy is going to be sitting from it,that should be the answer size-wise for best comfort.
Also,will he be using speakers or headphones?

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I'll forward this to him and let you know what his thought regarding this are. That Logitech Prodigy gear sure looks fantastic!


And yeah, distance from the screen is crucial, but I'm easily assuming it's an (advised) arm length to the screen when sitting straight; not expecting everyone taking advice like that, and if I see one of my cousins in front of his screen, I'd advise him to get 14" instead of his current 24" :P

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"I'm considering the high-end Logitech mice, and maybe a Razer/etc KB, since I own quite a few. I'll most def be getting a Asus/BenQ monitor. And I already have a spare Astro A40 headset I'm throwing in." ;-)


A spare Astro A40, :phew

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Razer does make cool stuff,but not qualitiy stuff.At least not anymore.I've heard praise for 2014 editions,and as much hate for later versions.If RGB isn't the most important thing,g502 would be amazing since it is greatly fitted for smaller hands.Also ergonomy should be accounted for like that in keyboards,not to have super high mech keys which would cause your wrist to be lifted under a large angle,especially for smaller hands.That's why I love mine with a wrist wrest.

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Also don't fall for "gaming" monitor gimmick.144 hz and 4k on a TN panel means pretty much every new game will look like crap(can i use that word?).IPS panel means vivid colors and wide viewing angles and less light bleed and stuff like that.That way the monitor would be great not only for gaming but also for watching movies and doing work(like MS Office and coding in visual studio for myself).

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I'm really not updated when it comes to keyboards & mice since I'm still happy with my K400 after a couple of years, not using a mouse either :D
But yeah, gotta avoid raising the chance on CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome) and ergonomics are really crucial to me! ;-) Definitely recommending a wrist wrest in that situation you described, and if present, armrests on the proper height etc. ;-)


I'll forward our 2nd part regarding monitors; important to take knowledge from ;-)
PS 'Crap' has different meanings, so don't worry :P

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Honestly…. For an enthusiast piece of kit I think it's great, but I think it's extreme overkill, and extreme overspending for a first gaming PC for a 14 year old….. it's kinda like giving a kid the keys to a Ferrari when he hasn't even learned how to drive yet.

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no it's NOT like that at all.. plus if he wants to play the newest games and games in the future(next 2-4 years) without upgrading, how is it an overkill?

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It's a pretty neat beast, but he's a gaming enthusiast + yeah, future proof material that would serve this kid well. Also, as Jintek, the PC architect said, 99% of these parts were just lying around in the house :P

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Someone who has a 1080ti lying around the house? Sure thing thats like 1500euros of Hardware of current gen. That wasnt used/spare parts? When i was 14 i got a yoyo for birthday????

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When I was 14-15 I had 980s in sli with a 5960X. Everything was under water and custom cooled.


Now I'm 18.

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I quoted the builder above; it says he had to buy the GPU ;-) So yeah, not really 99%…

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Sorry half of that was envy i guess :-)
And some would kill for the connections you have greedy muffin. But a cheap tool like me spents his money rather on other things than a upgrade that is due.

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Although envy basically is a sin, it's healthy sometimes or there's maybe nothing to fight for anymore :P

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lol just my opinion… sounds to me like he's being spoiled though, and he's not going to really know what equates to good or bad performance when the only performance he's been exposed to is the top of the scale….. part of the fun of PC gaming is figuring out how to squeeze out the best performance from what you have, figuring out what you can tweak, what impact all of the settings have…. not just throwing money at it and having an auto "best" button.

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spoiled is NOT determined by what you get, it's determined if you expect to get things forever and have other people give or do things for you forever or NOT. So we can't know if he is spoiled or not.

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+1 to Psychoman.


The reason I got what I got was because I was lucky. I did not expect anything. So I just worked my way up. When I was 14-16, I had nothing I needed to pay for, so all of my money could go into boats (which I flipped and made more money on) and PCs. :))

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…nor don't we know that 14-year-old that well and the situation. Maybe he's a videogame enthusiast, but furthermore not really a hardware enthusiast.


It actually reminds me of NFS: Most Wanted. Some of your rivals just wanted the best car, working by desire…not really having affinity with (car) tech.

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I'd only use the word combination 'spoile brat' in situations where someone is lucky and/or rich, can afford/own high-end gear, but is not grateful and/or is expecting more + doesn't feel to do anything for it….but he'll get we he/she wants.

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lol like I said guys, that's my opinion…. and Psycho, I wasn't implying that he's a spoiled brat, He's probably a really nice kid for all I know….simply that he's being spoiled in the sense that for one that's a whole lot of money just being handed over, and secondly he's not really learning anything about the PC gaming hobby, for most of us, it's more than just about playing a game, there's both the hardware and software side to it.

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I respect your opinion, TClawWolf. The thing is that, that we can't really judge here… ;-) Besides, I can tell you that the situation is quite different in this case -- also a reason I'm sharing -- but I don't know the details nor can share those :)

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Isn't that too much RAM? Unless he is 4k gaming, isn't that GPU VRAM a bit overkill? Don't WD Black drives have a higher failure rate?

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I wouldn't really say the GPU VRAM is too much, because games like Rust uses like 8GB VRAM on 1080p for me and I'm sure if I had more it would use more. The RAM part probably depends on what he's doing, but I'm pretty sure he tried future proofing it as much as he could. There's always a chance that your HDD might fail and some brands do have a higher failure rate, but the failure rate isn't that high.

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I'm really not sure about this this 11GB either and it may be a gimmick -- can it all be utilized? -- but I don't think it would affect the prize a lot, does it?


I've only got experiences with WD Green & Blue, but WD in general has been good to me for more than a decade. Might be, but of course the user plays part here as well :P

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All 11GB can be used on the 1080Ti. :-)

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Good to know! I remember a lot of info from Pip back then, referring to the good old 4GB gimmicks, narrow bus widths etc. :P

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He over killed with the future proofing in my opinion. Rust using more than 8GB VRAM means it has a memory leak. If you're not paying a premium for that extra VRAM, cool. Otherwise it's a waste.


I researched WD Black again and it seems I'm incorrect on that. They seem to be pretty reliable.


32GB RAM? When will the PC ever need to use that much RAM? 16GB should be plenty for the next 5 years.

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  • Yeah, wouldn't pay like $10 - 15 per 1GB of VRAM :P
  • Maybe there was a certain fault in them in the beginning, fixed later on? I can only tell you I once had an adapter for my ex EHDD that was a faulty model...couldn't replace the adapter with the fixed edtion; didn't match :P
  • Unless you're really messing up your system, 32GB is very future proof...! What would you say, is the average price per 4/8GB of DDR4 RAM -- average speed? But I guess he had enough of DDR4 RAM lying around as well :D

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RAM is quite expensive these days. If that RAM was just lying around then why not. I wonder if it's a Quad Channel setup :)

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Won't help with a Quad-channel memory kit when the CPU/Motherboard only supports dual-channel.


But is see your point. Probably is.

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Ah yes. It only supports Dual Channel. My mistake.

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I don't know, assuming it's 2 x 16GB and that he knows this CPU supports a dchannel memory arch. :)
Good point!

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There is a huge difference between Vram being just filled and Vram being all filled AND utilized effectively with benefit to performance, the later requires more bandwidth and thus a wider bus.

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In case it's just filled, you mean it's cached, not utilized, but also not free, like with system RAM?

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I just now only noticed that your author of the blog Mark :P

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Well, you don't by the GPU just for the VRAM, but you buy it for the power it has. I have noticed a lot of games that have been using more. A few I have tested are Deus Ex (6-7GB), Doom (5GB), Wolfenstein 2 (6GB) and my heavily modded Skyrim uses over 6GB.


I doubt a PC will need 32GB RAM for only gaming, but a PC can easily use 32GB RAM depending on what you're doing. Chrome is an example a lot of people use and it does use a lot.. I currently have chrome and Steam open and my computer is using 7.3GB RAM (I have a bunch of tabs and windows open). Virtual Machines, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and a bunch of other programs can use a lot of RAM too. You can also create RAM disks.


A PC can be used for a lot of other stuff than just gaming and he'll probably use it for other stuff too. (And this was actually meant to be a reply to your message sent at 14:50 Nov-12-2017, but I was busy testing the VRAM of those games)

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Good you're mentioning. I was thinking about GTA V as well; played that one? I didn't though…


Yes, I noticed long time ago Chrome is using more than I'm happy with…
It's really crucial to know if someone's a PC user here or a pure gamer, more than okay to assume this 14-year-old is purely focused on games for now; one of the motives for the builder/Jintek to build this setup :) Also good you're mentioning that!

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It's great, I give it a 10/10 for a gaming machine and an 8/10 for a workstation machine. Since it's primarily a gaming PC I vote a 10.


I've got a few questions though.


How do you get such a big difference when under with prime 95 load "55-72C", usually there is a 2-3C delta at different times, but a 17C delta is crazy.
Also why did you get a micro-ATX in a case that can handle standard ATX? I believe the idea of micro-ATX is to put it in a smaller case, no?

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I already commented due these temps and wasn't really sure what they meant (differences per core?), will ask him again. Yes, if they'd vary like that per core, unstable? I also wonder if he manually raised the fan speed or set it to auto.


Hah, last question is a good one! I'd say the same…I'll ask him.
Thanks for your input!
PS It's best that he creates a GD account though so he can reply here :P

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His response:


==========
"….Anyway, yes, the 55c-72c is across the "CPU as average" not per core. Per core it was probably, idk…55c, 59c, 62c, 72c on average during Prime95 max loads. Think the highest the hottest core went on the 1st test was 79c. But I also use Asus AI Suite to put the CPU fans to 75% speed under 70% load, and 100% under 90% load. Case fans are also @70%at all times.


Finally, I used the mATX mobo because I actually didn't have a better full-sized mobo on hand without buying it. The Asus ROG mobo's mATX or not are as good or better than 90% of others for OCing imo, at least in mATX size.


Also, not sure about this particular CPU, since I've only OCed three on them, this being the 3rd. But it's possible I guess it's just a really good chip. If I remember right, the others (mine in full ATX Asus mobo's) were 58c-85c/55c-81c during full Prime95 max overnight tests, and that was using CPU water coolers @ same OC speed as this chip. So it's possible I guess it's just a lucky chip, honestly I have no idea, I assumed it would be somewhere between 60c-90c on air. But the two overnight Prime95 plus small ffts tests surprised me!"
-Jintek
=========


So no, not a 17C delta per core ;-)

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Ah it all makes sense now! :)

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