[Build Log] Mini Me College PC Build - Overclock.net

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post #1 of 5 Old 04-16-2013, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey all, I'm back.

This will be my 3rd ever PC build (no log for build #1, but my log for #2 is my sig rig) but it will be my first ever m-ITX build and I'm BEYOND excited to start.

Aside from a full, in-the-desk-mod style build, a micro-ATX or m-ITX build has been my ultimate dream.

Before I start the build this summer for next year in college, I would love to get your input on components / general help.

My dad, who I gave my first build to, is funding this build (I was going to take that desktop but he likes it too much rolleyes.gifbiggrin.gif ) so I'm budgeting for $650 - $700. I've yet to do a build under $2000 (I know how that sounds, but I wait 4 years between builds and go for the best at the time), so this is a hard one for me...

Right now I have:


What I'm looking at getting, but need to keep prices lower:


Now I have a few questions:

Will one stick of ram run just as well as 2x4GB sticks?

I will be using this computer for gaming and coursework. I am a mechanical engineering major, so i'll be using all of those programs as necessary.

I will be browsing all of the forum marketplaces for hard drives because I can find larger capacities for much cheaper (looking for 1TB or more WD black).

I may (still deciding) at a later date get an SSD for my engineering programs.

I may be using a previous monitor that I own, or I may look for another.

Still deciding on whether I need a disk drive or not, but I'd like a blu-ray drive / burner if I get one

Since I'm not going to be using crossfire obviously, I need at minimum a 500W PSU, preferably modular or semi-modular that will fit in the prodigy

I accept all suggestions and I look forward to hearing what you think.
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-16-2013, 10:47 AM
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Undergrad? I know during my physics undergrad years, the computing demand was very low but when I went to graduate school, I needed a lot more from my machine. Usually computer simulations and such aren't studied until graduate school, but you may dabble in Matlab/Mathematica during Junior/Senior year. However, in graduate school you will need a pretty robust machine unless you want to sit in the computer labs all night waiting for code to complete smile.gif.

What you have now is great for undergrad. I'd up the RAM to 16GB and possibly go with a 3770k for graduate work. Mathematica added CUDA capability and my school was moving toward GPU compute when I graduated, so an nvidia card may be good to get but you can evaluate that as you go through school.

My suggestions for engineering school:
  • Absolutely get dual screens or a large and high resolution monitor first and foremost. I got by on 2x(1680x1050) screens. Research/documentation on one and code/work on the other. Look up PWM flickering on LED monitors and see if you are susceptible. A lot of time in front of a monitor may cause eye strain, so you need to find a monitor that does not flicker such as a Viewsonic VP2770.
  • 16GB of RAM so you can have many open documents + large matrix calculations + word + excel + browser + IDE + etc.
  • SSD is not necessary since all calculation should fit into RAM (hopefully!)
  • Back ups!!! I ran RAID1 + daily backups. I'd suggest a cloud service as well or just Cyberduck into an S3 instance for free wink.gif.
  • Use enterprise quality drives like RE4, believe me it is worth it. Never use Green drive in RAID if you go that route.

If the budget gets tight lose the liquid cooler first, its not necessary and do not overclock while working. In fact, I wouldn't OC my workstation at all. It's hard to do in college, but its best practice to never OC a computer you preform and keep critical information on. A modular PSU is definitely recommended with mITX builds.
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post #3 of 5 Old 04-16-2013, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool, thanks for the reply.

I actually just declared for mechE, so I dont even know how long it will be before I use all of the software or anything like that to begin with.

But do you think 8gb RAM is ok for now, but as a single stick, so I can add more later?

I already have a Dell U2312HM on my home PC, but I want to get another for this build at school / possibly use them both as dual screens since the desk I'll have next year will be slightly larger.

The problem there is that I wouldnt be close to staying under budget if I get a $230 monitor right away, so I'm thinking of bringing the one down from home first.

I probably wouldnt have OC's the CPU to begin with, I just didnt think that the 'K' series came with coolers anymore, so if I was spending the money anyway...

Thanks for the help, I'll definitely look into what you said and keep an eye out for deals.

PS - for the PSU, I think I decided on the Silverstone Strider 500w Full Modular. It's nice and compact as well
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post #4 of 5 Old 04-16-2013, 12:19 PM
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SilverStone Strider PSUs are great, especially the 80+ Gold ones. Sadly, I don't think they make the lower voltage ones at 80+ Gold efficiency. I would personally go for a Seasonic G 550W 80+ Gold, fully modular PSU instead.

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post #5 of 5 Old 04-16-2013, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah the silverstone is 80plus bronze

I liek the one you linked though. Nicer cables as well biggrin.gif

The big difference though is the silverstone is 100% modular...decisions, decisions
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