HTPC build for bro, any thoughts on config?

So, my brother is entering the PC gaming world since he is ditching his old iMac and thanks to the crappy x-bone. (DOUBLE YAY! Logan, your hypothosis was correct!! :D)

He asked me to make him a suitible, future-proofed gaming HTPC, which he will eventually move away from the living room onto an acutal desk with multi monitors, utilizing surround gameplay.

Here are his needs:

1. His budget is $1200 US for the box alone, no other peripherals, and with shipping.

2. He, like me, is a huge silence freak.

3. It must be small and portable.

4. He will not be overclocking.

5. Must have wifi/bluetooth.

6. Must have the graphics horsepower to do 5760*1080 at most details on high.

7. Because of the cost of SSD's currently, he told me to budget the money that was to be put into an SSD instead into higher performance. (I tried to sway him, but he wouldn't budge, so I'm leaving that alone.) Intstead he said he would upgrade to an SSD or caching solution at a later date when prices drop.

8. Must not be gaudy or insane-looking so that the wife approves, and must blend in with current a/v and office equiptment.

9. Must have the expandability to eventually become a NAS microserver, small multi-puropose machine

10. Low power usage when not gaming.

Here's what I got:

Case: Fractal Design Node 304 - $80

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI Mini ITX (got for Wifi built in, not for the overclocking) - $135

CPU: i5-4430 3.0Ghz - $190

Ram - G.SKILL Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866 Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR - $77

HDD - Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 3TB Model st3000dm001 - $135

Graphics: HIS HD-7950 IceQ boost (the one with the blue blower design cooler) - $310

Power Supply: Silverstone ST55F-G 550w Short-Depth Full Modular - $110

Silverstone pp05 Short cable kit - $25

Heatsink: Noctua NH-U14S - $76

Shipping: $22

Total: $1159

I've built in this case before for other clients, but I have not built with this motherboard. What I am concerned about is that since the CPU socket is so close to the PCIe slot, there would be compatibility issues with the CPU cooler. 

Also, I have a 7950, and I know that it can meet his expectations on graphical horsepower, but I don't have this one in particular. What I don't know is how loud the cooler is, and if it will be an acceptable noise level to meet his expectations, especially since it will be sucking air in directly from outside of the case through that mesh grill.


Any thoughts on the build is appreciated.

I would say it looks great I would maybe go for a coolermaster m4 cpu cooler as its cheaper and look in to 16gb of ram.  Other then that it looks good for somthing that is small.  Later get a 64gb ssd and set up intel smart cache I did it and It works great.

Because of budget constraints he can't do 16gb. I had to make him and his wife stretch to 1160. I did take a look at the m4, but because the cpu socket is so close to the pcie, the cooler would block the pice slot. Really I'm looking to see if there are any other super-quiet heatsinks out there that would not block the pcie.

The only thing I can think of right now is the h60

Your build is pretty good, but there are some things that won't work. For example the CPU cooler wont fit in that case.

I put this together. It has a much more powerful graphics card for pushing 3 monitors. It also has a more powerful processor. It has an SSD (small one just for the OS, and a seagate 3tb drive.

What does it give up?

It is a little more expensive (still less than $1200) and it doesnt have a CPU cooler.. which you dont really need if you arent overclocking. The stock intels are already pretty quiet unless at their highest RPM.

Well here it is:

I made a build with quiet in mind and this is what I got. This cost comes to $1140, but has a lot of power including an 8 core CPU for future games.



grab some MX-4, and a H80i

these are low profile 1.35v 1600 8-8-8 ram that can OC to 1866 or 2133 easy with a small valtage bump

Your configs would be good if it were not for a silence freak, and if someone wanted a small desktop. He is wanting a small HTPC.

I like the idea of the 770 4gb model, but from what I have been reading the 4gb of frame buffer will only be utilized if it is in an sli configuration. I will not deny that it is faster, but it is also ludicrously more expensive. I already have an hd-7950, and I know that it can run 5760*1080 max on most titles at 40+fps, so why would I make him spend more money on power that he most likely won't utilize?

As far as the fx-8350, I would consider it if it had a good quality compatible mini-itx motherboard. Unfortunately, selection is limited. That, and it overclocked only gets as good performance if not slightly better than a stock 3rd gen i5 3570k.

Thank you for the info, but I would only recommend Asrock if I had not had so much difficulty with them in the past. I currently am running 2 of their motherboards, both have random little problems. You can check my profile for my computer specs.

Good info on the ram.

I think I decided to keep the current config I had just up the ram to a 16gb kit of 1600 cl8 and slap in a h60. From what I'm hearing the new fans from corsair are rivaling noctua pretty heavily in terms of silence. That, and it's slightly less expensive than the noctua nh-l9, which leaves room in the budget for more ram.

There is a 4gb gtx 770 by gigabyte that is $450, and he will difinately use it when triple monitoring. Games next year, or early 2015 will start using more HD textures. You wanted a future proof system.. so you will want something with more than 2 or 3 gb of vram for triple monitoring.

Just to clarify some things about a "future proof" build. The 8350 is the only option that is both low cost and can run 8 threads. The new consoles both have 8 core processors, which means more games will be programed to use 8 threads in the near future. Also, more and more games are using HD content, and/or can be moded with more HD textures for current games. VRAM will become more important in the next year. Consoles have 8+ gigs of ram that can almost completely be used for textures on the consoles. We will see a big boost in HD gaming over teh next couple years.

If your bro wants to triple monitor on games next year and beyond without any upgrade, then a 4gb model really would be a good choice. Especially only $50 over a normal gtx 770.Even a 4gb 760 wouldnt be bad and he could SLI later if he wanted.