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Please check my new PC specs for me before I buy it specifically for SL... I'm blonde...

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I would like to ask you, knowlegeble experts, for your wise advice before I buy all the parts and have someone build my new PC. I would be so grateful if you could spend some of your precious time to see if i chose the right parts for my build.

Intended build:

- Case: Silverstone Sugo SG13B Mini ITX (Mesh version)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H170N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1151
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core
- CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X31 69.5 CFM Liquid
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2133 CMK16GX4M2A2133C13
- PSU: Silverstone Strider Plus 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular (ATX)
- GPU: Mini Asus GeForce GTX 960 2GB (ASUS GTX960-MOC-2GD5)
- SSD/HDD: 1x 3.5” 250GB WDC WD2500JS-75NCB2 + 1x Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5"
- Shorter PSU cables: Silverstone PP05-E
- Shorter SATA cables: 2 x Silverstone SST-CP11

Reasons for building new PC:

I use my pc mainly for internet and office applications, occasional use of Photoshop. But… I have a weakness, and that is playing Second Life, daily for many hours. It is a 3D heavy game that doesn't rely on DirectX but OpenGL.

I have been using an ATX PC with Pentium D (Dell Dimension 9150). Its now 10 years old. I can go into a lenghty explanation about how and why, but to cut a long story short: indirectly, due to playing Second Life, 2 graphic cards, 8600GTS and GTX720 broke (looks like overheating). Please don't reply that a game cannot break a graphics card because that is not the issue. I am going to build a new PC anyway because my old PC is at the end of its life. The new system will run on Win10 Home.

It will be my first own-build PC, with specs that can play Second Life at ultra graphics levels or, at the very minimum, high graphics levels. I am not prepared to go for less. I know it is silly to build a PC that is overkill for anything I do on the PC, apart from playing 1 silly game. Please don't reply saying I dont need a high spec PC and it will be better to just stop playing the game ;-) I admit it; I am an addict.

Reasons for chosing these particular specs:

- Case: I would like an as small as possible computer and the SG13 looks good. Some have recommend me to go at least Micro-ATX, because the SG13 supposedly is not meant for games and internals apparently would get too hot. Some others say it doesn't matter. I chose the mesh front version because of better airflow. Does anyone have an opinion on using this small case with high spec parts to play a 3D heavy game?

- Motherboard: i wanted more than 2 USB 3.0 connections at the back of the panel to futureproof it. This one has plenty. The 2 old-style USB 2.0 ports connections will be used for my keyboard and mouse. Build-in WiFi seems better than immediately fill a USB connections with a WiFi stick, I prefere /ac compatability to make it more futureproof. Audio is not so important to me and neither is the onboard graphics.

- CPU: fast and reasonably priced vs the better i7. I suspect i3 not being up to par and not futureproof enough.

- CPU cooler: chosen to improve temperatures, First time i will try liquid cooling.

- RAM: latency 15 was only 2 dollars cheaper so i chose latency 13. Red version was also 5 dollars cheaper than the black version. Color doesn't bother me. It is purely an aestetic difference, am I right?

- PSU: fully modular ATX type, but 140mm long instead of more common 150mm, therefore better airflow, plus it will make things easier to install. Do you recommed me changing this for a SFX type? If so, will i need a special bracket (ATX to SFX) to be able to install it? My calculated needed wattage would be 271W. 500W is slightly overkill, but PSUs with 375W or 450W are only about 10 dollars cheaper. What is your opinion?

- GPU: I defenitly want a Nvidia type card instead of AMD (reason omitted in order to keep it “short”). I decided on a GTX 960 and I chose the mini version. It is only 6.69” long, vs the regular 8.46” version, therefore better airflow. The mini version apparently will run cooler than a regular sized version. I saw some posts of people with the mini version that although it is shorter, the fact that the molex cable plugs in into the back and thus making it longer, causes it not to fit because the cable would stick into a fan. It seems highly unlikely to me, because the card itself is nearly 2” shorter and molex plug plus cable does not equal 2”. Does anyone have experience with the mini version in this case?

- SSD & HDD: both recycled from my old system. The HDD will be replaced with a 2.5” SATA 3 HDD at a later stage.

- Cables: I choose shorter 300mm PSU and SATA cables because it will get me better airflow.

I hope I gave enough information. I tried to be as precise and yet as short as possible at the same time. Thank you so much for being willing to help me. Trust me, I really appreciate it!



Update: After reading some comments, I am concluding that I have no choice but to change my Mini ITX case to a small sized ATX case because of overheating issues. Can anyone comment on that? Can anyone suggest a particular smallish sized case that would fit my needs? Of course I will have to change the motherboard then too. Can anyone suggest an ATX motherboard with plenty of USB 3.0 connections? I would keep the other parts the same as I planned for the Mini ITX. Everyone agree that it is a wise choice to keep the other part choices? Of course then I would change the mini GTX 960 to a regular sized Asus STRIX GTX 960 2GB

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Sounds like you've done some good research!

I don't have a whole tonne to add or criticise, even as someone who frequently builds high-end custom PCs for business applications.

Love the modular PSU, I swear by these myself. Corsair and Intel are on the mark as well.

Let me try to come up with some grumbles, though, so I can say that I've been extra-picky.

  • If you use a Third Party Viewer or multiple monitors, it may be worth looking into a higher-memory GPU. 2Gb shouldn't be a problem!
  • Don't use the Wifi on the board unless you know that your network (router, access point) can handle high speed, uncontested Wifi. Use the built-in Gigabit Ethernet to get a good idea of the true capabilities of your network.
  • Expect the GPU to try and cool vertically, through the top of the case. I wouldn't trust that rear vent to push much out.
  • Does the case have space for the CPU radiator AND another 120mm fan? Running already-heat-exchanged air through the case to cool your GPU sounds... like a recipe for a thermal short circuit. Remember that they still have the same amount of waste heat to disperse. Might not be too substantial but if you can keep free air moving front-to-back I think you'll see better performance, given that you still have many components to cool with forced air.
  • 120Gb SSD is exactly right, I would avoid going smaller than this.

Hope this helps! Again this is something I have fair experience at, but it's not my main skill. There may be other posters who'll pop by who know more about the intricacies of hardware.

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I would not get a mini itx case unless your computer room is below 65 degrees F all year round. I live in California and have had an itx case running SL. It overheated in the summer months even with the the case cover completely removed with internals open to the air. It started to overheat all throughout the year eventually. 

The itx has almost no internal airflow and the components are so close together that they radiate heat onto each other. It actually works fine without running any 3d games. So for standard computer use the case will work.

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Thanks so much for commenting! I will try and answer the points you made. I consulted the builder guy about it and i basically understand it as this:

-I anticipated the higher memory comment  for the GPU. The guy told me that GPUs never use the higher than 2GB memory at all anyway. That it is merely a marketing strategy to offer 4GB on a GPU. The same nonsense as some shops offer gold plated digital cables such as hdmi. Besides I really could not afford to pay almost double for a 4GB GPU. For me  214 dollars for a 2GB version is very expensive already. I make 7 dollars net an hour at my job ;-) So the 2GB GTX 960 is the maximum GPU I can afford. I can go less. but not more.

-not sure what you mean by don't use the wifi on the board unless im sure the router / access point can handle high speed. The motherboards wifi is b/g/n/ac, so it would also be backwards compatable to the older router/accesspoint's wifi type (b/g), true? I will use Ethernet mostly anyway, but sometimes when I move the case to another spot in the house I will have to use the wifi. In your opinion, will I be better off with a cheaper motherboard without WiFi then? So I can just use a regular WiFI USB stick? 

- i understand that you mean that hot air rises. Half of the top of the case has vent holes, the side of the case (on de side of the GPU) has a big strip of vented holes  so the GPU blower would blow the hot air straight out. The residue air that rises goes straight out of the top ventholes. The other side of the case has a square of vent holes. The back has a few vent holes, the front is mesh, with a fan in it to blow in cooler air. The airflow from the front will basically "push" out the stagnant hot air inside. Is that reasoning a mistake? Is it critical and are you saying I defenitly should not buy a mini ITX and go MicroITX? I am asking cause I really do not want a bigger case...lol

-the case only has space and mountings for 1 fan. That will be the liquid cooler fan. there will be no options to add another fan.


I hope I answered your points. Would you like to comment on them?




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Arghhhh lol. Thanks for your honesty

I was hoping that wasn't the case, but yeah you're the second person to comment on the heat issue. Good thing I posted this thread, otherwise I would have bought too small a case.

I hate tower pc's. I was glad this one broke down after 10 years. Initially I wanted to buy a laptop, but got told that was not a good idea for SL, exactly because of the overheating problems. So I thought I'd go about 5 sizes bigger, i.e. an ITX case.

I live in The Netherlands. The temperature in summer won't go much above 85 Fahrenheit

So, what do you recon my minimum size case should be? In liters. The Mini ITX is about 11 liters. Do I really really really need an ATX sized case? Do you know of a particular case maybe?

And... how can so many people use a laptop for SL then? If an ITX case has heating issues, then surely a laptop would have bigger issues? Right?

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Bree does have good points on cooling. My opinion on this is that it's one of those things you'll have to try before you can be sure of, but I think you'd be more or less fine provided you're in a moderate environment, dust/dismantle the machine periodically and do not cross the CPU cooling channel with anything else. Bree is right that a larger case would give you more options when it comes to adjusting your cooling arrangement.

Strikethrough'd because I've adjusted some of this, please read the whole post. :)

On to your points:-

While your Builder Guy is wrong about 4Gb cards (many games now will use >2Gb if available), I can appreciate that this is a budget constraint. This point was optional anyway, but you're right that you might not see the benefit of improving GPU memory immediately or obviously.

Your on-board WiFi would be backward compatible, but only the fastest WiFi standards will survive an encounter with SL. Older implementations in hardware will cause part of your network to fail and will affect your experience in other ways too. Remember that  since SL is an entirely streaming virtual world, your network will be worked just as hard as your graphics system. Your wired Ethernet interface won't have this problem.

A liquid heat-exchanger is not a parallel for a fan, it won't force air through the case very effectively. Given that you have the GPU, which requires air-cooling, I would expect that you'll definitely need a case fan to pull fresh, un-warmed air into the case. It sounds like the "1 fan" will be your heat-exchanger, and this is not adequate, to my mind, to cool the rest of the system as well. Most heat-exchangers are installed at the rear of a typical ATX case, away from the primary air channel that forces air front-to-back.

 With that in mind I might have to change my judgement a little. MiniITX + no ability to pull air into the case is almost certainly going to give you heating issues in SL.


And to add:-

Some people do use SL on low/medium settings, using a laptop. My experience helping users with technical issues demonstrates that they rarely accomplish this for long (I'd average ~12 months) before something starts melting.

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That was very clear. Thank you. Your comments about the heating issues sound logical. I guess will have to abandon my Mini ITX plan in that case (lol litterally). Not quite sure I will buy a new PC then after all, cause I really don't want a big tower just to play SL. Plus it will be a pain when I have to move to a different country in two years time and will have to fit all my belongings in my Ford Ka to move it all. And as I understand it, buying a laptop really wont be much of a point either then. Maybe better to just abandon SL viewer and stick to a text only viewer. Still fun to chat. But it saddens me... deeply... but thats just the withdrawal symptoms talking . lol

I didnt quite understand the wifi part. At the moment i am using wifi too albeit b/g wifi stick with my b/g router and it works perfect. I dont really notice the difference when i plug in the gigabit ethernet cable. But anyway, IF i should decide to buy a big case after all, then onboard wifi is no longer necesarry as I will have plenty of space for my wifi stick

Thank you so much for your valuable input!

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estherverheijden wrote:

I didnt quite understand the wifi part. At the moment i am using wifi too albeit b/g wifi stick with my b/g router and it works perfect. I dont really notice the difference when i plug in the gigabit ethernet cable. But anyway, IF i should decide to buy a big case after all, then onboard wifi is no longer necesarry as I will have plenty of space for my wifi stick

In that case perhaps your WiFi set-up is speedy and you might not notice performance issues with on-the-board WiFi. With users who don't use WiFi regularly, they can be surprised at "new technology" not being as sturdy as "old technology" via wire. It's often more complex than b/g/n/ac comparisons.

Sorry about the plan! You could try something fun, like the modular PC's that have started showing up. It's entirely plausible that you could survive in a MiniITX case at low settings + regular cleaning, but is a bit of a risk and it would be a bit of a shame, spending money on fancy parts and never getting them to run full speed.

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Yes low settings is not an option for me. I played on low settings for I think 2 years now and it looks aweful :-) I would defenitly not spend hundreds of dollars on a pc for that. We will see. I will have to rethink my plan. Thank you soooo much though for saving me 900 bucks! 

72 views of this thread in the 50 minutes that the thread has been up. Apprently there are a lot of SL users out there who system set ups struggle with what works and what does not. Thank you all for your interest in my thread

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You can get a mini atx= half tower? The ATX= full tower is not necessary. I think there is a case between the half tower and the itx. That would be OK too.

The itx is seriously squeezed together. It uses full desktop components and not the power sipping cool running laptop components. But, I have had a 3d gaming laptop as well. It had the same summer overheat problem.I don't know why people get laptops for 3d.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Silverstone strider is not bad PSU, but for similar price i recommend EVGA Supernova G2 550w fully modular, because it have 7 years warranty.


Also dont focus on PSU Wattage, but Amps on 12V Rails that can deliver and efficiency. 450w evga is more powerful than chieftec 600w.  That is only label of "contionous or peak wattage" what in reality dont mean almost anything.


New skylake arhitecture is not power hungry, and GTX 960 also dont require much power.  


Important question: What resolution and size is your monitor?  If you play on 1080p than GTX 960 with 2gb frame buffer is more than enaugh.  But if you ever plan to go higher resolutions like 2560x1800, having 2gb + card can yeald benefit with not much difference in cost.


Advice about DDR4 memory speed and latency. DOES not matter. I would go with cheapest pair there, and invest money difference in better GPU and PSU


But all together, really good build 

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