Playing Some Small Games

At this point, we really almost want to be impressed that a computer this small plays games at all. Remember, though, this thing has a Radeon HD 5870 inside—a Radeon that didn't overheat once during testing, either.

The cube may be sitting at the bottom of each of the charts, but look at the numbers. There isn't a single game here that isn't playable with plenty of breathing room. At the same time, we have to wonder if leaving the unit running at stock and allowing Turbo Boost to take the i5 to 3.2GHz on two cores might not have improved the standings a bit. StarCraft II, for example, doesn't scale past two cores at all. Seeing that benchmark GPU-limited is actually a rarity. It's academic, though: 57.8 frames per second is still extremely fluid.

Once greater stress is applied to the graphics subsystem, the cube starts to acquit itself better as the 5870 gets to stretch its legs. Framerates are still beyond playable across the board with the exception of STALKER, which hovers precariously close to the 30-frames-per-second mark. In most cases, the cube with its slower processor and 5870 is able to hang extremely close to the heavily overclocked CyberPower unit with its eVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTS 450's in SLI. Meanwhile the pair of GTX 470's in the iBuyPower Paladin XLC blows everything away, much like the leafblower it sounds like under this kind of load.

Exactly How Much Power You Can Fit in a Mini-ITX Case? Putting Together the Cube
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  • sprockkets - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    That stinks. All I can add is my SG40 works, but sometimes it won't boot up after the BIOS for whatever reason. Not bad for 5 years of heavy use.

    My current SG31G2 works pretty good. I can only say it looks well built.
    Reply
  • archcommus - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    Excellent timing on this article, as I've been interested in replacing my big ATX system with a Mini-ITX. I game very little and not above 1680x1050 res, never use my DVD drive, and don't need much HDD space, so I feel my current system and its size that hasn't changed since the 90's is simply overkill. I wanted even smaller than this AVADirect system, though, and was considering the Silverstone Sugo SG05 with the PSU it comes with, a Gigabyte board, and whatever video card I could fit. However I think it would be better to hold off until I can put a Sandy Bridge CPU in it. Any thoughts from the Mini-ITX builders here? Reply
  • fr500 - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    The Gigabyte board is great, I have both the DFI MI P55-T36 and a Gigabyte on an even smaller system. The Gigabyte has better OCP which is important if you are overclocking.

    The SG05 with the stock PSU should be enough for a dual core i5 (or an i3 of course) and a GTX460 if you're not overclocking, another good option is a 5770 since it consumes even less power. I ran a GTS250 and an i5 750 overclocked witht the stock PSU and never went over 250w while gaming.

    I'd recommend a Prolimatech Samuel 17 to cool your CPU and if you can manage to get some 1.35v DIMMs it would be better. Other than that it's pretty straightforward and the results are pretty impressive.

    If you need more info PM me (if such thing exists here) good luck!

    PS: a couple of pics of my build back then when it was a Core 2 Duo
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/149537/Photos/DSC02649%20%...
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/149537/Photos/DSC02645%20%...

    It was a hit and had to build 4 more for friends a month later:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/149537/Photos/DSC02924.JPG
    Reply
  • archcommus - Sunday, September 19, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the tips! Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    questions like these are why there's a forum Reply
  • theagentsmith - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    Silverstone Sugo SG05, Gigabyte H55N-USB3, i5-750, 2x2GB Corsair DDR3-1600, 60GB Corsair Force, 1TB Caviar Green, VTX 3D Radeon 5770, stock FSP 300W PSU 80plus

    I think the case is done well especially if you consider it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Of course you need a little more time routing the cables while building, but hey, it's astoningshly small!
    The system isn't that noisy, except the CPU fan quickly change RPM when there is a sudden load and you hear it easily since most of the case is opened by grilles.

    I still have to optimize it yet. What do you suggest to do? I think about a small overclock while keeping CPU features on and maybe a little undervolt.
    I have no practice in overclock these LGA1156 systems though.
    Reply
  • Folterknecht - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    I would suggest the following: Set all voltages concerning the CPU from "AUTO" to "NORMAL" and just try it out! You should reach a BCLK between 150 - 160MHz without raising voltages. The "AUTO"-Setting with GB-Boards is just crap when overclocking cause the board sometimes raises voltages like there is no tomorrow.
    You may have to adjust RAM-Speed ...

    RAM testing with Memtest86+ might also be a good idea. Overall system stability ... Prime95 (blend), coredamage
    Reply
  • SimKill - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    Hey Dustin, this article surely needs some pictures of the cube. Get some shots with comparison to regular household objects (like phones, xboxes etc) but we need some pictures! Reply
  • jaydee - Friday, September 17, 2010 - link

    A phone? It's not that small. Maybe next to a bowling ball?

    BTW, if small footprint is what you're going after, the announced, but not yet available, Lian Li PC-Q11 looks outstanding. Would love to see a review of it!
    Reply
  • SimKill - Saturday, September 18, 2010 - link

    See, exactly why a comparison picture would be useful. A phone was just an example. A bowling ball seems perfect, or even other ATXes as suggested below but we need size comparison pictures. Giving the dimensions is fine, but a picture is well worth over a thousand words (and takes thrice as much space!) Reply

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