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Build Guide

Portable LAN Build

by ThoughtA

5
5 Comments
NOTE: A more recent version of this guide is available here.

Description

Preface

This build is intended to deliver high-quality gaming in a small, portable PC that you can take to LANs. With that in mind, a mini-ITX case and motherboard have been selected. A generic term for this kinds of PC is Small Form Factor, abbreviated to SFF.

CPU

At this budget, we're running an Intel i5-6500. Any modern i5 will perform admirably for nearly all gaming needs. Since we aren't overclocking our CPU, the stock cooler will be sufficient in keeping temperatures acceptable.

Motherboard

Our motherboard is a parametric selection from a sparse set of options. The five motherboards selected are the mini-ITX form factor to fit inside our SFF case. They all have dual channel memory and an M.2 slot that is compatible with both SATA and PCI-E M.2 drives. Additionally, they feature the LGA 1151 socket, in order to be compatible with the i5-6500 CPU.

Memory

Since memory continues to come down in cost, we can comfortably fit 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which should provide some nice memory headroom. We're using a parametric filter to choose a 16GB kit of memory within Intel's recommended specifications at the best price.

Storage

We're use parametric filters to incorporate an M.2 SSD with at least 480GB. It's often a good idea to download your games prior to attending a LAN, so an SSD with some more space is a good idea. Bumping up to a 1TB SSD for these purposes isn't a bad idea, but to keep the price down, you'd want to consider a 2.5" drive instead of M.2, since 1TB M.2 drives are fairly new and expensive still. Everyone's storage needs differs, so feel free to change those capacities to your heart's desire.

GPU

For our GPU, the newly released Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 is one of the best price for performance cards on the market and an absolute powerhouse. The GTX 1070 will provide a consistent 60fps on many demanding games like Battlefield 4 (and hopefully the upcoming Battlefield 1) at Ultra at 1080p, and even 1440p for some games like Shadow of Mordor. For those interested in VR, the GTX 1070 will have no problem playing any and and all applications currently on the market.

If you'd like more room, there are a couple "mini" GTX 1070 video cards floating around. However, we specifically selected this case because it can fit full-sized video cards.

Case

The Silverstone ML08-H HTPC Case is a mini-ITX case that fits a full-sized video card and features a handle for convenient carrying. Those two features are a pretty big deal for this kind of build. It also includes 2 USB 3.0 front panel ports, alone with 2 2.5" drive bays and a 1 5.25" slim bay. It also supports 2 Kensington locks, if you'd like to use them while away from your PC at a LAN.

PSU

For our power supply, we're using a parametric selection of a five well-reviewed fully modular units, all of which are 80+ Gold certified or above and can provide plenty of power for this build. Importantly, these units are all SFF form factor, so they will fit in the case. ATX PSUs will not fit in the ML08-H.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 266W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $316.24 $316.24 PB Technologies Buy
Motherboard $219.00 FREE $219.00 Paradigm PCs Buy
Memory
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 16GB (2x8GB)
$203.00 FREE $203.00 Paradigm PCs Buy
Storage
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 480GB - 525GB
  • Type: SSD
  • Interface: M.2 (M)
$348.99 $348.99 PB Technologies Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1070
$749.95 $749.95 Computer Lounge Buy
Case $145.72 $145.72 Ascent Technology Buy
Power Supply $158.13 $158.13 Ascent Technology Buy
Total: $2141.03
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Comments Sorted by:

MySpl33n 1 point 8 months ago

An Intel 600p 512 GB SSD at $180 might be a good alternative for those looking for a less expensive m.2 drive. It's slower in both read and write (1775 MBps read and 560 MBps write vs 2300 MBps read and 1300 MBps write) though from what I've been finding, most gamers haven't minded that, when comparing it to even a Samsung 950 Pro. It also uses TLC instead of MLC.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 8 months ago

The cheapest motherboard in this iteration of the guide was not compatible with the 600p. I've updated the guide to no longer include motherboards that would not be compatible with it, cutting the price down by about 70 USD.

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

If you'd like more room, there are a couple "mini" GTX 1070 video cards floating around. However, we specifically selected this case because it can fit full-sized video cards.

Why'd you say this if you added a mini GPU to your PL?

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 8 months ago

Poor wording. The mini version was simply grabbed as the cheapest card by the parametric filter. I left this filter open to mini cards in this case.

MySpl33n 1 point 8 months ago

Makes sense. The 600p was in the storage selection when I clicked on the parametric filter link. I guess PCPP didn't take into account that it didn't work with the mobo when looking at a build guide.

Partial rabbit trail: you mentioned in your guide having games pre downloaded. The new Samsung 960 PRO 2TB would be a good choice for those who like massive storage and also don't want to risk damaging a mechanical drive carrying their computer around. I'm saying this in reference to speeddemons50's comment about storage options.

I'm sad they haven't announced a 2 TB 960 EVO yet but I'm guessing that will come later on, or as a 970 EVO.

[comment deleted]
[comment deleted by staff]
Reason:
Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel - Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor 8W - 65W
Asus - B150I PRO GAMING/WIFI/AURA Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard 7W - 30W
Crucial - Ballistix Sport LT 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory 11W - 11W
Western Digital - Black 512GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Windforce OC Video Card 37W - 150W
Total: 65W - 266W