AVADirect Mini Gaming PC: Titan in a Small Package

Introduction and Specifications

Building a small form factor gaming PC is a tricky business. For one thing, there simply isn’t enough room to fit as many components as you would put in a mid- or full-size gaming PC. Multiple graphics cards aren’t likely, and oversized power supplies (not to mention CPU heatsinks) usually present major challenges. The other issue is the heat: with space at a premium, good airflow becomes even more important, but all the harder to preserve. And don’t expect your customers to give you leeway on performance, looks, or (and this might be the toughest target of all) noise.

But it’s not a lost cause, especially with the Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan delivering so much power (and whisper-quiet cooling) in a single card. AVADirect thinks it has threaded the needle with its latest Mini Gaming PC, built around Nvidia's latest powerhouse.

AVADirect Mini Gaming PC
Specifications & Features
 Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core (3.5GHz)
 Memory:  8GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer wth LEDs (2x4GB; DDR3 1866MHz / PC3-14900) SDRAM
 Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan (6GB)
 Motherboard:  Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe
 Storage:  OCZ Vertex 3 SSD 240GB
Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM
 Optical:  LG Electronics 14x/16x/48x BD/DVD/CD WH14NS40
 Power Supply:
 Cooler Master Silent Pro M850W, 80 Plus Bronze
 Chassis:  BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX
 Cooling Systems:
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C CPU Cooling Heatsink
BlackNoise 120mm NB-BlackSilentPro PL-1 Ultra Quiet Fan
 Operating System:
 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 Connectivity:  Gigabit LAN, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth
 Front Ports:
 USB 3.0 (2), Mic, Headphones
 Rear Ports:
 Display Port, HDMI, SPDIF Out, DVI (2), Mic/Headphones, USB 2.0 (4), USB 3.0 (4), eSATA 3Gbps (2)
 Keyboard/Mouse:  None
 Dimensions: 10 x 13.5 x 13.5 inches (W x H x D) with rails/feet
7.6 x 8.2 x 11 inches (W x H x D) without rails/feet
 Warranty:  Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)
 Price:  $2,614.84

Although chassis design is important to any computer, it’s especially so in an SFF system. AVADirect opted for the BitFenix Prodigy, which is a relatively small mini-ITX chassis. We’ll cover the case’s internal design in detail on the next page, but because this is an SFF system, we wanted to give an idea of the system’s size right off the bat. Taking into account the rails that double as the case’s feet, the Prodigy is about 10 x 13.5 x 13.5 inches (W x H x D). But drop the rails from those measurements, and AVADirect is working with 7.6 x 8.2 x 11 inches. Or, as AVADirect points out, it’s in the same general size range as a game console. That’s a lot to ask of more powerful gaming PC with such little space.

AVADirect’s website gives you a lot of flexibility for configuring a system, so you can go sub-$1000 or through the roof if you'd like. For the CPU, for example, there are multiple Ivy Bridge options, and our review unit arrived with an Intel Core i7-3770K quad-core CPU, which runs at 3.5Ghz. AVADirect paired the CPU with the socket LGA1155 Asus P8Z77-I, a mini-ITX board that sports the Intel Z77 Express Chipset.

Of course, the star of the show is the Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan, the Kepler-based powerhouse that we’ve been covering extensively. AVADirect has several cooling packages for this system available and it opted for Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. C CPU heatsink and a massive 120mm BlackNoise chassis fan. A dab of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound gives the heatsink a little extra oomph. To give you an idea of the level of customization, you can actually pick which thermal compound AVADirect uses.

Other noteworthy components include 8GB of Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer memory with LEDs, a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD for the operating system, and a 2TB Seagate Barracuda for a boatload of game storage. Also included are a BD/DVD/CD combo, and an 80 Plus Bronze qualified Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850-watt modular power supply. The system also has Gigabit LAN, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. Windows 7 64-bit is still the preferred OS for many gamers, so we weren’t surprised to see our review unit arrive with it. You can choose Windows 8 (or several flavors of Linux) when configuring your system too. Let’s crack open the case and have a look.

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