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building a mini-ITX box, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Computers and Internet Geekland' started by maxd, Mar 3, 2014.

    Mar 3, 2014
  1. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Recent changes in our household computing requirements mean it's time to add a second box to the family. Primarily this should be a SOHO machine but we do a bit of gaming now and then (think Skyrim) and will defo be using it as a HTPC. I have built PCs in the past but that was a few generations of tech ago so the whole SFF thing will be a new experience for me. We already have our periphs so it's just the main box we need at this point.

    After a bit of research -- and being sick to barking death of our old "jet engine" ATX machine -- I've decided to try building my own rig with an eagle eye on keeping it as small and as quiet as possible. Here's the work in progress:

    CPU.................Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core.................................~$230
    CPU Cooler......Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing.....~$30
    Motherboard....ASRock Z87E-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150...................................~$130
    Memory............Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600............................~$85
    Storage............Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM................................~$110
    Video Card.......Asus GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB.............................................~$170
    Case.................BitFenix Prodigy (Black) Mini ITX Tower................................~$60
    Power Supply...Corsair 430W ATX12V...........................................................~$20

    A few bullet points on our wishlist items for this thing:
    • it's Linux all the way, I wouldn't touch Windoz with a barge pole.
    • ideally the thing will sit on my desk BEHIND my flatscreen, so a little fan noise is okay but I want to keep it to a bare minimum. I'd even thought of going fanless but from what I can tell that means you take a serious hit in GPU options which may be overly limiting for us.
    • we LOVE fast boot and shut-down speed so I'm kicking around the idea of a modest SSD but have no real experience with these.
    • based on recent experience with an octo-core laptop I can safely say that octo-core is overkill for us but anything less that a quad-core makes me nervous. We mult-task like there's no tomorrow and those extra cores make life a lot more pleasant.
    • we're major space hogs: I expect we'll be adding a large drive as time passes so a slot or two wouldn't be unwelcome.
    • defo need USB 3.0 (more is better), HDMI and very much want eSATA.
    • podcast work is in our future so audio-in is going to be a requirement.
    • I don't know doodly about modern cases, the BitFenix just seemed to get a lot of great reviews from DIY folk.
    • budget is probably $1200 ($1500 max) though obviously the box I've spec'd out so far is well under that which suits me just fine.

    So ye knowledgeable folk, any suggestions? Recommendations? Caveats? Comments from the cheap seats?
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  2. Mar 3, 2014
  3. Lucky Loser

    Lucky Loser Senior Member

    Occupation:
    Professional paper pusher.
    Location:
    Near Cronulla Beach
    That looks like a very nice rig to me. Especially if it's not for serious gaming. Even still the 750Ti is a very capable graphics card.

    I find tomshardware to the the best pc site for information about the best bang per buck hardware. Then you can just compare prices online.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mar 3, 2014
  5. Refilliates Casinos

    Refilliates Casinos Dormant account webby

    Occupation:
    Refilliates Brands Casino Manager
    Location:
    Rival Powered
    Our IT guy is a gaming fanatic. I asked him what his thoughts on your post were and he replied with:

    ===========================================================================================================
    I was reading through your specs. It looks like you are building a really decent machine. There are a couple of things I think could help you though.

    You would probably be better off going with the previous generation of CPU, the Ivy Bridge socket 1155 (Intel CPU Core i5 Range Ivybridge LGA1155 3.4Ghz). The new Haswell proccessors (socket 1150) are more expensive, but don’t offer any increase in performance. Also, the motherboards for the new generation are more expensive than their 1155 counterparts; so in that area you could save yourself some cash.

    With that extra cash getting a GTX760 (I find MSI to have quieter coolers and they do the 760 in a Mini ITX version) rather than the 750ti would be better in long run.

    Also be careful with that Motherboard/Case and Cooler combo. I am using the Coolermaster 212 hyper evo and it is fairly large (and loud at full tilt). You will have issues with clearance on the motherboard ram slots and also the side of the case. Sticking with the stock cooler or going water cooling is your best bet.

    Hope you found this helpful :D

    ============================================================================================================
     
    3 people like this.
  6. Mar 3, 2014
  7. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    :thumbsup: Wow! Many thanks for this! Exactly the kind of guidance I need (afaik) and want.
     
  8. Mar 4, 2014
  9. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Ok, based on the guidance above and several more hours of research I've totally re-spec'd the thing:

    CPU................Intel Core i5-3570K............................................. € 210
    CPU Cooler.....Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet................................... € 40
    Motherboard...Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe.......................................... € 165
    Memory...........Corsair Vengence 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600.... € 75
    Storage 1........Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD................ € 135
    Storage 2........Western Digital Green 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM......... € 140
    Video Card......Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760............................... € 235
    Case................Cooler Master Elite 130...................................... € 45
    Power Supply..SeaSonic 550W.................................................. € 100

    I have no immediate plans to over-clock but the i5-3570K is only €10 more than the i5-3570 so I figured I'd spend the tenner and have that option. I ended up picking the 3570 because it seems to be a fairly feisty all-purpose CPU at a fairly decent price point. The i7-3770 would be a nice step up in terms of performance but it's almost €100 more and I don't really see the need to go there (hyper-threading).

    In truth I know zip about the Cooler and the case, just picking things that either get good mentions at Tom's or rate fairly high at pcpartpicker.com. As mentioned previously the main goal here is to go as quiet as possible so any guidance there would be appreciated.

    In the end I didn't opt for water cooling because I don't plan to OC. If anyone knows anything about that feel free to say so.
     
  10. Mar 4, 2014
  11. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    Another Haswell build since I realized I wasn't saving any coin by going the Ivy Bridge route: You must register/login in order to see the link.

    FWICT the Ivy Bridge prices are pretty much on par or exceed the Haswell's, at least here in the EU, at this particular moment. That would seem to favour the Haswells since current reports -- Phoronix and Tom's being my main sources -- are that on Linux at least the Haswells are outperforming Ivy Bridge, pretty much across the board though there is the odd exception.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  12. Mar 4, 2014
  13. skiny

    skiny Banned User - violation of <a href="http://www.cas

    Occupation:
    Doing everyone else's job.
    Location:
    Canada
    I've been using an SSD for over a year with no problems yet.

    You'll be amazed how fast it boots and your programs load.
     
    2 people like this.
  14. Mar 4, 2014
  15. maxd

    maxd Complaints (PAB) Manager Staff Member

    Occupation:
    The PAB Guy
    Location:
    Saltirelandia
    I like the sound of that! Worth a little extra dosh IMO.
     

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