Comments on mini-ITX build?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by constant42, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. constant42

    constant42 Junior Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm building a mini-ITX computer for someone and since I don't have much experience with this form factor I thought I'd see if someone could tell me if there's any glaring oversights in my choice of components.

    The biggest criteria for this build would be: Low noise (inaudible during normal usage, e.g. not gaming, is highly desirable. Computer will be under a desk, about 1 meter from user.), good performance/cost ratio, small form factor/visually acceptable (the person who will be using the computer has said OK to the listed case, so I'm hesitant to change it at this point)

    Processor: AMD A8-5500
    CPU Cooler: Scythe BIG Shuriken 2 Rev. B 45.5 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($39.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Crucial V4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($79.00 @ B&H)
    Case: Lian-Li PC-Q07 Mini ITX Tower Case ($68.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Monitor: Asus VS198D-P 19.0" Monitor ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    Power supply: be quiet! Pure Power L7 300W
    (Partially Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-04 09:04 EST-0500)

    Monitor: Asus VS198D

    Total cost: around €600

    Things I am most concerned about:
    - Problems with CPU cooler mounting on the motherboard (the Asrock mITX FM2 board had some reports of chips on the back blocking the cooler backplate mounting. Haven't heard anything about this MSI board though and based on pictures they seem to have a different layout.)
    - RAM not fitting under the CPU cooler (people have said 'low profile' RAM will fit under the BIG Shuriken, but I'm not sure what they meant. The Kingston HyperX heat spreaders don't seem to be any taller than the RAM modules themselves, so is that good enough?)
    - Non-modular power supply in a small case (I'm pretty sure I've seen pictures of similar sized power supplies which are non modular fitting inside this case, but other people say its a bad idea).
    - Cooling inside the case (Will the two fans [CPU and power supply] be enough to keep everything at a reasonable temperature and quietly?)

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Answers to general questions:

    1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
    Web browsing, general office tasks (MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint), watching movies/streaming video, light programming (Python and R), some gaming (mostly casual games such as Plants vs Zombies and Fearie Solatire, but also some TF2, Civ 4/5. No modern FPS's or other action games though.)

    2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
    Probably €650 is the max. Shipping would need to be included in that.

    3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
    Finland (so I'll be buying from Finnish stores which tend to have more limited selections than Amazon and Newegg)

    4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.
    None

    5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
    None.

    7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
    No overclocking.

    8. What resolution will you be using?
    The monitor I was planning to get (listed above) is 19" with 1440x900 resolution.

    9. WHEN do you plan to build it?
    Note that it is usually not cost or time effective to choose your build more than a month before you actually plan to be using it.
    Planning to buy within a week and build over Christmas.

    X. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software?
    I need an OS but I'll probably just buy a Windows 7 or 8 license.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
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  3. Termie

    Termie Diamond Member

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    A few things:

    (1) is it correct that you're not using a discrete GPU? If so, that reduces noise and heat issues but limits gaming

    (2) that SSD is horrible. Barely faster than a thumb drive. Frankly any other SSD would be preferable.

    (3) you can use Samsung 30nm DDR3-1600 RAM to avoid conflict with the CPU cooler. That's what truly low profile RAM looks like. The Kingston model you chose is almost as low in profile and should work.

    (4) that itx case is very nice and small. Without a modular PSU, though, it will be entirely filled with excess cables, ruining airflow. You really must use a modular PSU.
     
    #2 Termie, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  4. constant42

    constant42 Junior Member

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    Thanks for the response Termie!

    Yes, the plan is to not use a discrete GPU. I looked at the benchmarks for the A8-5500 processor and it seems like the onboard graphics should be good enough for what this computer will be needed for. That was the plan at least.

    Thanks for the heads up on the SSD. I looked at the user reviews on Newegg and Amazon and it definitely is not looking good. A few people seem to not have any problems, but it isn't worth the risk. Anyone have anything to say about this Kingston SSDNow V300? I don't mind if the SSD isn't the fastest one around since the main reason for including isn't for the speed. I just wanted something that was small, quiet, produced less heat and is around 120GB.

    Yeah, after seeing the low profile RAM I think the Kingston stuff should work. It looks like the Samsung ones aren't available from the store I was planning to use, so I'll plan to stick with the other ones for now.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a modular power supply that is 140mm in length, quiet and around 300W? I've found some modular ones that would seem to be OK but they are usually at least 150mm long and the case says 140mm is the max that will fit.

    Thanks again for the help!
     
  5. Termie

    Termie Diamond Member

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    That Crucial V4 SSD isn't necessarily bad quality, it's just incredibly slow. Perhaps you can let us know what SSDs are available to you besides the Kingston. The Kingston would be fine, although SandForce is known to have some stability problems.

    And indeed, most modular PSUs are longer, at 160mm, than a typical low-wattage non-modular PSU (140mm). The only short modular PSUs I could find are the slightly expensive Silverstone models, designed to be used in Silverstone's compact mATX and ITX cases. Here's an example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817256065

    If that's available where you are and it's in your price range, I'd recommend that option.
     
    #4 Termie, Dec 4, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  6. constant42

    constant42 Junior Member

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    The SSD's that are in stock (and under €105) at the store I'm planning to use are:
    OCZ VERTEX 3 120GB - €97.5
    INTEL 330 120GB - €102.5
    Crucial M4 128GB - €104.9
    and then the Kingston V300 I already mentioned at €91.3

    I'll look around for the Silverstone PSU's but if they aren't available I might just go with the non-modular one and hope I can shove the extra cables somewhere that doesn't block too much airflow. I might be able to put them somewhere at the bottom of the case, since without a discrete GPU there will hopefully be at least a little extra room down there.
     
  7. Termie

    Termie Diamond Member

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    Those are all Sandforce drives, other than the M4. I'd probably go for the Intel 330. It's quite a bit faster than the M4, and should provide good reliability due to Intel's tweaks to the firmware.

    On the topic of the PSU, yes, you might be able to put the cables at the bottom of the case. By the way, are you sure there's enough clearance for the Scythe cooler under that PSU? That's a very, very tight area, and ingeneral is far from ideal for CPU cooling.
     
  8. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    I agree with Termie about the SSD, the Crucial m4 or Intel 330 are the way to go given your options.

    As for the PSU, it should be fine as long as you use one that isn't way over-specced (and thus over-cabled). The be Quiet! that you've picked out looks fine. Looking at the wiring diagram (below), you will only have to bundle a single cable (one of the SATA/Molex leads). That will easily fit into the area where the PCIe cards would normally go. Just use a couple of zip ties to make it neat.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. constant42

    constant42 Junior Member

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    I think I'll plan to go with the Intel SSD then, thanks for the advice. mfenn, I hadn't thought to actually look at the wiring diagram to figure it out in advance. Seems like that should have been obvious now though :) Thanks!

    I've read on another forum someone say that they fit a Big Shuriken cooler into the Q07 case with a regular ATX PSU, but they didn't give any more details than that. The case should be about 190mm wide, and I believe the PSU is around 80mm and the Big Shuriken Cooler around 60mm. So it seems like it should fit, but it'll definitely be tight. The Big Shuriken seems to be one of the lowest coolers available though, so if it doesn't fit then I won't have many other options.

    I think the worst part will probably be if the PSU fan is drawing air from inside the case to expel out then it'll be competing with the CPU fan for air. Definitely far from ideal, like you said. I'm hoping that with the relatively light usage that the computer should normally be getting it won't be a problem most of the time.
     
  10. Termie

    Termie Diamond Member

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    Great point on the PSU!

    This would be a problem - but with this case, you can mount the PSU with the intake fan facing the outside grill, and that's what you should do. The Big Shuriken is a downdraft cooler, and the PSU fan is an intake fan. Having them back to back will force them to compete against each other for the thin layer of air between them.

    As it is, the Big Shuriken won't have much air to draw from, but that's a given with the design of the case.
     
  11. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    No worries. :)

    ATX PSUs are all the same width and height, they can only vary in depth. given the Q07's design, all ATX PSUs should leave the same amount of gap for the HSF.