Question Need Help Building Mini-ITX PC for Graphic Design & Casual Gaming (Around $1000 Budget)

yng.jessuss

Junior Member
Jan 13, 2023
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Hello guys,

I need your help to build a PC that will serve me for the next 5+ years.

I know the PC assembly process, the components, their roles and importance, but I know all that to some extent in practice and a little less in theory (especially when it comes to cooling and aesthetics). For this reason, I would appreciate your experiences, opinions, suggestions and the like. I would be very grateful if someone could take the time to help me.
  • I mostly use the PC for work. I am a Graphic Designer and the programs I use the most are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Webflow, etc. I often have 10+ tabs opened in Chrome with one or two of the Graphic Design programs, so I would like to have 32GB of RAM so that I don't have problems with multitasking.
  • I've had a bigger case before, so I'd like a Mini ITX this time around. I like that it doesn't take up too much space and is easily portable when needed.
  • It is important for me to have a good Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection because with the previous build the cables drove me crazy. I also have a laptop, so it is much easier for me to switch from one machine to another if all the devices are wireless (mouse, keyboard, headphones, etc.).
  • I have an external hard drive that I often transfer from one device to another, so it is important to me that the motherboard and the case have a front USB-C port.
  • Since I am a designer, aesthetics are important to me. I like minimalism, I'm not a big fan of RGB, but I wouldn't want my case to be completely dark either.
  • I occasionally play CS:GO, so I'd like it to be fluid (300+ FPS).
So, these are some of my choices. I would like you to help me and advise me what I could change. Where to save money, and where to spend a little more. Is there something which is overkill for my needs, do I maybe need to add more fans or coolers, etc.
This is the PC Part Picker List.
Please, feel free to suggest me if some components are a complete failure or if you think there are better options than the ones listed. None of the components on the list are strict, except maybe the process around which I built the machine.

Thank you in advance for your time and help.

Best regards,
Aleksandar
 

Tech Junky

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2022
3,411
1,144
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Tweaked a couple of things. $40 less and bumped to a K CPU well in your case KF to save you ~$20 on the iGPU.

Overall though either build would be fine. With the changes Chrome made recently to disable non-active tabs / reduce power options you can turn on in #flags now it's a different animal when it comes to resources but, still 32GB is a good baseline for WXX. Now, on Linux it's a different story as the kernel handles things better and doesn't need as much RAM for trivial things like Chrome.

The other tweaks are personal preference on past uses. Also, if you want more cooling you can put a couple of Arctic P12 PWM PST fans on the cooler to get better performance than the single fan that comes with the 226. I have this on mine w/ a graphite pad instead of paste and most of the time the CPU is at room tamp and under load it might get up to 50-55C. The PWM PST are nice because they chain together on a single cable to keep things clean and not take up the limited headers for additional fans.
 
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q52

Member
Jan 18, 2023
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Overall it sounds fine to me but some thoughts

- Intel i5-12400F appears to be a 65W CPU; the Noctua NH-D15 is pretty freaking huge for an air cooler and usually used with >100W TDP CPU's, so I agree with @Tech Junky that you might as well just bump your CPU up to something higher like the i7 model they suggested. Otherwise you might consider a smaller cooler because NH-D15 is gonna be big overkill

- remember that mITX usually only has two RAM slots, so if you use a 2x16GB RAM kit, its gonna be more awkward if you ever decide you need to upgrade. If 32GB really is enough for you then maybe this wont matter

- make sure you select a motherboard that has Wifi + Bluetooth onboard, the one you selected appears to have this, just watch out if you change your mind to a different board without verifying this

- @Tech Junky 's listed build is using DDR4; your original build had DDR5. IMO I would stick with DDR5 because at this point the price difference is mostly negligible so might as well go with the better one. Also has implications on your motherboard selection, and long-term upgradability. DDR4 is currently mature but also a dead-end.

- I am partial to the Corsair RM-x PSU line, personally

- $150 for a 1TB Samsung M.2 SSD seems like a rip off, I got my 2TB Samsung 970 Evo for $170 over the holiday. You might still be able to catch some nice sale prices

- I am partial to the Fractal Design Meshify Nano mITX case, but they also have an mITX sized Fractal Design Torrent case I think if you like "aesthetics"
 

Tech Junky

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2022
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1,144
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@q52

I went DDR4 to compensate for the price difference between the MOBO/DDR5/CPU upgrade.

DDR4 isn't going anywhere and if OP decides to upgrade the CPU it's going to be a complete rebuild anyway since the socket will be changing again in 2024 and maybe Intel will shutdown the board OEMs with DDR4 like AMD did and just not allow it period. Time will tell though as they tried to for the board makers with ADL / RPL already and lost the battle because it was still an option in the CPU/DMI.

Drives... $100/TB is the goal or less no matter who's selling it. I picked up a couple of SN770 1TB drives around $80 IIRC a few months back when I was putting together a TB4 enclosure for testing. Amazon "used" is a great option for 20% off barely used drives. For some reason the 770's perform better in the enclosure than the 850's I already had and a couple of other Phison based options I had sitting around.

The cooler was just a way to trim the fat and it works well beyond the 125W on the 12700K. There's a trick to it though and that's pulling off the fan they provide and putting 2 fans on it and even then they don't really tamp up that much to keep it around 50C under load. I use the Arctic PWM PST fans everywhere in the case as they've proven to be a good deal and have the endurance to stand up to 24/7 use. I even clipped a fin on one when changing the airflow direction that caused some noise afterwards. Emailed the company and within the same week had a replacement in my system no questions asked. They're nice though as you can daisy chain them together and use less headers or split the headers into zones easier.

fan1: 668 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan2: 755 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan3: 0 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan4: 713 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan5: 0 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan6: 0 RPM (min = 0 RPM)
fan7: 684 RPM (min = 0 RPM)

I forget which one is the CPU but, they usually sit around this for RPM's and they're virtually silent unless you put your ear up to the case.

Core 0: +25.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 4: +23.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 8: +26.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 12: +23.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 16: +25.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 20: +23.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 24: +23.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 28: +22.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 36: +27.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 37: +27.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 38: +27.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)
Core 39: +27.0°C (high = +95.0°C, crit = +115.0°C)

I've used a few different coolers over the years and they all do about the same when you position them and put dual fans on them correctly. Skip the paste though as it eventually dries out or just plain fails when you least expect it. I tried several different ones and they were all mediocre compared to their claims and hype on forums. I went with graphite pads all around on my server / laptop and they hold up well. Not going to break any thermal records but, they do work well at keeping consistent temps.

And FD cases are awesome to build in. I've used 2 of them recently and they're just consistently easy to work with. My first one was a Node 804 and then when I bumped to ADL I had to upsize due to the lack of mATX boards and went with the Meshify 2. My pinch point is the number of drives I have in use which excludes a lot of smaller cases. The 804 has designated room for 8 and the M2 I think has room for 13 plus the onboard for both.

As for MOBO's I've gotten hooked on ASRock for the past few boards. Currently using the Steel Legend and it's been solid. There's just a good mix of tech for the price on their boards at a decent price point.