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How is my Niche Mini itx APU build? Kaveri Apu, New Corsair case and great soundcard!

I was thinking to my self the other day with the release of the new Kaveri APUs, "What use do APUs have in desktops when dedicated cards can be more powerful for the same price?"

And then it hit me!

Its great for mini-itx builds where you would like something (sound card) in your PCI-e slot that's not a graphics card but you still want to play games.

Obviously, if you are carrying around your portable desktop, you just cant afford to bring your huge and expensive DACs and amps with you to where ever you are going (Otherwise you could probably bring your full size desktop!). So it made sense to put a nice sound card in there so that you are not sitting there wondering how in the world your high end headphones could sound so bad.

This build tries to make as bad ass of a computer possible while still:
- Portable (not HTPC size - portable, but easy to carry around - portable)
- Affordable (since this most definitely wont be your home PC)
- Good looking (If your carrying it around, i figured the chances are high that someone will see it)

I am not sure how good my build is so i would like some feed back.
Here was my thought process:

I figured that the 7850k was not powerful enough for my needs, so a mighty overclock was needed. I chose to use the Cooler Master Nepton 140XL cpu cooler to keep my build from over heating. From what i read, it is one of the best closed loop coolers in terms of performance, and i would not have too much trouble finding a case that fit it. Unless you guys can think of something

For the case, I chose corsairs new obsidian 250d mini-itx case. I like the design, and it looks nice.
A bit bigger than i need, but i think it fits my needs the best (i am not entirely sure though, feed back on this part would be appreciated!). I figured i would mount the Nepton 140XL in the front, and take the front panel off when using the computer. A bit of a sacrifice to the good looks, but I figured that my build will still look very good.

For the sound card, I was tempted to go all out and get one of the really sweet Asus sound cards, but then I remembered I did not have money to waste, and this would not be my main computer. so I chose the Asus Xonar DX, at 85 bucks, it will keep my ears from cringing *i hope*, without my wallet cringing. That being said, I am not so familiar with sound cards, (external dacs and amps are better if portability is not a concern) so i am not sure if i should go for something else... any of you guys have much experience?

For other parts: RAM i chose something fast that did not break the bank. Motherboard was the only thing I could find that supported the apu, I chose to have an ssd as well as a hdd cause why not? I added 2

here is the partpicker list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2IT8U

So how is my build? Are there any fatal flaws? Is there any way i can improve? Do you like the idea?
29 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about niche mini itx apu build kaveri apu corsair case great soundcard
  1. what resolution will you be gaming at? honestly with an 800 dollar budget we can build you something way way way...way more powerful..
  2. Beezy said:
    what resolution will you be gaming at? honestly with an 800 dollar budget we can build you something way way way...way more powerful..


    probably 1080p...
    and LOL i know that i could have something more powerful. The question is, Will it be more powerful while still being portable and having a soundcard in it?
  3. Best answer
    Yes, you can easily build a better build for $800 and still have a mini-itx form factor and have a sound card, although a good modern motherboard will have audio on par with that sound card. And are you talking $200 high end head phones or $500+ high end headphones with in-line amplifier? Because with anything shy of $500+ headphones with a dedicated amp, you will notice ZERO difference between motherboard audio and a sound card.
  4. yeah you can keep a soundcard, but i would say get a fX 4300 and an HD 7870 if you can. That is much better for 1080p. ditch the cpu cooler to cut costs... you can save some money with 1600 or 1866 Mhz RAM (if not an APU anymore). while you will have good audio and a cool looking build you will be disappointed in terms of performance down the road. youll find yourself wanting to upgrade the GPU to a dedicated card eventually, an then youll wish you had a stronger CPU and the FM2 vs AM3 the FX 4300 is stronger as a CPU. go 6300 if you can, the budget honestly allows for an FX 8320
  5. I think however you come at it, there are better options.

    If you want something easy to move around, the 250D is quite big. It's main USP is the fact it can fit a 240mm radiator, as well as anything else you want. If you aren't using that facility, you just have a very wide box. Given the huge variety of ITX cases, and the fact you aren't using a graphics card, you can go for an incredibly small case.

    If you want a 250D, then to me it makes sense to get a H100i or similar, as that's what it is designed around.

    From a performance perspective, it doesn't make a lot of sense. APUs tend to make the most sense when you need something incredibly small or cheap. At $900, it is neither of these things.

    For me the killer is the size. At 250D dimensions, you can get a mATX system which is similarly portable, and allows you to have discrete graphics and a soundcard if you want one.
  6. tiny voices said:
    Yes, you can easily build a better build for $800 and still have a mini-itx form factor and have a sound card, although a good modern motherboard will have audio on par with that sound card. And are you talking $200 high end head phones or $500+ high end headphones with in-line amplifier? Because with anything shy of $500+ headphones with a dedicated amp, you will notice ZERO difference between motherboard audio and a sound card.


    Im not sure what to say, does the asus soundcard suck that much?
    even on my pair of beyerdynamic dt900 250 ohms, a nice dac makes a big difference, and is a lot better than motherboard audio.

    And plus, I dont see why I would want to limit my self to $200 headphones with my portable rig ;)
  7. You must have been listening to crap motherboards because most modern mid-high end boards have 7.1 channel audio with quality that rivals $70-$100 sound cards.
  8. Rammy said:
    I think however you come at it, there are better options.

    If you want something easy to move around, the 250D is quite big. It's main USP is the fact it can fit a 240mm radiator, as well as anything else you want. If you aren't using that facility, you just have a very wide box. Given the huge variety of ITX cases, and the fact you aren't using a graphics card, you can go for an incredibly small case.

    If you want a 250D, then to me it makes sense to get a H100i or similar, as that's what it is designed around.

    From a performance perspective, it doesn't make a lot of sense. APUs tend to make the most sense when you need something incredibly small or cheap. At $900, it is neither of these things.

    For me the killer is the size. At 250D dimensions, you can get a mATX system which is similarly portable, and allows you to have discrete graphics and a soundcard if you want one.


    I guess your right about the case... Well would a silverstone sugo SG05-Lite be about right then?
  9. thederpiest said:
    tiny voices said:
    Yes, you can easily build a better build for $800 and still have a mini-itx form factor and have a sound card, although a good modern motherboard will have audio on par with that sound card. And are you talking $200 high end head phones or $500+ high end headphones with in-line amplifier? Because with anything shy of $500+ headphones with a dedicated amp, you will notice ZERO difference between motherboard audio and a sound card.


    Im not sure what to say, does the asus soundcard suck that much?
    even on my pair of beyerdynamic dt900 250 ohms, a nice dac makes a big difference, and is a lot better than motherboard audio.

    And plus, I dont see why I would want to limit my self to $200 headphones with my portable rig ;)


    its not that the asus soundcard sucks, its just all modern motherboards have high definition audio thats probably identical to whats on the soundcard. that soundcard is for an old crappy motherboard that still using AC97 or older
  10. So I have to spend more to hear a difference?
    D:
  11. If you still want a soundcard, but want to keep things portable, go mATX, probably Intel, and say something like a PS08 (budget) or SG10 (bit more expensive). For your original $900 budget you can have an i5, a GTX760 and your soundcard in a system smaller (and lighter) than the 250D.

    If you are considering giving up the soundcard, but still want good audio, look at some of the higher end integrated solutions. It's not an area I have much expertise in as frankly onboard audio works absolutely fine for me, but there are various motherboards which have different solutions. While too expensive for your budget really, the Maximus Impact would be a good example of this.

    If you want to stick with your original plan of Kaveri+soundcard, then to me, the smaller the better. Nothing in there needs an awful lot of cooling, so something in the SG05 vein does make sense, perhaps the Coolermaster Elite 110.
  12. What motherboard audio have you heard that sounded inadequate? With a modern motherboard, adding a sound card will not really improve audio quality. The quality of the recording is what you need to worry about. Even an iTunes file played at full 'NO LOSS' quality will sound like complete crap compared to a professional analog recording. If you are listening to youtube and iTunes and using sound editing software, a sound card is worthless. If you are listening to full quality ANALOG recording playback, a $150-$300 external sound card will make a bit of a difference.
  13. Well, i guess i will have to rethink my build then...
  14. This is a bit more, but will destroy the amd build in gaming.

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuvG
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuvG/by_merchant/
    Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuvG/benchmarks/

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VI IMPACT Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($72.25 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.00 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair RM 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($109.99 @ Mwave)
    Other: 250d ($90.00)
    Other: Msi gaming 760 itx ($270.00)
    Total: $1061.22
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-29 00:58 EST-0500)
  15. Rammy said:
    If you still want a soundcard, but want to keep things portable, go mATX, probably Intel, and say something like a PS08 (budget) or SG10 (bit more expensive). For your original $900 budget you can have an i5, a GTX760 and your soundcard in a system smaller (and lighter) than the 250D.

    If you are considering giving up the soundcard, but still want good audio, look at some of the higher end integrated solutions. It's not an area I have much expertise in as frankly onboard audio works absolutely fine for me, but there are various motherboards which have different solutions. While too expensive for your budget really, the Maximus Impact would be a good example of this.

    If you want to stick with your original plan of Kaveri+soundcard, then to me, the smaller the better. Nothing in there needs an awful lot of cooling, so something in the SG05 vein does make sense, perhaps the Coolermaster Elite 110.


    Thinking on the same lines as me.

    If you like the 250d aesthetics, you could go for the slightly bigger 350d

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuEI
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuEI/by_merchant/
    Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuEI/benchmarks/

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus GRYPHON Z87 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($72.25 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.00 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($263.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 350D Window MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Microcenter)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic 520W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($73.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Total: $959.19
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-29 01:04 EST-0500)
  16. camohanna said:
    This is a bit more, but will destroy the amd build in gaming.

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuvG
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuvG/by_merchant/
    Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2JuvG/benchmarks/

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VI IMPACT Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($72.25 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.00 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair RM 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($109.99 @ Mwave)
    Other: 250d ($90.00)
    Other: Msi gaming 760 itx ($270.00)
    Total: $1061.22
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-29 00:58 EST-0500)


    dont you think an FX 6300 and a GTX 770 would be better? for gaming at least
  17. The 6300 would bottleneck the 770 is some high CPU usage situations like BF4 for example.

    I would forget overclocking (does nothing really on modern CPUs that can already run any game at max anyway). Get an i5 4440 and an h87 motherboard. USe the saved money to get the 770.
  18. Not to mention AM3+ is basically a no-go on anything smaller than ATX.
  19. Rammy said:
    Not to mention AM3+ is basically a no-go on anything smaller than ATX.


    This is correct. Even the mATX am3+ boards are all 760g sockets and worthless for a modern build.
  20. tiny voices said:
    Rammy said:
    Not to mention AM3+ is basically a no-go on anything smaller than ATX.


    This is correct. Even the mATX am3+ boards are all 760g sockets and worthless for a modern build.


    huh i didnt know that, what a shame. anyone know why that is? something in the physical limitations? or just no manufacturers got on board for that. no pun intended.
  21. Yeah. Totally offtopic but if I see another FX8320/8350 in a Bitfenix Prodigy M I'm going to forum suicide.

    @ Beezy. On ITX it's a physical thing I think, as the socket is larger. As for mATX, that makes less sense as there is no real reason why they can't. I assume it's so they don't conflict with their FM1/FM2+ platforms which sell a lot of mATX.
  22. i realize BF4 is heavy on the CPU load, but im sure an FX 6300, at least overclocked decently at like 4.4Ghz+ can handle a GTX 770
  23. Rammy said:
    Yeah. Totally offtopic but if I see another FX8320/8350 in a Bitfenix Prodigy M I'm going to forum suicide.

    @ Beezy. On ITX it's a physical thing I think, as the socket is larger. As for mATX, that makes less sense as there is no real reason why they can't. I assume it's so they don't conflict with their FM1/FM2+ platforms which sell a lot of mATX.


    This is correct. The reason they do not make good mATX boards is because they will cause people to stop buying APUs and the athlon 2 x4 760k/750k.

    I would not be surprised if the next AMD socket for the mid-high end CPUs is ATX only.
  24. Beezy said:
    i realize BF4 is heavy on the CPU load, but im sure an FX 6300, at least overclocked decently at like 4.4Ghz+ can handle a GTX 770


    You would need a REALLY high (custom loop) overclock to not bottleneck a 770 in BF4. It REALLY needs a quad-core to perform well. A tri-core with three pseudo cores just doesn't cut it for playing at Ultra at 1080p.

    Yes of course it will be very playable, but if you want to play locked at 60fps at ultra with a 770, you need an i5 or an 8320.
  25. tiny voices said:
    Beezy said:
    i realize BF4 is heavy on the CPU load, but im sure an FX 6300, at least overclocked decently at like 4.4Ghz+ can handle a GTX 770


    You would need a REALLY high (custom loop) overclock to not bottleneck a 770 in BF4. It REALLY needs a quad-core to perform well. A tri-core with three pseudo cores just doesn't cut it for playing at Ultra at 1080p.

    Yes of course it will be very playable, but if you want to play locked at 60fps at ultra with a 770, you need an i5 or an 8320.


    i wish i got the 8320 instead of the 6300, guess thatll be my next upgrade. but are there any other games besides BF4 right now that are similar in CPU load?
  26. Some games are. DAYz is one specifically. It and ARMA3 are VERY taxing on the CPU. Your 6300 would likely be at 100% usage at medium/high settings at 1080p. My i5 sits between 60-80% usage during that game.
  27. fortunately i do all my gaming, for now, at 1366 x 768. or sometimes 1680 x 1050. 6300 OC to 4.4Ghz and HD 7870 Ghz GPU. i think my GPU will bottleneck before my CPU does in bf4, yeh?
  28. Yes, your 7870 will be a limiting factor before your CPU.
  29. why buy an Apu and slap a gpu on it? the idea of an Apu is for people like me who have been bleeding edge on hardware and software who thought hang on am paying to beta test games and test drivers and hardware. Now i buy the solution i fancy and play games a few years old where you will find true fans online to play with and thousands of mods. Nope i havent played bf4 yet and yes one day i will with a cheap ass apu and yep all the bugs you report will be great when it comes to my turn to play... Lol why do they have pci-ex slot. So i can test your gpu when your ocing goes wrong
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