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Mini-ITX/SFF System Capable of Web Browsing & Adobe InDesign

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June 1, 2010 5:39:10 AM

Hello,

I have a client looking for a SFF/Mini-ITX system that is capable of running Adobe InDesign CS3 as well as the typical office work and web browsing/streaming radio. I haven't decided if we will be running Windows XP or Windows 7.

Adobe InDesign CS3's requirements are as follows:
# Intel Pentium 4, Intel Centrino, Intel Xeon, or Intel Core Duo (or compatible) processor
# Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (certified for 32-bit editions)
# 256 MB of RAM (512 MB recommended) for Windows XP; 512 MB (1 GB recommended) for Windows Vista
# 1.8 GB of available hard-disk space (additional free space required during installation)
# DVD-ROM drive

My proposed configuration is the following although I am open to suggestions provided the above tasks can be accomplished.
THERMALTAKE ELEMENT Q MINI ITX (with 200W PSU)
INTEL E6500 CORE 2.93GHz
KINGSTON DDR2 2GB 800MHZ
WD5000AAKS - WD 500GB 3.5 SATA
Intel BOXDG41MJ INTEL SKT.775 G41 M.ITX RETAIL
LG GH22NS50 SATA 22X/22X

-OR-
ASUS AT3N7A-I ATOM 330 NVIDIA

-OR-
Intel BOXD510MO - INTEL ATOM D510 MINI-ITX

-OR-
Open to suggestion on a good Mini-ITX configuration.

Thanks!
Ram
June 1, 2010 7:18:16 AM

You would NOT want to hit any Atom config as it's generally know these crawl the moment your needs grow outside merely surfing the net and for fresh builds best go with DDR3 platforms...and if u open i actually do up majority shoebox/cube rigs for peeps but not sure that is small enuff for ya hehe A budget and/or any hardware u plan to reuse would be helpful as well
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June 1, 2010 7:25:48 AM

Thanks. This is intended to go on a small desk, and looking for a budget system. The problem with going with something i3/i5 and DDR3 is that it may not be able to fit in the Mini-ITX case (doesn't have to be the Thermaltake one I suggested). I don't think there are power supplies greater than 300W.

I'm open to suggestions, however I don't see the needs growing much. The current system that the person working on InDesign is using is a Pentium D 2.66GHz with 1GB DDR3200 RAM. It's a few years old, but sufficient for this setup. Perhaps we should just get the Mini-ITX case and Intel BOXDG41MJ INTEL SKT.775 G41 M.ITX or similar board to adapt this system and get a faster one for the original user.

I welcome suggestions.

Thanks again in advance.
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June 1, 2010 2:43:47 PM

If I was looking at an ITX system, I'd check out the new offerings in the i3/i5 line - nay reason you think they wouldn't fit in an ITX case - ITX is a standard, as far as I know.

I have seen numbers of an i3 530 that idles at something like 27w and maxes at under 100w. I was planning on building one of these in an Antec case.

I think you should be all set with the H55 boards from ECS or Zotac. If you pair with one of the lower processors, it should use the integrated graphics. If not, you can use the one PCI-Express and add the graphics card and go up to a different 1156 CPU.

The G41 that you suggested would work, but it is older tech. If it were me, I'd go with the 1156 socket, but that's up to you.
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June 1, 2010 4:55:24 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

I had another idea which I have thrown by my client (waiting for his feedback). His current machine is a Pentium D 805 (I believe), so any of these spec's will out-perform that machine. I have made a recommendation that we transplant his current Micro-ATX board into a small desktop case Antec NSK2480 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129034 and replace his machine with an i3 530 on an Asus P7H55-M-PRO board. This is a budget build that I've already done for a couple of offices and seems to work well. Pair that with 2GB+ DDR3 and it goes above and beyond what he is currently using which is the machine that matters more.

My concern for the i3 in the Mini-ITX case is cooling and power consumption/enough output on the PSU. I've considered a few case/PSU combo's from my local distributor and as far as I know I can't get more than a 300W FSX power supply. The Thermaltake Element Q chassis I liked, originally only comes with a 200W PSU which means upgrading it right off the bat. It's not a big deal but based on being price conscious, I think the transplant makes the most sense if my client is ready to part with their system and upgrade.

What's your ideal Windows OS? XP? Windows 7? I just upgraded my ThinkPad from Windows XP Pro to Windows 7 Pro and so far so good! :) 
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June 1, 2010 8:11:30 PM

I'm sorry...I don't have too much time to type.

The i3 530 is very efficient, as far as I've read....I think I listed the numbers above, but with integrated graphics, could be a decent computer.

I personally have had nothing but good experiences with Win7 - using it on all home PCs and even at work.

Will check back later.
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June 8, 2010 3:22:56 AM

Thanks for all the feedback.

I'm wondering if anyone would like to propose the configuration for an i3, as far as motherboard and necessary power supply. I have tried to use various online PSU calculators, but the good ones were down when I last tried.

What's the best way to calculate the power requirements, or which online calculator is most accurate?

TIA,
Ram
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June 8, 2010 11:54:35 AM

Here's what I use to get me a good ballpark figure:

http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

If it were me, I'd build the ITX system like this:

ECS or Zotac H55 board (the Zotac is more expensive, but has some bells & whistles, like wireless N)

i3 530

2x1GB (or 2x2GB) DDR3 1333

A decent size HDD - maybe a Spinpoint F3 or WD Black

You should be OK with a decent PSU - maybe one of the Corsair 400w, or Antec 380w PSUs. I think those would be more than enough.

The case is personal preference, but you'll need to be able to fit an ATX PSU in there, or get a case that has a decent PSU in it that will support your needs.

I had been looking at the Antec ISK 300-150 case (150w PSU included) since this review shows the i3 530 on the H55 Micro ATX (zotac in this case) has low power numbers:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2950/5

Hope that helps you out.
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June 8, 2010 4:44:24 PM

Thanks very much for the info. The ECS and Zotac boards seem to be quite popular. I've never used either, usually stick with Asus, Intel, Gigabyte. I'll have to see which ones I can get locally.
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June 8, 2010 5:35:07 PM

I usually use Asus and Gigabyte, but ECS and Zotac are the only ones I know making ITX in the H55 segment...Gigabyte had rumored one and may even be releasing it sometime soon, but I don't recall.

Good luck with the build. Let us know how it goes.
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!