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Newbie Needs Case Help!

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July 9, 2011 8:11:22 PM

I am a newbie and would like to build my first machine.

I would like to build a "media machine" for the lack of a better term.

I am a professional photographer and would like a DVD optical drive, media card reader, HD video and top quality audio output.

Would use the machine to store and manipulate images, hold my music collection and be able to hook it up to a HD TV.

A friend is running Unbuntu Linux on his machine which I just saw for the first time. It is awesome and would like to give it a shot.

I prefer the small footprint of the ITX as I really would like to get away from the big tower thing.

I need to start with the case. Considering the above, I would like a case which is stunning in appearance. Something that looks like a high-end piece of audio equipment if it exists.

Thanks for the help!

More about : newbie case

July 9, 2011 10:04:28 PM

I can't give a detailed answer without a budget but i can give you some guidelines.

CPU: You don't need anything to crazy here, i think the i3-2100T would be a good solution. It has low power consumption and the integrated graphics will be great for your needs.

Motherboard: Any Mini-ITX motherboard with HDMI output and a PCI slot should be ok. ASUS P8H61-I perhaps.

RAM: I think 4GB of something reasonably priced would do fine here, some of the lower end branded (Corsair, G.Skill etc.) RAM should be best so you don't have to deal with tall heat spreaders.

Graphics: The integrated graphics on that CPU should be plenty, also works out cheaper and consumes less power than a discrete GPU. This also frees up the PCI slot for a sound card.

Hard Drive: I would go with something low power (5400rpm) and high capacity such as the Hitachi Deskstar 3TB. Or a smaller drive if you don't need all that space.

Case: Looks really are subjective but just have a look through the Mini ITX and HTPC cases on Newegg and see what you like. 2 x 5.25'' bays would be handy so you can get a card reader and a DVD or Blu Ray drive.

Power Supply: You really won't need much power if you go with low power components. A decent quality 200-250W should be more than enough.

DVD or Blu Ray: It's up to you which you choose, most brands seem equally good in this area too. I dont think you can go wrong here. (Just get the right colour :)  )

Sound Card: I would get a PCI-e sound card which is aimed at high quality playback instead of recording, other than that it just depends on budget.
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July 9, 2011 10:05:25 PM

Mini itx cases usually lack space for hard drives and that might be important for data storage , though you could also just add external hard drives .

I would tend to look at m-ATX for that reason alone , but if you are committed to mini itx then

SILVERSTONE Sugo Series SG06-B
an Intel H67 motherboard with an HDMI and USB 3
an i5 2400 or 2400S [ lower power consumption ]
2 x4 gig of RAM will benefit image manipulation programs like CS5 that are 64 bit
bluray/dvd combo drive

Stick with the onboard graphics of the intel processor . and use the two available hard drive spaces wisely . One of the drives will have to be a 2.5 inch and the other 3.5 inch but that could still give you terabytes of space .

The onboard sound will be fine

If you can afford it then use the one pci-e slot to install and OCZ revodrive ... but these are very expensive solid state hard drives

A card reader will have to be external , but since the case can be tucked away under a desk that seems like a good idea to me anyway
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July 9, 2011 10:13:44 PM

I wouldn't consider most onboard motherboard sound 'top quality audio output'. It's fine for most people but not for someone wanting the best. The sound on my board is meant to be 'professional grade' but my sound card still sounds better.
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July 9, 2011 10:27:17 PM

jmsellars1 said:
I wouldn't consider most onboard motherboard sound 'top quality audio output'. It's fine for most people but not for someone wanting the best. The sound on my board is meant to be 'professional grade' but my sound card still sounds better.


Yes you are probably right for an audiophile

All the current onbard audio chipsets are easily good enough for any of the computer speaker systems I have heard , but they might be a bit lacking played back through a high quality entertainment system .

I guess that means the one available slot on the itx board gets a sound card .......
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July 9, 2011 10:29:15 PM

What are you editing with, CS5? Will it run under Unbuntu Linux?
I don't know and thats why I'm asking. Maybe GIMP runs with Linux though?
If you are editing large RAW files with CS5 I would recommend 8G of RAM minimum and 16 works ideal for me.
If you start applying filters to a 25MB file with only 4G of RAM you will be able to go and grab a snack out of the fridge before it completes.
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July 9, 2011 10:35:05 PM

1foxracing said:
What are you editing with, CS5? Will it run under Unbuntu Linux?
I don't know and thats why I'm asking. Maybe GIMP runs with Linux though?
If you are editing large RAW files with CS5 I would recommend 8G of RAM minimum and 16 works ideal for me.
If you start applying filters to a 25MB file with only 4G of RAM you will be able to go and grab a snack out of the fridge before it completes.



I noticed this right after I posted about CS5 . I guess CS5 will run on Ubuntu using WINE , but Im unsure if a dedicated 64 bit Linux version is available .
Whether he needs more than 4 gig might come down to whether or not the GIMP is 64 bit .

I agree 8 gig of RAM has to be the starting point though .
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July 9, 2011 10:50:23 PM

Youre probably right on the 8GB
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July 10, 2011 12:23:10 AM

Another thought .
mini-ITX boards usually [ always?] only have 2 ram slots

You can buy 8 gig sticks of RAM but they cost LOTS

Another reason to head back down the m-ATX case route .

Maybe something like a silverstone GD 04 or GD 05 . Good cooling , home theater form factor , more expandability ..
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July 17, 2011 5:24:31 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions!

I ordered the following primarily from Newegg.

The last of these goodies should be here in the next few days and then the fun begins!

Like I said, this is the first time I have attempted to do this and know I have probably made some mistakes.

Silverstone Sugo Series SG06BB-450 ALL Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Computer Case with Power Supply
ASUS AT3IONT-I Deluxe Intel Atom 330 NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Memory Model KVR1066D3N7K2/4G
Seagate Barracuda Green ST1000DL002 1TB 5900 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Bare Drive
Sony AD-7690H-01 8X SATA Internal Slimline Slot Load DVD/CD RW Drive - Black
i-rocks RF-7700L-BK Black 1 x Wheel USB RF Wireless Laser Mouse
i-rocks KR-6401 USB Slim Chocolate Keyboard - Black
Altec Lansing Octane 7 High Performance Speaker System
SanDisk ImageMate Multi-Card USB 2.0 Reader

Would appreciate any thoughts on the individual parts on this build. Also, had a question about the HDD. Would a SATA 6 at 7200 work on this system?
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July 17, 2011 9:55:07 PM

Intels atom processor powers netbooks .

Its slow . Click and wait even for programs to open is the usual experience .
In terms of image processing it will amount to click and wait a very long time .

The other intel processors I mentioned before are massively faster and more suited to your usage

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July 17, 2011 11:55:38 PM

Agree 100% with outlander. An Athlon II x2 would easily smoke the Atom. Even an E-350 processor would be a better bet.
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July 23, 2011 10:22:43 AM

So did you get this thing together? I'm curious if your happy with it.
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July 23, 2011 11:26:17 AM

Everything is still sitting in boxes in the dining room. I did have time to open the case and am very pleased with the quality and bang for the buck. The pictures you see on sites like New Egg do not do it justice.

Have been in and out of town on business and this will be THE weekend. Am really looking forward to it. Something to cross of the bucket list.

It is going to be interesting to see what I end up with. I agree with the other the other posts regarding the processor.

Think I will end up with a really neat little HTPC/Media Center but not what I originally needed. That's okay as I will have no problem putting it to use.

If the build is relatively painless, I am going to do another. This time with something much faster.

Will give you an update this weekend.
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July 29, 2011 9:53:13 PM

Build complete!

This ended up being a pretty fun and am already on to my next.

The Silverstone case was a breeze to work in and around. The only problem is the ASUS MOBO has it own external brick based power supply and you will not be using the one that came with the case.

Based on some of the comments, I was concerned about the MOBO/processor combination and how it would perform. Although it isn't a speed demon, it does just fine with Ubuntu Unity 11.04. Libre Office, web browsing and e-mail ran much faster than I thought they were.

Remember, this MOBO with processor has everything including the kitchen sink. Wifi, bluetooth, HDMI, decent audio, etc..

What was really surprising was how easily Ubuntu handled all the hardware. It recognized everything without a hitch.

If you love the case (I do), save some money and go a different route with the MOBO and CPU. Having that PSU sitting there doing nothing is a waste of $35.00.

If you like the ASUS MOBO and CPU combo, just get a case without a PSU.

There was some concern that the board based PSU wouldn't be able to handle the system. It has no problems whatsoever and it really doesn't run too hot.

If I had to do it over again, I would keep the case and follow Outlander's advice on the AMD E-350 or Athlon. You can pick up a decent motherboard and either of those cpu's and have a similar feature set.





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July 29, 2011 9:56:14 PM

Best answer selected by AWKIII.
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