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Size constrained Mini-itx reasonable budget/multi-tasking build

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June 1, 2012 8:33:24 PM

My old/cheap dell laptop is dying and as I was messing around online I stumbled upon this project from 2004 http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/underwood/. Having never built a computer before, knowing little about mini-itx/computer building/case building, and having Lobster tastes on a Ramen budget; I decided this is the computer I must have. I even have the typewriter and keyboard. Luckily My brother-in-law has built computers before and is pretty handy with power tools and mechanical stuff. It's turned into kind of a family project.

I've tried to research but seem to be growing more and more confused.

I'll be purchasing parts individually over the next few months as circumstances allow.

I'm the type of person that constantly listens to music while working, I usually have 10 or more tabs open in my browser, I multi-task all the time often having Word, Internet, Music, and Paint/GimpShop open at the same time. The only gaming I might even possibly be doing is Diablo 3 and some ROMS/Emulators of older gaming systems. (I rarely have the time/money for gaming.) I'll watch TV and some DVD's. I was thinking of Blue ray as I currently have no means of watching them and might buy some in the future but I don't want to explode my budget for one item that will get the least amount of use.

I'm located in the USA and don't particularly care from whence I get my parts as long as they are a great deal and reliable.

Additionally: The computer will be in my room and not have direct Internet connection access, so wireless/wireless capable is a must. I would like to be a energy conscious as possible. Although more expensive, I would like to use SSD. My available space is about 8" W x 6.8" L

Any and all advice, even on my "case" mod would be great. Thanks
June 1, 2012 9:43:41 PM

I think that it's an amazing looking computer once it's finished and while it may work and work rather well there could be one drawback ans of course that would be gaming. I know you said that you don't game but you did say something about Diablo 3. With using intergrated graphics you will not be able to play Diablo 3 and if by some chance you could it wouldn't be very good.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You would have to somehow get a video card in there because this board does not have intergrated graphics.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Same with this one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This one does but you would have to see what kind of performance that you can get with it. The video chip is a NVIDIA GeForce GT430.

All things considered , including your available space I do think that you should be looking at getting a laptop. I think it will end up being less expensive and there are some good laptops now that cam be used for gaming.
June 3, 2012 3:46:59 AM

I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the ASRock mobo http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157312&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Motherboards+-+Intel-_-ASRock-_-13157312 Although I've heard amazing things about the ASUS mobo, I'm nervous about it's layout especially the side board attachment. Plus, the ASRock leaves some room in my budget for a low profile GraphicsCard.

I'm leaning heavily towards the Intel i5 Ivy Bridge CPUs. I will definately need a better low-profile heatsink/cooler.

Space is at such a premium (I still need to mount my SSD somewhere), I'm definately concerned about heat and power consumption. Any ideas on Graphics Card, Power supply, or fan options?
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June 3, 2012 11:16:45 AM

I like these type projects :)  What type of Budget are you thinking of?

good choice on the MB, its a nice one and already has a good WiFi card with it, but it is expensive :(  .

the first thing you need to do is decide on a case.
Quote:
My available space is about 8" W x 6.8" L
Any and all advice, even on my "case" mod would be great.


You might want to re-assess this requirement "8" W x 6.8" L" the mITX MB is 6.7" x 6.7" by itself. The case still needs to fit a PSU, HDD/SSD, ODD and maybe video card. it could just be really tall as you could stack it up over the MB.

as far as the height of the "Modded" case, you need about 5.5" inches for a full size Graphics card and at least 8.5" in length. Low Profile you will only need 3.5" Height and max of 8" in length

a good full high non-power hungry GPU is the new HD 7750 the HD 7770 would also be a good choice, but it's a little more power hungry.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7770-7750...

the most powerful LP GPU out right now is the AMD HD 6670.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
D3 on a 6670:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/diablo-iii-performa...

PSU wise 250-350W should be fine, maybe less depending of GPU and CPU Choices. For the PSU it will depend on the space availibilty with in your Mod case. SFX, TFX, mITX Seasonic or some of the FSP's are good choices. make sure to get an 80+ rated PSU.

SSD's I recommend Crucial M4, Mushkin, Samsung 830 and Kingston hyperX. these are the most reliable and best bang for the buck.

ODD: to blu ray or not to blu ray. most likely your build will need a slim form factor ODD.
Slim Blu Ray $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Slim DVD $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: LP generic DDR3 2x2GB should be fine (1333Mhz)

CPU: to keep cost down a dual core i3 2120 or 2100. for better performance i5 3450 (Quad core) should be the choice the stock cooler should be fine. all will play HD movies with there IGP's.

Cases for size and layout ideas:

IN WIN BP-Series BP671.200BL (13.7" x 3.9" x 10.4") Low Profile
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
IN WIN BP655.200BL (12.20" x 10.40" x 3.90") Low Profile
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec ISK 310-150 Black (12.90" x 8.70" x 3.80") Low profile
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec ISK 300-150 Black (12.90" x 8.70" x 3.80") Low Profile
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SILVERSTONE Sugo Series SG05BB-450 (10.87" x 6.93" x 8.74")full size GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-Q15B (8.27"H x 8.27"w x 13"d) full size GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I hope some of the above helps.

Best solution

June 3, 2012 4:41:59 PM
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $55.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $27.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $82.99

The Ivy Bridge cpu has a 65w TDP and is just about the lowest watt cpu and so the cpu cooler won't have any trouble cooling it. The video card will work with a 350w psu and comes with an additional bracket for low profile situations. When getting ram you can get most any that you want and make sure it's the low profile type. The SSD for a hard drive is going to be a lot better then a conventional hdd since it is very small and can be put almost anywhere , just connect the cables to it and you can even lay it on the bottom or slide it in somewhere because it doesn't have to be attecahed to anything just the cables.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 128gb $144.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 256gb $266.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 8gb $54.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 4gb $34.99
June 3, 2012 6:15:41 PM

do not get the PSU that inzone recommended it is very LOUD.

stay away from the "S" series CPU's. they may be low power/heat, but "S" = Slow a normal Ivy or SB cpu will be fine.

once you figure out your case then, select a PSU that will fit.
June 3, 2012 8:41:52 PM

With a special project such as the one your trying to do there are compramises that have to be made and in order to get the parts that you need to fit you don't have the same selection asx you do when building a regular Pc. Your needs have to be met in some way or you'll have to scap the project and just build a regular Pc that has a regular case. To get a seperate video card you need a certian size power supply and for the size that you need there aren't a lot of choices. You can try getting a lower watts psu but then you have to lower the video card as well. As far as the cpu , read the feedback , it doesn't say that it's slow but it does say that those who bought it are happy with it and most imrotant in this situation is that it consumes less power and that will help out with the psu selection.
June 4, 2012 12:58:21 AM

JarredDredd- The "case" I'm using is the 1923 Underwood No. 5 typewriter like this 2004 mod http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/underwood/. My size is constrained to fit inside of that; hence all of the low-profile/tiny options I'm forced to use. I have no idea *why* I felt the need to start this build but, now that I have, it has become a quest I must complete.


So far the only cards I've seen that might fit the size are the GeForce low profile cards. I don't know much (read anything) about the different GraphicsCards. Would it be worth buying a GeForce card?

Thanks inzone, I knew I wanted the SSD but I didn't know I could just slide it in somewhere. That's a small load off my mind. Those seem to be the only PSU options I have available. They have other small, high watt PSUs out there but they have the plugs and cords in the wrong position to fit.
June 4, 2012 3:26:55 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

This card comes with the low peofile bracket and will work with a 300w psu.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99

This is a 300w psu and is more expensive then the 350w psu that I had listed previously but was reported to be loud. This is the page on Newegg that has the available psu's and you can choose another if you like but keep in mind that the video card needs a 300w psu to be in the computer. You can also make another choice of a video card and search some more to geet it right.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
June 4, 2012 8:07:43 AM

inzone said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

This card comes with the low peofile bracket and will work with a 300w psu.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99

This is a 300w psu and is more expensive then the 350w psu that I had listed previously but was reported to be loud. This is the page on Newegg that has the available psu's and you can choose another if you like but keep in mind that the video card needs a 300w psu to be in the computer. You can also make another choice of a video card and search some more to geet it right.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...


inzone that is a much better PSU (FSP) and it is small (5.91" x 3.21" x 1.6")

don't go by what video card manufactures say the minimum PSU is. they speak of PSU's with inflated Power ratings. FSP is a good PSU and will have not issues powering any GPU that you will be able to cram in the little space you have.

typical Ivy system (i5 3550) power draw under load (no GPU) = 126W
a I7 2700K Sandy Bridge = 155w
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-3570-low-po...

the most any low profile GPU will draw is 75W off the PCIe x16 bus.

the puts the entire system well under the 75-80% of the max wattage (225-240W).


June 4, 2012 8:31:49 AM

NewbietheGirl said:
JarredDredd- The "case" I'm using is the 1923 Underwood No. 5 typewriter like this 2004 mod http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/underwood/. My size is constrained to fit inside of that; hence all of the low-profile/tiny options I'm forced to use. I have no idea *why* I felt the need to start this build but, now that I have, it has become a quest I must complete.


thanks for clearing that up. I thought you were just doing a case mod and were looking for ideas on what to do. I didn't know that you wanted to do the exact mod you sited.

Quote:
So far the only cards I've seen that might fit the size are the GeForce low profile cards. I don't know much (read anything) about the different GraphicsCards. Would it be worth buying a GeForce card?


If you are just doing the normal stuff and watching HD movies, the IGP of the Ivy or SB CPU's will be fine. to game like D3 you going to need a little more power. the card I HD 6670 I suggested above is the most powerful LP card out, but it is 7.48" long, so I don't think it will fit in your case with out hanging out the back. the next best is HD 5670 GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Thanks inzone, I knew I wanted the SSD but I didn't know I could just slide it in somewhere. That's a small load off my mind. Those seem to be the only PSU options I have available. They have other small, high watt PSUs out there but they have the plugs and cords in the wrong position to fit.


the last one that inzone quoted shoudl work just fine. I is slightly small the the original modder one (thats a good thing), and is the same style so the cabling should match up well.
June 5, 2012 7:50:38 PM

I'm so glad I found this site and these Forums! You guys are great (and very patient). It'll be slow going on the build still; I haven't even gotten the typewriter cleaned and apart. My next purchase will be my mobo and psu. Unfortunately, I just used my saved money on a family emergency, stretching my build out even more. Hopefully I will find some good deals.

June 12, 2012 1:17:21 AM

Best answer selected by NewbietheGirl.
June 12, 2012 1:20:38 AM

I jus heard about the Sapphre Radeon 7750 LP card. I wonder if it will also hang out of my case. I think I'm going to wait to purchase a GPU until I know
June 12, 2012 1:41:13 AM

The dimensions of the cards are usually listed in the details tab on the web page of the card.
Once you complete your project please post some pic's I would love to see what you built.
June 12, 2012 12:32:27 PM

NewbietheGirl said:
I jus heard about the Sapphre Radeon 7750 LP card. I wonder if it will also hang out of my case. I think I'm going to wait to purchase a GPU until I know


6.75 x 1.7 x 4.2" according to the the below article:

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Sapp...

it seems to be a dual slot GPU with a massive passive heatsink attached. the heat sink extends past what would be considered low profile :( 

the sapphire site shows the height as being 120mm or 4.7 inches :( 
June 18, 2012 8:27:31 PM

I'm almost begining to think this build is cursed. Just discovered fraud on my account, now I have to wait for the return of those funds and a secure card. Fie! The Gpu will probably be the last thing I purchase, so I shan't stress over it now. However, my ever tightening funds leave me with some doubts on my build. The SSD sounds like the best idea but expensive. Any opinions on hybrid hard drives? Would they even work for what I'm trying to do? Would I have to actively cool one?
June 19, 2012 5:42:13 AM

Unfortunatly the SSD drive would be your best option for space useage and a hdd would take up more space. You can try looking into a laptop hdd as they are much smaller but I don't know what the prices are.
!