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Mini ITX for DJ

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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 7:24:53 AM

Hi guys, bit of background before getting underway. My brother is a DJ and I am helping him to build a PC to run his software and store his music. Key things are for it to be quick, super reliable and small form factor.

As i'm sure it will come up, he DOES NOT want a laptop, please don't suggest one, also no macbooks, he's not Skrillex :p 

So, onto things

Approximate Purchase Date: Sooner the better

Budget Range: This is a bit of a theoretical exercise at the moment into finding out the cost, lets try to aim for around £450-500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Running Native Instruments Traktor 2 Software, photo display, web browsing, office

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: All components excluding peripherals

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: eBuyer, Scan, any of the decent UK suppliers

Location: City, State/Region, Country - UK

Parts Preferences: Personally i prefer an intel solution, hes not fussed, AMD's APU may be handy although intel HD graphics will probably be better

Overclocking: No, extreme stability is a must

SLI or Crossfire: No, graphics demand is going to be very low, this must be able to power one 1920x1080p TV and an approx 1024x768 monitor (the monitors res isn't much of an issue)

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080p and a slightly smaller monitor of unknown resolution

Additional Comments: As mentioned above this should be able to power two monitors, one for running the software and one for displaying a slideshow of photo's, hopefully without need for a discrete GPU. No need for the PC to be quiet as it will be in a loud venue, must be small form factor like mini ITX, a case with a handle would be preferable.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Currently lugging around a full size case computer

Ok guys thanks in advance for your help, any additional info let me know.


Edit:

Here's what im thinking so far, if i could add a nice small case (preferably with handle) and a PSU for under £100 that would be good.

http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/xxe3

More about : mini itx

a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 11:45:34 AM

No ones got any comment on this?

I see how it is, if it's not a gaming rig, you're not interested :lol: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 12:38:19 PM

I think it’s a great idea. Im in the US so these parts would really just be a suggestion.

I would use this board because I assume you want 4 sata connections and HDMI. If you don’t need them you can get a less expensive board. $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8gb ram. $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i5 $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

reliable seasonic PSU $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drives start at around $60 and the sky is the limit.
DVD-rw drive for around $20.


Thats about $475 US. That should be around your budget with a little room to customize. If it is to much replace the i5 with an i3. Performance should be very similar.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 12:52:09 PM

So, what is the main purpose of this machine? You said DJ, but i don't see a mass storage for the music and only onboard sound? Are there USB sound devices like players or mixer or what? A typical requirement for DJs would be onboard USB with low latency (no hubs)?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 12:58:42 PM

noidea_77 said:
So, what is the main purpose of this machine? You said DJ, but i don't see a mass storage for the music and only onboard sound? Are there USB sound devices like players or mixer or what? A typical requirement for DJs would be onboard USB with low latency (no hubs)?


Ok here goes with what i can best tell you.

Mass storage, i went with a 128gb SSD as it's fast, this is enough to store his music collection, most is on the cloud, only the latest music is on the machine.

On board sound is not used. The controller connects via usb and acts as its own sound card with out put direct from itself.

The main purpose is running the Traktor control software, basically just a display for what he's inputting from the control unit.

If it makes any difference the control unit is a Numark 4TRAK, below:

http://www.numark.com/product/4trak
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 1:19:33 PM

bucknutty said:
I think it’s a great idea. Im in the US so these parts would really just be a suggestion.

I would use this board because I assume you want 4 sata connections and HDMI. If you don’t need them you can get a less expensive board. $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Believe i only need one sata connection for the SSD

8gb ram. $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yup

i5 $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yup

Case $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thinking the Bitfenix as it has handles so easier to transport

reliable seasonic PSU $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PSU i've chosen is i believe is a rebranded seasonic unit so all good

Hard drives start at around $60 and the sky is the limit.
DVD-rw drive for around $20.


Thats about $475 US. That should be around your budget with a little room to customize. If it is to much replace the i5 with an i3. Performance should be very similar.

Hoping to keep the i5 as it helps out processing the songs when they're loaded into the track mixer


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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 1:38:33 PM

You wanted 2 monitors with out a graphics card. Can you use 1 DVI and 1 VGA monitor? If so there are more budget motherboard options. If you want to go with 1 HDMI and 1 DVI, then your going to need a board that is $80 and up.

If your only going to have 1 SSD to load the music needed for that night, then a board with 2 sata connections would save you a few bucks.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 1:42:05 PM

bucknutty said:
You wanted 2 monitors with out a graphics card. Can you use 1 DVI and 1 VGA monitor? If so there are more budget motherboard options. If you want to go with 1 HDMI and 1 DVI, then your going to need a board that is $80 and up.

If your only going to have 1 SSD to load the music needed for that night, then a board with 2 sata connections would save you a few bucks.


2 monitors without GPU thats right. The display were using for the software is VGA, the TV can take any of the normal connections so a mobo with 1 DVI and 1 VGA or 1 VGA and 1 HDMI would be fine.

If you have any recommendations for cheap mobo's that cover this id love to hear them.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 1:49:11 PM

Something like this might work.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

About 2 months ago a friend asked me to help him build a cheap mini itx system for lan parties. A cheap small system to get good frames at BF3 and Blops3. I used that foxconn board, a 7850 and the same the i5 3xxxP the cheapest i5 with out onboard video. This guy likes it so much he uses it more than his full size computer. It gets 3 or 4 hours heavy gaming everyday. Its only 2 months old but so far so good.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 1:56:44 PM

bucknutty said:
Something like this might work.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

About 2 months ago a friend asked me to help him build a cheap mini itx system for lan parties. A cheap small system to get good frames at BF3 and Blops3. I used that foxconn board, a 7850 and the same the i5 3xxxP the cheapest i5 with out onboard video. This guy likes it so much he uses it more than his full size computer. It gets 3 or 4 hours heavy gaming everyday. Its only 2 months old but so far so good.


Thanks for that, unfortunately i don't think i can get that board here in the UK, it doesn't seem to be listed at any of our major suppliers.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 2:36:11 PM

Another question i've just thought of, never used Intels onboard graphics before, always used a discrete card.

Is it capable of running two seperate monitors? Nothing will be graphics intensive, no games or video streams, just photo slideshow on one and a program running on the other monitor.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 2:51:04 PM

I recently built a small desktop pc for my son that I think would serve you well.

Wanting a very small footprint, I used a Lian li PC-Q02 case. It is tiny, 5.87" x 9.06" x 7.87" weighs 4.1 Lbs.
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...
It comes with an adequate psu.


I used a i3-3225 and a 120gb SSD.
The cpu power is more than enough for your needs.
I used the stock intel cooler and there is no noise when running normally.

The integrated HD4000 graphics has the ability to drive two out of three connected monitors at up to 1920 x 1200.

I used a Asrock B75-ITX motherboard, mainly for the 6gb sata port support.
Actually, any socket 1155 motherboard should do the job for you.

Two caveats:
1. The dvd drive must be of the slim type, and you will need a slim power/data cable.
2. The pcie x16 slot on the motherboard really can't be used since the case does not have an opening there.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 2:58:49 PM

geofelt said:
I recently built a small desktop pc for my son that I think would serve you well.

Wanting a very small footprint, I used a Lian li PC-Q02 case. It is tiny, 5.87" x 9.06" x 7.87" weighs 4.1 Lbs.
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...
It comes with an adequate psu.


I used a i3-3225 and a 120gb SSD.
The cpu power is more than enough for your needs.
I used the stock intel cooler and there is no noise when running normally.

The integrated HD4000 graphics has the ability to drive two out of three connected monitors at up to 1920 x 1200.

I used a Asrock B75-ITX motherboard, mainly for the 6gb sata port support.
Actually, any socket 1155 motherboard should do the job for you.

Two caveats:
1. The dvd drive must be of the slim type, and you will need a slim power/data cable.
2. The pcie x16 slot on the motherboard really can't be used since the case does not have an opening there.


Thanks for your suggestions.

That case looks nice, shame it's got no handle but worth consideration.

How confident are you on the CPU power? Currently it's using an i5 2500k oc'd to 4ghz, it takes between 2-5 seconds to load a song into the mixer, really don't want it to go any longer than that.

Ill check out that board

DVD drive is not really necessary. Software can be downloaded from the net and im thinking install windows with an external drive or maybe over LAN.

PCIe slot should not be needed as far as i can tell.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 3:31:26 PM

mikerockett said:
Thanks for your suggestions.

That case looks nice, shame it's got no handle but worth consideration.

How confident are you on the CPU power? Currently it's using an i5 2500k oc'd to 4ghz, it takes between 2-5 seconds to load a song into the mixer, really don't want it to go any longer than that.

Ill check out that board

DVD drive is not really necessary. Software can be downloaded from the net and im thinking install windows with an external drive or maybe over LAN.

PCIe slot should not be needed as far as i can tell.


Here are some ideas:
On the handle requirement:
1. Why not just dump the case into a backpack or gym bag?
2. Go to a hardware store and buy a suitable sized drawer pull. drill two holes in the top of the case and attach via screws from the bottom.
I might add a washer to distribute the pressure.
3. Lian li does make a PC-TU-200 case with a handle. It is more expensive and larger:
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

I would doubt that your loading app is multithreaded, at least past two threads.
The i3-3225 runs at 3.3 It is perhaps 15% faster, clock for clock than a sandy bridge making the chip close to the 2500K @4.0 running one or two threads.
As an alternative, there is a 3.4 i3-3240 version at the same price which uses HD2500 graphics that would be better for your usage. I wanted the faster graphics for light gaming for my son.
Do some testing on your current system. Activate the task monitor and resource monitor.
Look at what is going on when you load a song to the mixer. I bet you see only one or two threads active, and not 100% either.
I suspect the bottleneck is the USB port. If the mixer can use usb3.0, then that part will be 10X faster.

Here is a link to the motherboard I used.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 3:49:14 PM

geofelt said:
Here are some ideas:
On the handle requirement:
1. Why not just dump the case into a backpack or gym bag?
2. Go to a hardware store and buy a suitable sized drawer pull. drill two holes in the top of the case and attach via screws from the bottom.
I might add a washer to distribute the pressure.
3. Lian li does make a PC-TU-200 case with a handle. It is more expensive and larger:
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

I would doubt that your loading app is multithreaded, at least past two threads.
The i3-3225 runs at 3.3 It is perhaps 15% faster, clock for clock than a sandy bridge making the chip close to the 2500K @4.0 running one or two threads.
As an alternative, there is a 3.4 i3-3240 version at the same price which uses HD2500 graphics that would be better for your usage. I wanted the faster graphics for light gaming for my son.
Do some testing on your current system. Activate the task monitor and resource monitor.
Look at what is going on when you load a song to the mixer. I bet you see only one or two threads active, and not 100% either.
I suspect the bottleneck is the USB port. If the mixer can use usb3.0, then that part will be 10X faster.

Here is a link to the motherboard I used.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That a good suggestion on the handle but i'm happy spending a bit more to get a case with a handle.

Thats a good point about the number of cores being utilised, also a good point about the usb bottlenecking the load.

I'll give it a test in the resource monitor.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 4:01:03 PM

Ok here's what i'm thinking now

http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/xzI7

Plus the Bitfenix Prodigy for the case.

That comes to about £375, think that's a pretty reasonable cost.

Any other thoughts?
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 4:27:56 PM

mikerockett said:
Ok here's what i'm thinking now

http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/xzI7

Plus the Bitfenix Prodigy for the case.

That comes to about £375, think that's a pretty reasonable cost.

Any other thoughts?


The bitfenix prodigy is larger than you might think for a ITX case. 9.84" x 15.91" x 14.13"
It is also made of steel, not like the lian li which is aluminum.
And... I am not certain that the top wings are really designed as carrying handles.

I might suggest you make a cardboard mock up of each to assess the size.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2013 4:52:12 PM

geofelt said:
The bitfenix prodigy is larger than you might think for a ITX case. 9.84" x 15.91" x 14.13"
It is also made of steel, not like the lian li which is aluminum.
And... I am not certain that the top wings are really designed as carrying handles.

I might suggest you make a cardboard mock up of each to assess the size.


I was aware the Bitfenix i quite large, didn't know it was steel though.

Ill look into whether they are handles or not, if it is of a steel construction though i cant see them breaking.

I have seen mini itx cases before that have carry handles unfortunately i just cant seem to find any.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 15, 2013 6:09:03 AM

OK, thinh i've got enough of a handle (excuse the pun) on this now, cheers for everyones input.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 15, 2013 6:10:45 AM

Best answer selected by mikerockett.
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