A Reasonable Price: CPU And Motherboard
Mini-ITX and Intel: When The Price Is Right
We decided to build this rig using an Intel Ivy Bridge-based CPU. Keeping cost in mind, a 3.2 GHz dual-core Pentium G2120 emerged as our only real option.
As long as two cores are enough, the Pentium offers great performance. And while AMD sells quad-core parts for about the same price, they don't fare as well when it comes to cooling and power consumption, both of which are important considerations in such a compact space. This time around, it just had to be the little 55 W Ivy Bridge-based Pentium.
The Right Motherboard: MSI B75IA-E33
MSI’s B75-based B75IA-E33 is a newer board that offers everything we could want from a mini-ITX platform in this price range. Although the form factor limits any motherboard's available features quite a bit, MSI manages to give its B75IA-E33 a logical and usable layout. Even the UEFI menus are arranged nicely. We found this to be a perfect fit for both the build and budget we had in mind.
While there aren't many bundled accessories to speak of, MSI's B75IA-E33 includes all the essentials. The unexpectedly large manual is easy to navigate, though the text labels in the schematics could have been larger.
|MSI B75IA-E33 Technical Specifications|
|Processor Interface||LGA 1155|
|Chipset||Intel B75 Express|
|DDR3 Memory Support||1066/1333/1600/1800/2000/2200/2400 MT/s (DDR3-1800 and up are overclocked settings; Ivy Bridge-based CPU required)|
|Maximum Memory (GB)||16|
|PCIe x16||1 x PCIe 3.0|
|USB 3.0 (Back)||2|
|USB 2.0 (Back)||4|
|Audio Connectors (Back)||3|
|Approximate Street Price||$110|