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138
Leonard
by skemble
Permalink:   (92 comments)
Description

Hello again! This build is not my usual budget gamer, but rather a HTPC/emulation system for my living room. I have wanted to do a SFF system for quite some time and just couldn’t wait any longer. This being the smallest case I’ve ever built it was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it. I am running Ubuntu 13.10 and using XBMC for my home theater needs.

Goals for this build:

  • Maintain quiet operation and fit in our media center
  • Clean out my box of spare parts
  • Perform video and emulation tasks efficiently

PARTS:

  • CPU:

I wanted to keep this fairly low cost while still being able to handle the necessary tasks I needed. These types of things include: watching videos, playing emulated games, occasional extraction of zipped folders etc etc. After extensive testing of the i3 4130 during Ysera’s Demise I was certain that it would be more than adequate for my needs. It will also suit an upgrade for a GPU (750 Ti) in the future for PS2, Wii, and Gamecube emulation.

  • COOLER:

I already had this cooler. It had been taking up space and I just wanted to utilize it. The fans that came with it are in Rambo’s Final Cut serving as front intake, so I needed another fan. I grabbed the PWM variety, set it as intake through the top as well as cooling the CPU. It fit a little tighter than I had expected, but it works perfectly.

  • MOTHERBOARD:

This board was chosen due to a couple of factors. First was socket alignment. I already had the cooler and needed a board that would fit it, while still allowing for a GPU to be added later. Second was mSATA. I didn’t really want to spend a ton on a board either, but this was the only board that fit the two above criteria and wasn’t H81 or ASRock.

  • MEMORY:

Since this is not a primary gaming machine, I have no need for a lot of memory. I would like the ability to upgrade to 8GB later if needed. I did need something low profile to ensure compatibility with the cooler. I had never used this specific line from Corsair and thought, what the hay!

  • STORAGE:

I was thrilled to try out mSATA! The thought of not having to route cables was glorious. It’s incredible that so much speed is packed into something so small and that these little guys will go up to 1TB. It boots to the Ubuntu desktop in about 6 seconds. I’m happy as can be!

For all the other storage I will be using my network storage.

  • GPU:

I needed something to play PS2 and Gamecube emulators with. This tackles that task with ease. My only problem with the card is it runs the latest version of Project 64 too fast. First world problem, I know. Really impressed with the thermals and quiet operation of the card. For it's intent I'm rather thrilled.

  • CASE:

I needed something small enough to fit in a media center, but with an internal layout suitable for the cooler I wanted to use. I was originally set on the Fractal Node 304. The Silverstone Sugo SG08-Lite made more sense due to the lack of needed HDDs, slightly smaller size, and no included fans. I also favored the top vent that the 304 lacked.

This is my first Silverstone case and I’m very happy with the build quality. Everything is metal and solid feeling, the front plate is very clean looking, and ventilation is at a premium. Dust filters are included and cover the top vent (intake) and the bottom for the PSU (intake). I oriented things to keep the pressure positive and prevent dust build up.

  • PSU:

I wanted a PSU that would be quiet, efficient, small, and have as few cables as possible. This may be an unnecessary unit for a build like this, but I have my reasons. First of all I wanted short cables. This unit comes with a short cable set and is fully modular. I would have opted for buying a Silverstone short cable set anyway so buying a unit that came stock with them just made sense.

This system will likely be on most of the time and I like to conserve energy as much as possible. Gold efficiency is great and the low wattage amount used should keep it very quiet. I secured the PSU to the case using small circles of Velcro, aligning the fan over the vent. I originally wanted it facing the other direction, but the cables would have some ugly twists in them.


CONCLUSION:

I was really happy to do a SFF build like this. Plus it’s nice to build another PC for myself. I haven’t used Ubuntu since version 10.10, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing around and tweaking it just right. I started with version 14.04, but had issues with Ethernet connectivity, which is apparently quite common.

It’s plenty fast for what I need it to do and XBMC has really streamlined my TV and movie needs. It’s small, quiet, and the girlfriend likes it. All is good.


Facebook Page

Twitter

High Res Pictures

Reddit


FEEDBACK:

Do you like how my descriptions are laid out?

Are there any specific pictures that you feel are missing?

In regards to the post, what would you change?


BENCHMARKS:

I didn't really run anything this time due to my unfamiliarity with Ubuntu benching utilities, but I can surely run something if anyone is interested.


Hope you enjoy!

Part List
Details
Date PublishedMay 9, 2014
Date BuiltMay 7, 2014
Intel Core i3-4130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.4GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle27.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load41.0° C
Sapphire Radeon R7 250X 1GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.1GHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate5.2GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
 
 
nolantaylorr 10 points 5 months ago

Always a pleasure seeing your builds, Sam!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 5 points 5 months ago

Thanks for all the support Nolan!

 
 
nolantaylorr 5 points 5 months ago
 
 
Lovroman 6 points 5 months ago

Oh, it's you again.

Jk!

Great build!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 6 points 5 months ago

You can't make me stop! ;)

 
 
Lovroman 2 points 5 months ago

I knew your answer reminds me on something.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8T5_fA2Nkw&feature=youtu.be&t=2m5s c:

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Haha! We better not talk about the word "beast" in these parts..

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 9 points 5 months ago

-1 FOR SAYING "BEAST"!

 
 
Lovroman 2 points 5 months ago

Yea, but it was mainly directed to you(and to the build as well, but yea, you know PCPP...) and to your "something"..PC-related part of you? :d

 
 
SinepMongrel 5 points 5 months ago

Very nice looking ITX! Looks clean and simple. +1

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 6 points 5 months ago

That was my intent! Thanks!

[comment deleted]
 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 4 points 5 months ago

Thank you kindly :)

 
 
infinitemerald [1 Build] 4 points 5 months ago

Knock knock knock "Penny?" Knock knock knock "Penny?"

Knock knock knock "Sheldon?" Knock knock knock "Sheldon?"

That's all I could think about when looking at the title of your build XD

But, I'm glad I clicked on the build, because this is the perfect example of a fantastic PCPP upload. The part choices are fantastic, the pictures are fantastic and plentiful, and the description is thorough and describes the main build goals and purposes of each part choice. I'm thankful that you upload fairly often, your uploads keep my faith in the Completed Builds section!

I applaud your work, skemble. Votes for skemble as PCPartPicker mascot? :D

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

HAHA! I am a big fan of the bang theory :)

I appreciate you checking out my build! I spend quite a bit of time putting each of my posts together and it means a lot to be recognized for my work.

 
 
infinitemerald [1 Build] 3 points 5 months ago

Of course! I love every single one of your builds, keep up the beautiful work, man!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

:3 There will be plenty more to come!

 
 
infinitemerald [1 Build] 1 point 5 months ago

Great to hear!

 
 
deathfromup [6 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

Super clean build, does the SSD still fit in PCI e lane even thought it is bigger than the SSD connector? or am i missing another place for it to go on the mobo? Is that it mounted in the close up of the CPU cooler contacted to the CPU picture, after the 2 blue phantek fan pictures?

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 4 points 5 months ago

You spotted it correctly. It has its own slot that doesn't cover the PCI-E lane, though it is quite close to it.

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 4 points 5 months ago

There's an mSATA slot on the motherboard near the north bridge. And the answer to your question is "yes": It's mounted in that close-up.

 
 
xolot1 [1 Build] 3 points 5 months ago

tears rolling down Bravo! Bravo!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 5 points 5 months ago

bows Graci! Graci!

 
 
xx116xx [3 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

WOW. That case looks amazing. Nice job on the part selection, very well balanced and clean.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 4 points 5 months ago

Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback.

 
 
xx116xx [3 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I want to do a miniITX build so badly, but I don't have any money.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

I've been setting ~$25/paycheck aside for this build. It starts to add up quick! Plus this is sort of a "premium" HTPC. You could easily knock this down to the $350 range and still achieve what you want.

 
 
mcgeeb [1 Build] 3 points 2 months ago

Your build looks great - and great writeup! I'm looking to build a beefy machine in the same case but want to answer a couple questions before I buy all my parts.

Maybe you can help me - I looking to squeeze a PowerColor R9 290 into here. It's a fat card - nearly 2.5 slots. It measures 46 mm and probably 2-3 of that is the backplate. Think it will fit? It will be tight!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 2 months ago

Thanks man! I have a feeling that it will be really close, my concern is more with the overall length of the card and getting proper airflow to it.

 
 
mcgeeb [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Yeah, thanks. The length is definitely ok. I really want this card, but I'm afraid I won't be able to squeeze it in! I might not have the guts to pull the trigger and buy it and may go for a different card. You know how places are with restocking fees.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 2 months ago

I only buy from Amazon and Newegg. :)

 
 
comptech0408 2 points 5 months ago

Wouldn't the integrated graphics benefit more from dual channel ram? I only ask because I am working on an HTPC right now, and want the most performance for my money. By the way, +1 on another great build!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

I'm sure it would. Depending on what you're doing, it may be a small margin of benefit. I was content with spending a little less on RAM, for now anyways.

 
 
comptech0408 1 point 5 months ago

It's just for watching movies and streaming with netflix, no encoding or converting stuff.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

You won't notice a difference. You could probably use 2GB and not even notice. If you were never going to upgrade to 8, just grab 2x2 and call it a day.

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

Well done, sir. I shall be posting my recent ITX gaming build update soon. I've just been too lazy to do the dreaded "photo shoot" lol.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

Thank you pgldg! I look forward to seeing your work!

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

It has a custom water cooling loop in a BitFenix Phenom chassis ;)

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

My upvote is cocked and ready!

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

Here's a preview: http://imgur.com/fGFWkHj

The cables still need some work, though.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Looks nice so far! I applaud the ability to fit all of that stuff in such a tight space.

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

It wasn't easy lol. There's a lot of hardware in that thing...

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I can tell! Can't wait for the finished product.

 
 
plgdg [1 Build] 1 point 5 months ago

I'm debating whether or not to add my GPU into the loop yet. EK just came out with a new universal water block for GPUs, but I might just wait until the 800 series is released or something. I would have to replace the front 230mm intake with another 120mm rad also.

 
 
TheBored [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

excellent build but I think the psu is overprice for 450w even though it's 80+gold

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

Thanks!

I agree. Though most of the price comes from the size and full modularity. The non-modular SFX PSUs in the same wattage range are close to half.

 
 
TheBored [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

anyway your build is one hell of a build +1

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

Thank you sir!

 
 
TheBored [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

your welcome

 
 
Eschaton [2 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

At first I gave you +1 for what I thought was the Bawls soda in the last shot... then I realized it was piss beer. Then I realized I should definitely upvote this build anyway. Nice job!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Haha! I do like Bawls as well. My beer preferences are usually the kind I get for free or really cheap. This time around they were a gift :)

 
 
pegotico 2 points 5 months ago

+1 Nice build , if you can afford it go ahead and buy the silverstone PP05-E, I bought it and don't regret it. http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=438&area=en Only thing that makes me angry is that silverstone should include this cables with the PSU

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I looked at that set! I think if this case had a window or a need for better airflow, I would get that set. They would be much easier to route around tight corners and such.

 
 
Retroman 2 points 5 months ago

awesome job! you're a very experienced builder and it shows on this! man mITX is becoming increasingly more and more popular as more and more people are designing them to fit in home theater cabinets to leap frog past console gaming....and I love it! (but I still love my nintendo too!)

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I agree on the mITX scene! There have been a ton of Node 304 posts lately and it's nice to see. Thanks for checking out my work, I really appreciate it. I still have a 2DS to play some of those Nintendo titles from time to time. :)

 
 
nada190 [3 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

Nice, I love that case too. Err, you got a better deal on it than me.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Amazon Prime and no sales tax :)

 
 
nada190 [3 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Silly California...

[comment deleted]
 
 
bloodroses75 [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

How has performance been on PCSX2 and Dolphin with the on board graphics? Also, which emulators are you using for Linux? I was wondering since I am looking at making a super small htpc/emulation build where a dedicated card isn't an option and am trying to figure out the best route to go. Very nice build. :) +1

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I've spent most of my time playing around with XBMC to be honest. I may have some time after 4 pm central to dive into the emulators. I currently have installed: Visual Boy Advance, PCSX,DeSmuMe, ZSNES, and Mupen64Plus. Dolphin and PCSX2 will be added later for sure.

I would think that your best route would be an APU with some 2133/2400 memory. Especially if you're primarily going for the PS2/Wii/Gamecube games.

 
 
bloodroses75 [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

That's what I was kind of thinking for the APU except that the higher end ones run around 100 watts. It is higher than the case I am looking at using, the Antec ISK 110, not to mention the potential heat issues. With the emulator, I have been using Retroarch for most of my needs with XMBC and Rom Collecton Browser for the interface; on Windows. They do have it for linux though. I hear that the next version of XBMC will have Retroarch/RCB integrated, so that could be interesting.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

You might be cutting it close in that case. I will have to try those out! I'm new to XBMC so I'm just getting the hang of things, but I'm always happy to try out new stuff!

 
 
bloodroses75 [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

MSI just announced a mini-itx AMD R9 270x video card that is the same size as the 750 Ti. More choices are showing up finally. :)

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I saw that on reddit yesterday! I 270X may put out more heat than I want, but it would be perfect for a small Steam machine.

 
 
SpicyPickle [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

I'm a little late to the party, but from on Sam to another, great build!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Thank you kindly, Sir Sam :)

 
 
darakom 2 points 5 months ago

Very nice build! very clean looking. Love the case.

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Thank you!

 
 
junrocks 2 points 5 months ago

phanteks coolers are just awesome, but intel graphics..

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I agree! For emulation below PS2/Wii/Gamecube Intel graphics works perfectly fine.

 
 
TheTekJake [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

Another killer build from the legend himself! As always, awesome job Sam!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 3 points 5 months ago

I'm a legend now?! ;) Thanks for checking it out!

 
 
Swish2000 2 points 5 months ago

That is a beautiful build! If it's not too much trouble, can you link me to where you got the silver version of that case? I've been looking around (albeit not too hard) because I'm planning on doing a build quite like this for an HTPC and love the silver color!

Thanks for continuing to post such amazing builds, in my design class at school I've shown my teacher a few of them and he's complimented them greatly (he's into PCs as well which is pretty fun!). :)

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

I believe there is only color for this case. The silver you are seeing is just from the way the light is hitting it. It's aluminum, not plastic.

That is flattering that you would show my stuff to your teacher! Thanks for spreading my stuff around. I'll keep posting if you keep coming for a visit!

 
 
Swish2000 2 points 5 months ago

Whoa, I feel dumb for not realizing. That's too bad, the silver would be a great color! Anyway thanks for the response, I'll always come back for more!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

Silverstone likes to come out with a black and silver version of their small chassis. This version is fairly new so it may be in the works!

 
 
Swish2000 2 points 5 months ago

I do hope so! Thanks for the responses. Build on!

 
 
awilzman [3 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

Wow, awesome budget build! I built a similar one on a similar budget and yours looks a LOT better. Great job

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Haha thanks! :)

 
 
Kiburi [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

Love this build! Looks well thought out, and I personally love those Phanteks fans. +1

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Thank you! :) I love their fans as well! I can say that when I do my next gaming machine it will likely be in one of their cases with all of their fans.

 
 
LeMonarque [3 Builds] 2 points 5 months ago

Never a dull skemble build lol. Good work!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Haha! Thanks man :)

 
 
Exx-on [1 Build] 2 points 4 months ago

Really nice shots of the case dude!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

Thanks! I've recently updated this with a 250X, but I haven't gotten around to fixing the original post.

 
 
Exx-on [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

Just finished my build thread on here, take a peek if you like!

http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/b/YkccCJ

 
 
gdlgiii [1 Build] 2 points 3 months ago

Those temps are great for that CPU! I just built one with a Cooler Master 130 Elite with the new Haswell i3-4350 and lowest temps I can get at idle are 32C-35C and 58C to 61C under load. I am using a Noctua NH-L9i CPU cooler and must admit this build I did is very quiet. I wonder if the one you are using just moves heat better than the one I have where it blows down (:/) and out the edges vents. Very good build though!

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 3 months ago

It probably is due to having the 140mm fan with unrestricted cool air and tons of vents. Glad to hear yours is quiet though! Thanks for checking out my stuff :)

 
 
Hakumisoso [2 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

That cooler is just perfect for the case. Planning on adding the bottom fan?

 
 
skemble [Submitter] [17 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

I was really lucky that it came that close! I would have to buy another one since I'm using the ones that came with the cooler originally in my other system. I like how quiet it is!

 
 
lamb_llama [1 Build] 1 point 5 months ago

loving the Costa Rican CPU! i have one myself XP

 
 
DDawg426 1 point 5 months ago

Nice build.

And am I the only one who immediately thought of Leonard from The Boondocks?

 
 
bytesize 1 point 2 months ago

Nice microwave :D lol