Description

My old pre-built HTPC was finally showing its age and it was decided to build a new one. That way, I could create a working PC at my budget level now, but make sure it was completely upgradable for the foreseeable future.

This little guy is super quiet and amazingly quick for browsing, video playback, and surprisingly snappy using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. I have had no real hiccups whatsoever with this build and can't be more happy with it! All the parts work seamlessly together and it is stupid fast relative to the low cost!

The one thing that is obviously missing from this build is a decent graphics card. I made sure all current components left enough room inside the case for me to get a decent video card in there at a later date (and more money). While it currently doesn't have one, the integrated graphics processor found on the Ryzen CPU has been really good. Surprisingly good. I thought for sure using dedicated only would slow me down processing images in Lightroom and Photoshop as they are fairly heavy programs, but this little HTPC keeps up.

Motherboard

-This is a nice Micro ATX Mobo that had all the features I was looking for.

-There were four DDR4slots for memory which makes upgrading easier.

-Had a SATA M.2 slot for SSD

-Contains a PCIe 3.0x4 allowing for a decent graphics card down the road.

-Had a AM4 socket which has tons of options for faster CPUs down the road

-Contains USB 3.1 Header

-Built in Ethernet

-HDMI port because I would not be buying a video card at this time.

-A well built BIOS that will help if I ever start overclocking with new parts

CPU

-First, I wanted a AM4 socket MOBO so I could easily upgrade to a much faster CPU anytime I felt the need for a 8core monster

-A lot of bang for your buck! 3.5ghz over four cores is plenty to get me through the tasks I planned for this Build. .

-Not power hungry 65Ws!

-Good Reviews

-Integrated Graphics so I wouldn't need to purchase a graphics card at this time.

-Runs cool so I wouldn't have to worry about overheating

-Comes with own cooling system so I wouldn't have to buy a heatsink

-Overclockable GPU and CPU! While I have yet to do this, I've read of stable OCs of 1.6 GHz (OEM 1.1 GHz) on the integrated GPU as well as 3.8 GHz (OEM 3.5 GHz) on the CPU while using the factory cooler. If you decide to add an aftermarket coolers, I'm sure you can see some good returns for this relatively cheap CPU! Article can be found at TechSpot Budget Overclocking Guide

NOTE Screwing the heatsink to the MOBO was a super pain in the ***! I felt like I was going to crack the MOBO the get the screws to finally attach.

Memory

-Standard 2x4gb DDR4-2400. There's not much to say about memory. It works! I only filled two slots on the MOBO so the current configuration can be upgraded to 16gb with having to swap for all new sticks.

-I went with 2x4gb not only for the reason mentioned above, but also because I've read from a previous post that the integrated GPU is optimized with dual channel according to FatBoyJD

Harddrive

-Because all of my Videos and files are located on my home server, there was no need to add a large capacity drive. Instead I opted to use the MOBO's M.2 slot to save internal space, as well as to make sure there wouldn't be any lag in Read/Writes and boot time.

NOTE: The screw that came with this SSD did not fit the hole on the MOBO. Luckily, I have one laying around, but you may not.

Case

-This case looks incredibly plain and that's exactly how I wanted it. For its size, it has a decent amount of room inside which is perfect for the addition of a decent graphics card down the road.

-Has 2-USB 3.1 ports on the front which is great for easy flash drive connections.

-Has a 5.25" to put an optical drive in. Since this was a HTPC build, I think this is important. Note: The area of the case for the 5.25" bay is right next to the PSU mounting area. If you decide to use a full sized PSU, you will have to fight a little bit with the cables on the back of your optical drive.

-There is also enough space to mount one 3.5" or 2-2.5"Hard Disks if I ever needed additional storage. I don't, so I took the mounting bracket out of the case for additional room.

-There was plenty of room for fans. Although you have to screw them onto the grate side of the case. This wasn't ideal, but was still easy to accomplish.

-It allowed for a full sized power supply

NOTE:The only problem I've had with this case is the obnoxiously bright front panel LEDs! There's nothing worse than having spot lights in your face when watching TV! It took less than a day after initial hookup to realize I would have to open the case back up and unplug the lights from the MOBO. I would highly suggest not hooking these high beams up in the first place!

Power Supply

-This SeaSonic has great reviews and hands out plenty of power for a decent Graphics Card down the road or a more power hungry CPU. Currently, do I need this much? Of course not, but it fits in the case and there is no way I would want to replace it in the future.

Graphics Card

-This was purposefully no purchased at this time to cut down some of the costs. Currently, the AMD Ryzen 3's integrated graphics is doing its job well, but I made sure there was space in the case, room for fans, and plenty of unused power available to make it an easy drop in sometime in the near future.

Cooling

-Since most of the parts used run fairly cool, this wasn't much of an issue. I did decide to go ahead and put a couple of 80mm fans (One in and one out) because it was cheap to do so. These guys are completely silent inside the case and will help with future upgrades.

Optical Drive - Originally, I put a DVDRW in the bay because I couldn't find the Blu-Ray drive in my spare parts. Either way, I didn't have to purchase one. Sometimes, it's nice to have spare parts, but is always great when you can find them! Most of the time it just takes up space!

Comments

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

Nice budget build! I just hope you did some cable management. The thumbs up (last picture) would have look so much better with some CM... :)

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

Haha! You are totally right, that would've made a better thumbs up picture! That picture was taken right after the HTPC was fired up for the first time (It ran surprisingly). I was so excited, that I forgot to take another photo showing the cables after properly tied up and routed, before I closed the case and installed it under the TV.

Dang it! Your comment is making me want to take it apart and get another pic! You are just going to have to imagine the what it is like! :)

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

:)

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

When I rebuilt my HTPC in the summer of 2017 I was actually considering this same case. Though 2 things made me choose the CM elite 130 instead as it was almost half the price and could support full height video cards for future upgrading which I then took advantage of this year. Though I do use that PC for gaming too so the video card option was a bit more important.

I'm not sure what all the uses you do with your HTPC but if all you do is internet and media playback you won't even need to add a video card at all. The igpu in the Ryzen 2200g is almost as good as a GT 1030 video card so it can still run some games just fine. It is FAR better than intel integrated graphics by far.

Though looks like your entertainment station does not have the height to accommodate the elite 130 like mine is so the silverstone case does seem to be the better fit. I do like how the motherboard you selected has 4 ram slots so its not as much of a pain to go with 2x4GB ram now as you still have 2 slots open for future upgrading. Hope this HTPC serves you well.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

So far, I haven't had any problems with the integrated graphics yet, but I haven't pushed it really hard. Lightroom and Photoshop seem to be running fairly smoothly on editing, but most of my heavy editing tasks are done on my high performance laptop.

Although this machine will not likely see any games, I do run quite a few resource heavy applications that would benefit greatly adding a graphics card to the PC (Photoscan, Premire Pro, ArcGIS, etc...) Like you mentioned, this case will not take full height cards, but I don't think it'll be an issue for my purposes.

Also, you are correct on the space available in my entertainment station being a limiting factor. I kinda like the short height of this case. It reminds of an old clunky VCR. I did really like the CM elite 130 and almost went with it for this build, but again, space was the issue.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah and cases like the Node 202 that will be shorter like the case you have are more expensive especially since it needs a SFX PSU instead of a standard ATX one and has no option for an optical drive. The silverstone one is a nice in between. Though if I am not mistaken you could fit a card in there as high as a GTX 1050 ti for a low profile card. Your 450w PSU will also have more than enough power for it too.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice. Have you tried pushing the memory speed a little bit? I wonder if you could get 2666 out of those RAM sticks.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

I haven't yet, but when I get the time to play around with it, this is on the top of my list. It's a good suggestion.

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for your note about how much of a PITA it is to attach the heatsink to the MOBO. It is!! I thought I was doing something wrong! But then your note helped me feel comfortable just going for it

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Im glad it put you at ease! I loved every part about that build except that damn heatsink! Hope it all went to plan!

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Noice.

Best to use faster RAM on Ryzen, at least 3000 MHz. It's been proven that it'll help a lot with performance, or if not at least a little. Ryzen is speed hungry.

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  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

You should! I have yet to be disappointed with it so far! You can't beat the performance at that price point!