I decided to build a new PC with the idea of future-proofing mostly thrown out the window. I built something that'll get by for the immediate future while having money left over to upgrade as "the next big thing" comes along for most of the components over the next couple of years. Really, the only parts that I plan on keeping for several years are the case, disc drive, and power supply. Everything else's days are numbered.
My goal with this PC is to have a tiny box that excels, first and foremost, at media and emulation. I've got a cheap NAS setup that streams movies, music, and emulated games to it and outputs on my 1080p TV (30ms calculated lag). This PC is replacing a gaming PC that doubled as a media center housed in a Silverstone GD05B. I ended up moving that PC into a mid-tower, and now it's serving as a dedicated gaming PC at a desk. Quite the size difference, I must say.
The pictures show most major steps of the build process. You really have to stuff the power supply cables in there to get it all to fit. If you take a look at the last few, I compared its size to a launch Xbox One. It has roughly the same volume as it, and if you add the external power brick into the equation (which you should, since my PC's PSU is inside the case), it's actually smaller than it! Plus you can stand it on its side. The fact that I was able to make a PC smaller than the size of one of the game consoles currently on the market is pretty amazing.
I originally built this PC on June 4 of this year, but I just got around to posting its build here. Keep this in mind - as well as my intentions - when looking at the components.
CPU: Intel Pentium G3258
This thing is a beast at media and emulation at its price point. I'm surprised that it's able to keep decent temps at load with how little breathing room it has. I'll look at overclocking it if possible and needed. It should last me until after both Zen and Cannonlake come out (the former for competition, and the latter for the 10nm die shrink), after which I'll decide what I'll upgrade to.
Purchased for $49.99 from Micro Center, plus $4.81 tax.
Motherboard: ASRock H97M-ITX/AC
What better to pair a cheap CPU with than a cheap mobo that gets the job done and comes with WiFi? I've got no complaints in most places. The onboard WiFi isn't amazing, but it doesn't need to be. As long as I can stream uncompressed Blu-ray rips from my NAS without issue (which I can), I'm fine. This part will end up getting switched out the day I upgrade my CPU, of course.
Purchased for $79.99 from Newegg, plus $2.99 shipping and minus $20.00 rebate.
GPU: MSI Geforce GTX 750 Ti LP
Okay, this part was more out of necessity than it was a cheapout. My case only supports low profile GPUs (a choice I intentionally made). This is the most powerful low profile GPU on the market. Unfortunately, it's also been about two years since it was released. Keeping in mind that PC gaming comes third on this build after media and emulation, I'm happy with the decision. I'm able to have some more demanding settings enabled in my emulators with it, and I can play some kind of recent games with respectable settings! I hope that more gaming-oriented low profile GPUs come in the future. If a low profile GTX 1050 Ti (maybe 1060, but I think that's too optimistic) or AMD alternative comes out, I'm getting one right away.
Purchased for $112.99 from Newegg, minus $10.00 rebate.
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 RAM
I just took these two memory sticks from my gaming PC, which I've since upgraded to 16GB DDR3L RAM. I've never had a problem with these sticks, and they're still working just fine. I'll be upgrading these to whatever DDR4 sticks ~$50 can buy when I upgrade my CPU and mobo.
Case: Silverstone Milo ML09B
I wanted to go as small as possible with my case of choice while being able to have a slim ODD, SFX PSU, and a low profile GPU. More specifically on the ODD, I needed it to support more than just slot-loading solutions, as those are expensive. The ML09B came along just in time for me. Putting all the parts into it was nothing short of a nightmare due to how little space you get to work with, especially if you include 2.5" drives. I was able to stuff everything in there, though, and the end result is, in my opinion, wonderful.
Purchased for $59.99 from Amazon.
PSU: Corsair SF 450W SFX12V
This PSU has the lowest wattage available for a fully modular SFX PSU. The fan actually never turns on due to my PC not drawing enough wattage from it, which is nice. I'm not a fan of the price, but what can you expect from a lack of competition? Luckily I shouldn't need to replace it for a long time, which makes swallowing the price a bit easier.
Purchased for $89.99 from Jet, minus $13.50 from a promo discount.
Primary Storage: Mushkin Enhanced ECO3 240GB SATA SSD
Of all the parts in my PC, this one will probably get massively outclassed (looking at price/GB) the soonest. That's why I went cheap on it, but it's actually great! IDK what I'll upgrade it to. It all really depends on what happens this next year.
Purchased for $55.99 from Newegg.
Secondary Storage: Seagate Momentus 5400.2 ST96812AS 60GB SATA HDD
I had this thing lying around. Since I'm not using it for anything else, I figured that I'd drop it into the machine for some light media storage. I'll probably remove this drive altogether once I upgrade the SSD.
ODD: LG GT30N Slim DVD Drive
I salvaged this from a busted laptop. These things still shine with HTPC usage, even as they're discarded in most other builds. I do have a slim Blu-ray drive I could use instead, but I'm not that happy with any of the available playback solutions for movies on Blu-ray Disc. May as well keep it less used in case things ever get better on that front.
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit Home Premium SP1
I had a leftover OEM key, so I used it for this PC. I just upgraded it to Windows 10, too. 'nuff said.