So I finally managed to complete another ITX build. After selling off most of the parts from my previous build, I decided to build a new rig but this time I'll be focusing on gaming (since I have a lot of backlogs on steam) and video/photo editing. Although completed, it still has some room for upgrade especially the SSD and hard drive used, both of which were used from a previous build/s.
Now here's a few explanation on some of the parts I used:
For the processor, I went with the 4790K. This is the best processor that can handle games and render videos like a snap. For the motherboard, I chose the Gigabyte GA-Z97N since it has the best layout out of all the ITX boards out there and because of this, you won't encounter any issues when choosing a cooler/heatsink for your processor. Cable management with this board is great as well and lastly, Gigabyte boards are always the best choice when it comes to hackintosh builds which I'll probably try in the future. For the CPU Cooler, choosing the U12S was a no brainer for me. I've been using Noctua products for a while now and I was impressed on the quality and low noise levels on their fans. I used to own a D14 and although it fits, I don't really prefer having big heatsinks on such a cramped space. Maybe I should have gotten the U14S instead, but since I got this one lying around, might as well stick with it. For the case, I really wanted to use the elite 130 (since it doesn't have any issues on PSU size) but in the end I went with the Node 304 since its the cheapest ITX case I could find which is dust proof. Yes I could have gotten the black one but it's more prone to smudges and fingerprints. Now choosing the PSU was a tough one. From all the forums I've read, choosing the Seasonic G650W is a must. Even though its 160mm in length, it can still accommodate long video cards and is one of the best and reliable tier 2 PSUs around. But even so, I decided to buy the CS550M instead due to its size (140mm) so cable management was a breeze. I know that the recommended PSU for the G1 is 600w but I'm not gonna overclock the GPU and I'll probably upgrade in the future. I don't like messy cables on systems as well and I haven't encounter any problems on this PSU yet. It's also an 80Plus gold power supply and If it gets the job done then I'll take it.
Lastly, apart from the PSU, the toughest choice I had was when choosing the graphics card. Of course the 980 was at the top of my list but which brand? The Zotac, Palit and Galax were either sold out or has no stocks available due to their low price. The Asus 980 Strix, can't seem to find one so I'm left with either choosing the MSI GTX 980 Gaming or the Gigabyte GTX 980 Gaming G1 (or the normal windforce variant).
I was really leaning on MSI even though it has a higher price tag here than the G1. The MSI was also shorter so it won't have any issues while installing this on the node (since it's stated max length for graphics card was up to 310mm). I had to watch a lot of videos comparing the two variants and most of the time the Gigabyte wins due to its higher clock speed and overclocking capability. In the end I chose the G1 for a simple reason - it has a backplate. Come on MSI, if you're gonna sell something premium, why not include a backplate in it?
After digging around and asking a few forums like overclock.net's Node 304 club, I found out that the G1 (with its 312mm length) can actually fit inside the Node although it can be a tight fit depending on the PSU used. So I bit the bullet and decided to buy the G1 and hope that it actually fits. To my surprise, not only does it fit but I didn't even have to do some tedious cable management or hand gymnastics while installing the card. Since I had the cables managed before hand, it only took me a couple of seconds to install this with even room to spare. The 24pin cable isn't even touching the edge of the card which is why I'm really glad that I chose the CS550M as my power supply.
The prices below were converted from PH Peso to USD and all parts were bought locally.
Pro tip: When installing the G1 Gaming GTX 980 card on this case, you may remove the top shoulder thread/screw hole of the DVI input so you can easily install the card even if your CPU cooler or PSU etc. is already in place. Doing so will make things a lot easier, trust me :)
Edit 1: Will update the pics later (if I have the time) since I had to edit the perspective on the shots I took with my crappy phone cam which is why the graphics card on the photos looks like it's sagging.
Edit 2: Parts list updated. Will have to upgrade the PSU in the future.