Description

Made with expandability (SSD, HDD, optical drive, any size video card) in mind, this glossy white build is a budget powerhouse ready for future upgrades in graphic and programming productivity.

OS: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64 bit Using AMD Catalyst driver 15.7 With 16GB of RAM, the system allocated 1GB for the graphics naturally. XMP 1 was used to ensure RAM ran at 2133 (not default 1333 of the board) It appears that based on my experiences and reading other reviews that it will set aside 1/16th of your total RAM for graphics; if you run dual graphics later, make sure the RAM on your card is also DDR3; if you get a GDDR5 or HBM card, then disable the APU graphics, or your fancy graphics card will be severely impeded. :)

Light Gaming: Minecraft (testing resolution was 1280x1024); default settings, 60fps steady (sync limited), could not get below 60fps at all, no errors or hiccups at all when using default settings; high settings, some invisible parcels but only at maxiumum distance rendering (32 chunks), no appreciable lag

Moderate Gaming: Borderlands Pre-Sequel (testing resolution was 1280x1024); default settings, no stutter or lag encountered, console-smooth play; high settings, no AA/FXAA 45-55 fps, dipping to low 20s during the most intense scenes, otherwise smooth

I am very interested to see it run Windows 10 with DX11/12 gaming, so hoping I can make something similar for myself for further testing and proper benchmarking.

Thanks for reading and thanks to the client for making it possible!

Part Reviews

CPU

Pros: I could not ask more of this chip. It is zippy, plays well with Ubuntu LTS as well as modern Windows iterations, games like a champ on default settings with the right RAM (2133 or 2400), DX12 support.

Cons: would love to manually allocate RAM for GPU (this may be enabled on some motherboards but I am not aware); it appears to allocate 1/4 of 1/4 of your total RAM for the video card, meaning it scales by what it finds onboard. Again, using 1866 or lower RAM could cause less-than-ideal GPU performance.

Quick take: amazing budget/starter cpu, can't wait to see it in more builds!

Motherboard

Pros: so many options in one place, fairly smart layout (isolated sound chip), good price to features ratio.

Cons: on-board wifi cables pass directly by CPU, possibility of mild noise contamination of signal, but I was getting 80 mb/s withOUT the antennae connected, so probably not much to worry about. Would like SATA headers at lower right, in a perfect world.

Quick take: A very, very solid board for anyone who's only using 2 sticks of memory.

Memory

Pros: runs at native speed of Kaveri-based APUs and Athlon FM2+ chips, works with XMP 1, heat spreaders do something, CAS 9!

Cons: none

Quick take: this is a great budget option for FM2+ gaming and everyday use, very pleased!

Storage

Quick take: great price to MB ratio, speedy for a platter, inexpensive and comes with a solid warranty!

Case

Pros: roomy, nice exterior/look, lots of expansion, cushioned mounting points, lots of air flow, comes with two large, quiet fans, cable management is easy.

Cons: expansion cage for 3.5" drives riveted into place, brittle feeling plastic, paint very thin on interior, some minor scratches around screw holes

Quick take: great for the money, goes well with black or white hardware, worlds of expansion options for internals and cooling.

Power Supply

Pros: great power to price ratio, warranty, EVGA build quality, one of every imaginable video card connector, good options in general

Cons: none, really

Quick take: as long as you're not running SLI, you won't do much better for dollars to watts.

Comments

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

this all-white build

Is anything white besides your case and keyboard?

Borderlands 3

Don't you dare lie to me like that.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

The owner's components are white, those were just my spare parts used for testing.

The gaming was good, what can I say? Certainly for entry level!

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

Borderlands 3 doesn't exist yet lol.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Article updated for accuracy ;)

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  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

Curious why you got an ITX motherboard in a Micro ATX case. Micro ATX would allow for a bit more expansion and it's cheaper. Although this way it is a bit roomier inside the case.

I do like the fact that you're running Ubuntu. I would love to see more builds running Linux. Any issues with the APU so far?

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

The board was a kind choice made by the client who was interested to see how much room we could make, and wanted to let me play around with that particular motherboard. Bigger boards would allow for better breathing and more RAM, so more power to those with such needs!

The build was very stable for me, no hiccups. I updated the BIOS before anything else, to ensure a smooth install. The catalyst drivers have several install options from terminal to tarball to simply choosing the proprietary drivers from the Ubuntu System page. Watching the System Monitor indicated a very balanced work load across the processors!

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

Glad it's working well for you.

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

I can't be the only person that has noticed the wolf that was snuck in at the bottom of the 2nd picture...

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

<3

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

hahahahahaha! Those photos are great! Picture 6 has to be my favourite. I may need to borrow your pc-building-wolf for my next build!

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

He is very proud you did not mistake him for a doggy!

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

How were the CPU temps at idle? +1 for cable management!

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

I never pushed it, so I know it can get hotter, but most I ever found it at was 47c; idled 36-38c, gamed for me around 42-44c. And thanks!

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

How do you install linux/unbuntu/zorin onto a new pc? Did you burn to a dvd then install?

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

I used a USB drive! There is no optical drive on this rig.

The Ubuntu website has super easy steps to create a boot drive, then you choose the option to boot from that device during startup!

You can do this with nearly any operating system, some just make it easy.

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

The only thing I don't like is the monitor but that's just me, sometimes we can only do so much with what we have or are given. :)

Love the pictures and very clean, great job!

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the kind words. I am happy to say that the PC's owner has a much nicer monitor than I used in the pics.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

lol :)

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice build, could you share what CPU cooler you installed? It doesn't look like the stock cooler. Also how does it perform?

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks so much! That actually is the stock cooler. The chip is made to play LoL on ok settings and good framerates right out of the box, so paired with 16GB of 2133MHz RAM it was a real delight, especially when tested on a smaller screen. This is not a hardcore gaming rig, but it can play. :)

  • 51 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the quick reply! Wow, typical AMD stock coolers are large square heatsinks with a small fan on top. This stock cooler actually has copper heat pipes. I'm impressed!

I am using a slightly lower powered APU (7700K) for an HTPC build that I also want to be able to play some light games on like some indie titles from Steam. Glad to hear this APU manages okay with LOL. I hear 2133Mhz RAM is the sweet spot for Kaveri.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, Intel on-die graphics really can't hold a candle to it; then again, AMD makes the hardware in the major gaming consoles, so they -should- be good at this.

I think on its own, this little guy games like a champ for what it is. I'm interested to see how DX12 (now that Mantle has been shelved :( ) will work in parallel with a serious video card.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

only 2 photos :(

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Many more coming soon!

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Fixed!

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

great!! :)

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  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

You should try steam games I need a a rig to at least get me playing those been dying to play h1z1

  • 52 months ago
  • 2 points

I adore Steam, but this pc was built for someone else! Trust, I have plenty of plans for various Steam Box rigs!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build! I'm looking to put together a system almost identical to this one but was considering a cheaper motherboard without built-in wireless. How is wireless connectivity under Ubuntu? If I can pay an extra $30 now instead of later and also get an ITX for that price difference, I'll probably go your route instead.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry my reply is so late. I will at this point only recommend ASUS and MSI motherboards for my FM2+ builds, as Gigabyte and ASRock have both burned me more than once. MSI is the only mITX motherboard manufacturer I'd use with this sort of rig.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I like it, are you using open source video drivers or did you enable AMD drivers with updates? I got a significant boost in on die performance after switching to AMD drivers in Ubuntu 14.04.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, apologies for the super-late reply :) We're rocking all native support, as the intent of the build was that everything be "good" out of the box, though we did download all the resources for proprietary driver use if preferred. APU support wasn't as good in Linux at the time of build as it is now, though my personal experience is AMD drivers are more robust!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

The wolf pictures are cute. +1

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  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Has ph :P

I am as well curious as to why its named Sophia…

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

Sadly for the love of knowledge, not fleeting flesh. ;D

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