My sister is into graphics and animation and while her laptop has a powerful CPU it lacked dedicated graphics as well as other desktop functions so I decided it was time to upgrade her set up to a desktop. She's off to college next year so I wanted this pc to be as travel friendly and space saving as possible, hence the mini itx form. I also wanted it to be gaming ready so we can game while she's away studying. Overall i'm pleased with the build (even though it hasn't been fully tested yet with applications) and it looks like a solid system that should last her a while.
The CPU: An I5 was really the obvious choice since a powerful quad core is required for most animation software as well as games and this I5 fit the budget and the requirements while offering upgrade potential on the new skylake platform.
The Cooler: I'll be honest, I hadn't heard of this cooler before but really it was my only option in a red themed build and it helped that It was designed for compact builds. However, now I've seen the thermals, I can say that I'm impressed by this cooler's performance and appearance. Its functionality is as good as it looks. Awesome!
Motherboard: Honestly, here I just went for the cheapest, decent mini itx lga1151 motherboard I could find with usb3. This Asus board is awesome quality and works a charm. The Bios is also about the best I've seen.
Memory: I chose this HyperX Fury because of it's awesome colour and high quality. Since mini itx boards only have 2 ram slots I elected to go for a single stick to allow upgrade potential to 12 or 16gb.
Storage: I chose a hybrid drive because they offer similar boot times as a ssd + hdd combo but at a fraction of the cost. Obviously capacity is sacrificed, but the faster boot time was a luxury in itself.
Graphics Card: For this black and red build I obviously had to go with MSI and at the time of purchase the R7 370 seemed like the best value for animation with better performance than a gtx750ti at only a fraction of the cost more. However, now prices of the R9 380 have dropped to around how much I paid for this card so I would recommend you pick up one of those if you try out this build. I'll probably have to get her a RX480 or something for Christmas lol.
Case: The Thermaltake core V1 was really the only option for this build, with great functionality and cable management options as well as a compulsory window to showcase the sexy components. A great value case with lots of room for large graphics cards and coolers.
Power Supply: I actually went for a deepcool 500w 80+ Bronze PSU but I couldn't find it on pcpartpicker but I seems to work and should provide more than enough power for this system even if she does need to upgrade the GPU at some point.
Fans: The Core V1 offers potential for 2 80mm exhaust fans at the back of the case and I had to get something to light up the interior so I elected to purchase 2 LED fans to light the case and improve air flow. I also swapped out the 200mm stock fan at the front with a corsair 140mm static pressure red led fan. The static pressure fans are meant to be better for air flow in cases with thick mesh front panels (such as this) so I figured it should be better despite the smaller size. It also gives a nice red glow at the front of the system.
Peripherals: There was really only one option for keyboard and mouse set for a black and red pc. I didn't want to splash out on a razer or corsair keyboard and mouse set since I doubt she'll be doing too much gaming and the graphics requires a tablet most of the time anyway.
Overall I'm excited about this build and hope that this system will function well as a work and gaming pc for my sister for the next few years. Shame I had to go for the weaker GPU but this R7 370 is still a good card and should last long enough to not require an upgrade too long in the future.
As for cable management, it's always going to be tricky to access the cables in such a small case and in knowing such, I chose to just tuck everything down into the bottom compartment as best I could, so apologies for the shoddy cable work at the front of the interior.