Shoutout to invictusok (Check out "The I Beat Depression" build) for inspiring me to fight my own depression demons and build my very own VR capable mini PC. Building a powerful PC from scratch is an incredible experience that takes my mind off...everything.
The decision to build this rig came about when I realized VR is inevitable and that I had over 100 games on steam I could not play because of minimum requirements. I initially bought the alienware alpha earlier this year because of its small compact size which meant I could take it anywhere, but was bummed out when I realized there was no chance it could handle VR and could not play newer games at high settings. I was considering buying the Alinware Alpha R2 i-7 GTX 960 which would cost around $1000. Then I came across the mini HTPC cases trend and once I saw the Silverstone RVZ02BH I immediately began my research and part picking.
Unlike my first build, I wanted to go ham this time. I went with Intel Core i7-6700 the non k version because I do not overclock my hardware nor do I like to. Plus this version came with stock cpu fan (I plan to upgrade that later) and integrated graphics which I desperately needed initially because I could not afford buying a graphics card at the time. I was an AMD fan before because of its affordability. But as I said, I wanted to go HAM this time. The switch to an i-7 skylake is huge. I could have two different browser windows with 15 tabs each. Close them, re-open them all at once, WHILE having 5 other programs open. i-7 doesn't even blink. This will last for years to come. Good investment.
Speaking of ham, I went with 16 GB DDR4 sticks although I expect they will become the new norm soon. Still more speed than I really need with maximum usage of 6 GB so far. Worth.
It was my first using an ASUS motherboard and I am satisfied. Well, not entirely. The CPU socket latch mechanism almost bent all my CPU pins and for a long time I thought it did! It was not smooth easy lock-in mechanism and it required a scary amount of force to lock in the processor. NOT COOL. Maybe that's how all intel based motherboard sockets are like, but youtube videos seem to show differently. The other issue I have is with the sound. When I plug in my headphones and turn the volume to max (which I do often) the sound is not loud at all. There is definitely an issue with the sound which mad double check the connectors multiple times. idk maybe I am doing something wrong. Nevertheless, it runs and gives life to my system, and has a good bios.
So I had some spare hard drives lying around so I didn't have to spend money buying new ones. I use a 120 GB Samsung SSD to boot, and a WD 1TB for storage. I know, not ideal. But storage can wait. I'll probably upgrade to m.2 SSD and shoot for 500GB + 1TB SSDs in the future. Right now it boots in less than 20 seconds and that's gg for me.
******* was this hard to choose. It's always the toughest part to choose. You've got prices changing, newer cards coming out, games requiring more etc etc...Initially, after the GTX 1080 and 1070 I wanted to get either one. Realistically, I thought I'd settle for GTX 1070. (Remember WE GO HAM BOIIS) But I left this part as the last item to buy because of how expensive the 1080 and 1070 were. It was heart-breaking really. I HAD to have a VR capable card. And not just capable, NO it had to be high end and powerful. I somehow found out about the GTX 1060 and after seeing the benchmarks and good reviews I got the 6GB version. I just could not wait longer for the more expensive 1070. Well, for $260 it is the most powerful card I ever owned. And it can easily handle VR. It should last 3-4 years then I could upgrade again, right? No problem. Needless to say, ALL my steam games can now run at high and Ultra settings with ease. Gave up some extra ham for instant fullfilling ham. Worth.
I love this case. This case is bae. I find my self staring at it sometimes for long periods of time and I get creeped out by my obsession. It's literally the reason I started this build. It looks SO COOL. Better than Xbox and PS4 in my opinion. I never built a pc in a mini itx case before,but this was nothing too challenging. Not too easy either. Just the right amount of challenging that made me feel so satisfied when I finished building. The only problems were heat and sound, which were expected. Mind you it's not a glaring issue, the case just gets warm after like 7-8 hours of continued use. Because it's so small you could hear the CPU and graphics card's fans if they spin fast. BUT it's still impressive given its console size. Try playing a PS4 or Xbox 1 for 5 hours straight and see how hazardously hot they get. Meh I'll have extra cooling once it starts snowing where I live. I almost regret putting that custom Vinyl Sticker on the side because it is seriously distracting (in a sexy way).
This was not so cheap. You could definitely build a much cheaper VR build. I'm also bummed that I had to buy Windows 10 OS for $120. I think this should last for a long time. I'll wait till next year to buy a VR headset because I'm pretty sure it will become cheaper and better by then. Meanwhile, I'll finally be able to play and stream games I always wanted to play. And if I do move countries again, this will fit nicely in a carry-on luggage.
LONG LIVE THE PC MASTER RACE