Date of Build: February 2017
Name: Luka is a Vocaloid. I name all devices I own/build after Vocaloids. There was no color scheme this time around, so again, I chose a random name.
Client/Recipient: My Father
Purpose: Dual/Triple Monitor Stock Trading PC (ThinkOrSwim)
Special Notes: The Enthoo Evolv is mine but he is currently borrowing it. The hard drive came from an external enclosure of his that wouldn't power on. The two HP monitors were purchased several months ago and were originally intended for his laptop.
The Story Behind it: My father's branch of HP was closing down so he was going to have to return his company laptop. He used to work for Intel several years ago, but switched jobs due to his growing interest in the Internet of Things. He was really out of the loop when it came to current laptop/desktop technology so he asked me for some advice. (To give you an idea, he thought hard drives still had master-slave connections.)
He expressed interest in stock trading, specifically with an app called "ThinkOrSwim." He asked me how he could go about having a dual monitor setup for both his future company laptop and a personal computer. I told him that a desktop would be the best situation since he already had two monitors, a keyboard, and a mouse set up with his current laptop. He could have his laptop plugged into the DisplayPorts on each monitor and plug the desktop into the DVI connections. Then all he had to do was change the input settings on the monitors to switch between the two. I then spec-ed out an inexpensive computer that would meet his needs.
His requirements were: Triple monitor support, quiet operation, a lower price than a similarly spec-ed laptop, WiFi support, no ugly looking cases, no taking up extra desk space, and no AMD processors.
I chose the Pentium G4560 because it was the best value processor on the market today, the cheapest Kaby Lake CPU, and it was more than sufficient to meet the system requirements for ThinkorSwim (minimum requirements include a 4 thread CPU.) The HD 610 iGPU and ASRock H270M Pro4 motherboard of this build can handle up to three FHD monitors at once. He would also have the ability to upgrade to a seventh generation i5 or i7 if he ever felt like he needed more power.
Picking out the RAM was easy, one 8GB stick of the cheapest DDR4 available. I chose an inexpensive WiFi card and planned to reuse our old external drive (which hadn't seen much use) as the main HDD. He was adamant that we purchase an SSD, but after seeing the high prices he decided to stay with the old 2TB disc drive. I decided to let him borrow my spare case until he found one he really liked. While I was browsing the Price Drops section of PCPP, I saw that Best Buy had the EVGA W1 600W PSU on sale for $35 and drove down to the closest store to pick one up. It was the last one in the area too!
With the Power Supply, Case, and Hard Drive already taken care of, my father handed me his credit card and I ordered the rest of the parts off of Newegg. It was Tuesday night, and I hoped that my Premier membership would come through and get us the parts before next week. I had read that Windows 10 has an "unlimited" trial period where you could use an unlicensed copy indefinitely without any nagging messages or sudden resets, so I told him I would install a copy of it on his machine and he could pay for the key later whenever he felt like the watermark was getting too annoying.
Unfortunately, the order took a whole week to arrive. Looks like I won't be renewing that membership after all... Everything came well packaged and in once piece. I guided my father through the steps to building the computer as he lectured me on how he helped design the very socket we were putting the CPU in. About an hour and a half later, we had the computer finished and running. I quickly looked over the BIOS and made a few necessary changes, then pulled out my Windows 10 installation USB drive. One uneventful install later and he had his own Windows 10 computer up and running. I disabled Microsoft's compatibility telemetry, deferred updates, set up his default applications, and showed him how easy it was to get all his programs from ninite.com.
He was amazed at how fast the computer was running (sans the hard drive) and was especially surprised at how sturdy and versatile the Enthoo Evolv was. I really hope he enjoys this computer because he has been a desktop-denier for well over a decade.
Two cores and four threads. Performs within 10% of an i3-7100, but costs 50% less.
Lots of features. Reasonable price.
Not much can be said about a working stick of RAM.
This is a really nice case. Only two things count strongly against it. One is that front radiators, pumps, and long power supplies will eat up two of your three 3.5" hard drive slots. The other is that the front I/O is positioned near the bottom of the left side panel, making it awkward for those who keep this case next to their desk rather than on it.
$35 when on sale at Best Buy is a killer deal. Otherwise this thing isn't all that spectacular.
Wireless Network Adapter
Plug 'n Play in Windows 10