Uncle Ted asked me to build him a PC, so I set out to be as affordable as possible. Cost when built: ~$400
My Uncle Ted just wanted a newer, faster PC, not a laptop, and gave me a lot of freedom with the budget and requirements. I decided I wanted it really quiet and small, and that I was keeping it under $450. I saw these Mini-ITX cases that have built-in power supplies, and I saw that AMD was releasing the Jaguar APUs as a socketed part, so I wanted to see how that all went down. I also figured that down the road, we will probably get socket-compatible Puma APUs, so I wanted the initial build-out to be as cheap as possible. I am planning to upgrade Uncle Ted to the highest Puma APU once those come out some time down the road, which should provide a pretty tangible performance increase.
I really liked the whole Mini-ITX build, it was a lot of fun. I seriously appreciate the case with integrated power supply, and the AMD APU performs surprisingly well. Case runs really quiet, and the APU setup runs Battlefield 4 on low settings. I think the higher Athlon APUs would run it better, but this build wasn't for games.
Working in the case was a bit tight. I also tried to use some low-profile Crucial Ballistix Sport LPDDR3-1600 (which you can see in the photos) but I kept getting really strange graphical glitches and freezes (which you can also see in the photos) this was rectified when I used the Team Vulcan 1600 memory that you see in the parts list. The computer has performed without issue ever since using the Team ram.
My uncle really wanted a DVD drive, but I forgot to include that, so he had to buy an external USB DVD drive. If I had to do it again, they have some reasonably priced slot-loading DVD drives that I would use. Also, he wanted Wi-Fi but I didn't include that either, forcing him to use USB as well. I would either do a PCI-e Wi-Fi card or try to find a Mini-ITX motherboard that includes Wi-Fi. Also, I'm seeing that the FM2+ platform is going to be significantly more expensive, but probably a great option for anything above really casual computing needs.