Description

Uncle Ted asked me to build him a PC, so I set out to be as affordable as possible. Cost when built: ~$400

Requirements:

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.

Pros:

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.

Cons:

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.

Lessons learned:

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.

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Comments

  • 60 months ago
  • 3 points

You built Ted Nugent a computer?!

[comment deleted]
  • 60 months ago
  • 1 point

Well then...

  • 60 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks nice and cheap, very cheap

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah it was definitely super cheap, and for what it was, it was awesome! I am going to try to put an Athlon 5370 in it to spice it up.

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build and great price! I love that case ... was considering doing one like it for my Dad with an updated motherboard (Z170) with Core i5 Skylake 6500 or 6600.

On the Wifi, I know this is a bit late ... but I'd just do this Tplink Wifi Adapter for $13 (used to be around $20) from Amazon and be done with it. Wireless N300 and very stable ... have used them here at the house and with clients. They're small and have good range - and just work. Just make sure to use the version 1.0 driver and not the driver for hardware version 2.0 (which I've never seen them ship) - and you will have to download the driver onto a USB stick if it's not hard-wired and install - but no big deal. I recommend extracting the driver and pointing Device Manager at it rather than trying to run their goofy and potentially buggy install:

https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wireless-Adapter-Raspberry-TL-WN823N/dp/B0088TKTY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480493773&sr=8-1&keywords=tplink+wn823n

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow that's awesome, thanks for the follow up on the WiFi!

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you still have the PC till this day?