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Build For My Mom

by philip



Date Published

April 19, 2014

Date Built

April 18, 1014

CPU Clock Rate



Pretty basic build this time around. This one is for my mom, who will use it for standard non-gaming applications (word processing, internet, etc.) That's why it's using the CPU's built-in GPU rather than a separate one. Nothing she does will require anything intensive enough to justify buying and installing a separate GPU.

The i5 is definitely overkill, but with the delta in price vs. performance I wanted to spend the extra $40 or so to ensure the system would be usable for her even longer. The stock heat-sink is very quiet at idle, and plenty sufficient for the typical load the system will be at. In the rare cases the CPU gets taken to 100%, it'll still be fine - just a bit louder. It wasn't worth the expense to throw in something beefier, especially since at idle the stock Intel cooler is so quiet.

I spent a bit more to achieve the form factor. This build could have been cheaper, but I wanted something that would be extremely quiet while idle, and also very small. I really like the slot-load slimline drives, so this was a good excuse to throw one in.

Overall I'd say the case is ok. The front panel wants to pop off on one side, so I had to rig it slightly by holding it in place with a rubber grommet, a washer, and a thumbscrew. Kind of annoying, but it barely stands out with the cover off. (And you'll never notice with the cover on.) I really wish the PSU was modular, but hey... it's 300W and SFX... what can you do. Cable management wasn't too bad, but I wish the case had more tie-down points for wire ties. Had to get creative using existing wire routing holes on the DVD/HDD tray to keep the PSU cables out of the way.

Comments Sorted by:

Moiz36 32 points 43 months ago

I know this is very off topic but, I just want to take a minute and just say a big thanks to Phillip for every thing he is doing for us. Before I discovered this website I can see how broken and just down right weird my build was. but after discovering this amazing website, I can see how it can make a big difference in the quality of your build. They way pcpartpicker allows you to compare brands and prices has helped me come a long way. Phillip has taken his time to help people really experience a different approach to PC building that is both fun and exciting. I hope your work continues to expand and become more and more exciting. Thanks for everything Phillip!

IrshaadH 1 Build 5 points 43 months ago

This is very nice. The i5 is not overkill, I'm sure your mom won't be considering upgrading very soon, so this is quite futureproof.

TheTekJake 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Wow! You are giving me awesome ideas for a killer HTPC!I also have to give you credit on your astounding cable management in a PC so small. Really nice stuff Philip!

whitefero 2 points 43 months ago

I believe this to be a bit overkill, for what she'll be using.

Though Mum's the word!

infinitemerald 1 Build 2 points 43 months ago

Can you please tell me what camera you use to take pictures of your builds? Every time you upload a build of your own on here, the pictures are some of the best I've seen (except for some builds by true photographers on here)!

The build I'm creating now will run for only <$600, but has a 750Ti and an FX-8320. Is the majority of the cost mainly just because of the smaller form factor? +1

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 43 months ago

I've been using a Canon T2i for previous builds (both for filming and for the pictures), but for this one I used a Canon D70. I splurged and upgraded the camera as it takes great pictures and the video has auto focus and manual audio level control (neither of which the T2i had).

infinitemerald 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

WOAH alright, I guess I'm not gonna get that anytime soon! 0.0 A kilobuck camera... wow...

I think my 15 Megapixel camera on my Droid Ultra will suffice ;)

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 43 months ago

You can replicate the same shots with a much cheaper camera - the key is lighting and knowing how to use the camera settings to your advantage. But the D70 makes it much much easier to get good shots - good enough that even a total novice like me has a hard time messing it up. The main reason for me for getting the D70 was because we're starting to shoot a lot more video. The audio in, auto focus, and flip around viewfinder on the D70 are going to save me a ton of time filming build videos, so it wasn't too hard justifying splurging a bit more on it. (There are few things more frustrating than setting focus on a build scene, and then realizing that your 12 minute shot is worthless because you accidentally moved things out of focus.)

infinitemerald 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

Yeah, I know that, but just... wow, a thousand dollars... I bet you're not going to take it out of the building anytime soon, being how bad it would be losing the camera?

Luckily, the camera on my phone has auto-focus, auto light adjust, and can focus on multiple areas of the shot (i.e. like when you can tap on the three faces you're taking a picture of). I don't exactly dabble in photography, but I know the basics, unlike so many people that upload on here -.-

CarterBond 1 point 43 months ago

Very nice!

nervozer4 4 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Nice managed cables you have got there. +1

JamesPCpartspicker 1 point 43 months ago

I've wanted to build a light gaming rig with the SG06 and a EVGA 750 TI but couldn't bring myself to pay for the premium Case & PSU combination (going low budget under 600). Love the cable management and pics, would really appreciate a few more pics of the case with common objects for scale.

I did find a smaller case on Newegg, brand: DIYPC V3 i think. Slightly smaller form factor that can fit a full size psu.

candy 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Sweet pictures and excellent cable management. A +1 from me

Eggman772 1 point 43 months ago

Wow, nice cable management. Nice build +2

Possumjones 1 point 43 months ago

Bravo! really fun build, yo moms is super lucky!

StewieMonSta 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Really nice build and fantastic part choices! The cable management is excellent, good job!

edric_xiong 1 point 43 months ago

This could be used as a standalone Photoshop build :P (with extra HDDs of course)

seesamsea 1 point 43 months ago

that cable management..

DanielN 1 point 43 months ago

Finally! somebody made a cheap Mini-Itx build.

jmclusky 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Very nice build for the intended usage - could have been cheaper but would have been an ugly tower with compromised components everywhere. Your cable management is beautiful.

Santiego 1 point 43 months ago

Philip - I'll be building five of these with almost the same parts list, but without an optical drive. I was going to install MOBO then PSU then drive bays. I just wanted to see if you had any tips you learned during your build. Thank you!

joshzpants 3 Builds 1 point 7 months ago

Whats that plug in the back of the case above the io? Is it a pass through cable from the psu to power separate devices? Or am I totally off?

Funny how this was posted almost 3 years ago lol. This build must be holding up pretty well

DefDopey 1 Build -15 points 43 months ago

Should have gotten a better PSU rated for the low C states that the new Haswell chip set implemented. That power supply is only 80+ bronze rated for stability of loads from 20-80%, and from your description, it's going to pretty much always be in a low load state, which means an unstable PSU.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 8 points 43 months ago

Not sure where you're getting the 20-80% number and that implying support or non-support for the new Haswell C-states. Regardless, Silverstone specs say it supports Haswell. Even if it didn't, the C states are sleep states, not operational states. So worst case you disable support in the motherboard for the lower power sleep states and it'd be fine.

erik4boss 1 Build 3 points 43 months ago

Have you seen any better SFX PSU's? Doubt it.

[comment deleted by staff]
manirelli staff 8 Builds 6 points 43 months ago

If you cannot be polite and civil please refrain from commenting on our site.

ry123an 1 point 22 months ago

Sorry bruv

[comment deleted by staff]