Hello PCPartPicker users!
UPDATE: I did upgrade to an A10-7700K. I avoided the A10-7850K due to cost and poor performance benefit. Matching my A10-5800K's power consumption, I'm able to run the CPU 300mhz faster (3.3 vs 3 Ghz) and it gets slightly better iGPU performance.
Edit: Revised description to have more details and less rambling.
I thought I'd share my recently completed project with you all. This is a super compact build with gaming capabilities. Performance target was 720p recent/demanding games and 1080p for older/less demanding games. Compactness was prioritized over value. For the longest time I've wanted to do a build that was smaller than an xbox 360 and still capable of gaming, and here it is!
CPU: AMD A10-5800K (Quad-Core Piledriver, IGP: 384 VLIW4 cores)
I went with an AMD APU over an Intel CPU because I wanted the most powerful Integrated GPU that I could get, and AMD happened to be better in that department. I went for the Trinity series over Richland because quite simply Richland is little more than a rebrand and Trinity was cheaper. I decided to go with an A10 because I wanted the full 384 IGP cores (A8 only has 256), and I ended up with the A10-5800K because I found one used for a better price. I negated the 100W TDP by underclocking/undervolting. Even with undervolting, Trinity/Richland are hot, power hungry chips.
Cooler: Noctua NH-L9a
Low profile, high quality, quiet. Not great at handling high heat loads, and it is in fact only recommended for 65W TDP. Doesn't do a good job of cooling motherboard components (Due to small 90mm fan and heatsink layout).
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI Mini ITX FM2+
There was only one competitor to the Gigabyte FM2+ mini itx board, the Asrock FM2A88X-ITX+. The Asrock lacked VRM heatsinks, which ultimately was the dealbreaker that lead me to choose Gigabyte. I had my other components before this board was released, so I ended up pre-ordering it. I went FM2+ for Kaveri compatibility.
RAM: Team Vulcan 8GB (2x4GB) 2400mhz
I purchased this memory at a fantastic price, and that is ultimately what took this build from an idea in my head to a working PC. Had I not found this kit on newegg at the price it was at I probably wouldn't have done this build.
Storage: WD 500GB 2.5" 5400RPM
It's slow, a bit noisy, and cheap. Advice for others looking to use the Antec ISK 110: Use some logic when installing your HDD/SSD. Don't install it directly under the CPU. I've seen reviewers say that the case is too hot for HDDs, and those same reviewers placed it directly under the CPU. My HDD is placed further away and heat has not been an issue.
Case: Antec ISK 110
Extremely compact and pretty well made. Installing the motherboard can be pretty tricky. The included internal PSU + power adapter are lightweights, 80W & 90W respectively. I removed them after a BIOS mishap with my A10 5800K resulted in a reset to factory settings, at which power draw is 110W at boot which simply doesn't work.
PSU: picoPSU-160-XT + 192w AC-DC adapter
I've installed this picoPSU and fit the power connector through the existing hole. It is not secured, but works well enough. This set up gives me a lot more head room for my APU and leaves room for error should I screw up with BIOS settings again. It also allowed me to remove a significant amount of unnecessary cables the stock PSU used. Only downside is that the powerbrick is fairly large.
PERFORMANCE, HEAT, & POWER DRAW:
I've settled on my 24/7 settings for this little guy.
(Part: My settings - Stock settings)
CPU: 3 Ghz, 1.01875v - 3.8Ghz, 1.475v
iGPU: 850mhz, 1.2v - 800mhz, 1.275v
RAM: 2400mhz, 1.66v
My CPU & iGPU are currently set to balance performance between the two and keep power draw down. The CPU is heavily underclocked & undervolted, while the GPU has a slight overclock and undervolt.
Memory is running happily at 2400mhz. I've tried to push it higher using the base clock, but it won't go much further. The highest I reached was 2454mhz with questionable stability.
The whole PC draws about 87-93w while playing Skyrim.
Here is an older 3DMark 11 run I did. iGPU was 900mhz, and NB at 1900mhz. http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/7862624
I'll likely purchase a Kaveri A10 APU when I see one at a price I like. I want to get the full 512 GCN cores and currently the A10-7850K is too expensive in my opinion. If I find a used Kaveri for cheap or if the A10-7800 releases at a good price then I'll update this build with it. The power efficiency improvements in Kaveri should be hugely beneficial for performance in this little guy, not to mention lower heat output.
Oh yes! last picture demonstrated why I don't use AMD Overdrive: Good for giggles, not for overclocking. CPU-Z is showing actual clockspeed, compared to what Overdrive on the left thinks it doing lol. (I've realized the text is small, so this is what it says - Overdrive: 5.4Ghz, CPU-Z: 2.8Ghz.)