This build was done for my girlfriend. She's an artsy girl who loves anything to do with Zelda. She's working on painting the side panel with Majora's Mask. Pictures of that will be updated later on. When originally planning this build I thought $800 would do her justice and that's how it went. She has been buying parts since May of this year waiting for sales on the major parts. She is obsessed with the Prodigy, which made parts choice difficult, but we made it work. Color scheme is orange, black, white, and silver.
This build was designed to:
- Play some games. Mostly Sims 3, Skyrim, LoL and any emulator she may want.
- Give her enough performace to run Adobe style programs to satisfy graphic design projects.
- Be fast. Slow computers make grumpy girlfriends...
CPU: Being a mITX form factor processor choices were limited to APUs and Intel. I went with an i5 because i3s and A10s just weren't going to cut it. She doesn't have any interest in overclocking so I went looking a good deal on a locked Haswell i5 and settled with the 4430. It runs quite cool even with the stock cooler.
COOLER: I was hoping that my old Phanteks PH-TC14CS would fit into this build, but the only way it would is without a GPU. Stock cooler isn't loud at all. The only system in the room you can hear is mine.
MOBO: PCPP doesn't have this board yet as it's not available through Newegg or Amazon. Having a locked processor on the mITX platform I knew that the H87 chipset would be the best route and being mostly black, and not Asrock, the MSI H87I seemed to fit. Board is nearly identical to the Z87I except for a smaller heatsink over the VRM. The wifi is actually very strong and has never lost a connection.
RAM: I use G. Skill Ares in my build and it's the only orange DIMMs from a reliable brand. 8Gb, 1600, CAS 9. Pretty standard stuff.
STORAGE: Went with a SSD that I knew to be reliable. Not as fast as a 840 Pro, but not as expensive. She likes how snappy my system is, so it made sense to get another one to match. WD Blue was a no brainer.
GPU: Bought this card back in June. I originally had plans for a 650 ti Boost until I was able to snag this 660 on sale for $175. I sold the key to Splinter Cell Blacklist for $50. For a pure gaming system I would have grabbed a 7870/7950, but I thought she would benefit from having CUDA. She also doesn't need to destroy games. Sims 4 will be played A LOT and won't likely be super demanding. Definitely will upgrade this eventually, but for now this is more than enough for her needs.
CASE: Had to have this case. I know there is a mATX version of this out, but I honestly don't like the layout. This layout works really well for single GPU setups. I really like the window that only shows the GPU as well. Cable management was tricky, but I think I made it presentable.
FANS: Love that the Prodigy will fit a 230mm fan, but didn't think that it was worth the price over a 200mm. Threw in another NZXT Airflow I had laying around. Wanting positive pressure to minimize dust I set up the front 200 as intake, rear 120 as intake and top 120 and exhaust. May flip the rear to exhaust to see if temps change and or if dust is an issue. I put in a fan controller because the mobo only had 2 fan headers and I didn't want to clog up the case with molex connectors.
PSU: Found a steal on a PC Power & Cooling MK III, originally $80. Didn't need a ton of wattage for this and being a smaller case to work with I wanted modular or semi-modular. It also worked out that it is black and white. This unit fit the bill.
Overall very satisfied with this one. It's not the beefiest thing ever, but my girlfriend is happy as can be. This is so quiet at idle with the fans on low that I forget that it's on. Will definitely double as the basement HTPC. I set her up with a wall mount so the monitor will swing out over to the bed so movie watching is a breeze. Happy girlfriend? Check!
Hope you guys like it!