Description

I built this one over the holidays to replace my parents' church's ancient, howling monstrosity of an audio recording pc. It was used to record straight from the sound system through an 1/8" jack, using some software that I can't recall the name of. It's main hard drive was 6gb and used IDE cables, to give you some idea of the age. It did the job, but did so slowly and loudly. My dad wanted to buy a laptop to replace it, but I told him of the benefits of a small form factor build, surprising and convincing him. My goal was to make a very efficient, silent, small and snappy little computer to replace the old one. I made some stupid mistakes (mainly due to lack of proper attention when ordering parts) that I regret but didn't affect the build too much, I hope.

CPU: Considering the needs of the build, I felt that going with a core i3 would be best for low power consumption, heat and noise, even with the Intel heatsink. I unfortunately didn't have a chance to really test temperatures, but it seemed alright...It's also plenty fast, as it replaces a 1ghz Athlon 64, if I'm not mistaken. I suppose I could have went with a Pentium, but the cost wasn't that much of an issue, so I figured why not.

Motherboard: I wanted this thing to have WiFi, as there isn't an ethernet connection available. For what I needed, this motherboard does its job quite well...Records simple audio like a champ. Not much more to say, I guess.

RAM: When I opened the box from newegg and found one stick of RAM instead of two, I knew I'd made a mistake. The lack of two sticks doesn't limit this system a whole lot, considering what it's used for (not much), but I was annoyed at myself for having missed that while ordering. Still, I like the look of this sleek, low profile RAM, not that you'll see it on a regular basis or anything.

Storage: I installed only the SSD because they already had a large external hard drive for storage, and I figured another way to limit noise and heat was to use an SSD for the OS and programs. It's snappy, and while not a Samsung Evo, acquits itself nicely, I believe. My dad was thoroughly impressed when Windows loaded (albeit with nothing on it) in a matter of seconds.

Case: I had a love-hate relationship with this case. Being still fairly new to building PCs, cable management was a bit tough, especially considering my questionable choice in PSUs. I guess that is my fault and not that of the case. I did end up really loving it, though. Plenty of airflow from the front fan to the motherboard. Small footprint - now sits in a little nook under the desk rather than dominating it like a beige monolith. I liked the spot for an SSD under the DVD drive. Room to tuck cables away, sort of, if you're better at it than me. Room for expansion, should they decide to drop a GPU in and play Saints Row during those long sermons...

Power Supply: I thought I was so smart when I selected this 80+ Gold PSU from a dependable brand. It has more than enough power for this build, unless they decide to drop in a GPU as I'd mentioned. Then I realized it wasn't modular, and that the cables were quite a bit longer than needed for this tiny mITX case...thus began the cursing and gnashing of teeth. I flipped it to use as an exhaust from the case, using the other two fans as intake in what (I've heard) will reduce dust build up in a very dust-prone area. This probably won't work as planned (the little one is more or less completely obstructed), but that's likely for next time I'm home.

Optical Drive: I honestly don't even remember if this was the drive I used. I do know I was overcharged for it, but I got it at a small store after learning that I couldn't use one of the two drives from the old PC, due to their not being SATA.

OS: The warm and fuzzy embrace of the familiar.

Notes: I apologize for the picture quality; neither I nor my Nexus 4 are photographers. I am also still quite new at building PCs, this being my second. I did what I could, but I would love some constructive criticism to make my next one (hopefully for myself this time!) much better. I also realize that more serious hardware is a good idea for more serious recording, but at this point that is unnecessary. Should they decide to go down that road, I will likely not be the one to lead them as I have zero experience with that aspect of computing (other than some basic Audiology use).

Comments

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Damn that's so small! Very nice though.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! I really like the case, its size being a definite selling point.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

jeez that's an expensive motherboard for a cheap build... any reason for it?

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

For some reason I must not have been thinking of the wifi dongle + cheaper mobo idea and went with a motherboard with built-in wifi. They probably won't need the H87 features, such as they are. I guess I've learned for next time.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

also, any reason for a dual core i3 over a 6300 or APU?

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

It was mainly efficiency, low heat generation and performance per core. If this were focussed more on playing video and such than just sitting there and recording audio, I would have probably used an APU. Overclocking was never on the table, so that benefit of the 6300 isn't able to be utilized. Cost wasn't a real issue, so I figured that this would do everything they needed for a while to come. Not to say that an A8 couldn't also do it, but this will do so cooler.

[comment deleted]
  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

if you can, try to stash your unused cables in the nook to the right of the 120mm fan. that should give you a clearer tunnel for the fan to deliver airflow better. there's also a horizontal bar on top near the power supply where you can use cable ties to better route your cables as well.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I did manage to get a clear route from the front intake fan to the motherboard in the end, which is not reflected in the pictures. If I get access to the build again I'll go back into it and try to route them better next to the psu, though. Thanks for the input!