This is my first build and I had to call a few audibles before reaching the finish line.
I originally went into this build wanting a basic HTPC to stream media throughout my home. I had a simple, small form factor build in mind. However, one thing led to another and my budget and overall build increased with each new addition to the original plan. In the end, I still wanted a small form factor machine to use primarily for streaming media, but with the potential to play certain games if I chose to do so.
AMD A10-7850K - I intended to build a machine based on an AMD APU from the beginning. Wanting a media server/emulator HTPC, AMD had a few APUs that fit the bill. I originally purchased a Richland based A10-6800k to begin the build. While waiting for it to arrive, I begin researching the Kaveri chipsets and had a change of heart. I immediately sold the Richland on Ebay while simultaneously finding an A10-7850k for just $10 more than what I just sold the Richland for...win.
MSI R9 270 - I initially did not plan on adding a dedicated GPU to this build, I was going to use the APU for all of my needs. I know adding the R9 270 negates half of what the APU is intended for, but I could not resist the temptation of going with a decent GPU so I threw it into the mix. If AMD releases a standalone FM2+ based CPU in the future, I can just add that to this build and use the A10 as a basis for another HTPC.
I added the Corsair H60 just to experiment with liquid cooling and to cool the 7850K while overclocking. The ASRock motherboard was one of only two options that fit into the Node 304. Luckily, it also had some great features. The three hard drives!...I've never had a SSD before and I found a great deal for the Samsung 840 Pro on Ebay. Boot times are incredible. I also included two 3TB drives to hold the massive amount of media files I currently have stored on externals, backing up files etc. I replaced the G.Skill Ares 2133 ram with 8gb G.Skill Sniper 2400 (will update photos soon).
Node 304 - the Node case was one of the first parts that I purchased and I had to base a lot of the build around what would fit into it. I thought about swapping it out but stuck with it because I like the design and challenge of squeezing all of these components into such small space on my first build. I had to make a few modifications and sacrifice a bit on cable management as there are not a lot of options when adding so many parts in such a small space. I personally feel like a did a decent job, but any suggestions for improvement would be greatly appreciated.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was challenging at times trying to fit all of the parts into the Node, but I can say that my media streaming experience has improved 100%. No more waits while trancoding files etc, everything is smooth and extremely fast. I really like this little ShoeBox.