Despite adding a few upgrades along the way, my 10-year old PC was feeling a little slow and I wanted to try building a Mini-ITX gaming machine for some occasional video encoding, streaming, and photo work. Here is the machine I was replacing:
- AMD Phenom II X4 965 @ 3752 MHz
- Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro
- 2x4GB Mushkin Redline Ridgeback DDR3
- ASUS M4A87TD/USB3
- EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Rev. 2
- Seagate Barracuda 7200 250GB
- SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 7200 1TB
- OCZ 600W Power Supply
- NZXT Apollo (Black)
And some other stuff...
My original budget was around $1000. I had originally planned to wait out for some good deals and price drops for the new machine, but ended up finding some reasonable deals on new parts around the same time, so I bought just enough to get a new PC up and running. Without further ado, here's the part list with prices in USD for the Mini Menace:
- intel Core i7-6700K ($310 @ ebay, no box)
- Cryorig H7 ($30 @ ebay, mfg. refurb)
- Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 ($125 @ Jet.com)
- 2x8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT in Red ($51 at Newegg Shell Shocker - bought 2 8GB separately)
- NZXT Manta White/Black ($120 + 10 shipping at Directron)
- Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD ($120 open box from my place of work)
- EVGA 650 GQ Gold Semi-Modular PSU ($69.99 - $20 MIR @ Newegg)
- NZXT Hue+ ($59.99)
- 2x Silverstone White PCI-E Power Cables ($8.22)
- Sapphire AMD RX 480 8GB ($240)
Total Price (incl. shipping): $1151.04
Thoughts about this build:
First, the Manta is a bit larger than I expected, which is not bad, just unexpected for a Mini-ITX case. It's about the same size, and is wider than the NZXT Apollo ATX mid tower I upgraded from.
NZXT, I love you guys. You make really cool cases and I love your toolless stuff. But if you're going to go the trouble of making toolless construction cases, please don't torque the thumbscrews so tight you need a hammer drill to unscrew them. The Apollo was much easier on me in that regard.
This thing is quiet compared to my last build. The case fans are all powered by a fan hub, which changes fan power based on the PWM input. The PWM input is also fed back into the CPU fan from the fan hub so that is controlled directly via the motherboard.
I decided to go with Team Red and use an AMD GPU for the first time ever. So far, I'm liking it. The card is powerful enough to max all my games at 60 fps+ since I only play at 1080p resolution and was in the top 20% of scores on 3dMark the day I got the card. That's a great deal for a $240 card! A big reason for this build was to cut down on heat output (power) and noise of my gaming rig, and the AMD card sips power and creates very little noise for being a reference blower card, especially compared to the GTX 570. At the end of the day, I still would like to try a 10 series GTX card, but right now I can think of a lot of other uses for the $200 I saved by passing on the 1070.
Building mITX, even with a large case, was more challenging than I imagined. I had a big issue with getting the USB 3 header on the motherboard since it was situated directly under the heatsink and the cable is not very flexible. Edit: This actually got 100x worse when I installed the GPU, as I had to run the cable behind the cooler and do a 180 degree twist to connect it underneath the cooler on the board. Never again.
- Would like to try a custom water cooling loop - looking at XSPC parts, especially the ion reservoir/pump in white, and the AX 280 radiators in white, since the Manta can support 280MM rads.
- Will add a large volume hard disk storage shortly for larger video/photo files and projects
Got into mining a little and managed to find a 1070 Ti Founder's Edition from nVidia for a good price, so I'm on Team Green now for a while. The card is excellent.