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Build

RETRO ITX BOX

by SFX_MODz

93
41 Comments

Details

Date Published

Nov. 8, 2016

Date Built

Nov. 6, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.5 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.12 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.4 GHz

Description

This build was a blast from the past, literally!!! I put this build together for two reasons, to play retro games through emulators in the living room, and maintain the capability to play my Steam library at 1080p on high settings. Now before anyone goes and says I should have used an Intel processor, or an Nvidia GPU, or I should have used a modular PSU, or this build is outdated and has no upgrade path, I purposely built this PC this way for a reason! I wanted retro styled innards (hence the all over the place color scheme) and an all AMD build with a quad core processor and the latest GPU offering that would emulate pretty much any classic game out there and still be able to game at a solid 60fps @1080p. This retro styled box is going to sit under my entertainment center in the living room right next to my slim PlayStation 4 and it will more than adequately do what I need it to do for the foreseeable future. In fact, it should give my PS4 a run for its money! In essence, this is an all-in-one console that uses nothin' but good ol' AMD parts just like the current consoles on the market!

Now, lets get into the specifics of this build:

CPU: I wanted a true quad core AMD processor that didn't require an overclock, doesn't carry integrated graphics on the die and is fully supported by the mini-ITX platform (FM2+). I ended up chosing this under $70 AMD Athlon X4 845 quad core chip that should be able to handle the workload of emulators and PC gaming for the living room!

CPU Cooler: Adding to the retro look of the interior components is the Noctua NH-L9a which just so happens to be one of the best CPU cooler/fan brands available so this was a no brainer here! Their packaging and component quality is second to none! Highly recommended!

Motherboard: ASRock A68M-ITX motherboard is a no frills mobo that has minimal pricing and features. I didn't need a wireless solution since I will be using ethernet so this solution at only $60+ was an easy choice. It supports DDR3 memory which is fine since I always have a few sets lying around and it also has a PCIe 3.0 x16 graphics slot.

Memory: Patriot Viper DDR3 1866MHz 8GB (2x4GB) memory. I had this set lying around doing nothing and being a very unique blue helps throw off the color scheme even more, giving this build that retro look I was going for. Nothing flashy here and easily clears the Noctua cooler with its taller profile on this particular motherboard.

Storage: A simple single storage solution in this 1TB SSHD from Seagate. If I run out of space on the drive I can always in-home stream games from my main PC instead of cluttering up this drive with full game installs. I also have one more expansion slot in this case if I want to add another drive at a later time. No SSDs here since the 1TB SSHD was the much cheaper solution.

Video Card: I purchased the Diamond Multimedia on the RX 480 launch day direct from the manufacturer's website for $249 when all other cards were sold out and being that it doesn't have a back plate, it further increases the retro look of my build which is excellent! Diamond is not a highly sought after brand but they've been around for quite a while.

Case: The Fractal Design Node 202 is probably the best looking case that can fit horizontally under your entertainment center while still maintaining the ability to house a full size GPU. The included rubber feet were an added bonus! (The case also comes with a stand for those who prefer to place the case vertically). A modular PSU is highly recommended but for my particular build I wanted to feature all the different colored wires to give off the appearance of a much older appliance!

PSU: The FSP 450W SFX 80 plus bronze PSU was an excellent choice at only $70! It features ugly legacy looking rainbow wires that paired nicely with the rest of my components for that 1990's-ish look and feel. It should hold up far and above the wattage output for this build.

Fans: N/A

OS: Windows 10 Home 64-bit, free from my community college so this was a win win!

I took 10 minutes to make a quick custom vinyl sticker to place across the front of the chassis to give my PC a "Classic NES" look while it sits under my TV. All in all, I am very pleased with the outcome of this build and it further showcases my ability to tame those crazy wires in an ITX case as minimal as this! I absolutely love building mini-ITX PCs and could never see myself building anything else. The smaller the build, the better, especially if I can fit full size components into it. I take pride in wire management and hopefully it shows in all of my builds here on PCPP. For reference, check out pic 21 just so you have an idea of how long the PSU cables were that I had to tuck into this case! I hope you enjoyed checking out this build as much as I enjoyed making it!

Comments Sorted by:

dragoon20005 4 Builds 9 points 28 months ago

I am a simple man

I see an AMD build

I press like

I see a NES replica

I mash my like button!!!

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Very much appreciated!

SoundFX09 1 Build 5 points 28 months ago

Great work on this build!

This should be featured, especially since AMD Builds don't generally get much love.

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks for the compliment! It would be nice to get a feature but I don't think it will simply because it's so unconventional!

MjolnirThunder 3 points 28 months ago

Don't knock yourself short, sometimes unconventional stuff becomes featured faster than you'd expect.

I love the decal on the case.

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks! Would be very cool but we shall see...

CosmicPeach 1 point 28 months ago

Only liked that post for the profile pic

Andzx02 7 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Love this build I agree this should be featured!!

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Feature a non-Intel build? BLASPHEMY! There's not even a team green GPU inside!?!? Lol I joke, I joke! But really...

Wolfemane 7 Builds 3 points 28 months ago

God I love the Node 202 and I have yet to see a bad build in one! +1 all around!!!

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Much appreciated!

oneflygtiguy 5 Builds 3 points 28 months ago

Agreed this should have been featured. Food for thought maybe vinyl or paint the black white or gray and complete the metamorphosis?

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

I thought about it, but it's just going to sit under my entertainment center between two shelves of glass and I'm only ever going to see the front so I kinda half a**-ed it! lol

DarudeDankSt0rm 2 points 28 months ago

wow! nice build bringing back the good ole' times. great specs considering the budget and overall beautiful design.

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thank you very much! It sure was fun to build!

LeMMingSlayeR 22 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Very nice build! My first AMD/Radeon/ATI card was a Diamond HD5750, it was great for the $80 I paid for it back in early 2010. I knew they were still around but hadn't seen any of their cards in a while.

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Oh man, I can't remember the last time I bought a Diamond multimedia card before this, had to be back in 2007 or so!

righteousrigs 4 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

I love it! Looking forward to doing another Node 202 build in the future

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks! Wasn't as big a challenge as I thought it was going to be, but I've built in much smaller cases so there's that.

AnyOtherWay 2 points 28 months ago

That's an interesting goal to use with a PC, namely in the color scheme, peculiar. I like the build, did great.

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks! I agree it is a little odd but I like to do things differently LOL! I have always gone against the grain so to speak and I appreciate all things retro which bring me back to my childhood so this was a really fun build for me!

rhali8 2 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Awesomeness in a box! +1 :)

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks a lot!

FACUNDO 13 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Noctua gives builds an unique touch. :-)

Wilddogge 2 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Nice build. I want to go all AMD on my next build but I'm waiting for Zen. Good bang for your buck :)

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

Zen will be awesome and AMDs new line of APUs is what has me excited! They are reporting PS4 level graphics on the same die with the CPU! I'm just pondering up all the gpu-less capabilities I can think of!

bloodroses75 1 Build 2 points 28 months ago

Very nice build. I love the NES paint scheme. :) How has performance been in Dolphin and PCSX2? Have you tried any of the in development emulators like CEMU and Citra and how has the performance been in those? Also, do you use a front end for your emulators and if so, which one?

+1 for sure! :)

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks! To be honest, I've barely had time to get Windows installed and steam installed. I'll be installing LaunchBox and playing around with that. I also want to see how well dolphin will play in 4k! Cemu and Citra both look interesting so I'll have to give them a go and report back! Still waiting for my NES30 Pro controller to come in which should be in tomorrow and then it's going to be on!!

bloodroses75 1 Build 1 point 28 months ago

Launchbox is a great front end for PC. I've been running it on my desktop for while now. Each release keeps adding great new features. :)

With Dolphin, it will be interesting since I know it's improved a lot in the last few releases. Xenoblade Chronicles was the one title I did have an issue keeping full frame rate on when I had the resolution cranked up with an i5 Haswell and AMD 7770 GPU. I haven't tested it recently though on the last couple releases.

I also have the NES30 Pro controller, you'll love it! :) I have it for my RPi 3.

flash123 2 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

amazing build man :) i love it and its small if you knew some people for lan parties its portable too :) +!

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

It's definitely portable but will never make its way to a lan party simply because it's an htpc for the living room. I have quite a few other PCs that are better suited for a lan, in fact I'll be posting one up very soon!

mateus.moreno 2 points 24 months ago

You sir knows how to build a ITX. But let me ask you, how did you make this custom vinyl sticker? With a printer?

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Correct. I used pigment printable vinyl and then laminated it.

jnanof 32 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

did you have to do a BIOS update on that board for the CPU. I have heard some pretty good things about that CPU. Thinking of giving one a go next.

SFX_MODz submitter 8 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

No BIOS update necessary, I didn't even have an internet connection when I installed Windows 10 and there were no hiccups what so ever. Smooth like butta!

jnanof 32 Builds 2 points 28 months ago

good to know, thanks!

rapt0r70 1 point 28 months ago

what are the temps like? Im waiting for my X4 860k to arrive to put in a node 202 with a r7 360 :D
https://pcpartpicker.com/user/rapt0r70/saved/73CLkL

Lutfij 1 point 28 months ago

Nice build dude!

Out of all the things in your shot with all the parts laid out, the two drums of cable ties were what got me intrigued. What brand are they and where did you buy them from?

banesusername 1 point 28 months ago

Does the x4 845 bottleneck the Rx 480?

shmattymcfatty 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Ah thank you for you build! I've had a hard time trying to find a cpu cooler that would fit the asrock A68M-ITX 2.0 motherboard I had to planed on using my Cryorig c7 but ran into a problem with it touching the orange heatsink so have been looking everywhere for a cooler that would have clearance and would be too tall since itll be getting used in a silverstone sb13b case. but now I can go on and order the NH-La cooler.

hardcorenerd93 1 point 16 months ago

Very nice looking build! currently looking into building a sub $500 build with the 202 and looking at what others are using atm! Looking on ebay and local places to get parts nice and cheap! already have a ryzen 5 1600 system with a 1060 6gb now just looking for a budget build htpc/gaming console for the living room(: currently have my eyes on a g4560 but highly considering some old amd chips as well!