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Build

Mac Mini Crusher

by adamflame7

10
12 Comments

Details

Date Published

July 17, 2017

Date Built

July 15, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

3.9GHz

Description

Due to slow downs and more frequent crashing the mid 2011 Mac Mini my parents had been using needed replacement. It didn't need to have much as all they really do is financing, web browsing, and light photograph editing. The idea was that it could be cheap and small in size. After rebates, this build was only $395 at the time of purchase.

CPU: Intel - Core i3-7100 3.9GHz Dual-Core Processor

I wanted to be able to get something with the new Kaby Lake architecture and at the price this was a perfect pick. While it does only have 2 physical cores the high clock speed and hyperthreading should help with that. Stock cooler fits just fine, but not much clearance if using an aftermarket cooler.

Motherboard: MSI - B250I PRO Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard

Does everything it's supposed to. While there is no included wireless, although we didn't need it to have it, there is an M.2 wireless expansion card slot(although the IO board doesn't have cutouts for external antennae). Has 4 SATA III and an M.2 slot hidden on the back, so storage can easily be expanded. That M.2 storage slot can also be used for Intel Octane if you so wished to upgrade speed down the line. Has a PCI 3.0 x16 slot if you wanted to pop a graphics card in there, didn't need one for our uses. Really nice and intuitive BIOS, even has customizable fan curves for PWM fans (haven't seen that before).

RAM: G.Skill - Aegis 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2133

As the mobo only supported either DDR4 2400 or 2133 for that CPU this one was kinda a no-brainer. Was actually the cheapest DDR4 2133 RAM available at the time of purchase, only $54. Wanted to get it in a single stick so I could expand without wasting an old kit.

SSHD: Seagate - FireCuda 2TB 2.5" 5400RPM Hybrid Internal Hard Drive

Although the selected case can support one 3.5" HDD I didn't want to have spacing issues. Wanted to get a hybrid for fast booting and such but couldn't get an appropriate size SSD for the price. Was going to get the 1TB model but was ordering on Amazon Prime day and the 2TB model was only $3 more at $63.

Case: Silverstone - Sugo SG13B-Q Mini ITX Tower Case

Opted for the Q version due to appearance. Plenty of space to accommodate a moderately sized GPU. Something not shown on any webpage, including Silverstone's site, it that the power indicator light is a wide blue light underneath the logo at the front. In addition the disk activity light is a red light that is in the center of that blue light. The reset button is not very convenient in that it is a pin hole. Some nice extras were rubber dampening rings for a fan mount (or even a small radiator) in the front and a cable routing clip, both with high quality 3M double sided tape. I have two complaints, first is that the large rubber feet don't have any support on the bottom of the case making specifically the front left one to cause the metal to sorta pop inward when setting it down and such and it's right underneath one of the 2.5" drive mounting spots, but it does spring right back if you finesse it just a little. Second complaint is the top hanging drive mounts, while there are cutouts in the metal to give space for SATA connectors, the drive is upside down meaning a standard right angle connector would jut into the top of the case and likely damage the cable and a straight one required me to really fight to get it in and I had to lay it over the PSU although there is enough case clearance to not squish it. Will likely stick with that or get a "left angle" SATA cable. As it could be fixed I don't blame the case, but the PSU SATA cables were all in line or right angle, making the bottom 2.5" drive mount impossible to use.

PSU: Corsair - CXM 450W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply

As estimated wattage under load was only 101 watts. I basically looked for the lowest wattage and modular or semi-modular PSU that had 80+ Bronze or above. Again there was a good deal, making this one only $26 after rebate, making it an awesome value (and the cheapest one). I think you would have to absolutely cram the cables in there if it weren't modular (not my style).

Case fan: Rosewill Case Fan

I believe this was an extra I had laying around likely pulled from my old Rosewill Challenger case. Has both a 3 pin and molex connector. Same fans as these I found: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835200072

OS: Windows 10 Education

Got a free copy through my school. Free $100 (give or take). Yay!

Comments Sorted by:

jacoon_ 2 points 7 days ago

Do you plan on turning this into a hackintosh?

adamflame7 submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

It was considered. There really isn't anything that mac OS offers that Windows 10 doesn't that they need. From what I can tell hackintoshes are rather picky on hardware.

Selicos 2 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

They seem to like Gigabyte motherboards but there are forums deidcated to working part lists.

adamflame7 submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

Good to know if I ever decide to do one. This was for my parents, which for them wouldn't make a big difference on the OS. I personally do quite a bit of gaming which will be keeping me with Windows, don't have much use for MacOS.

bloodroses75 1 Build 1 point 6 days ago

If you do decide to try turning it into a Hackintosh, this site has been quite helpful.

https://www.tonymacx86.com/

Actually, I'm kind of surprised you didn't go with a white model of the case... lol

Either route, I'm sure your parents are happy with the build. :)

annasoh323 1 Build 2 points 7 days ago

Bravo on combining the principles of mini, budget, and modern (i.e. not from three generations ago). I may even use your build as a basis for a budget-ish build I want to do for my sister if she lets me (though, it depends on how Ryzen 3 looks I think).

rroguet 1 point 7 days ago

nice

rroguet 1 point 7 days ago

But for a mac, an ssd is better than a hhd

adamflame7 submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 days ago

An SSD is always better than an HDD, no doubt about that. But needed space on the cheap for this one. I figured make it at least a hybrid for a little extra umph.

rroguet 1 point 6 days ago

Ok :) I never tested an hybrid :p

adamflame7 submitter 1 Build 1 point 5 days ago

I believe this model has 8GB of flash storage combined with the 2TB disk. It intelligently puts the most commonly accessed files on the flash portion (for us probably just Windows and Chrome). This results in it still gets like a 7 second boot time, like an SSD.

saibalroop 2 Builds 1 point 7 days ago

If youre running Windows, the motherboard is overkill but if it is running macOs Sierra, that motherboard is good because macOs will work with that