Description

A nifty side-effect of researching stuff for Project “Harrison”: it gave me lots of ideas and options for other builds. Namely, it really helped me put together a build list for a project that already pretty well had a predefined budget of $300.

“$300?!? What the heck do expect to do with $300?” For starters, the budget was a little higher but I opted to funnel some of my available funds into the “Harrison” project. Second, this project would have some specific uses in mind and gaming isn’t one of them. It’s basically a trading and charting PC. As specialized as its purpose is, I also wanted to build into it some options for future expandability. I’ve grown tired of PC’s with the whole Boeing 747 sound, so I’m also looking to build something pretty quiet. I really don’t need a bunch of storage on this thing, so a HDD is overkill. Plus, it would just add heat, noise, etc. This will be my first pure SSD system.

Case

I wanted something slim and pretty compact. Not quite a mini, though. So I went with the Rosewill R379-M. It’s definitely slim and pretty compact. It also comes with a power supply so I didn’t have to buy a separate PSU. Plus, it rang in at right around $50.

Notes on working with this case will be in the Conclusion section of my write-up.

Processor

Pretty much from the git-go, I was leaning towards an APU or IGP type solution. After looking at several options, I decided to go with the AMD A10-5800K. It was a little over $100, is overclockable, performs well, has a great rep, and is ready to be put in Crossfire if I ever want to add a dedicated video card.

Motherboard

Given the case and APU I was using, I didn’t have to weed through as many options for the MB. However, I still really wanted one with some options for future upgrades. I went with the ASRock FM2A75 Pro-4-M. Even though the R379-M doesn’t have front USB 3.0, this board does have a USB 3.0 header. It also has 4 DIMM slots that can hold up to 32GB, which can be OC’ed up to 2600+. Five SATA3 6GB/s ports. It’s even got HDMI and eSATA ports. Definitely more stuff than I currently need but it’s there if I need it.

Memory I picked up 8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws Series 1866 RAM. Good specs, good rep, it would fit in my case, looks pretty slick, and was around $60. In an APU based system, I figure it was worth it to include some decent RAM.

Storage

I had a Sandisk Extreme 120GB SSD on hand and not in use, so I used it for this build. It’s fast, cool, and quiet. Plus it didn’t affect the budget at all. Winning! :D

The Build

For starters the Rosewill R379-M and Corsair Carbide 200R come from different planets. I knew this going into the build, but figured it was worth mentioning. With the 200R you have the luxury of too many cable management options. With the R379-M it’s closer to “What cable management?” Again, I knew this up front so there was nothing shocking about the scarcity of options.

“How the heck can you go from working inside the 200R to doing a build inside what is basically a toaster slot? It’s like building a PC in a bottle.” True. For starters, the physical characteristics are perfect for where this thing is needed. Second, I love a challenge. Honestly, cases like the 200R can make amateur builders like me look better than we might be. Cases like the R379-M will test you. It forces you to put on your thinking cap, get creative, and figure out ways to do more with less. I freakin’ love that kind of stuff.

For some perspective on getting creative, I completely rebuilt this thing twice. Each time, I came up with better solutions and finished with a better overall result. I also gained a better understanding of the case and its accommodations.

I’d like to thank Rosewill for thoughtfully supplying an ample supply of nylons ties, but instead I have to wag a finger at Corsair for not including enough ties so that I could complete my 200R build AND my Rosewill build. Seriously though, Corsair, if you are reading this, I really do thank you for the generous amount of gubbins you provided. You guys truly helped keep the frustration monster away from this build.

Overall, everything did go into place pretty painlessly. The drive/media cage is pretty slick. Looks a bit like something out of a Saw movie, but it made fiddling with the drives and cables pretty tolerable. Even though I’m using it as a pure SSD system, you can (pretty) easily add at least on HDD. You will need a molex to SATA adapter, but otherwise it’s very doable.

POST and UEFI

It’s ..... not doing anything. Bueller? Bueller? Crap. Unplug power, pop the side panel, take a look around at everything, and - ah, ha! During my last round of cable wrangling, I neglected to attach the 4-pin processor connector. Plugged that in, wrestled the panel back on, plugged in the power, poked the front panel in the eye, and ...... it’s aliiiiiiiiiiiive! Yay! Install Win7 and let the Windows Update party begin :D

Conclusion

Pardon the pun, but I am not a fan of the stock AMD CPU cooler or the stock Rosewill case fan. Job-wise, sure, they do keep things cool. But criminy, they do not keep things quiet. I’ve figured out how to tame the AMD cooler (though I’m still leaning towards replacing it with an aftermarket), but the case fan appears to be impervious to my attempts. I’ve got an Antec fan on hand, so I may swap it in to see if that helps. We’ll see; I’d rather not have to re-do the whole cabling scene again. I could have ordered these parts when I ordered the rest, but ‘quiet’ is such a subjective thing I really wanted to start from ground zero and see what direction I needed to go from there. Turns out the direction I need to go is quieter ;-)

I haven’t loaded up my charts or trading platform yet, so no feedback or pics of that stuff. My suspicion is that everything will be fine. It was far from ideal, but I have successfully run what I needed on a Dell Latitude X1. I can say it takes about 20-seconds to get from fully shut down to a Win7 login prompt.

I haven’t done much with the motherboard features yet, and it looks like it can do some pretty cool stuff. It’s got the whole XFast trio - XFast LAN, USB, & RAM. Same goes with the A10; everything is at stock settings right now.

Though I’m happy with my choice of case, I will say I can’t foresee other projects ending up in another R379-M. I’d toyed with the idea of using one to build an HTPC, but I’ve got my eye on a couple offerings from Silverstone that seem more suited to the goals of that project. If you suffer from case claustrophobia, the R379-M may not be an ideal canvas for you :)

Overall, I think this will work great. Now I can do my normal activities (i.e. web-surfing, email, writing, blah blah blah) on my laptop (an HP DV7) and isolate my trading related work to “Nadia”.

By the way, I guess I'm gonna have to see if my work will let me move to a city with a Micro-Center in it. I'm tired of seeing all these awesome deals that are in-store only! XD

Upcoming Projects

  • Network Attached Storage Server (Update 2013-06-05: Has been in progress for about 6mos)
  • Media Server (Update 2013-06-05: Has been in progress for about 6mos)
  • ESXi 5.1 server (Update 2013-06-05: Planning)
  • HTPC (Update 2013-06-05: Planning and in progress. Possible HTPC/Gaming hybrid)
  • Steambox (Update 2013-06-05: Planning)
  • ????

No details, direction, or budget info on these future projects. First will probably be the Storage Server. I already have most the drives for it, some already populated with a crap-ton of files.

2013-06-04 Update: Couldn't handle it, so I went ahead and swapped out the case fan with one of the Antecs. There's a strong possibility there will be a similar update about the CPU cooler ;-)

2013-06-05 Update: Everything seems pretty stabilized and chugging along. And I will be upgrading the CPU cooler. It'll be a bit of overkill given the total budget so far, but I want icy silence. So I went with a Noctua. Once it gets here, I'll update the parts list. So in hindsight, I may have gone with the 5600K or 5400K to keep it around the magical $300 level. In fairness, at $287, I did have a few bucks to put towards the cooler. Just not Noctua-level $$ :D Oh well, off to the plasma donation clinic I go :P

Comments

  • 79 months ago
  • 7 points

reminds me of the turrents from portal :D

  • 79 months ago
  • 6 points

Lol, that's awesome! XD It reminds me of a mini, blue-ified HAL 9000 :D

  • 79 months ago
  • 6 points

You know, it probably wouldn't be too hard to replace the blue LED in there with a red one. Just a thought. (;

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that for the evil A.I look? :D

  • 79 months ago
  • 2 points

Well that, and it'd make it look like a regular HAL 9000!

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

Exactly what I was thinking when I saw the last picture as well. A quick LED swap job shouldn't be too hard... lol

  • 78 months ago
  • 2 points

Really nice case, I'm actually thinking of picking up this build for minecraft, how is it?

  • 73 months ago
  • 2 points

Soooo sorry for the late reply. I'm pretty good about responding to comments & have no idea how I missed yours. I like the case & once I tinkered with the cooling aspect, it turned out really well. I've repurposed the case for another project, but it's working out great for that one as well! :)

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

THAT TOO :D

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Turrets?

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, I'm confident it was a typo. Some frame of reference for those unfamiliar with Portal and those who like Turrets :D

http://youtu.be/GGPIQ72-2Vg

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, typo: maybe. I see people saying "turrent" all the time, and have taken it upon myself to enlighten these peoples as to the proper pronunciation and spelling of the word, ever since my 4th grade year playing Battlefront II on the OG Xbox and all of my friends referred to the turrets as "turrents". The end

  • 79 months ago
  • 4 points

Not only do I praise your build, but also your personality. +1

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much, on both counts :)

  • 79 months ago
  • 4 points

Nice r379M build. If you are interested in a HTPC build, I would get the silverstone gd05 or ML04 (slim). The gd05 comes with whisper quiet fans and allows for all kinds of expansions. I have a PCPC MKIII power supply and a 7950 in my HTPC and I use it for living room gaming and media streaming/encoding. It's a very versatile case. Great build.

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the input on the HTPC. It's especially helpful as I'm seriously leaning towards a HTPC/Gaming hybrid. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated! :)

  • 68 months ago
  • 2 points

Silverstone does seem to an excellent job with the HTPC/gaming market. I ended up going with their Raven RVZ01 and have been quite happy with it. They're supposed to be coming out with similar model to it later w/o the Raven exterior design.

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice! :) I like that case a lot & even helped convince a friend to use it for his recent build. After seeing it in person, I decided something: I WILL be doing a build with the RVZ01 :D

  • 79 months ago
  • 2 points

This is truly inspirational.

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, thanks! Greatly appreciated :)

  • 79 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build! I like the price and ssd makes it really fast I bet.

  • 79 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! You are correct, this thing has plenty of zip to it :)

  • 79 months ago
  • 2 points

Haha. When I looked at the part list I went: "Something is missing...I feel like there is one thing missing..." Five minutes later: "GREAT SCOTT! I forgot this isn't a gaming rig. That's why there isn't a VIDEO CARD!"

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol, if it makes you feel any better, I kept thinking the same thing as I put together my write-up and build list :D There's a good chance I will be migrating these components to a different case and possibly add a video card in the process. It's still not a gaming rig, but I'm leaning towards leveraging the built-in CrossFire with the 5800K. We'll see :)

  • 78 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup. :P

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

You make the best builds ever. Your cable management is amazing in a small case! And your other build is amazing. I just wish I had the money to do stuff! :)

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the compliments, you're far too kind! :) I definitely enjoyed the challenge of coming up with some decent cable management with this case. You might be surprised how much PC you can get with a small budget :)

  • 73 months ago
  • 2 points

18 months ago, I built my first computer, a $300 HTPC using this case, with an i3-2100 and integrated graphics. I ran across your writeup after I put the case in my parts list for a future Kaveri upgrade. For me, swapping out the case fan for a Silenx made a huge difference (my wife let me keep it in the living room). I'm planning on upgrading with the A10-7850 and a low-profile aftermarket cooler. I enjoyed your story!

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome! :) Updating/upgrading the cooling REALLY does make a very noticeable difference for this case/CPU combo. Regarding your upcoming A10 build, I'm a bit of a Noctua fanboi and can't say enough good things about their low-profile CPU coolers. I've used them on Intel and AMD, and both worked great. I know cooling can be somewhat of a subjective and personal thing, but just throwing it out there in case you hadn't tried or considered Noctuas :D

Thanks for checking out my build & glad you enjoyed its story! :)

  • 73 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, it seems like my upgrade is straightforward except for the choice of a 95w processor necessitating a very good low profile CPU cooler. This article was useful, http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-profile-heat-sink-mini-itx,3639.html The Noctua they chose was so tall it would crowd out the motherboard in our case, but there are other Noctuas, I'm sure. The article referred to "2 bolt" attachments related to FM2, and the Thermalright AXP-200 and Scythe Big Shuriken 2 rev. B had that feature. Others say any AMD cooler fits all AMD CPU. Which Noctua did you install, and how did it turn out?

  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

Just made a similar build thanks to your posting. Got it posted under Pack-a-Punch. Thanks omni72!!!

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome, man, glad you were able to use it as a basis for your build! :) Hope it works out well for ya!

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm inspired! Thanks for all the tips--you're a good writer.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Awe man, that's awesome! Glad it helped provide a spark for ya :) And you are very welcome - i hope the tips come in handy as you're building your own rig :)

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

I think that case is so ugly

  • 79 months ago
  • 3 points

Right on, man. Then don't buy it.

  • 79 months ago
  • 1 point

Agreed

  • 78 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey! I'm actually thinking of picking up this APU for a minecraft build a friend wants me to do. If you have the game, could you tell me how it runs? THe build I have in mind is nearly identical to yours (Minus the case and motherboard) Although I do like the look of the case from the front.

  • 78 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, I think he'll do fine with this APU. I just tried it out with all settings maxed and it did great. I wssn't using a server, but that should run fine too. If he does plan to host, I'd suggest doubling the RAM. May be worthwile ponying up for a dedicated video card. You could get a 6670 and use the built-in crossfire functionality. Hope that helps! :)

  • 78 months ago
  • 1 point

How much RAM can you Allocate to the iGPU with this Motherboard?

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

You can allocate 2 Gigs.

  • 78 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually don't recall the number. I read somewhere that it is between 1.5-2.0GB. I will say go for RAM frequency - 1866 seems to be the sweet spot. After that you still see improved performance, but with an unfavorable price premium. This gives a pretty good idea of the impact various frequency upgrades will have on the A10: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/amd-trinity-graphics_8.html

Hope that helps :)

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

I think it will help if you moved your second ram stick one slot over. This should make them run in dual channel.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi and thanks for your comment. Yup, we moved the RAM into dual-channel before finishing but after the pics :)

For the next version of this build it won't matter - gonna be using 32GB (4 x 8GB). The software I'm using is very RAM hungry :D

  • 78 months ago
  • 1 point

Could you possible check the BIOS for me?

  • 77 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, I meant to check on this and report back to you. I'll definitely try to do so this w/e and report back :)

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Did the power supply work out of the box? I bought that case and the power supply didn't work.

  • 75 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, mine worked without any issues. I've changed the role of this PC, but so far it's been running fine.

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