It was January 7th, 2019 not too long after the celebrations of a brand new year when i was going to receive news that would change my mindset for the next couple of months. I was working outside on a cold and windy morning when i get a call from my dad. I think to myself " why would my dad call me during work? He never calls without a good reason." I grabbed the phone out of my pocket and answer my phone with my mind going in a million different directions as to what could possibly be occurring. " Son, your Grandpa is in the hospital, its been a few years but we have to visit your grandparents, this weekend." This all happened on a Monday and by this point i wasn't even thinking out any computers. I was told my family would leave on Thursday and comeback on Sunday and Return to work on Tuesday ( of next week ). Three emotional and stressful days later and its finally Thursday we pack and leave early in the morning around 8AM to beat any traffic at least in the first city we'd have to pass through. Six and half hours and around 450 miles later we hit the hotel we were going to be at ( a motel 6 ) and found out the room we scheduled in advance was given to someone else with a few extra $$$. So we ( 4 people in my family ) get a large 1 bed suite, which was fun. Soon after we checked in and unpacked we went straight towards the Hospital my Grandpa was staying in, which took about an hour because it was around 5PM at this point and the city we were in has a really bad traffic problem in general but now add in all the people getting off their 9 to 5 jobs and it made it a real experience. We get there and after getting visitor passes and the room number our Grandpa was staying in we travel through the overly complicated maze of push open doors and elevators and we finally meet him, the man i haven't seen since 2012, the only Grandpa that still remembers who i was ; the man that helped raise me as a baby, now in a hospital bed. He was hooked up to an Ivy machine but could walk and talk just fine, he was watching the news when we came in and basically said hello and left almost immediately after, we were all exhausted, so was our Grandpa by this point so we head back to the hotel room and tried to sleep the rest of the night. Next morning we wake up, eat breakfast in a small restaurant surrounded by bush and we visited other family members in the area for the first half of the day. Then we visit my Grandpa again, only this time much longer than 10 minutes with my Grandpa standing up this time. He talks about missing his grandkids and kept asking why my sister didn't come along. ( She just started working at a new place and since she was in a high position she couldn't just leave on opening week, plus someone had to stay and watch our pets so she had to stay. ) Eventually he began talking about how his and my Grandmas laptop was getting "ancient" because they received it as a donation from one of the neighborhood kids. ( Never seen it so dont know any sort of specs on that laptop ) and that he wanted to have another desktop computer, because he said they are much faster than laptops and he wanted to try to " get in the 21st century with my grand kids" ( his words, not mine ). Now by this point i have built more than a couple of PC's including One for my Brother and i got an idea pop in my head. However this idea didn't really pop in until we were leaving the hospital to go back to the car, with my mom crying ( she hasn't seen her dad since 2010 and her first visit since then was in a hospital. ) After all of the tears left her eyes she asked me i was ( and still am ) the most technologically savvy member of the family in that car, what we should do about the fact they wanted a new computer. I instantly without any hesitation said " i want to build them a computer and i will pay for the whole thing. " Which shocked my parents because they think building a PC is more expensive than buying one ( they are used to buying $200 - $300 dells ) and i replied with " i am not going to use my own money and give them bottom of the barrel garbage!" After that day not much else happened that is significant to this PC.
The parts list
We get back to my town and i began doing excessive parts research, something cheap but fast enough for my Grandparents to have for many years, and be up-gradable as well. I had no set budget but i didn't want to build an elaborately overkill PC, so i settled on the Ryzen 3 2200g for the CPU and the GPU, the only games they play are either on the Microsoft store or on facebook so i wasn't gonna be slapping on Titans galore or anything like that. Next would be the motherboard, i chose the Asrock b450 MITX because it was cheap and had good reviews. I liked the look of the Node 304, a ITX case with no fancy side panels, which allowed me to use Noctua fans without the fans throwing the whole system out of whack. ( if i got a case with a side panel i would end up color coordinating every part of the build. ) It had ample space for a small size GPU in case i needed to have in because i was originally gonna slap on an old rx 480 8gb but ultimately ditched that idea because i know my Grandparents wouldn't need the horse power. Next was storage, i went with the Samsung 860EVO 500GB because it was the same price as the MX500 and i was going to make this a SSD only build. I was going to add in a 16GB kit of Corsair 3000mhz ram but realized that i was going to need 16GB for my next build so i kept that ram and bought some ol reliable Vulkan RAM, only 8GB since they dont need 16GB for light web browsing. The PSU is overkill, this is the only part of the whole build i think i overspent because i wanted a PSU that i can trust to not blow up at my Grandparents house while im 400+ and 2 states away. I don't regret my purchase however because the quality and the warranty are good enough to let me sleep at night. I did also almost add an old Noctua air cooler but i had lost one of the mounting brackets ( i found it later on ). I also replaced the stock fans because the "molex" splitter broke when trying to connect it to the PSU's molex cable. I decided to try 2 92mm ARCTIC fans for the first time as intake and a 140mm noctua fan as exhaust. I ordered the items between February and Early March because i wasn't in a rush. The monitor and speakers are old hand me downs from my setup and the Keyboard and Mouse are cheap OEM ones from all the cheap Dell PC's my family has bought over the years. I figured they don't need any fancy mechanical keyboard or pin point accurate laser mice for checking their email. I also bought a mousepad, it was $6 and it was surprisingly high quality for an amazon basics product. The whole PC worked and i was able to hook them up with an email and some free games. ( i thought about buying them a game on steam that i know would appeal to them but i decided not to. ) I was going to visit my Grandparents again after my current job came to an end, which came much later than i first thought.
Problems and solutions
Queue to April 12th my last day of work ( you know a job is coming to an end when you spend the entire day on standby not doing a thing. ) I get off work early and get home and i decided to test the PC before we would go later on that next Monday, and found out all of my USB ports didn't work, massive problem. I was almost for sure i must've bent one of the pins of the USB headers but after closer inspection that wasn't the case, because the monitor wouldn't power on , i even tried a few other monitors i had lying around and none of them would power on when connected to any of the motherboard connectors. ( i even tried adding a discrete GPU but it came out to the same result. ) So i ended up stopping at a PC parts store on the way and buying a new motherboard the day we headed down, the ASROCK B450 MITX was the only MITX motherboard the store had in stock. I ended up building the whole system from scratch at my Grandparents house, so i was stressed more than ever. I built the new system and everything worked, which i was glad because my Grandparents live 2 hours from the nearest city and its a city i don't know too well. The system was quiet as well and the loudest part would definitely be the stock cooler,
Unveiling and Reactions
After the grand unveil my Grandparents immediately fell in love with it and my Grandpa in particular was really interested in learning about how to use the computer. I spent two whole days showing my grandparents how to do basic stuff such as opening programs, how to close out of programs, gave them a briefing about internet security and let them loose on the crazy world of the internet. They really like cat and dog compilations on youtube and reading news articles on CNN and MSNBC. I didn't show them amazon or any shopping site because my grandparents essentially live off government aide and donations from the local churches. ( They tend to overspend on QVC alot as it is. ) But they are still my grandparents and they deserve something nice from their Grand kids. After those 2 days i had to head back to my town because my sister ( who came along this time ) had work the next day. My grandparents hugged me and thanked me for the great gift before i left and that's all i could think on the drive back. Since then i haven't heard much but i do know through another family member who lives in the same are as my Grandparents that both of my Grandparents have been using the PC on a daily basis.
You may notice the drastic change in photo quality in some pictures, some of the photos were taken with my old phone and others with my parents newer phones, my phone kept filling up to max storage so i had to borrow my parents phones ( which had a better camera ) for some of the pictures. Also the noctua fan in the image with all the parts in their boxes is not only a used one but not included in the final product. The corsair RAM is changed with the Vulkan RAM later on as stated earlier. I decide not to cable manage the back of the PC when i finished installing in it in my grandparents house because in case anyone needed to fix something or change something behind the desk they can do so at ease, i had to resist the urge to use any of the 50 or so cable ties or Velcro straps i brought with me.
Use these bad boys a lot, it has 4 cores, decent clock speeds, integrated graphics that put Intel's to shame and a decent stock cooler for around $100. It is the to go 4 core ryzen chip for me,
First board had issues, have yet to send the first board back, if i can receive a new one with no issues this will go up to 4 stars. Second one worked fine.
Good value board with a lot of features including wifi packed into a small package.
Use these all the time, its a great value high quality 3000mhz ram perfect for pairing with ryzen CPU's.
Fast, efficient and good value ( when on sale ) SSD, used these in the past and none have given me any issues.
I love the look of the case, but it came with scratch marks and the material was easy to scratch and easy to see scratch marks. The molex splitter was flimsy and one of the pins broke off after first attempt. Kept the stock fans for future builds however.
Side note : the power button is on the side which was an annoyance to grandparents.
Nothing much to say, other than the fact this bad boy is overkill for this machine. Good quality cables and fully modular which helped out with inside cable management.
First time using ARCTIC fans, and it wont be my last, these are great value for the money. Just make sure to buy the PWM version, they cost a bit more but are worth the extra 20 or so cents.
Quiet, and fast, nothing out of the ordinary from Noctua fans.