Description

I built this computer as a birthday/congratulatory gift for my girlfriend. She had applied for and tested to get into an LPN program and the date she would find out if she got in happened to be very close to her birthday. I had made a deal with her that if she got in I would build her a desktop computer she could study on, but she had to provide the monitor and keyboard.

Her only computer at the time was a 14" Asus (U46E-RAL7) so she needed something bigger to work on. Since it was her birthday, I decided to surprise her with the monitor and keyboard as part of the build. Her previous laptop was an MSI that she absolutely loved, hence the MSI motherboard. Which is surprisingly feature packed for Mini-ITX.

Building in the FT03S-MINI was remarkably easy. Something I greatly appreciated after using a BitFenix Prodigy for my first Mini-ITX build. I have, however, come to the conclusion that truly clean cable management is a lie with Mini-ITX builds unless you do custom cables. I went with the 80 Plus Gold Certified SFX power supply thinking that the fully modular design would make the build a little easier, but it actually hindered some things. The bracket for the 3.5" HDD barely fits in place due to the 24 pin connector being immediately next to where it sits. Otherwise, I have nothing to complain about with how the build went together.

Comments

  • 74 months ago
  • 4 points

I always enjoy the power-packed small form factor builds.

  • 74 months ago
  • 3 points

loving the color matching with the peripherals and the desk :D

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

i7 but no graphics card? Just curious as to why, love the build though.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you. Decides against a graphics card since the HD4000 graphics are more than enough for anything my girlfriend will do on the computer. Also, it helps keep temps down since there is only one case fan at the bottom.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

I love Silverstone cases. You built her a heck of a rig for studying. You know you're only one GPU away from getting her into ultra gaming ? :P

I do have one request. More pics please!!! I want to see inside.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Where did you get the desks from? I really like them and wouldnt mind having one myself.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

They're from Office Depot. They are the Realspace Alluna Collection Glass L-Shape Desk. Item # 578355. They regularly go on sale for $99.99, so I would watch their website.

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

For 100 bucks I would buy, thanks for the info and the tip!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

That's a great build right there. All things considered, the cable management is excellent!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Also, does that mouse have a calculator built into it?

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes it does. She got the mouse for her 14" Asus laptop which doesn't have a number pad. It just happened to be the same color scheme as what I was going with for the tower.

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Mouse?

  • 74 months ago
  • -2 points

u went all out on the operating system :) but at least u didn't get windows 8 :)

  • 74 months ago
  • 2 points

Whenever I see the Ultimate version of Windows I just assume people "acquired" it. Also, cute little build!

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

You would generally be correct. But, certain jobs do have their perks with accommodations.

[comment deleted]
  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd say that the case/PSU/drive are all necessary to work together and a (beautiful) aesthetic choice...

As for the 1 stick of RAM, I'd guess it's because mITX mobos only have 2 slots, so there's the opportunity to add another stick later?

  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you seen the cost of DDR3 RAM? It has more than doubled in the past 1.5 years. I got the 8 GB stick free with the motherboard in a bundle deal Newegg had. 8 GB is also more than enough for someone that will be doing research, writing papers, and watching videos.

You can get I7's for a really good deal if your work is eligible for Intel's Retail Edge program. After you've accumulated enough points you basically get them for less than the cost of an i3. They only run the deal in the summer and winter, though.

Like fnapoli pointed out, the PSU and optical drive are specific to the FT03S-MINI. It requires an SFX PSU and I'm a stickler for only using 80 Plus Gold certified PSU's no matter how overkill they may be. The cost of the case is a bit much for a Mini-ITX, but it is incredibly well constructed and solid. The cooling is also very adequate for having only one fan.

With computer cases there are two types of people, those that appreciate the construction and engineering that goes in to some of the higher cost cases, and those that want the lowest cost shell possible so they can spend more on the internal components. I wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the aesthetic value with a cheaper case, and I already knew I wasn't putting a video card in it.

Also, my girlfriend had already seen the case online and wanted this one.

[comment deleted]
  • 74 months ago
  • 1 point

I think even if I had to buy the RAM I still would have done the single 8 GB stick. Before Newegg had the bundle deal I was contemplating which way to go with the RAM. The downside with Mini-ITX is that you only have two dimm slots. If my girlfriend ever decides she wants to upgrade the RAM it would cost double to go to 16 GB had I done dual channel with two 4 GB sticks.

She visits this site so I didn't want to list exactly what I paid for everything in the text. She knows about how much the parts cost retail, but she knows i can get a lot of them for less.