Haven't built a PC in about 7 years. Wanted to build a new one but dragged on for years until the old one dies. So guess it's time for a new build.
The original plan was to downsize to a mATX system with Ryzen 3000 series, a 2080 Super and some good old 3.5-inch drives. But then it turns out that neither 2080 Super is a good buy nor there are many choices for x570 mATX board. So why not go all the way to ITX?
And ITX it is, but the decision on parts is more difficult than I have thought:
CPU: Easiest part to decide, but not that easy to get one. Nowinstock.net works wonders and snap one up at the end of August. Arrived far earlier than what amazon said (end of Sep vs end of Aug). Made me second guess the purchase and thought I would sit on it while waiting for other parts and watch the price go down. But turns out not only did it become cheaper, the price actually went up AND the availability is did not improve much. So pretty lucky for me, I guess.
CPU Cooler: Was eyeing on the Kraken x52 but heard the software is bad, and I thought it would be nice to have a bit more room in the SFF case by using a thin rad. First ever liquid cooling so not doing custom loop. However install the AM4 mount to the pump is a pain in the ***, not recommended if you don’t have a hammer handy.
Motherboard: Yes, not exactly ITX and yes not the best price/performance motherboard either. But it fits in the case well and if bang for the buck is what concerns me, I won’t consider SFF at all anyway. Plus it’s the only SFF x570 board with front USB-C header.
Memory: Was debating on Crucial Ballistix or the G.Skill Trident Neo, but somehow I couldn’t find the 32GB kits for Crucial. So Trident that is.
Storage: I came from a 7 years old PC so any SSD will be faster. Not that I can feel the difference between a PCIE 4.0 and a 3.0 drive, but this is even cheaper than a Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus. So why not. The other 2 SSDs was not in the plan. Was decided on Seagate BarraCuda 5TB but stumbled upon the deal and found it surprising affordable. So the all-flash storage is suddenly achieved.
Video Card: 2080 super turns out to be a disappointment and 2080Ti is overkill for my 60Hz QHD monitor. The choice was between PNY GeForce RTX 2070 Super XLR8 Gaming OC and the EVGA XC Ultra. But the PNY card is no where to be found, and EVGA in stock alert pops up, impulse purchase kicks in. 2 free games and about USD 10 cheaper is also welcome. Will consider 3080 when it happened. Side note: The ‘’Super’’ stickers on the box and on the cards gave me a good laugh.
Power Supply: This or the SF600. Saw this on discount. Enough said.
Case fan: Didn’t even thought I need to spend money on extra fans, let alone this much money. But the result is great: whisper silent and reasonable temperature. I consider these a good purchase.
Monitor: Of course it is not out yet and a place holder. Probably will buy one with 3080 or whatever it’s gonna called.
Case – Quite a few candidates on this one: MetallicGear Neo mini – Readily available, cheapest among the list by far. But not SFF-ly enough to my liking. Saw one in person and the build quality wasn’t quite there (it’s fair though given the price).
Sliger 580 – Looks sturdy, the grey colour is nice. But don’t like the front I/O placement, and the shipping cost makes it most costly in the list. The look is also (just a bit) too gamer-ly to me.
P-ATX – Console type case. Small case with ATX board compatibility makes it a lot easier to choose motherboard. However only 1 PCI-E slot is accessible due to GPU placement, and AIO is limited to 120mm max.
Sidearmd T1 – Sub 10L! CNC thick aluminium! Boxy looking! Two tone colours! Flippable design! Switchable layout! What’s not to love? This is the one!!! Well, almost. Only one 240mm AIO is kinda supported with thick and thin fan is too much of a compromise, and the back-side power button is just too awkward to me. Let alone the two-tone version with aluminium side panel won’t happened until next year.
NCase M1 – To be honest this wasn’t in consideration because the look is kind of dated to me, consider it remains largely unchanged compare with the v1 from 2013. So I missed the original first batch pre-order. But then look back at the above case list and the second batch (later turns out to be first batch extended) happened when most of the other parts was brought. Don’t want to risk the all-parts-no-case scenario and pressed that order button. Turns out to be a good move and glad I did it.