Description

I had a bit of a scare with the motherboard socket pins, which got bent during the CPU install even though I did things properly. After I confirmed Newegg wouldn't accept a RMA on it, I bent the pins back into place myself and (shockingly) everything is working fine. I wanted a motherboard with built-in Bluetooth and Wifi, even though this PC will almost always have a wired LAN connection, because of potential Wifi Direct features and because I didn't want a dongle anymore for Bluetooth like I've used in the past.

The current case is temporary, but works for now. It's a cube case, but I'd prefer something not nearly as tall, that instead uses a PCIe riser for the GPU. Also, I hate the part silver panel on the front of the case. Still, the black slim slot loading drive adapter in the 5.25 bay does fit well, and it gave me a chance to drill a tiny hole in the adapter's aluminum front plate to put my IR adapter behind.

Anyway, the 450W is more than enough for this system, which is using ~330W (according to my Kill-A-Watt) while running Furmark and Prime95 together. It idles at about 30W. This is awesome considering my previous system (a Q6600 / AMD 6850) idled at around 160W.

I really wanted the GTX780 for a few reasons, even though it's probably slightly overkill. One is for gaming in stereoscopic 3d, which I still do occasionally and so I wanted extra power there. But also, I really like the Titan-style cooler for a smaller case, since it doesn't just recirculate air inside the case, but blows it out the back.

Nitpicks:

I do apparently have an issue with a USB 3.0 flash drive (not the bug that Intel is talking about, but something different), but my other two USB 3.0 drives (one flash drive, one hard drive) work fine. I've seen it with this drive on one other computer (both this one and that one use a UEFI and not a BIOS so I wonder if it's something with that), but somehow when I try plugging in the drive before boot, or when I try plugging it in while already in the UEFI settings, all USB peripherals such as my keyboard and mouse are no longer detected. But like I said, I'm inclined to think that it's something with the specific drive and not a motherboard issue.

I'm not really a fan of the Bluetooth chip they used, though. It's not generic enough for me to update with Broadcom's own drivers (I instead get a response to check with the OEM for a driver update) and it doesn't work with Microsoft's built in Bluetooth drivers (even in Windows 8). Asrock's drivers are slightly older. Plus, I've got a couple different Bluetooth keyboards and all of them are getting disconnected pretty frequently (and then there's a driver popup on the desktop that temporarily displays a message about starting Bluetooth services).

Anyway, working great so far.

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Comments

  • 81 months ago
  • 2 points

I have had the same issue with the CPU and fixed it the same way. Like the build.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Why the 4770S?

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, I wanted something with lower power and also lower heat requirements, so that I would have more flexibility in coolers and in cases.

I'm aware that you can just underclock or undervolt a regular chip and generally get the same results, but honestly, with hardware I generally prefer to just drop it in and forget about it, so that's just a personal preference... especially with all the random things I like to try on the software side. :D

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  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, but it's not even that much lower power consumption. Not to mention he went with one of the most power hungry graphics cards that are out right now.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, I'm mostly only concerned with power consumption at idle (or close to it) since the machine is on all the time for live TV and TV recordings.

I'm fully aware that there's no saving power during gaming (though again, this PC draws way less power than my old one), and so I'm not too concerned there; I just want the best experience when playing games. With how few games are CPU-bound, the slightly slower processor was zero concern; it's not going to affect me when gaming.

Plus, the low-profile cooler I went with isn't recommended for TDP above the 65W one, and again since I'd prefer a case that isn't so tall when I do go with a final option there it seemed like a good idea.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh, thanks for clarifying that makes sense now.

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  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool! I'm planning a mini itx build for my friend with this case, but it's nowhere near as high end.

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

I really like the build! It's pretty balanced although I could say it would be a bit more balanced if you overclocked the i7 to 3.8Ghz at least it might balance out your build a lot!

How did you get Window's 8 for $15.00? 0_o

I think this is a very nice build!

P.S. I hope I'm not the only one who read the entire description :)

  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

I got the Windows Pro upgrade back in January for $15 with a Windows 7 upgrade deal thing, and then just changed the registry to let me activate a clean install as an upgrade. I also was able to get the free WMC deal then as well and didn't have to pay for that.

  • 69 months ago
  • 1 point

How did you connect the GPU to the PSU, seeing that the PSU only has 1 8 pin PCIE connector?

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry about the delay, but the PSU has 1 8pin and 1 6pin connector on the same wire.

  • 68 months ago
  • 1 point

450 isnt enough, even the s version draws over 120 watts when gaming and the 780 arround 250 with everything else your drawing about 475

  • 81 months ago
  • 0 points

You lost me with Windows 8 :P

  • 81 months ago
  • 3 points

I can totally understand that for many, but I actually don't hate Windows 8.

That being said, I especially think that it works really well for something like this that is connected to a TV and controlled a lot of the time with an IR remote. The start screen works really well as a TV homescreen.

When I had Windows 7 on my old PC that served this purpose, I would boot directly to Media Center, and that worked okay, but prevented me from easily using a lot of the streaming media stuff that Windows 8 has in app form (though of course, I'm hoping for more of that to come anyway). The tablet interfaces all seem to really fit the TV well, though not as many of the apps are controllable by remote as I'd like.

  • 81 months ago
  • 0 points

Me gusta

  • 81 months ago
  • -3 points

why evga 780?

why no acx?

  • 81 months ago
  • 3 points

As I addressed in my admittedly long description, I wanted the Titan-style reference cooler because that would blow air directly out the back, rather than recirculate the hot air inside the case.

The way it is set up now leaves the GPU pretty much self-contained, with the front fan pulling air in, the CPU fan pushing it upward, and then the PSU's fan basically being used as an exhaust, with the fan on the bottom of it pulling air out the back.

  • 81 months ago
  • 0 points

oh, my bad.

i dont think it was the greatest idea, but then again i dont have that much experience on a mini itx platform.

i will soon though :D so i might eat my words.

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  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Added a couple internals pictures.

I was a little hesitant to post photos of the internals, because the wires are still a mess and I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to have it be very clean, just because of all the stuff in a small space. That being said, I mostly was able to keep the mess out of the area of the motherboard and CPU, giving the case good airflow around there.

Power-wise, I wasn't too concerned with the PSU, mostly because I'd already seen tests that put similar setups around 350W, but also because I'd seen other builds (mostly on Hardforum) that even had a GTX Titan and overclocked CPU powered by it with no trouble. On top of that, I wanted to go with an SFX PSU for more flexibility when I'm deciding on a permanent case, and 450W is the maximum at that size for now.

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  • 81 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, not the only reason I went with that motherboard, just something that was a factor (and the only one I mentioned in the post, so of course you wouldn't know that).

Other factors included wanting miniITX and needing a mSATA slot, which didn't leave me many options anyway.

To be fair to the Bluetooth, my apartment is a bit of a torture test for 2.4GHz signals, with 12 different 802.11g hotspots detectable from that location. I've certainly had other Bluetooth dongles that were far worse.

I will be switching out the antennas though, I'm not sure that'll help, but it can't hurt.. and I don't really like the one that Asrock provided anyway.

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