Description

Component build photos will follow once I have a chance to take better photos

WHAT:

  • I was interested in building a computer primarily for Lightroom use and lightweight browsing;
  • I wanted to make sure performance is "snappy" during regular use, fast during photo editing/sorting;
  • I also wanted a form factor that I does not look like a traditional desktop tower;
  • All that at the lowest price possible.

HOW:

  • I started with form. Cube cases had me intrigued and after considering several InWin, Lian Li and other cases, I found the Xigmatec Nebula. It's not everyone's cup of joe and it doesn't fit my desire to keep the price as low as possible but I like the simplicity (minimal lights, ports). I also like the fact that it is toolless and the build is solid (metal sidings all around). I added some LED around the bottom that I can turn on when I'd like some flare. I wish I could figure out how to make the LED respond to temperature changes.

  • I opted to go for a Haswell. The 4790K happened to be sale. While I don't intend to overclock, it's a nice option to have in case I want to play around with it someday. The processor is fantastic and offers terrific performance. I think it is a decent price/performance ratio.

  • From there, it was a matter of selecting a mini-ITX board. Gigabyte Z97n-WiFi. For my needs, I just hope I don't outgrow the 16GB limit anytime soon. That was the only factor for which I was considering micro-ATX instead. The board is great. I wanted to have the option of building a Hackintosh. Gigabyte boards have some of the best chances of success, if I'm not mistaken.

  • I opted to go for a Noctua fan simply because the stock Intel fan was noisy and this particular fan seemed to be a favorite low-profile fan among users. I had briefly considered an AIO liquid cooling system but since I don't plan to overclock anytime soon, I went for the fan.

  • The monitor is a rather standard IPS monitor. I had 3 minutes to decide on a monitor before the store closed for the Christmas holidays. I saw LG, IPS, 24", thin bezel and I was sold. The glass stand is a nice touch. The monitor has accurate colors and that was my primary criteria for selection.

  • For storage, I have a standard 2TB and 500GB Intel SSD. Both are also rushed purchases but I am quite happy with them.

  • 16GB DDR3 RAM - standard fare.

  • A Tecknet mouse and Maxwell wireless keyboard round out the parts I had to buy.

  • Since I don't intend to game, I left out graphics card.

RESULT

Overall, the system is great. It is "snappy" as I wanted, performs well when it comes to processor-intensive systems, is quiet, takes up very little room, looks great and cost C$1500 (w/monitor, drives, peripherals). It's great to be able to cold boot Windows 10 in 4 seconds. El Capitan bootup takes a while but operation is again... snappy.

Do let me know what you think - opinions, suggestions for improvement, mods and questions are all welcome. While I am technically capable, this somehow happens to be my first build ever (I always ended up with laptops for convenience). I enjoyed the experience!

Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

No internal photos?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the part selection...kinda feel jipped no internal pics though! +1

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I love the looks of this case :D

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Must do internal photos.. MUST! Cool build :)

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I want to see the inside! Everything is great other than that. +1

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

That case... I will never set eyes upon another case for no other case is as glorious as this.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

This is a brilliant manipulation of negative space. +1

The Dream Team http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-72Ke4utnnhnu4/the_dream_team_1989_hanging_out_with_ed/

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

I like your choice of case. +1.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

As a fellow Xigmatek Nebula owner (check out my build!), I say kudos, sir! I've been looking into adding some LEDs to the bottom opening area as well. I'd be interested to see how exactly those were setup inside your case :)

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