+ Total (United States):
2017-May-31. A gift for my hon as an upgrade to her Samsung NC-NC110 10.1" netbook (1024x600, TN Panel, Intel Atom N2600 1.6GHz CPU with GMA3150 iGPU, 1GB DDR3 RAM, 320GB HDD, Windows 7) she has been using since 2012.
Her main use of the PC revolves around office applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), some photo editing (Photoshop), light video editing (Movie Maker), extensive internet research (10++ tabs in Firefox), email and social media (Facebook), and a lot of video playback (YouTube and VLC Player). She does not play any PC games (...yet).
So, I built her this simple workstation so she can enjoy using the PC even more!
All prices in the parts list are based on local currency (more expensive here than in the US).
Parts I selected for her PC:
Great budget CPU in the 7th-gen Kaby Lake series. Previous Pentium models were 2-core and did not have Hyper-Threading Technology (HTT). The 7th-gen Pentium features 2 cores that work on 4 threads which gives the Core i3 (2-Core with HTT) a run for its money. With a base core speed of 3.5GHz, the G4560 can even be used as an entry-level gaming CPU, capable of handling a GTX 1050 Ti (and to an extent, a GTX 1060). It is low-powered with a rated TDP of only 54W. Comes with a stock CPU cooler.
CPU Cooler: ID-Cooling DK-03 (Red) -
Replaced the stock cooler of the G4560 with one that is less noisy, has better airflow, and more aesthetically pleasing. The DK-03 is a "low-profile" cooler but is actually large for its size due to the 120mm hydraulic bearing fan. It features a single-color illuminated ring (available in various colors). I got the Red LED version to complement the build. The fan, sadly, is non-PWM (3-pin) but offers a max. airflow of ~58 CFM at ~1600 RPM speeds on a low ~26 dBA noise level, and it only consumes 0.2A. Plugging the 3-pin fan on a 4-pin PWM header (CPU_FAN) results in the fan spinning at full speed 24/7 due to the constant +12V provided by the PWM header at the 2nd pin. Changing the header to DC-mode in BIOS will result in the fan changing its speed due to variable voltage at the 2nd pin. However, slowing down the fan speed will also dim the LED of the DK-03. I have set the CPU Cooler to run at constant +12V so illumination will also be constant. Noise is bearable.
MB: MSI B250i Gaming Pro AC -
Got a mini-ITX as I do not want the mobo to take up the whole space inside the case's motherboard horizontal-mount tray (I will be putting decors on those blank parts). The mobo I selected has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so that my hon can also transfer whatever files she need from her phone or netbook to the desktop PC without having to resort to cable-clutter. Planning also to get a wireless printer, so that would be a plus. Since this build is not intended for OC, a B250-chipset would suffice. It has more than enough ports for the PC usage - 1x GPU slot, 2x RAM slots, 2x Fan headers, 1x USB2.0 header, 1x USB3.0 header, and 4x SATA ports (only 2x drives will be used). There is also an M.2 slot located at the back of the motherboard PCB, but, it won't be needed for this build. Mobo has a red+black theme, which complements (to an extent) the build (where are those pink motherboards???). The BIOS is very user-friendly, good interface and easy to navigate.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4-2400MHz Red (F4-2400C15D-8GVR) -
For my hon's use, the 8GB cap. is more than enough. Red complements the interior theme (again, no pink sticks in the market!). The sticks were installed first in the two slots of the mobo, primarily due to the large CPU Cooler overlapping the first RAM slot (which means I can't remove the RAM without unmounting the cooler). Got the 2400MHz as this is the max. speed the G4560 and B250 can support. A pair of 4GB-sticks takes advantage of the CPU/mobo's dual-channel speeds. Initial boot only detected the RAM at 2133MHz (default speed of DDR4). Enabling XMP via BIOS allows the RAM to go 2400MHz.
SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5" SATA(MZ-75E250BW) -
Best price/performance SSD in the market and ideal to be used as a system drive. The OS, programs, utilities, and other tools will be installed in this drive. Since my hon has not even used 50% of 320GB HDD in her Samsung netbook, based on her usage, this SSD will be more than enough (for now). SSD is great to have as we want to have a very low-power consuming PC. Boot time takes 8 seconds. Boot time in her netbook takes 2 minutes.
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Red 3TB NAS 3.5" SATA (WD30EFRX) -
A hard disk drive that is low-powered (~4W read/write, ~3W idle, and ~0.5W standby) with low noise (~24 dBA) and low speeds (5400 rpm). This 3TB drive is perfect for storing database files that are archived (very rarely accessed) as well as tons of multimedia (videos, photos, movies and shows). The WD "Red" just so happens to be the model "Red" which complements the color of the other components.
GPU: Sapphire RX 550 Pulse 2GB OC -
Low-powered video card that is only meant as an upgrade to the iGPU (Intel HD Graphics 610). As this PC is not going to be used for any graphic-extensive/GPU-demanding applications or games, the 2GB is suitable for my hon's basic desktop/multimedia use. Size and aesthetics played into consideration. Due to the case's horizontal-mobo tray, I don't want to get a large GPU that will fill up the whole window and obstruct the sightlines of the CPU cooler and motherboard. The length of the GPU (at 158mm) lines up almost with the size of the ITX mobo, but still allows components at the back to be seen from an angle. The RX 550, being low-powered (less than 65W), also does not require any supplmentary PCIe power connectors, which I do not want for a vertically-mounted GPU due to cable-clutter. Thankfully, even though the GPU has no backplate (which I wanted), the GPU's PCB is concealed from view as the fans are the ones directly facing the window panel of the case.
Case: Aerocool Dead Silence Cube (Pink Edition with Window) -
It cannot be stressed enough that the pink-themed build revolves around the pink case. I wanted the case to be minimalist, relatively small, and has its top panel as flat/closed (no large openings) due to our dusty environment. The Aerocool DS Cube was the perfect case for that. Since hon's desk is beneath a wall-mounted 65" UHD TV (already affixed), the case height was carefully considered so as not to obstruct the view when watching at a lower angle. The cube case was well-suited for that purpose (low height but wider). The case can fit up to a micro-ATX (mATX) mobo, but, since I want some blank space in the tray area, I mounted a smaller ITX mobo, which the case also supports. There are no rubber grommets in any cable holes in the case. Bracket of the CPU cooler needs to be attached before mounting the mobo as the cut-out behind the tray is too small and screw mounts cannot be accessed when mobo is laid. Front and top panels are "leathery" finish, but, as I found out, the pink panels are somewhat "transluscent" where light bleeds occur when having LED bling-blings inside your case. Had to D.I.Y. an opaque "light-blocker" (using pink cardboard) and mounted it behind the front panel to eliminate the light bleeding. Case comes with two non-PWM fans, a 200mm and a 120mm, both of which have high amp draw (0.42A and 0.30A, respectively) and produce very weak airflow. I replaced both of these fans with better ones. Case is heavy for its size.
PSU: Corsair TX550M Gold (CP-9020133) -
The 2017 iteration/update of the older TX550M Bronze enthusiast TX-M series. A good-quality power supply with ample headroom for future upgrades. The TX550M Gold, which has a temp. rating of 50C, provides 43A (516W) at the +12V rail and certainly more than enough for a G4560 + RX 550 build. Upgrading the build to a more powerful CPU + GPU combo will not necessitate a change in PSU, which also has a 7-year warranty. Very silent 120mm rifle-bearing fan (but no Zero RPM mode). PSU is semi-modular where the 24-pin ATX and 8-pin ATX12V are the only cables that are attached. Great as I am using a PCIe x16-powered GPU that doesn't need any PCIe cables. The detached cables are: 1x Peripheral cable with 4x Molex connectors, 2x SATA power cables (one with 3x connectors, another with 2x connectors), and 2x PCIe 6+2pin cables (with 2x connectors each). Note that every time you shutdown, you will hear an audible "click" as the PC powers off - that's the sound of the relay switch inside the PSU, which is normal.
Case Fan: Cooler Master Mega Flow 200 Silent Fan -
Lives up to its name - low noise with high airflow. Replaced the stock front intake case fan with this. Some level of difficulty installing the Mega Flow 200 as it is thicker (30mm) than standard fans (25mm). Space between drive bay and front of chassis is tight, only a few millimeters of gap when the Mega Flow is installed. Fan screwholes doesn't line up perfectly with the screwholes of the case, but, forcing the screws in at a slight angle will do it. Cable cut-outs at front of the case will be obstructed, so, planning ahead in routing large cables (such as the USB3.0 cable) is a must. No problems with smaller cables (such as front panel cables) when the 200mm fan is in place. This sleeve-bearing fan, being a 3-pin fan, was set to run at full speed, producing a tremendous ~100 CFM airflow at only ~19 dBA noise levels at low 700 rpm speeds. Only consumes ~0.16A on average (~0.28A max.), compared to the Aerocool case fan I replaced (0.42A).
Case Fan: Deepcool GF 140 Gamer Storm Fan (Red) -
Originally intended as the rear exhaust fan. "Red" color is actually "pink" and would have been nice to be viewed from the window panel (matches the case color). Unfortunately, due to the large 120mm fan of the CPU cooler, installing a 25mm-thick fan, whether 120mm/140mm in size, at the rear exhaust will have it's blades scraping with the edge of such cooler. Decided to install this as top exhaust and get a thinner fan for the rear. The GF 140 has an all-rubber frame and an all-rubber screw (which you have to pull/stretch in order to mount the fan in place). It was awkward at first (worried that the screw will break), but, after the first screw, I got the hang of it. The material does counter vibration and the fan is barely audible. Very low-powered (0.1A only!), low-noise (~27 dBA max.) and high airflow (~72 CFM max.). Has 4-pin PWM connector and a 140mm hydro-bearing fan. Plugged the GF 140 on a PWM header so that its speed (700 to 1200 rpm) will be controlled based on PWM signal/temp readings.
Case Fan: ID-Cooling NO-12015 Super Slim Fan -
Only 15mm thick and the solution for the space clearance issue I had with the rear exhaust / large CPU cooler. Wanted to get a 140mm-sized fan to cover all vent holes but can't find one that's as thin as this. The NO-12015 is a 120mm-sized hydraulic bearing fan, has PWM functions (4-pin), produces a max. airflow of ~54 CFM, a bit noisy (~30 dBA) at max. speed (~1600 rpm) and draws 0.22A of current/power. I have plugged the NO-12015 on a PWM header, alongside the GF 140 fan via a PWM splitter to control speed and noise. At low speeds, noise is bearable.
Monitor/s: Asus VC239H -
Carry-over parts from my rig. These 23" 1080p 60Hz monitors have IPS panels. Produce great colors and better viewing angles (good for multi-monitor setups). Lightweight. Mounted them on a dual monitor desk mount stand to clear up desk space. Bezels are very thin (when monitor is off). If on, display doesn't reach monitor's edge, instead, black border frames around the display. Bottom edge of the monitor (where Asus logo and buttons are) slightly protrudes a few millimeters out the monitor's sides, so, you cannot flush both monitors side-by-side without having a gap in-between due to the protrusion. I slightly overlap the side monitor with the front/main monitor in this setup. One of the best budget IPS monitors around.
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 MX Cherry Red (Red LED) -
Carry-over part from my rig. Very durable quality, brushed aluminum frame, and mechanical keys. Replaced keycaps with Pink PBT backlit keys to complement the pink theme. Noisy to type on when used to laptop membrane keyboards. Hon doesn't mind as she has been using the K70 from time-to-time before. Originally prefered a wireless all-pink keyboard but couldn't find one of good quality (and have already exhausted myself asking around town, going in from store to store and asking for a pink keyboard... and explaining it's not for me).
LED Lighting: Deep Cool RGB 360 -
Hope you like the build as much as my hon does! :)