Edit 20 March 2016: My wife took one look at her photos on my screen and it looks like she is getting this build and I am getting the HP AIO. Not exactly sure how that happened, but it did.

Original: This is a replacement for all the old junk I have lying around the house. That includes, but is not limited to,

  • a nine year old HP S5120Y slimline desktop dual-booting Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu. It's developed some non driver-fixable graphics problems in Ubuntu relating to coming out of sleep.

  • a ten year old Toshiba 32-bit laptop that originally ran Windows XP. Now running Linux Mint as a replacement. Chrome will no longer support 32-bit, which is the way of the future. That forces me to come to terms with euthanizing my dear old laptop.

  • an original MS Surface RT tablet. 'nuff said.

My wife is the primary user on the main computer in the house. It's used for photo storage (lots) and document storage. I back that computer up three different ways (file, image, cloud). That means 256 GB will do me fine. I don't want to worry about backing up my machine once I get a good image of it. Anything I want to keep goes on the main computer, just as now with the old stuff.

I needed a computer that I can use while my wife is on the main computer. I was using whatever old junk (see list above) was at hand.

In looking at a new build, all I wanted was standard use speed and response. No gaming, as I don't have the eye-hand coordination for that. I installed it as a Windows 8 and then updated to 10, because that's the valid licensing I had. Worked great. This will be a dual-boot Windows 10 / Linux Mint computer later in life.

Given how this build came out, my impression is that this will be my one-and-only vs using the main computer.

Cooling: Using standard OEM CPU cooler to start. I will monitor temps to see what is needed. Easy to overspend on something you don't have data for yet. If needed later, I will add a CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo like everyone else, along with a couple of Noctua NF-F12 fans for the case. So far (limited data) stock cooling is fine.

Graphics: Onboard HD 530 for right now. If I want to add a graphics card later (a planned possibility), I will go with a 950 series or whatever the good deal is at the time of purchase.

I certainly could have built this as an mITX, but I needed to have some future expansion. I love the form factor and weight of the HP SlimLine, but I couldn't do anything with it. That's due to both space limitations in the box and some HP-specific connectors for the front panel ports and power switch.

This build has only an M.2 PCI-express SSD, so there are no attached SATA drives. Yes I bought a pair of SATA cables. That is just in case I wanted to mount a DVD burner and 1 TB SSHD I have lying around.

I tried to salvage a WiFi-n card out of the old HP, but it has a low-profile rear bracket on it. Arrgh. It's in the i5 for now without a bracket at all, and yikes that's ugly. Will get the ASUS AC-1900 card sooner than I thought I would have to.

I have been sysadmin for 25 years. Overclocking is an anathema to me because reliability wins. In comparison to everything. Just get a faster computer. Actually, I understand the draw of overclocking. It's just now against my nature.

Part Reviews


It is at "the sweet spot" for value at the moment for power / price.

Thermal Compound

Not actually required for the build, but needed some in the house anyway to clean up and fix up one of the older comptuers before passing it on. Plus, might be needed for cooler install later.


Went with H170 series rather than Z170 because I won't be overclocking. Good price match to processor.


H170 series board limited to 2133, so that's what I got.


This was the splurge for this build. I wanted the fastest I could reasonably put my hands on. Don't really know why. Just "because", I guess.


Nice case with black interior. Went back and forth about getting a windowed case, but decided I didn't want to spend the money on all the bling and matching stuff that always leads to.

Problem: The front panel LEDs are on the top of the case (facing you). They are white and landing-light bright. I had to tape over the HDD light with electrical tape because it was so distracting when operational. Hoping to find something to cover it with that will tone it down a bit but still let some of the light through.

I could disconnect it on the Mobo, but I don't wanna do that.

Power Supply

Wanted modular PSU. Some reviews not so great on this. Well, believe them. It is causing ASUS motherboard to occasionally reset because it was detecting power surges. It was on a UPS at the time.

Fortunately, purchased from amazon, and it was within the return timeframe. Replacing the CX unit with a (completely overpowered) EVGA 750w unit. Will comment on that once it gets installed.

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  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Followup on PSU failure: It wasn't - mobo at fault. Sorry about that Corsair, you are a great PSU.

ASUS has a power surge detection setting in UEFI. It is way, Way, WAY too sensitive. Read up on others having this same problem. Turned off the setting and everything is much better.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

How's that mobo working for you? I have been thinking of using it in my next build.