Description

I built two of these for a friend who was looking for some quality business PCs to last a really long time in a small business deployment without a dedicated IT consultant. They needed something that could take a beating and still run like bat out of hell with business tasks for as long as possible. This thing seems to fit the bill for about half of what you would get from Dell or Lenovo.

I admit, the processor and memory choices were a bit overboard. If it were my business, I would have saved a bit by buying a Pentium G4500 and only 8GB of memory. The application they run isn't heavy on the client resources, however, they tend to use some pretty big Excel files and the owner likes to run Chrome with about 30 tabs open at a time. I needed to ensure that these could take a resource beating where it would count. The M.2 SSD flies and boots in less than 20 seconds. The GSM (Gigabyte Stable Model) motherboard should last as longer than they expect with extended parts & driver support for whatever comes in Windows 10.1, 10.2 etc. Who knows where desktop will be in 4 years but, this should at least be able to last them past then for a pretty small investment. Hopefully Gigabyte's trackrecord for ULTRADURABLE SOLID CAPS marketing holds true.

For the build, one issue I had was with the Seasonic TFX 350 power supply. I knew this ahead of time but it isn't "modular" at all. Sure, the cables plug into it like a modular PSU would but ALL of the cables are bundled together--even both "plug" groups. Even worse, this made the bundles stick out further and more rigid. I was OK with this until he decided that they wanted to have an optical drive added in. Well, the ODD is literally as tight as it could be up against those cables. The drive cage almost doesn't swing down as it should. This alone would make me never want to go with this PSU ever again despite its price, efficiency rating and quietness. I was pretty annoyed by this... Also, I always thought it was silly when people have a tendency to complain about sharp edges inside cases but this cannot be understated for this case. Some spots are downright sharp and the first build when I wasn't being careful, I didn't notice for a bit but my hands came out with a total of 4 huge gashes and ended up getting blood all over. It's isn't a huge problem since I was much more careful on the second build and managed to complete it cut-free.

Other than that, everything else build-wise was phenomenal. M.2 socket SSDs are no-brainer now with price parity in line with 2.5". That left extra room in the case to add a data drive down the road should that need change. I could have also gone ITX with a different board but this case was just what they wanted. Size wise, it is fantastic. The quality is great and dispite it being marketed to HTPC builders, this gave a real professional look to the package, especially with the Intel i5 stickers on the front and the guide for a Windows 10 CoA punched along the rear side just like Dell does. It is a fantastic desktop or HTPC case for anyone who will never need a full-height PCIe card.

After shipping and tax, it came to $1350 for both (or $675 each)--well under their $1500 budget before my consulting fee. I can't see any places for improvement other than getting a Dell or Lenovo with a generally pretty useless 3 year warranty since they can't handle the kind of downtime associated with shipping for service. I could get a replacement part next day (or even price-match at Best Buy) and get them back up and running should something fail.

They seem happy and I love how the build turned out.

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.

Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

+1

THAT'S how you make a great office build!

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm late but this is great. I'm putting together a build for my mom. In considering this case.

Nice job.

Thumbs up

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

I've been looking at this case as well as the in-win BL631 and the Silverstone ML04B for a HTPC. I like the look of this case but note that it has no air intake grills that I can see.

How is the air flow in these things?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Good part choice. Should be a reliable build for years to come.

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice! :-)

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

When looking at longer term business computers, things like the better processor, more RAM, and M.2 become better choices. These are things that will keep these computers snappy enough for a longer period of time. Going with the G series and a cheaper, slower SSD would save you money, but probably would cut down the usable life by a year or two . That's worth A LOT.

Antec fans are pretty good, but you may want to have a 92 mm fan ready to go in a hurry. One smaller fan for the entire case is a bit scary to me. I understand the need for it, though. Looks like a great case other than that.

Adding the optical drive seems so 10 years ago, but I'm glad you didn't buy into that. There is going to be that one disc from who knows where and who knows when that they absolutely positively need to read NOW. Also, there is nothing like true optical Read Only storage of certain files that you KNOW haven't been changed or erased. The model number of the optical drive is a bit gaudy though, isn't it?

Been a sysadmin / IT guy for 25 years. These computers should do great.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the good vibes. What looks like the model number isn't the ODD model number, it's the hostname I assigned and a sticker to cover the real gaudy.

I didn't mention that most of the pictures online of that model made it look subtle and plain but I pulled it out of the box and it says LITEON in the most gaudy way possible. The best option I had is to dig out my white-on-black labeler and cover that up with the PC name...

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Would this case fit an a10 7860k stock cooler? (60mm tall)

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

More than likely, yes. The TFX power supply is 85mm in that vertical direction so I would say conservatively you have about 70mm to play with.

[comment deleted]