Description

This build is a dedicated lower power office PC/remote workstation, put together fairly cheaply and for it to be unobtrusive. It would pull double duty backing up our DVD collection using MakeMKV for an upcoming NAS build. I had a plan for it to be used in two different modes, which you will see.

I originally planned to buy an Intel NUC for this due to their small footprint. But they are fairly expensive and only use mobile CPUs, where I really wanted a desktop chip. I then looked at building a Mini-ITX system but to do so at the size case I wanted also added up to be more money than I was willing to spend.

Then I found a review on Youtube from HardwareCanucks for the Asrock Deskmini 110. A Mini-STX motherboard, chassis and PSU for a bargain price that can accept desktop CPUs. Really neat bit of kit with a minimal footprint.

Other parts choices were straight forward - bought the cheapest kit of 2x4GB DDR4 laptop memory I could find and was able to get a new 240GB Sandisk SSD on sale through Amazon.

For the CPU I really want to the Pentium G4560. Read some really positive reviews and looked like a bargain at the price.

Assembly was really easy but fiddly. Note if you buy the Deskmini that it is an H110 board and is NOT compatible with Kaby Lake chips out of the box. You'll need a Skylake chip to flash the BIOS first. I was able to borrow a Celeron G3900 from someone I work with for the weekend to do this, which saved me having buy one for £40. I had to install the G3900, flash the BIOS then remove it and install the G4560. All in, took me about 30 minutes from unpacking to starting the Windows install.

As stated I've designed this setup to have two modes - a standard mode with a conventional monitor via HDMI, keyboard & mouse setup using items I already own. I will use this for home office & connecting to work servers.

The other mode is a bit more interesting. I'm using a program called Duet Display that, when paired with an app, allows me to use my Ipad Mini as the display via a USB type C cable. Add in a Logitech wireless keyboard/trackpad combination & an external DVD/Bluray drive and I can backup our media collection while relaxing on the sofa in front of the TV, as the whole setup fits on a coffee table.

Really pleased with how this turned out. If you are looking to put together a cheap home office/HTPC I would recommend looking into something like this.

Update 2nd July 2017 - installed a Noctua NH-L9i CPU cooler in this today recycled from another build. It has made such a difference to the fan noise versus the stock cooler, runs near silent now. Would highly recommend getting one for a Deskmini build

Update 8th July 2017 - added pictures of the Noctua installed in the Deskmini

Part Reviews

CPU

Great CPU, bought this instead of an I3-6100 as it seems just as capable and is much cheaper. Has had no issue running anything so far.

Memory

Cheapest SODIMM DD4 2x4GB kit I could find on PCPartPicker, not fast or flash design but does what I need it to do.

Storage

Wanted an SSD with decent capacity for fast booting and storing more than just the OS, happy that I got it at a discount price. Speeds seem fine, no trouble so far.

Comments

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Easy +1!! For the Deskmini and for the G4560!!! :-)

But you didn't necessarily have to use a Skylake CPU to flash the bios.
You could have done it directly from the BIOS with a USB drive.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

This is the method I used - downloaded the latest BIOS onto a USB drive and flashed it via the BIOS menu.

My understanding was that there needed to be a CPU in place for this to work or even for the computer to power on. If that is wrong it would have saved me some time and messing about!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh OK. You could be right you know.

I reckon you could try that again, just to see if it works.
Remove the CPU and try to see if the BIOS upgrade from the USB is still available... ;-)

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Maybe in the future if I have to take it apart for some reason ;)

For now though I'm happy that it works with the G4560 :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks great!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

LOL Cutest computer case ever! Love it =)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Dude, that iPad display thing is awesome!

+1 for new and intuitive ways of improving the mobile PC

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :) Ipad as display works really well, was expecting it to be buggy but been seamless so far.

I have also tested it as a second display alongside a normal monitor or with a laptop.

I imagine it might be useful some people who might need a temporary second screen, for example while streaming on Twitch you could use it for monitoring the chat/stream while playing on the primary monitor.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build. Getting one myself. Fairly similar specs. Could you give a little more info on that new nocturna you put in? How's the fit? Did you have to make any case modifications? Any pictures with noctuna? Thanks!!!

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

The Noctua was a tight fit, barely squeezed it in between the ram and the rear IO, but it does go in and doesn't interfere with anything.

To fit - the board is attached to the frame, so you have to unscrew them from each other to access the rear of the cpu socket. This is for the 4 x screws, to be fed through from the back to the front, that act as the mounting hardware to be added.

I'll see about getting some more pictures tonight with the Noctua installed :)

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks a lot. I'm definitely going to add a Noctuna to mine now.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem :)

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Added some pictures with the Noctua cooler installed, hope this helps :)

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome thanks!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing. I'm inspired now.