This is my second build, which I named after my cat Austin, who behaves like he's the king of the house. I've been wanting to build a mini ITX PC since the release of the Thermaltake Core V1 case back in 2014. After quite a bit of time, I finally decided to build myself a new PC, even though I didn't really need one. My brother in law was willing to bring me some components when returning from a trip abroad, so I seized that opportunity and bought the mobo, CPU and case fans. The case, GPU, PSU and memory modules were bought from different brazilian online stores, and the storage drives, CPU cooler, SO and periferals were reused from my previous build. The build process went smooth as the case has removable panels (which help a lot) but cable management was very difficult. It was like fighting Medusa with nothing but zipties. And since I used an adapter to lower the case fans voltage to down to 5v I couldn't just do some half baked job, as that could disturb the airflow inside the case. So then I spent about 3 hours between coffee mugs, zipties and cables, and finally managed to fit everything where I wanted. After everything was on place, I decided to test the PC and everything worked fine since the 1st attempt. There was no need to reinstall the OS or anything. All I did was install the new drivers for the mobo, no issues so far.
Now, let's get to the performance part: this CPU, while a budget one, is up to 35% faster than my previous one. Add to that the DDR4 memories and maybe some newer technologies from the mobo and chipset and I guess that the final performance gain was up to 42~45%. While not groundbreaking, this is a pretty nice increase in performance, especially because I'm on the (very) cheap side of things. Web browsing is a bit faster, multitasking is smoother, video conversion seems a lot faster. I use this PC to watch videos from Youtube and Crunchyroll, edit some photos and videos, fool around with MMD and do some office tasks when I'm working from home. I can say it handles all these tasks pretty well, especially if you factor in the cost.
Lastly, the aesthetics: I wanted to go with this case especifically because I thought it looked beautiful and discrete, with that small form factor and top plexi window. After seeing some builds here in PCPP I decided to go with a black/green themed build, so I went with a black mobo, black case fans, black GPU and chose a PSU that had black cables. The only thing I wanted green were the extension cables, to add some nice detail. I tried painting the top of the CPU cooler matte black with a spray paint, but screwed up some times and screwed up again trying to fix what I screwed up, so I decided to leave it there and use it as is. I can barely see the imperfections through the top window of the case and the cooler now has a "unique" look, so everything is fine I guess LOL
Some small tweaks I made: although the case fan and the 80mm Be Quiet fans weren't loud, they weren't silent either. I was used to my previous PC, which had the case fans running at 7v, so they were barely audible. Since I needed to use an adapter to plug all the fans, I decided to run them at 5v instead of 12v (7v wasn't possible due to the adapter design). Now the case is dead silent. Also, I flashed a custom BIOS into my GTX 750 Ti, since EVGA used a non PWM fan that ran at 40% minimum all the time. Some will say the noise was tolerable, but it wasn't for me, so I flashed in new BIOS and made it "fanless" up to 55º C, and then onwards the fan runs at 35% up until 70º C. The GPU runs very cool and the case provides good ventilation, so there's no need to worry about the card getting fried, I guess.
A note about the price list: those values were obtained through conversion from BRL and EUR to USD, hence why some parts seem too expensive.
Man, this is one awesome CPU. It's one of the best CPUs you can find under USD 60.00, if not the best. Although clock speeds aren't very high, its single thread performance is more than enough to satisfy office and domestic users, and the cores are strong enough to push an entry level GPU such as the GTX 750 Ti/R7 360 or even the GTX 950/RX 460 with little to no bottlenecks. Is also runs very cool, even with my cooler poorly mounted the CPU barely reached 70º C, and with the cooler properly installed it never surpassed 40º C, all this with the CPU cooler fan locked at 20%. Bottomline: amazing cost/benefit ratio, if you're in for something cheap and good, pick this one.
Starting with the aesthetics, this card is very beautiful. It's all black, and is very discrete. It also has some blue and red leds next to the memory slots that can help you identify errors or failures, in case they happen. Performance wise, this card is a basic one, and only packs 2 DDR4 slots with speeds up to 2133 Mhz (there's something called Memory try it! that supposedly can overclock your memories past that limit, but I haven't tried that feature yet), has two PWM fan connectors - one for the CPU and one for a case fan. It also has one M.2 socket on the back side, which usually faces the mobo tray. BIOS is pretty simple to use and everything looks OK, the only con I could find is some sensors don't seem to work as they should: the CPU fan speeds are shown as 65K and the System Temperature as 112º C, both very strange and almost impossible values.
Nice looking, almost low profile memory modules. Work as they should, and come with lifetime warranty.
This is one awesome GPU, especially if you factor in the price. It's small and compact, which means it will fit in almost any case without issues. The black PCB, dark gray shroud and black fan/heatsink kind of give it a premium look, making the card beautiful and discrete. It runs very cool too, since there's a copper slug at the bottom of the heatsink, making heat transfer very efficient. The only let down of this card is the fact that the minimum fan speed you can set is 40%. Thal will make the card ultra cool, but I found it was too noisy for me. The way I found to deal with it was flashing in a custom BIOS and making the card "fanless" until it reaches a certain temperature, and then onwards the fan runs at 35%. If you're on a budget and want something that performs nicely, this is a pretty good card, especially if you don't care much about noise levels.
This is a pretty nice case, has a small form factor and includes a 200mm fan preinstalled. Almost all screws are thumb screws, except the ones used to install the motherboard and PSU. The storage drive 'cages' have some rubber rings to help reducing vibrations. Also, there's enough space in the bottom and sides of the case for cable management but it can be a bit difficult, so be prepared to spend some time dealing with your cables. Note: the back side of the storage cages has some pointy edges that can damage your cables if you're not careful. Overall, I think I can rate this case 9/10, as I found that the plexiglass window scratches easily and the fan isn't as quiet as I expected (at 12v).
Mine is the 450w version, but since I couldn't find it here, I chose the 430w to illustrate. The PSU seems very well made, and from my research, this PSU and others from the same line are based on the older Pro series, which were awesome PSUs. Add to that that the cables are all black (except the 24 pin one) and that the PSU looks pretty nice, and you've got an awesome piece of hardware.
Just as the name suggests, this things are quiet. Very quiet, actually. At 12v I can only hear a faint hum coming from the fans, and at 7v and lower, I can't hear them at all. The cables are all black too, making the fans very discrete.