(Lighting in my office is bad and the walls are painted a mocha color which doesn't help, so sorry for the weak quality photos).
This build was put together for a friend's wife that manages their home photography business and is replacing a 2010 MAC Mini. The old Mac Mini has outlived its usefulness with its low ram slow mechanical HDD and well it's a MAC. Her husband convinced her it was time to go get a PC built by me for $500 that would relieve her frustrations. With that budget I went out and canvassed the net and made out on some great deals pre Black Friday slowly putting together pieces as they went on sale at newegg and Microcenter. The build is primarily for Office productivity apps and occasional Lightroom and Photoshop when organizing pictures as necessary.
The build centered around the Phanteks Evolv ITX case as it went on sale and had a $10 rebate for it's lowest price ever on Newegg. I thought it was the best compromise of size and adequate cooling while being budget friendly. The large 200mm fan is more than enough to handle the Core i3-6100. I added a 120MM Fractal Design Silent Series 2 fan from my Node 804 that I no longer used as an exhaust. Easy to work in and when the time comes to add a dedicated GPU for when their son becomes a PC gamer this case will be ready for whichever they choose.
The piece the resistance of this build is the ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac which went on sale at Microcenter. The motherboard was the hardest choice as their was a lot of going back and for with available motherboards at Microcenter to get the $30 discount along with the unheard of price for the 6100 at $89.99 before tax. I chose this motherboard because of the the modern digital display outputs of a DisplayPort, a HDMI 2.0, and HDMI 1.4 ports. All others did not have this connectivity and the user was going to get multiple displays. No other boards had M.2, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, Type-A , 8+2 VRMs, and 2x2 802.11ac/Bluetooth. No other board has this many features that make it more reliable and future proof. I know that I am not using a K series chip with this board. However, as longevity is important the manufacturers high end boards uses higher end mosfets, capacitors and more PCB layers to create a much cooler and more reliable board than the lesser chips. Furthermore, getting this board for $108 after rebate and taxes made it that much of a no brainer.
The memory was what was cheapest at the time and I got lucky that it was right when everything started going up. I was also lucky that the LEDs were red so it actually matched the red and black of the motherboard. I didn't mean for it to match but at least it doesn't clash. The Z series motherboard also allows the memory to run at the slightly faster 2400 Mhz. 16GB at $68 was a no brainer. My friend can use this machine to help Photoshop when his is tied up running batches of filters.
I wanted m.2 storage so that I can have less wires to create the ultimate minimalist build. This Crucial was also as cheap as the 2.5" versions so there was no penalty to go to the M.2 version. There was enough storage here that we decided not to add an additional mechanical hard drive as they have a Drobo N for mass storage on the network.
The PSU had a $25 rebate on top of it's sale price so it was another no brainer. I did not use any of the modular cables since everything was on board. This really created a clean install with just the ATX and 8 PIN EPU cables going to the motherboard.
The Cryorig was at a great price and I wanted to make sure we had a very quiet PC. The stock cooler is so loud at high levels that I definitely didn't want to use that. A small tower setup that looks great and performs as well or better than others at a lower price and size was an easy decision.
Better than AMD 8 Core and uses a heck of a lot less power. Bought it at lowest price I ever seen for it at Microcenter.
I am using this for my low TDP builds over the EVO 212s as it is cheaper, quieter, looks great and performs better. The attention to detail from the packaging to the engineering and the included paste are fantastic. Easy instructions. Only issue I had was with the mounting plate on the motherboard extended over the m.2 slot of the motherboard and did put some pressure on the SSD. I am going to ask them if I cut it down if they will still honor the warranty.
Using OCCT PSU test (Linpack for CPU and Kombuster for GPU) this cooler keeps the CPU at 55 C at a mere 550 RPM. I have it set to stay at 30% till 65 C before it spins up higher.
Has everything you can want in an Skylake ITX motherboard. Layout of all ports are perfect! USB 3 plug is right where it should be and has every feature including 3 modern display outputs for when using built-in graphics.
Cheap didn't need the lights but it was cheap. Slight overclock available that you can only use with Z motherboards.
Cheap (seeing a theme here). Performs well and allows less wires than a traditional setup allowing for better cable management and air flow.
Great case to build in as it is not a tiny ITX case. As large as MATX cases with many fan options and great cable management. Also looks great and is cheap.
Cheap! But performs well against everything in it's category. It is quiet as well which you can't say for most cheap PSUs. Corsair uses nice black wires and sleeving. This is important so that you don't have yellow and black wires showing through when you don't use sleeved extensions. Again important for people who want cheap budget builds but also want it to look nice and clean.