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Would this work? Sandy Bridge Core i3 Mini-ITX build

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My wife is looking at getting rid of her bulky 15" laptop and replacing it with a small form factor desktop PC, along with a netbook.
Her requirements are that it should be fast and as small as possible. All she does with the computer is basic MS Office work, web browsing and email, YouTube/Hulu. She loves The Sims but stays away from it due to how horribly addicting it is. Still I figure the CPU's on-die GPU should be able to handle The Sims.

Anyway, I figured I could do something with ~$500 and came up with this:

Wishlist: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...umber=11679969

Case/PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811129068
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116394
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157238
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231190
Boot drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820167046
Storage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136280
Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827151221

I'm no specialist of SFF computers, so are there any blatant problems here? My main concerns were:
- Airflow?
- Will with the CPU's stock cooler fitting in the tiny case?
Any suggestions will be appreciated
post #2 of 10
That's a dandy build you have there. Everything will work just fine, and I would bet $1 million the tiny piece of metal Intel wants to cool a 35W processor with will fit into the case without any problems.

If there was a dedicated card or a beefier CPU I would say you need the ISK with the internal PSU (160 watts or something like that) but with that build and the assumption that it'll probably never be at full load, it should work like a charm. You got the go-ahead from me.
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post #3 of 10
I built a similiar build with a first gen core i3 and opted for the isk 300-150, you might be pushing it on the 65w psu with the amount of drives you have.

id suggest
dropping a few more bucks for the 150w version, or getting a pico psu
getting two decent 80mm fans
and a scythe shuriken rev. b I ran mine passive at low 20s idle with after popping in (2) enermax batwing fans

also. If there is anyway you can do without an optical drive, the antec isk 100, or mini box m350 are amazing cases
    
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I don't think I'd be pushing it with the 65W PSU -- here's why: the Core i3 2100T is basically a laptop processor made for desktop computers, it's got the same TDP as the actual mobile Core i3. Add a SSD (<2W), a laptop hard drive (<10W), an optical drive that won't get used much, I think 65W would be ample Consider that a lot of actual laptop power bricks are 65W. Given the minor difference in price though, I'll think about the 150W model just in case.

That said, I will consider the Antec ISK 100. Would that fit the CPU's stock cooler though? I'm not against adding a Scythe Shuriken, but that's $30 I'd rather not spend if I can avoid it Also, SPCR's review of the ISK 100 isn't particularly glowing, any comments on that?

Edit: by the way, if anybody wants to suggest a completely different setup, I am open to suggestions... the requirements are that it should be as small as possible, fairly quiet, "normal" CPU (no Atom and the like), 4GB RAM, integrated GPU (making Sandy Bridge ideal here), SSD+HDD. The optical drive is not a must. My wife never uses hers and I have an external drive lying around just in case.
Edited by Shub - 5/19/11 at 7:17am
post #5 of 10
I think everything is fine but the case. It's okay but just get something like a nice looking HTPC case. Moneual Lab cases are great.
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post #6 of 10
If you get an ISK 300, may as well get the 150W version. That way you can even up the CPU to a 2500K to get the better HD 3000 graphics.

I think SPCR is being kind of picky on the ISK100. They had some issues with build quality but I've encountered minor issues like that on a lot of cases, some due to design, some due to inconsistent construction and some due to shipping damage. Also, they didn't like the noise signature - but they rarely do with stock case fans.

Note that you will lose the optical drive bay, but USB optical drives are cheap and plentiful.

My big beef with the ISK 100 is that it doesn't seem to come with a VESA mount. Something that compact is just begging to be mounted behind the monitor.

Regarding drives, I would suggest a bigger SSD. Just shop for deals. For instance yesterday you could have gotten a 96GB Kingston V+100 for $100 after $50 rebate from Newegg. Kingston is reliable on rebates, plus the V+100 is their best non-Intel drive (Kingston has rebranded Intel drives in the past). I think currently you can get a 128GB Kingston V100 for $130 after $60 rebate. Note it is NOT the V+100, just V100 which is a different controller but still decent enough.

How soon are you buying? The reason is that eventually we should see some mini ITX Z68 chipset boards. Those do SSD caching, so your wife won't have to mess with two drive letters. You'll want a drive with good write speeds, such as the new Intel 20GB SLC SSD or an older Sandforce controller drive.

To switch gears, what are you doing for the netbook? With even the slowest Sandy Bridge and SSD combo, any traditional netbook will feel really sluggish in comparison. You can get around that by doing a Zacate based unit like the HP dm1z, and tossing in an SSD (biggest one you can afford since it only holds one drive). The dm1z seems to regularly goes on sale for under $400 and performance-wise it feels more like a real notebook, while size and battery life-wise it is more like a netbook. Toss an SSD in there and for most tasks it will be great.
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
The choice of case it's what holding me back the most. I feel like getting an HTPC case would be a mistake since those usually have features that won't be needed since this is just going to be a regular desktop computer. It just needs to be as small as possible. I don't need a remote, a display on the front and whatnot
Cases seem to be slim pickings, too -- most of them come with PSUs, but the only ones that have a PSU I'd trust are the Antec cases. I also wouldn't mind getting a case with a crappy PSU so long as it can fit an aftermarket TFX PSU that I would buy separately. Don't care much whether or not it's VESA-mountable though.

I wouldn't mind getting a bigger SSD, but she won't need a bigger one either, considering I would move her user folders (Desktop/Docs/Pictures/Videos) to the HDD. I'll shop around for deals anyway.

I agree with waiting for a Mini-ITX Z68 board however, that was my thought all along but I forgot to mention it. It makes sense that those will come out sooner or later, and then I wouldn't mind getting one of those SSDs Intel designed specifically for the Z68 chipset.

Remember I'm trying to stick to a ~$500 budget too

As for the netbook, it will be definitely be Zacate-based, although I was looking more at the Lenovo X120e. Not a big fan of HP's mass-market/consumer-grade products.
post #8 of 10
Based on your description, I would go with the ISK 100.
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Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap View Post
Based on your description, I would go with the ISK 100.
She thinks it's ugly so that one's out the ISK 300/310 would be acceptable in all black.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shub View Post
She thinks it's ugly so that one's out the ISK 300/310 would be acceptable in all black.
There's your answer.
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Main home rig
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-3570K ASRock Z77E-ITX GeForce GTX 670 8GB Samsung DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
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Logitech MX518 Allsop Metal Onkyo TX-SR505 receiver, Polk bookshelf speaker... 
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