After years of using a 2010 Windows 7 Laptop I finally had the funds and reason to upgrade my computer. I was using my laptop pretty much as a desktop and was really starting to feel how dated of a machine it is. My HP G72 was not lacking in performance but a couple features that now come standard I was really missing out on. Specifically they were USB 3.0, SATA III, Gigabit Eternet, Quad Core CPU, and having dual HD displays.
Mostly what I intend for this machine is my main use PC. the main uses will be medium to heavy use web browsing, some photo editing, some software/web development, and light gaming. I also have a requirement that my machine doesn't take up much room on my desk. Also it must run relatively silent because it will be on my desk. I also wanted to do this at the same time as the Windows 10 Upgrade as I had a copy of windows 8 available for this build. I will be running Windows 10 on the machine.
I went all out while still keeping the price as low as I could. I already had the SSD and HDD for this build. My build features the NCASE M1.
Here are the parts I used for my build thanks to PCPartPicker:
- CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1231 V3 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (Purchased For $246.79)
- CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9S 46.4 CFM CPU Cooler (Purchased For $59.99)
- Motherboard: Asus Z97I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard (Purchased For $153.00)
- Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (Purchased For $111.99)
- Storage: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (Purchased For $205.00)
- Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1TB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($60.00)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 960 4GB FTW ACX 2.0+ Video Card (Purchased For $229.99)
- Power Supply: Silverstone Strider Gold 450W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply (Purchased For $84.99)
- Case: Ncase M1 (Purchased For $215.00)
- Case Fan: Noctua NF-R8 PWM 31.4 CFM 80mm Fan (Purchased For $16.65)
- Case Fan: Noctua NF-S12A FLX 120mm Fan (Purchased For $19.99)
It is Important to note that the Ncase M1 v3 took several weeks to arrive and was a bit of a pain. because I had to pick it up at the post office.
I once again choose the PC case before anything. Seems to be the most important with these mITX builds. The Ncase M1 v3 allows for complete customization and a tiny form factor case with no sacrifices in performance. A solid brushed aluminum inside and out gives it a great look.
What sets my build a bit apart from the most common builds is I opted for a Xeon CPU rather than the i5 it would be equivalent to. I did not want to worry about overclocking. I wanted to keep the build as simple as possible: air-cooled, stock overclock, solid airflow, and little noise.
Another difference between my build and the most common builds is I used a Nvidia GTX 960 FTW instead of the 970 or 980. I was just not ready to drop 350-700 dollars on something I wont get great benefit from. I only play a couple of games and some emulated games. Plus I can always upgrade in the next 1-2 years if I feel it is necessary. So far I haven't had any buyers remorse.
I choose all Noctua Fans and a Noctua CPU cooler I am extremely happy with how they look and the air flow they supply. The inside of the caseseems to have nice airflow. I have one intake on the side which blows towards the CPU/power supply, the cpu fan which blows towards the outtake fan at the rear as the crude diagram shows.
The Ncase really makes this build special. I would recommend the case to anyone looking for a versatile mITX case, It is without a doubt the best of the best. Performance wise I have not had hit anything that has made my PC stumble yet. It is a mega step up from a 2010 laptop and adds all the feature I have been missing the past 5 years. I have not known the joys of having a discrete graphics card until now and it is very nice to take advantage of that.