Build A Mighty Mini PC (Part 3)

4/1/2014 9:51:41 AM

Even Dave James’ fat hands are nimble enough to build a mini-pc, so why not let a little machine into your living room.

Storage Samsung 840 EVO 500GB ($428) Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 120GB ($146)

These days, it’s all about solid-state storage and Samsung is still ruling the SSD roost. You’ll ideally want as large an SSD as you can comfortably afford to drop into your build; after all, space is at a premium, and you don’t want the graunching sound of a spinning HDD growling out from under your TV either.

The Samsung 840 Evo solid-state drive offers overall
excellent performance, top storage space, and useful bundled software

The 500GB 840 EVO is currently at a decent price and will offer all the storage you really need in a SFF gaming build. The 120GB mSATA drive offers a similar level of performance, but in a tiny form factor that attaches straight to the board. If you’re using it as a Steam streaming box then 120GB is perfectly adequate.

Power Silverstone Strider E 500W ($67)

The bargain Silverstone PSU will power the high-performance parts we’ve put together for the more expensive, larger-scale build, with capacity to spare. You could use a lower wattage build, but PSUs are more efficient when they’re not stretched to their limits. The Silverstone has all the connections you’ll need for a small form factor PC, and is a standard size compared with heftier, higher-capacity PSUs.

This 500W power supply offers half the power and significantly less connectors,
but may just offer exactly what you need for your computer.

The Antec ISK 310 comes with its own external power brick, so there’s not a huge amount of PSU heat being generated inside the small chassis. It’s only 150W, but at peak platform draw the AMD APU was only pulling some 140W.

Memory Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB ($140) Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB ($118)

On the small form factor side, the low-profile Ballistix Tactical kit from Crucial is an excellent option, in both performance and space-saving terms. Even the most awkward of CPU coolers is unlikely to get in the way of the minimal heat spreaders and they’ll happily run at 2,133MHz.

Corsair Vengeance DDR3 memory modules are designed with overclockers in mind.

AMD’s APUs love high performance memory. The Corsair Vengeance Pro kit will go up to 2,400MHz and a little beyond, which will actually do good things for the integrated graphics performance of your AMD system. However, an Intel rig with discrete GPU won’t see much benefit from quicker RAM.

The Crucial Ballistix Tactical Series delivers the latest features at a price you can afford.

Chassis Corsair Obsidian 250D ($120) Antec ISK 310 ($120)

The PC case you opt for is probably the most important decision you make regarding your build. The chassis you choose will dictate the limits on what components you can use in your ickle system – the most important being what you do with your graphics.

Corsair Obsidian Series full-tower and compact computer cases

We’ve used the Corsair Obsidian 250D for the discrete GPU option as it enables you to use any full-scale card alongside a mini-ITX mobo. If you’ve chosen the integrated route, Antec’s ISK 310 is a svelte little chassis and is capable of housing a mini-ITX Kaveri setup with no issue.

Antec introduces the ISK 310-150, designed exclusively for Mini-ITX motherboards



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