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Everyday Workstation/Light Gaming - Completed PC Build

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 Ethernet, Quad Core CPU, and having dual HD displays.

Purpose

ncase box

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.

Parts List

parts used for the case

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.

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.

Here are the parts I used for my build thanks to PCPartPicker:

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Xeon E3-1231 V3 3.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor Purchased For $246.79
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U9S 46.44 CFM CPU Cooler Purchased For $59.99
Motherboard Asus Z97I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard Purchased For $153.00
Memory Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Purchased For $111.99
Storage Crucial M4 256 GB 2.5” Solid State Drive Purchased For $205.00
Storage Western Digital Scorpio Blue 1 TB 2.5” 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $60.00
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 960 4 GB FTW ACX 2.0+ Video Card Purchased For $229.99
Power Supply Silverstone Strider Gold 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply Purchased For $89.99
Case Ncase M1 v3 Purchased For $215.00
Case Fan Noctua NF-R8 PWM 31.37 CFM 80 mm Fan Purchased For $16.65
Case Fan Noctua NF-S12A FLX 120 mm Fan Purchased For $19.99
Total $1408.39

Parts Explanation

inside of the bluild

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.

diagram of the airflow

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.

completed build

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.

Build

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.

Date Build Completed: September 29, 2015

Updated 1/20/2017 - The part list does not reflect this upgrade. The power supply I picked out was bothering me because it made a lot of noise due to the always running fan inside. I bought the corsair 600 watt supply in the same form factor. it is really silent and the fan only comes on every now and then.

Updated 4/15/2017 - The part list does not reflect this upgrade. The plan for this computer was always to utilize the M.2 drive slot. I was unable to do so when I originally built this machine because the price of an at least 256GB NVMe M.2 was well over $200. I waited and found a good price on the Intel 600p.