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Affordable mini-ITX build


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I got myself together to finally start a proper research regarding such a build and I've immediately hit a wall.

 

I've decided I'd like to go with AMD A4-3400 APU. Plenty of performance, integrated graphics and not a vintage chip.

 

And the problems started right away. It seems that mini-ITX motherboards with FM1 socket for the APU are close to impossible to find! Just try to filter it out here

http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/motherboard/

The only product there is http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-a75-wifi-a75itx-a-e.html which I doubt to be procurable in Poland.

I've search through major Polish shopping search websites (allegro.pl, ceneo.pl) and got similar results.

 

So let's try on manufacturers websites.

ASUS

AM1I-A does not support the APU http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AM1IA/HelpDesk_CPU/

F1A75I seems to be the only mini-ITX ASUS mobo http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/F1A75I_DELUXE/

 

MSI

has no FM1 mini-ITX mobos.

 

Gigabyte

nada

 

:joystick:

 

 

Alternatives:

 

FM2

Going FM2 may be the only option but the price difference is ~$70 for the mobo+cpu.

http://www.msi.com/product/mb/FM2A75IAE53.html

 

Micro-ATX

Well, this wouldn't be mini-ITX anymore. 170x170 mm vs ~170x260mm.

 

 

EDIT:

Here's my preliminary FM2 APU based build!

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/RHfn8d


Edited by Bucic
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what are you trying to achieve with such build (mini-ITX)? i have been looking at that option too, in case the NAS station i want wouldn't be available, but all went well and i stopped looking at mini-ITX. there are some very powerful MB's for intel cpu's, less for amd.

 

 

STEAM

asus p8z68-v gen3, 2600k@4,5ghz(w/c), 16gb, 1080ti(w/c), ch fighterstick/gvl224-4000-8, ch pro throttle, Oculus Rift CV1+Touch, thrustmaster tx

 

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It's a replacement for my C2D 2.3 GHz laptop with Intel GM45 integrated graphics (circa 2008) operating at 1600x1080 resolution. The replacement *does not* have to be more powerful.

So I suppose you do not want to do some gaming on it, right? Then why not to buy some ready-made mini-PC? A friend of mine has "Gigabyte Brix". It has i5 (probably some low-voltage notebook version), slots for so-dimm and 1x mSATA. It has even vesa-adapter for mounting on back side of LCD. Looks very nice and does not take much space on the table...

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It's a replacement for my C2D 2.3 GHz laptop with Intel GM45 integrated graphics (circa 2008) operating at 1600x1080 resolution. The replacement *does not* have to be more powerful.

 

can't it be replaced with new lapton? possibly would cost less than mini-itx build too.

 

 

STEAM

asus p8z68-v gen3, 2600k@4,5ghz(w/c), 16gb, 1080ti(w/c), ch fighterstick/gvl224-4000-8, ch pro throttle, Oculus Rift CV1+Touch, thrustmaster tx

 

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So I suppose you do not want to do some gaming on it, right? Then why not to buy some ready-made mini-PC? A friend of mine has "Gigabyte Brix". It has i5 (probably some low-voltage notebook version), slots for so-dimm and 1x mSATA. It has even vesa-adapter for mounting on back side of LCD. Looks very nice and does not take much space on the table...

Gaming is of lowest priority altough even my old laptop handles Portal 2 very well on med-high.

Ready-made boxes are more expensive for the kick and altough I don't want 4 times the performance of my old laptop I also don't want to go anywhere below the generation of A4-3400. This and I wanna AMD are two of the things that may not exactly fit the 'Thinpad T500 replacement' plan.

 

can't it be replaced with new lapton? possibly would cost less than mini-itx build too.

I don't travel with my Thinkpad and I use a mouse and a separate keyboard with it. No need for a laptop.

Then there's the price. Are you saying I should get a laptop for $300? No thank you :)

 

----------------------

In the end I bought a second-hand A4-3400 bolted to a second-hand MSI ATX motherboard. Not today ITX, not today. But I was pretty much ready to go with the config I've linked earlier ( http://pcpartpicker.com/p/RHfn8d ) with the Chieftec BT-02B case ( http://imgur.com/a/pmpVe )

And I'm probably going to go with the setup if I won't like the ATX build for some reason.

 

OK, a quick rundown on the problems I've faced while researching mini-ITX components:

1. AVAILABILITY and SCARSE CHOICE

a) started with the motherboard. See my earlier posts.

b) PSU:

b1) to this day I don't know how would I find a PSU for a PSU-less mini-ITX case

b2) PSUs built into mini-ITX cases are of the 'take it and shut up!' kind. 80 PLUS you want? Forget it. Active fan control you want? Maybe ours has it, maybe not (not specified). We have a big and a small PSU wall for fan placement. W choose the small one to give you 'the breeze of the 90's. Wanna know how much dB of noise the PSU generates? ... and so on.

 

 

2. Small factor, small power

Only external PSU boxes are really small. And from what I've seen these normally come in 90W variants or so.

Those with built in PSUs are 4 times the volume right of the bat. Apparently an internal PSU implies a 3.5" HDD and an optical drive...

 

A tip: There are mini-ITX cases with/compatible with ATX PSUs.

 

 

So the biggest difficulty I've faced was the case+PSU. I really recommend starting off with a power demand approximation and case+PSU selection.

 

 

This also brings up a great motivation for a DIY setup. Personally I'd go for:

- a solid 80 PLUS low-power 120mm AFC fan ATX PSU stripped down of its casing

- (based on the dimensions of the stripped ATX PSU intrails) an inexpensive mini-ITX enclosure

- ...


Edited by Bucic
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