2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

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2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:15 am

2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Are you looking to build a new PC and thinking about using the Mini-ITX platform? Today, Legit Reviews shows you how to create a SFF system and stay under the $650 price point. The system uses an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, a Kingstton 120GB SSD, and an ASUS GeForce GTX 650 video card just to highlight a few of the main components. This system should be able to easily tackle normal usage scenarios during the work week and then switch roles to a nice gaming machine on the weekends. Read on to check out the build!

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Article Title: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2096/1/
Pricing At Time of Print: ~$650
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby INeedAFnSuffix » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:44 am

I always laughed whenever i see the tiny cooler ... like i said before when i first installed my E5700 and that cooler (Heatsink had a tight grip) was hitting 87C (way past acceptable) not even on an OS!
What kind of **** is that?! at least that was with the LGA775 65W~ CPUs supplied cooler, the LGA1156 ones i think are slightly larger?
Swapped thermal compounds (decent one with best possible application by me) and all though it was okay i was getting mid 70s in prime95 after a minute, THAT'S STILL DANGEROUS

That just shows how bad it is (Oh yeah earlier today i reapplied the stock paste on my E5700 with the Deepcool IceEdge Mini FS with a line technique and OC'd to 3.3GHz, got MAX after an hour 62C on the warmest core, not bad for a tiny tower cooler with the HSF on the wrong side, (Biostar G41D3C's southbridge got in the way, bastards, poor design) so it's blowing towards the psu, should i change the orientation? But the side fan is sitting next to it so no worries)
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:52 am

INeedAFnSuffix wrote:I always laughed whenever i see the tiny cooler ... like i said before when i first installed my E5700 and that cooler (Heatsink had a tight grip) was hitting 87C (way past acceptable) not even on an OS!
What kind of **** is that?! at least that was with the LGA775 65W~ CPUs supplied cooler, the LGA1156 ones i think are slightly larger?
Swapped thermal compounds (decent one with best possible application by me) and all though it was okay i was getting mid 70s in prime95 after a minute, THAT'S STILL DANGEROUS

That just shows how bad it is (Oh yeah earlier today i reapplied the stock paste on my E5700 with the Deepcool IceEdge Mini FS with a line technique and OC'd to 3.3GHz, got MAX after an hour 62C on the warmest core, not bad for a tiny tower cooler with the HSF on the wrong side, (Biostar G41D3C's southbridge got in the way, bastards, poor design) so it's blowing towards the psu, should i change the orientation? But the side fan is sitting next to it so no worries)


Did you see the temperatures on that tiny cooler in my article? There is no need for anything larger.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby INeedAFnSuffix » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:52 pm

Yeah i did :lol:
I was just laughing at the heatsink they supply even for the i3-2120 and the T version :rolleyes:
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Kaos Kid » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:59 pm

Nice little Budget LAN box, you can easily tote this thing anywhere or fit it into most cubbies (with proper ventilation, of course).

Thanks for the look at a budget build, definitely a lot of bang for the buck--I know I couldn't afford the 3K rig you built in the first article.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:26 pm

Kaos Kid wrote:Nice little Budget LAN box, you can easily tote this thing anywhere or fit it into most cubbies (with proper ventilation, of course).

Thanks for the look at a budget build, definitely a lot of bang for the buck--I know I couldn't afford the 3K rig you built in the first article.


Yeah, that case should fit in a wide variety of places and you are right, at 19lbs that entire system makes for a great LAN box. It weighs less than many of my previous empty cases.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby etudiant » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:02 pm

A really excellent article.
Clearly shows a road less traveled, but the end result is very attractive.
The overall power dissipation is low enough to make one wonder whether an all passive cooling setup could be adequate for this build.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:25 pm

etudiant wrote:A really excellent article.
Clearly shows a road less traveled, but the end result is very attractive.
The overall power dissipation is low enough to make one wonder whether an all passive cooling setup could be adequate for this build.


I am certain you can get away with a passive CPU cooler on the Intel Core i3-3220T as long as the case still had good airflow.

This budget mITX system had 5 fans running in the system (CPU, GPU, PSU and two case fans) for testing.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Spamburger » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:05 pm

Apoptosis wrote:I am certain you can get away with a passive CPU cooler on the Intel Core i3-3220T as long as the case still had good airflow.

This budget mITX system had 5 fans running in the system (CPU, GPU, PSU and two case fans) for testing.


Would you kindly stick a tape measure in there and show us some clearance.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Major_A » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Next build is probably going to be mITX or a mATX with a small case. Full towers take up too much room and can cause a hernia when moved. Thanks for the review I really like this kind of editorial.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby INeedAFnSuffix » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:47 pm

35W isn't going to be too big for a passive cooler at 50C :rolleyes: Just thinking if anyone else makes a passive cooler anymore ...
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Kaos Kid » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:02 pm

Depending on clearance and a bit of luck perhaps, you may be able to use a fanned cooler without the fan as long as the fins align with the directional airflow of the case...
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:39 am

Spamburger wrote:
Apoptosis wrote:I am certain you can get away with a passive CPU cooler on the Intel Core i3-3220T as long as the case still had good airflow.

This budget mITX system had 5 fans running in the system (CPU, GPU, PSU and two case fans) for testing.


Would you kindly stick a tape measure in there and show us some clearance.


What internal Bitfenix Prodigy mITX case measurements did you want?

Most are already given by Bitfenix:

Q: What is the maximum clearance for CPU coolers on Prodigy?
Prodigy maximum CPU cooler height = 175mm

Q: What is the maximum clearance for VGA cards on Prodigy?
Length, PCI-Slot to front panel: 335mm
PCI-Slots to HDD-Cage (effective maximum VGA card length): 180mm

Q: What is the maximum PSU depth on Prodigy?
PSU Cage total depth: 180mm
Recommended PSU depth: 150mm
Maximum PSU Depth:160mm.
Maximum Fully Modular PSU Depth: 160mm
Maximum Semi-Modular PSU Depth: 160mm
*Route Cables through holes with direct paths to connectors prior to inserting power supply unit.

Q: What's the radiator clearance of Prodigy?
Top Radiator thickness (incl. fans) = 175mm
Front Radiator thickness (incl. fans, HDD & ODD cage removed) = 150mm
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Spamburger » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:18 am

Apoptosis wrote:What internal Bitfenix Prodigy mITX case measurements did you want?


The maximum cooler height was my primary interest although the clearance between the video card and RAM does at times intrigue me.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby cheesepok » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:13 pm

what about using the CoolerMaster Elite 120 Advanced case instead?
its like half the price of the prodigy now

the Nvidia 650 should work fine in it.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:33 pm

cheesepok wrote:what about using the CoolerMaster Elite 120 Advanced case instead?
its like half the price of the prodigy now

the Nvidia 650 should work fine in it.


Sure that case will work fine and we have reviewed it already - http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2003/1/

It just doesn't visually do anything for me and the Prodigy had way more color options and the ability to change out panels down the road, which sounded nice.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby /dev/null » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:59 pm

Nice build! Very clean and the case is quite something too! I liked how you did that last shot with a bottle of "Arrogant Bastard Ale" for size comparison, as it did indeed help me to get a better grasp on the actual size of this build. I personally wouldn't build a HTPC without a quad-core processor nowadays though, especially with Valve's plans to have a better suited presence for the living room with Steam in the coming year.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Ibrihim » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:54 am

I believe your CPU choice is ill founded and poorly researched. I have done my best on the net and my conclusions are i3220t will in real life usage save you at best a few measly cents in energy per day. In exchange the power loss results in passmark CPU are i3220 T 4080 for the i33220 4800. Moving to 3d Mark'06 i3220T 3570 and 4210 for the i3220. A huge drop for no real power saving.
" A purely cosmetic adjustment, which has more effect on the subjective perception of the technical specifications rather than the actual performance in applications." Says it all for me. Buy the cheaper CPU and under clock it if you must.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:18 am

Ibrihim wrote:I believe your CPU choice is ill founded and poorly researched. I have done my best on the net and my conclusions are i3220t will in real life usage save you at best a few measly cents in energy per day. In exchange the power loss results in passmark CPU are i3220 T 4080 for the i33220 4800. Moving to 3d Mark'06 i3220T 3570 and 4210 for the i3220. A huge drop for no real power saving.
" A purely cosmetic adjustment, which has more effect on the subjective perception of the technical specifications rather than the actual performance in applications." Says it all for me. Buy the cheaper CPU and under clock it if you must.


I have to disagree... The Intel Core i3-3220T is a great choice for those looking for low power, heat and noise. I took the time to clearly state in the article that the Intel Core i3-3220 costs less and performs better. It is the clear choice for those that want more performance and don't care about power draw, heat and noise. It's also nice as it runs so cool that you do not need to upgrade the CPU cooler unless you have money to blow or want to run a passive CPU Cooler.
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Re: 2012 Budget Mini-ITX Desktop PC System Build Guide

Postby Ibrihim » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:44 am

Apoptosis wrote:
Ibrihim wrote:I believe your CPU choice is ill founded and poorly researched. I have done my best on the net and my conclusions are i3220t will in real life usage save you at best a few measly cents in energy per day. In exchange the power loss results in passmark CPU are i3220 T 4080 for the i33220 4800. Moving to 3d Mark'06 i3220T 3570 and 4210 for the i3220. A huge drop for no real power saving.
" A purely cosmetic adjustment, which has more effect on the subjective perception of the technical specifications rather than the actual performance in applications." Says it all for me. Buy the cheaper CPU and under clock it if you must.


I have to disagree... The Intel Core i3-3220T is a great choice for those looking for low power, heat and noise. I took the time to clearly state in the article that the Intel Core i3-3220 costs less and performs better. It is the clear choice for those that want more performance and don't care about power draw, heat and noise. It's also nice as it runs so cool that you do not need to upgrade the CPU cooler unless you have money to blow or want to run a passive CPU Cooler.


Thank you for answering.I am however talking real life usage and not what Intel says on paper. Why would any one want to upgrade the cooler on a rig like yours.
I realise you are "k" type enthusiast but some of us underclock for specific purposes. The myth that a low TDP means less power heat and noise is too simple. For instance compare the idle consumption, compare the power draw at 60% usage,and finally try reading "Efficiency Analysis: Core i3 Trumps Atom On The Desktop " from Toms hardware . Just one of many articles saying the same.Have we all got it wrong?
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