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Hi all, Been semi on a look out for building a mini PC or laptop- eventually opted for a PC, so started piecing some parts together. I have a Coolmaster mini something and its been doing fine, …
Inquisitor Avatar
3m, 4d agoPosted 3 months, 4 days ago
Hi all,

Been semi on a look out for building a mini PC or laptop- eventually opted for a PC, so started piecing some parts together.

I have a Coolmaster mini something and its been doing fine, but I found this Fractal Nano S from lovely HUKD,
http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/fractal-design-define-nano-s-mini-itx-case-for-pc-black-46-99-amazon-2548998

I never had a liquid cooler before so my hands got itchy and bought this -
http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/corsair-120mm-hydro-series-h45-one-liquid-cpu-cooler-black-37-99-amazon-2548565

Next on the list is MB -
I need it to be mini ATX (obviously :))
# Wifi built in,
# some nice sound cards would be nice,
# 4 slots DDR would be nice- I am going to use PC for photoshopping (7-8 year "photography enthusiast")
# Overclocking ability since I have some water cooled kit?

Chip,
Probably i5 6th gen? I've not been in the game for 3-4+ years, last PC I built was a gen 1 i7 ha...

RAM, DDR4 is a bit of an ask i think? costs a little too much atm to be semi budget build.

SSD and HDD

Please feel free to share some experience if you have built/done some research lately!
Thank you all :)
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Inquisitor Avatar
3m, 4d agoPosted 3 months, 4 days ago
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Best Answer
H110 only allows one module per channel so you won't find any H110 board with four slots.

H170 tends to be rather close to Z170 in price. There's no reason to discount it but no reason to seek it out either.

Most mid-range Skylake motherboards are B150 which avoids most of the restrictions of H110 but offers a decent discount over H170/Z170.

The M on the end isn't part of the chipset, but several manufacturers put it there as part of model numbers to indicate MicroATX motherboards (and others don't).

I haven't heard anything bad in a professional review about ASRock for some time. They'll always be people who say 'brand X always fails for me'.

I would definitely make sure to pick up a motherboard with a DisplayPort output, or alternatively HDMI 2.0. With 4K screens going for under £250 these days it doesn't make a lot of sense to get a system that doesn't support them.

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Responses/page:
#1
There's no such thing as Mini ATX. Common form factors are ATX (7 slots), Micro ATX (4 slots) and Mini-ITX (1 slot).

You can't really build a genuine MiniPC, the smallest cases end up being two to four times the size of a typical off the shelf model.

Although you're not going to end up with much of a MiniPC if you want to fit a huge great closed loop water cooler in it. The Define Nano S is also rather large, twenty times the size of a typical Mini-PC like an Elitedesk 800 Mini or Fujitsu Q556/Q956, and as big as the typical home desktop towers offered by HP, Dell, Lenovo etc.

You really need to decide between having a small PC and buy small components that suit or big components and accept that you're going to have to live with a large case to fit them all in.

Edited By: EndlessWaves on Nov 19, 2016 16:39
#2
EndlessWaves
There's no such thing as Mini ATX. Common form factors are ATX (7 slots), Micro ATX (4 slots) and Mini-ITX (1 slot).
You can't really build a genuine MiniPC, the smallest cases end up being two to four times the size of a typical off the shelf model.
Although you're not going to end up with much of a MiniPC if you want to fit a huge great closed loop water cooler in it. The Define Nano S is absolutely huge, twenty times the size of a typical Mini-PC like an Elitedesk 800 Mini or Fujitsu Q556/Q956, and as big as the typical home desktop towers offered by HP, Dell, Lenovo etc.
You really need to decide between having a small PC and buy small components that suit or big components and accept that you're going to have to live with a large case to fit them all in.

Ah yes, I was reading some reviews and getting terminology mixed up.

What I am trying to piece together is a small desktop, full size ATX is too big. A true MiniPC is too small, and parts to upgrade are not easily available.

Fractal is an ok size for me (20x30x40cm). So that will be the platform to build.
#3
If you want a tiny PC look at the zotac zbox. Great spec for such form factor.
#4
I have a huge oversized case, and I would struggle to get a 120mm water cooler inside - unless you go for an external job, in which case, you need to find a case with outlet holes, or be prepared to drill your own - and have a cooling tank the size of the case.

You are also unlikely to find many Micro-ATX boards with 4 RAM slots, and VERY few that have much of an upgrade path; you will also be very restricted on gfx, as many cards will be physically too big to fit, and too heavy on the juice to keep cool in such a confined space.

Your best bet is an Intel board, choose carefully and you can find boards that run everything from an old Core 2 to a 4 core Xeon.
My current love affair is with MSI, I used to buy Asus boards, but the quality of the last two was appalling.
#5
Inquisitor
What I am trying to piece together is a small desktop, full size ATX is too big. A true MiniPC is too small, and parts to upgrade are not easily available.

It's true that you can't reuse true MiniPC cases and that they don't have expansion slots so they may not be suitable if that's important to you.

However, there's still a huge size difference between a traditional Mini-ITX case like the Jou-Jye 528 at 5 litres and El Monster Define Nano S at 25 litres despite both using the same motherboards, CPUs, memory etc.

Inquisitor
Fractal is an ok size for me (20x30x40cm). So that will be the platform to build.

It doesn't meet your requirements for four memory slots. You'll have to pick a cases that takes the larger Micro ATX motherboards for that. Luckily there are plenty available at the same size and several smaller. If you like Fractal Design then something like the Core 1000/1100 at 18cm x 35cm x 41cm is a very similar size. Silverstone's SG10 is a popular case that's smaller at 22x30x35cm, but £50 more.

DDR4 should be a similar price to DDR3L now.

I'm not sure about SSDs for photoshop but for almost all uses the different speeds don't yet matter as bottlenecks are elsewhere, so big and cheap is the way to go. Crucial's MX300 sometimes has some good pricing.

The i5-6000s are a decent choice. You will need to spend the extra on the 6600k and a Z170 motherboard to overclock so it may not be worth the cash.

Edited By: EndlessWaves on Nov 19, 2016 18:11
#6
Built in wifi would be a pretty narrow option - if you can spare a PCI-E x1 slot, then a wifi card would be practical, and I'd recommend that over USB for a permanent wifi setup.
Unless you have some really specific requirements, I wouldn't bother with a sound card - onboard HD-audio is pretty competent these days
#7
E-ATX is the only way to go, teeny tiny PCs are too restricting and noisy **** too. Man up and buy a core x9 :)

http://imagescdn.tweaktown.com/content/6/9/6912_36_thermaltake-core-x9-atx-cube-chassis-review.jpg
#8
Just bought the last one for £117. A bit glitchy on the website but from amazon so it shouldn't be an issue I hope ;)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thermaltake-Core-E-ATX-Case-Window/dp/B008L9L9TI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479637093&sr=8-3&keywords=core+x9
#9
Thanks for the help guys,
I'm now looking currently a budget h170m or a nice h110..

Asrock h170m seems to be the cheapest at £82, but I heard mixed reviews about Asrock?

Other suggestions welcome.
#10
H110 only allows one module per channel so you won't find any H110 board with four slots.

H170 tends to be rather close to Z170 in price. There's no reason to discount it but no reason to seek it out either.

Most mid-range Skylake motherboards are B150 which avoids most of the restrictions of H110 but offers a decent discount over H170/Z170.

The M on the end isn't part of the chipset, but several manufacturers put it there as part of model numbers to indicate MicroATX motherboards (and others don't).

I haven't heard anything bad in a professional review about ASRock for some time. They'll always be people who say 'brand X always fails for me'.

I would definitely make sure to pick up a motherboard with a DisplayPort output, or alternatively HDMI 2.0. With 4K screens going for under £250 these days it doesn't make a lot of sense to get a system that doesn't support them.

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