Mini review of my new Econobox

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Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:04 pm

Last week I started building my new system and finally configured it as I want. It's a TR Econobox, minus the mechanical storage and plus the SSD from the alternatives. I also paired it with a Type Heaven keyboard, a Logitech G700 mouse, and Intel Wireless-AC 7260 card with external antenna. OS is Windows 8.1 Pro OEM. My thoughts so far, after a week of using this system (and Win8.1):

{x} The Corsair Carbide case is a design win. It's light, spacious, and well-thought out, except for the 3.5" hard drive bays. My old HDDs slip out of their holding pins every time I work with them. A small flaw that won't mean much in the long run, but it stands out since the rest of the case is so polished. The included fans are whisper quiet.

{x} The ASRock H87M Pro4 is probably the weakest part of the system. I've had some USB peripheral difficulty and HDD issues that smack of mobo bugs. In hindsight, I shouldn't have gotten such a budget brand. It's the second time I followed TR's Econobox mobo recommendation and got a product I wasn't pleased with. Ain't gonna fool me thrice.

{x} The Intel Core i3 4130 (with included HSF) is slick and silent. It may not game at the head of the pack, but I don't need it to. 8 gigs of Crucial Ballistix RAM ought to last me a while, too.

{x} Graphics and sound are both integrated. My monitor is happy, and Cambridge SoundWorks PCWorks 2.1 speakers sound the same as ever.

{x} The Corsair CX430M PSU is silent, but I wish it came with more SATA connectors. As it is, I have to choose whether I want my HDDs or my DVD-ROM to run. Not cool.

{x} SSD is the Kingston HyperX 120GB. The difference in speed is so great I can't think of a meaningful analogy. Damn, this thing is fast!

{x} Windows 8.1 is cool. I configured it so that I only see Modern UI by accident, like when I open a file associated with an MUI program that I haven't yet replaced with a proper desktop one. Aside from those little annoyances, the OS is nice and fast, and boots in seconds. I thought I'd have a lot more trouble trying to run my older programs on a 64-bit OS, having come straight from WinXP and not knowing the landscape. If everything runs fine, what is the point of W8 Pro's virtualization modes?

{x} No complaints about the Intel Wireless-AC 7260 card. It only dropped connection a few times so far, but that might be due to Comcast's s***y service, so I won't knock the card.

{x} The Type Heaven keyboard is a pleasure to use. It feels satisfying, the way the weapons in DOOM and DOOM II were -- solid and powerful. The TH is the second best upgrade I made, besides the SSD.

{x} Logitech's G700 is mostly good, like the ability to use it tethered or wireless. Pretty swift, though it did drop connection once. I'd also like it a bit larger. I'd buy it again.
Last edited by FireGryphon on Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:39 pm

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:40 pm

Thanks for the review always good to get an unbiased opinion on parts. Really surprised the CX430M only has 2 SATA connectors. I had to look that up to make sure since every PSU i've had always had a plethora of them. Makes little sense that Corsair would do that. Heck my old CX400 has 6 SATA connectors on it. That tank is currently powering my rig, but instead of GTX470, a 4870X2 for the time being. GTX 470 is being RMAd. I've read the budget Corsair line isn't really that great anymore and uses some cheaper internals, they are good for the money though.
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:54 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:Thanks for the review always good to get an unbiased opinion on parts. Really surprised the CX430M only has 2 SATA connectors. I had to look that up to make sure since every PSU i've had always had a plethora of them. Makes little sense that Corsair would do that. Heck my old CX400 has 6 SATA connectors on it.


I should be more clear: It actually 4 SATA connectors on two separate plugs, but the way the Carbide 200R case is setup makes that not enough. The 2.25" SSD bay and the 5.25" external drive bay (that house my SSD and DVD-ROM respectively) are too far apart vertically to be serviced by the same cord. The 3.5" HDD bays face the side of the case (perpendicular to the other drives) so they need their own wire to be routed around the side. This means that I need one power cable to go to my HDDs, and then I have only one remaining cable that I can use to connect either my SSD or DVD-ROM.

All other PSUs I've used had way more power connectors than I needed, and in the past I've packed systems fuller than this one. Not sure why Corsair is so stringy with connectors on the CX430M.

Here's a pic to illustrate my layout:

Image


Not sure why PhotoBucket rotated it 90* CW, but you get the idea. Eventually I'll migrate the DVD-ROM down to the lower bay, but the mess in my room dictates that unless the drive is on top for now, I couldn't use it anyway :lol:
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:36 am

i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:37 am

Pretty decent Eco build there. I'd be tempted to go Mini-ITX on something like that, though it would probably turn out to be more expensive.

The only part I don't care for is the case; and I say that because I'm using the Corsair 200R in my main rig at the moment. At first glance it looks like a bargain, but it's got plenty of annoying quirks. For starters, the center motherboard standoff is noticeably taller than the surrounding motherboard mounts, meaning that if you just slap in your motherboard and crank it down, you'll be bending/flexing the board more than I'm comfortable with. The mounts and standoffs are not removable, so I had to use paper washers behind the board to even-out the height.

The metal used in the 200R is also extremely thin (this may not be immediately apparent because it's plastic polymer coated) and the slightest bit of vibration from hard drives (in their crappy plastic cage) or fans will cause the panels and front bezel to begin loudly rattling. I had to move one of my HDDs to a 5.25 bay with an adapter (with rubber isolators), and crank the front bezel down to the body of the case with zipties to get rid of the rattling.

There's also far too many fan mounts/vented locations to get any sort of positive/negative air pressure. You've six (6) 120mm fan mount locations, in addition to a vented rear panel, and vented slot covers. I do use a some fans, but that's way overkill. The case is practically wide open. I had to do extensive taping-off with black electrical tape from the inside.

So yeah, while it's not a "bad" case, I had to do a fair amount of modification to get it where I was comfortable with it. More trouble than it was worth.
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Sat Dec 14, 2013 2:56 am

I got the non-M version of the same PSU and I had exactly the same problem. When I added a second HDD I had to move the DVD drive to the bottom bay so that I could plug it in to the same lead.

For the record, the modular version of that power supply is only better if you don't have a video card, if you only have two SATA devices and they are close enough use a single power cable, or if you don't have any case fans that need molex plugs. I was torn when I chose to save a few bucks getting the non-M version, but I ended up using every cable anyway.
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:40 am

Melvar wrote:For the record, the modular version of that power supply is only better if you don't have a video card, if you only have two SATA devices and they are close enough use a single power cable, or if you don't have any case fans that need molex plugs. I was torn when I chose to save a few bucks getting the non-M version, but I ended up using every cable anyway.

Similar situation with a CX600M here. I'm using every plug on the PSU except 1, because the fan controller on my Fractal Design R4 needs molex (and I needed a SATA adapter for my DVD-RW, but they're on the same cable anyway). I thought I'd be keeping stuff neat and tidy in my case until I needed everything anyway. :lol:

To the OP I've never been impressed with any ASRock board I've worked with. My wife's PC's first mobo (a Richland FM2 system) was an ASRock that I sucked it up and ate the restocking/shipping fee at Newegg just to get a different board that wasn't so buggy. I also built a Sandy Bridge Pentium system for a friend who wanted to cheap out on the board and was not impressed there, either. I don't get why TR recommends their stuff. At least this time out they recommended a Gigabyte board.
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Re: Mini review of my new Econobox

Postposted on Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:31 am

I've only had 1 ASRock board and haven't had a problem with it.

It's the ASRock X79 Extreme4, but I don't think comparing an X79 board to a cheaper H87 board is a fair comparison.

Runs i7 3820 @ 4.4 GHz with no problems, booted to Windows @ 4.62 GHz but wasn't very stable, but I didn't really take the time to adjust settings to get it stable at that frequency. I'm sure I can push it beyond that, but too lazy / too little time to tinker these days.
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