MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

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MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:17 pm

Hello all,

I'm thinking about starting a new build as sort of a home office type computer. Not a lot of needs here, just Web browsing, office applications, etc. I have an htpc (in my sig) and a laptop, and would like a dedicated desktop build. I work in financial analysis so I'm gonna need two monitors and the most intensive usage would be some excel modeling and online trading platforms..maybe some roller coaster tycoon level gaming when I need a break..I'm also trying to learn some basic programming and that might lead to running some additonal applications.

I would like to build off a mini itx mobo and keep the case small, thinking a cooler master 120 at the most. I have plenty of space on my htpc/home server build so I'm planning on a 120gb ssd only. Thinking 4gb of RAM should be plenty unless you all disagree? Optical drive is unnecessary but wouldn't hate having the option to throw one in later. Onboard graphics are fine. Prefer Intel. Live near a microcenter and use Newegg/Tiger online as well.

I'd really hate to buy another Win7 license..is everything I just said simple enough with ubuntu?

I have some parts in mind but writing this at work so I'll contribute that when I get home! Would like to keep this pretty cheap, $300-400 range max. Thanks!
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:37 pm

How about the $85 Antec ISK300-150 or $76½ ISK310-150 at 7.0 liters instead of the 20.0-liter CoolerMaster Elite 120? The ISK300-150 can handle a low-profile PCIe card and a slim Blu-ray or DVD burner (which may need a SATA cable adapter). I'd get 8 GiB of memory and Windows 8.1.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:42 pm

There are 2 Microcenters in Atlanta. If you go there, you can get an A8-6600K + MSI FM2-A75IA-E53 (mITX) for $135 + tax. ($105 if you drop down to the A6-6400K, which would be perfectly fine) If you want to game on IGP, the AMD APUs are going to do better than Intel.
4-8GB of RAM will cost you just under $10/GB. 1866MHz or higher.
Then pick an enclosure that suits your fancy. I would recommend any one of these with accompanying PSU
The Silverstone cases I listed require an SFX PSU, or you can get the Corsair CS450M (80 Plus Gold) for $30 after MIR until 6/23/14 for the Cooler Master Elite 130.
It doesn't sound like you need a whole slew of storage space. Just enough for a couple light games and such. I'd recommend a small ~120GB SSD can be had for $60-$80
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:34 pm

A Bay Trail Atom system might be sufficient for your needs depending on how large and complex those Excel spreadsheets are. Here's an example with DVI, HDMI, and VGA outputs that can drive multiple displays:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813157494

On Windows or Linux, if this system will be used for sharing Excel and other MS Office documents with others at work, staying with MS would be the safest thing to do. If that won't be an issue, there are open source alternatives like Open/LibreOffice and WINE which you can try before deciding whether to pay for more MS licenses.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:15 pm

For light duty I would personally go for an AM1 platform. Those Athlon 5350 chips look compelling.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:22 am

I would recommend at least 8gb of RAM if you're going to be working with large excel sheets.

Also, if you're going to be doing excel modelling, you really need windows.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:35 am

bostonhokie wrote:I'd really hate to buy another Win7 license..is everything I just said simple enough with ubuntu?


As others have said, if you're using excel like it sounds like you are then you really need windows... of course you could potentially use ubuntu on the htpc and move your windows license over to this new machine.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:57 am

I figured as much but I know very little about ubuntu so I was hoping maybe I would be pleasantly surprised!

I will look into the AM1 line, I was leaning Intel because I know it better. I did find this Intel that is dirt cheap with good reviews..but it may be too underpowered?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819116950
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:02 am

I've had Athlon 5350 and AM1 ITX mobo with 4gb of RAM and 120gb SSD for a couple of weeks now. Makes a perfectly functional machine for desktop work and light gaming. Can drive 3 monitors at one time. Almost completely silent. Uses about 20 watts idle and about 35 watts when gaming.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:24 am

How does that compare to the AMD A6-5400K Trinity? Same price on Newegg.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:48 am

bostonhokie wrote:How does that compare to the AMD A6-5400K Trinity? Same price on Newegg.

The A6 would wipe the floor with an Athlon 5350. Sure, the 5350 is a quad-core part, but that's like comparing the octa-core PS4/XB1 to a quad core i5 or something. IPC and single threaded performance is still important.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:50 am

DPete27 wrote:
bostonhokie wrote:How does that compare to the AMD A6-5400K Trinity? Same price on Newegg.

The A6 would wipe the floor with an Athlon 5350.


No doubt about that. Went with 5350 because of low power use--PC stays on often for recording HDTV via Media Center.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:52 am

bostonhokie wrote:some excel modeling and online trading platforms

How big are those models? And what kind of trading platforms are we talking about? If it is just opening a bunch of monitoring windows, then all you need will be just screen space. However, if we are talking automated trading with robots and stuff, then you may need quite a bit of RAM and may be even some CPU power. If you may need to expand RAM, then I would say get a mini-ITX board with 2 RAM slots or move to micro-ATX.

Unless you are running some ancient version of Excel and/or the trading platforms cannot run beyond Win7, it is time to get Win8.1 with better multitasking and memory management.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:01 pm

As for modeling/trading platforms, nothing massive. A few worksheets of data dumps, fairly simple formulas and a number of charts/graphs. Trading just on e-trade. And then Capital IQ. Key would be multitasking those but shouldn't be too intensive.

Does anyone have any input on that Intel I linked to earlier as compared to the A6-5400K?
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:20 pm

bostonhokie wrote:Does anyone have any input on that Intel I linked to earlier as compared to the A6-5400K?

Depends on your gaming emphasis. The Pentium will have better CPU performance, but the A6 will have better graphics performance (A6 being playable vs. Pentium being...not really).
This review covers the compute comparison between the A6/A8/Pentium, but the graphics tests are done with a discrete GPU.
This review covers the IGP comparison. FYI, the IGP in the Pentium is roughly the same as the i3-3225.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:41 pm

So I'm thinking about pairing the G3220 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819116950
with this ASRock B85M-ITX board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813157390
RAM...still in the air between 4GB and 8GB. I need to educate myself on what all those numbers describing RAM mean. will come back to this..
SSD: Sammy's 840 EVO 120GB is currently $81 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820147247
or maybe this Crucial M500 for $72 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820148693
there are a lot of SSD manufacturers I've never heard of, so if there's a different well performing budget brand I'd love some input
Case: this is proving tricky. I like the models with built in PSU but are those reliable? My ideal case: small (i like the cube models), good airflow and quiet, usb 3.0/2.0 and audio jacks on the front, and $50-60 range. Leaning coolermaster 130 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... CatId=8582
PSU: mITX should be modular I assume?

thoughts?
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:11 pm

bostonhokie wrote: $60 Intel Pentium G3220 + $82 ASRock B85M-ITX
Those look okay. The $84 MSI B85I adds DisplayPort.

bostonhokie wrote:RAM...
Get one of the 2x4 GiB kits that I linked in the previous message. The B85 chipset is crippled to not run faster than PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600).
$78 2x4 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial Ballistix Sport BLS2K4G3D1609ES2LX0 (DDR3-1600, 9-9-9-24, 1.35 V, low profile)

bostonhokie wrote: Case: I'm leaning towards the CoolerMaster Elite 130.
That case takes up 19.8 liters. Are you sure that you want something that big?
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:01 pm

Sad truth: I don't know what a liter is. #Merica. Can you recommend a smaller, horizontal case that fits those desires? And comment on included PSUs? Appreciate it!
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:54 am

A liter is about 4/5 of the size of your 40-ounce malt liquor can. The ISK300-150 has about the same dimensions as 3½ empty 40-ounce malt liquor cans lying down. The Elite 130 is just slightly wider, about as tall as a 40-ounce malt liquor can is tall and as deep as 4½ 40-ounce malt liquor cans side-by-side.
Code: Select all
        CoolerMaster    Antec
         Elite 130    ISK300-150
Width:     9.45"         8.74"
Height:    8.17"         3.78"
Depth:    15.69"        12.91"
Volume: 1210.   in³    427.   in³
          19.84 L        6.99 L
           5.24 gal      1.85 gal
The Elite 130 will take any graphics card that you want to use. The ISK300-150 is limited to half-height cards.

If you do want to play games, you can add a $100 graphics card to the Intel system or you could go with an AMD APU.
$99 -10 code "EMCPDW43" ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+
or $100 Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WiFi
or $107 MSI A88XI
$101 -10 code "RMNSUMR10" AMD A8-6600K
As DPete27 posted, you can get much better bundle deals on these if you visit your local Micro Center store.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:22 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:The Elite 130 will take any graphics card that you want to use. The ISK300-150 is limited to half-height cards.

Or get the best of both worlds with the Silverstone SG05 (10.8L) and accompanying PSU. Smaller than the Elite 130, but still holds a full height, dual slot GPU (if you ever decide to add one). Nice big 120mm fan in the front for good airflow. Admittedly, if all you're going to run is a G3220 with no dGPU, the ISK300-150 is probably your best choice for being compact. (all 3 of these cases were in my earlier post)

BTW, you mentioned a small horizontal case, the Silverstone ML05 (also in my earlier post) would fit the bill. Also, very small (7.0L). Would take the same SFX PSU I linked above. The ISK300-150 can also be laid horizontally.

bostonhokie wrote: Leaning coolermaster 130... PSU: mITX should be modular I assume?

Again...as I linked earlier...the Corsair CS450M is a 450W, 80 Plus Gold efficiency, modular PSU, and is on a really good sale until 6/23....
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:34 am

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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:49 am

Sorry DPete27, I clearly should have paid more attention to your earlier post..that ISK300-150 looks great except for the price tag. The SG05bb-Lite for $40 looks perfect! Cooler Master 110 looks pretty compelling too. I think a 450W PSU is a bit unnecessary for this system but at that price how can I really pass it up...

Will probably go with one of those cases and get that PSU this weekend to lock down the savings, and do some more research/soul searching on whether I want to go Intel or AMD for this build.

Got any SSD deals or budget brand suggestions? $80 for that Samsung 840 isn't bad though..
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:54 am

bostonhokie wrote:That ISK300-150 looks great except for the price tag.
It's $85 + free shipping with the power supply included. That's cheap.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:38 pm

Truth, I honestly missed the "includes PSU" part.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sat Jun 21, 2014 5:47 pm

I've done some more reading, and I think the ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ and A8-6600K has won me over. A little more than I wanted to spend, but microcenter bundle will make it solid. Thanks for that suggestion! I'll probably go Silverstone SG05BB-LITE and the corsair psu linked above. Still could use some input on if there's a better deal than the Samsung 840 120gb ssd for $80, then grab some RAM and wrapping this one up!!

EDIT: Case and PSU aren't compatible so scratch that
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:14 am

The problem with many smaller mITX builds is that a cheap, reliable ATX PSU won't fit many of them.

If price is the issue, get a Coolermaster Elite 120/130 and you'll be able to use a normal PSU.
If size is the issue, Antec's ISK come with PSUs at good prices, just watch your wattage is enough for the spec you choose - otherwise Silverstone sell the SG05 with a 450W 80+ SFX-sized PSU, but it's pricier than the ISK.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:17 pm

bostonhokie wrote:EDIT: Case and PSU aren't compatible so scratch that

I laid that out clearly for you twice. If you want the SG05 (free shipping on Amazon BTW), you'll have to get a SFX PSU, like this 300W unit for $50. That puts you slightly over the cost of the ISK300-150, but you've got room for more storage drives, a dual-slot GPU (if needed in the future), active cooling, and a 300W PSU. Here's the full lineup of Silverstone SFX PSUs, You could go up to 450W if you wanted, that'd get you enough power for a pretty decent dGPU down the road, albeit overkill for your current needs. Up to you.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:46 pm

Need to reel myself in here. This is not a gaming build, but I like keeping myself open to upgrades. If I go with the Intel G3220, and down the road decide to pair it with a mid range graphics card (6450?), can that handle mid range games? I'd like the processing power now rather than the apu since it's mostly an office build. And I'll easily run over my budget because I'm that type of person...

I like the antec case minus the lack of USB 3.0 on the front but not the end of the world, and the cooler master case is overkill if I don't add a graphics card later..I'll come back when I have more of an idea of what I want...

On a side note, can't believe USA blew that game tonight
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:18 pm

Currently, a Radeon HD7750 is my recommended half-height graphics card for moderate gaming. Galaxy and KFA2 have announced a low-profile GeForce GTX750Ti. I can't find one actually available for sale in North America, but when they do eventually arrive, that will be the card to have.
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Re: MITX Build - Work/Casual usage

Postposted on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:27 pm

If doing such a build I would be tempted to get a Z series chipset motherboard and a Pentium G3258 'Anniversary edition'...because overclocking :D The additional power draw from overclocking doesn't seem to be that much more than an i3 (link, but the price is a fair amount lower and its stock clocks are higher than a G3220 too. I don't know about a Microcenter deal on them though.

Also, for gaming, you can see a few results with a decent 1080p discrete card at the bottom of this page in the same review. Although you might play with lower settings to keep a high framerate and the faster CPUs might therefore show a greater difference, the dual core Pentiums seem to be OK for gaming. I am sure there are some games that genuinely use more than 2 cores or threads though....but the results there are promising.
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