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ITX Options?

Thu May 10, 2012 6:22 pm

Well I've built a few systems based on the E-350, a little over a year ago. While they were a decent little surfer and in some cases a good front desk machine for some offices, they don't quiet pack the punch I'd be comfortable putting in an office today.

My question is, with the core I3/I5 options being available in an ITX platform, what options have you guys found to be a good performer? I'm thinking an I3-2120 would be a good choice but I'm concerned with heat issues in such a small ITX case, any feedback? Also trying to keep them in-expensive.
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Re: ITX Options?

Thu May 10, 2012 7:31 pm

Mini-ITX is pretty limiting. You can get everything that you need for an enthusiast PC in a fairly small micro-ATX package (like the Antec NSK3480), but Mini-ITX requires compromises.

If you can get by with only one expansion slot and just one storage drive, Mini-ITX may be suitable. For processors, I'd consider:
1) Intel Pentium G630T + Asus P8H61-I
2) Intel Pentium G850 + Asus P8H77-I or ASRock H67M-ITX/HT
3) Intel Core i3-2125 + Zotac Z68ITX-A-E
4) AMD A6-3500 + ASRock A75M-ITX
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Re: ITX Options?

Thu May 10, 2012 8:02 pm

You can build a full gaming computer in mITX. Cases like Silverstone's SG05/06 and SG07/08 can easily support a Core i7 + GTX670. The compromises spoken of only apply if you need additional PCIe slots and it seems to be increasingly rare that people do.

I don't think Asus or Asrock believe in mITX compromises.
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Re: ITX Options?

Thu May 10, 2012 10:48 pm

Ohh im well aware of the compromises in ITX as ive built tons of them. Id also go mATX if i could but in this case we are talking about an extreme limitation i pay space, so mITX is the most practical.

My chief concern is about heat and power draw. The E-350 is ultra low so even the 65W psu included in the antec isk300 is enough. But the 2120 may require a larger supply... not sure if the 150 isk300 would cut it.

Im not worried about expansion. These machines will never have a need for add-on cards. Wouldn't be bad to have a spare slot for things like a upgraded nic in case of emergencies.
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Re: ITX Options?

Fri May 11, 2012 8:29 pm

A Pentium G850 or G620 doesn't use anywhere near 65W of power even under load. Have a look at this article on lower power Intel CPUs for some comparisons. Those CPUs run pretty cool and for office work, either the G620 or G850 is plenty. The other good thing about them is that they dont have turbo-boost like the i3 and above so they wont take advantage of any "extra thermal headroom" which will prevent the case from getting too warm. Oh, and the Pentiums are win
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My Recent Build

Fri May 11, 2012 11:00 pm

I was looking at this forum a week ago for info on building such a computer, but kinda had to figure it out on my own. We've been using my 8 year old Pentium 4 machine for the family computer for too long so I decided to build a new one. I thought putting together a mini ITX system in a tiny case would be fun and different so I set to work on it. Here's what I ended up getting:

CPU - Intel Core i3-2100
MoBo - ASRock H77M-ITX
SSD - Crucial M4 128GB
RAM - CORSAIR XMS 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 Ultra Stable Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1333C8
DVD - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Case - IN WIN BP655.200BL Black Steel Mini-ITX Desktop Computer Case 200W Power Supply
OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Got everything on Thursday and had it up and running after a couple hours. It's so nice when things go together easily. :D I went with the Sandy Bridge because the Ivy's are priced a bit high, and the batch that's out now is overkill for my dad's Youtube marathons. I did go with the new H77 motherboard though because the 6 series boards were lackluster at the $100 mark. The SSD is awesome haha. Cold boot to ready in about 12 seconds. If the computer is asleep, wake it up, and it's up and connected to the wireless network half a second after the monitor wakes up which takes maybe 5 seconds! I wanted to get the version Newegg had as the shellshocker for $99 but that sold out in 2 minutes. :( I ended up getting this slim, 7mm thick version for $120.

The case is pretty neat. It's a touch taller and longer than an original Xbox 360. Holds a full-sized optical drive making the build cheaper, but not quite as small as you could go. It will hold 1 regular 3.5" HDD and a thin one. I've got the SSD in the thin slot and will put a mechanical disk in the other eventually. Everything is crammed in there, but I guess that goes for any tiny case. :) As I learned from the article DPete27 linked, the 200w power supply is more than enough. Ventilation isn't bad with a large grate over the CPU and along the back of the case. There's also an 80mm fan on the side. It's pretty well blocked by the hdd rack and cables, but should still move enough air. I might unplug it and see how the temps do since it's not the quietest.

The only problem I've had so far is a weird thing with the keyboard and booting... The keyboard we're using now is from our first computer we got in 1998 and must be one of the original USB ones. I guess for some reason the UEFI bios(shh! it sounds weird) doesn't like it, so it takes like a minute to boot up. Using my PS/2 keyboard, the times are 15 seconds like I said earlier. Doesn't affect the startup times from sleep though. I'll try it with my brothers new USB keyboard and see if a usb 2.0 works better.
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Re: ITX Options?

Fri May 11, 2012 11:13 pm

I semi-recently built a mini-ITX PC for a friend who wanted something more than the E-350 I was using at the time. I went with an 35W Core i3 (21xxT), MSI H61 mini-ITX MB ($70), and Morex T3410 case w/bundled 60W picoPSU from Logicsupply (about $80 ?). No Vidcard since the guy is not a gamer. Intel low profile but biggish CPU cooler is quite silent, and fit in the case with no problem. About the same price as the E-350 config, with a few missing features (the E-350 had Wifi, BT, and was fully passive)

Both configs are OK for non-gamers, the Intel one is significantly faster for almost the same price, but I want for a basic MB on the Intel side, and a luxury one on the AMD side (Asus Deluxe something)
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Re: ITX Options?

Sun May 13, 2012 7:57 pm

Just swapped the keyboard out for a wireless Logitech MK710 with the unifying receiver thing and fixed the long boot time. Wondering what the problem is with old USB and the bios...
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Re: ITX Options?

Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:22 pm

I recently built an ITX video editing/light gaming machine.

Asus P8H77-I, i7 3770 (stock cooler), Asus 560Ti, 8GB DDR3, Lian-Li Q08

I went with the Asus 560Ti because it runs extremely cool yet it'll handle most games you throw at it. My CPU temp sits at around 30 degrees celcius at idle, and the GPU sits at around 25. Under load, I haven't seen either one go over 50-60 degrees.

I was quite surprised at the temps.. guess it goes to show you can easily build a pretty powerful machine in a tiny case that still has some decent temps.
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Re: ITX Options?

Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:13 am

I have shoved an i5-2400S and a discrete, low-profile graphics card (HD5450 or 5550, I can't remember) into an ISK-300 with the 150W PSU.

We've had two of them running for a while now and whilst they're not under a great load, they both seem fine; Cooling is not an issue because you can put two 80mm fans in one of those things.

I would be unsurprised if it handled a 95W cpu and a more powerful discrete GPU from that little PSU. I know it's not the last word in efficiency, but it's functional, small, and not overly noisy.
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Re: ITX Options?

Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:24 pm

With cases out there like the SG08, PC-Q07, BitFenix Prodigy, and FT03 Mini, you don't really need to make any compromises with ITX anymore. This is on top of the huge strides in terms of 120mm fan technology that has come around in the last few years. Kepler sips power too, which has certainly helped the situation. Though AMD's 78xx series are still a great option if you want to keep it power-lite.

You can house a fully fledged performance/gaming machine in these, no problem. Boards like the Gigabyte GAZ77N, ASRock Z77E, and ASUS P8Z77-I allow you to OC to the high 4.x range even.

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