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Advice on building a SFF desktop PC (non-gaming)

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor and Single Board Computers' started by Whiffle, Apr 15, 2019 at 1:09 PM.

  1. Whiffle

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 27, 2009

    Posts: 224

    Hello.

    My large desktop PC is too big for my office (and not particularly power-efficient) and whilst I considered things like NUCs, I think I am going to build something myself.

    I haven't built a PC in many years and also never dealt with SFF parts before, so I really grateful for some tips on what to consider.

    Ultimately, all I need is room for two SSDs (though I could make do with just one, if it means a better case).

    In terms of use - all it will be used for is browsing, word-processing and a bit of music recording (nothing to taxing, in this respect).

    Any suggestions for parts would much appreciated.

    One thing I am currently deciding is whether to go for a regular mini-itx board and use a Pic psu or go with a board that has DC built in.
     
  2. MissChief

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 17, 2010

    Posts: 15,238

    In all honesty you’d likely be much cheaper picking up an older refurbished dell desktop. Get an i5 version with 8GB ram and windows 10 for around £100.
     
  3. Whiffle

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 27, 2009

    Posts: 224

    Thanks MissChief.

    Given that these are the specs of my machine:

    i3-2105
    mATX motherboard
    2 x 4GB RAM
    NSK2480
    2 x SSDs (one for Windows, one for Linux)
    Antec High Current Gamer 400W PSU

    do you think there is anything to be said for just keeping it and try squeezing it all into a much more suitable case?
     
  4. tamzzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: May 26, 2012

    Posts: 8,069

    you're not going to save that much more space, given you already have a reasonably small matx case to begin with.
    if that's all the power that you need from a computer, then rearranging your desk space would probably be the more cost effective option
     
  5. Whiffle

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 27, 2009

    Posts: 224

    Thanks - perhaps you are right.

    I was hoping to save a bit of power, too, but I guess that the power saving of going to a newer system is probably going to be barely worth it in the long run.

    My current case is for HTPCs so I guess the best thing I can do is find a small desktop tower to act as a replacement. Can you recommend anything that might be up to the job?
     
  6. Quartz

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 1, 2014

    Posts: 6,830

    Location: Aberdeen

    Do look at Intel's NUC boxes and similar. My mother loves her NUC. If you really want to build your own, look at the Mini-STX and Micro-STX form factors, like the Asrock DeskMini.
     
  7. MissChief

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 17, 2010

    Posts: 15,238

    I have to say you can pack way more storage into that than I ever thought possible. 2x M.2 slots and two standard SATA mounts on the bottom? You could be packing 2TB without even going mechanical.
     
  8. Quartz

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 1, 2014

    Posts: 6,830

    Location: Aberdeen

  9. Whiffle

    Gangster

    Joined: Jul 27, 2009

    Posts: 224

    Thanks for that - I have to say that I really am really impressed by the Asrock DeskMini - so much so that I am pretty sure that I am going to go that route, now.

    They do seem to be better value than NUCs, given that you can use desktop CPUs in them too.

    I originally thought that my obvious choice was the DeskMini 310 with a G5400. Everyone seems to be raving over what an amazing CPU that is.

    I completely disregarded anything by AMD on the grounds that I have exclusively been using Intel for the last 20 years - not that there is any particular loyalty to Intel, it is just that all my previous purchased happen to have ended up with Intel being the better choice.

    It is on this basis that I have only really kept an eye on new Intel products and it seems that I have overlooked that AMD seem to be very much back in the game, now.

    The Ryzen 2200G seems to be getting some amazing reviews and seems to be offering so much more than the G5400, for not a lot more in price.

    Would it be foolish to not, therefore, go down the AMD route with a DeskMini A300 instead?
     
  10. Quartz

    Soldato

    Joined: Apr 1, 2014

    Posts: 6,830

    Location: Aberdeen

    I have no experience of the Deskmini; I just know my mother loves her NUC.