Description

Because of some truly phenomenal bureaucratic issues, I can't visit my parents. They're located over the Atlantic, and it was my dad's birthday recently. I figured: "Hey, I've always wanted to build an SFF PC, and he could use an upgrade....". So this desktop was born.

A little about my dad. He's been running Windows 98 up until 2007 (no build upgrades), at the end of which he bought a new desktop with Windows XP. This is his primary system till this day. I know the PSU fan broke temporarily, the BIOS does not support USB booting (I discovered this when trying to upgrade Windows some years ago), and a bunch of other issues I can't remember. Primary use is Microsoft Office, some Solitaire games, probably shows/videos, Skype, the like.

People may be asking why not a NUC - well, that is an option, but I wanted to have more flexibility with the budget, components, future-proof/upgradability factor. I believe the performance per buck is still better than a NUC, but I have to admit I did not look into this option too much. Let's get to the part list!

Processor This was a rather easy choice to make - getting a quad core processor for 78USD, with integrated graphics is a steal. The Ryzen 3 2200G should be able to handle anything my dad throws at it. I was really happy when AMD released their G series CPUs - I did not want to deal with a GPU (not worth it for the use case here), and Intel...well...Intel....

Motherboard The motherboard had to be of the Mini ITX form factor, and I did want Wi-Fi capability. The ROG Strix B450-I Gaming board was pretty popular on this site, and online reviews were really good for it. It has an RGB strip which does look nice through the acrylic panels..... quickly disabled since my dad is not a fan of this kind of stuff. (I guess I get it from his side of the family :P )

RAM Nice and minimalist - DDR4 at 3200MHz so as not to starve the Ryzen CPU. I've used this RAM on my Plex server build as well. It works, it's RAM - there's not much to say about it for this build.

Storage Compared to the HDD speeds that my dad is used to, the M.2 NVME SSD from Samsung should provide much better boot and application start times. I was debating between 500GB and 1TB, opting for the former in the end just because I do not remember my dad having a lot of data. Some backups here and there, not exceeding ~200GB total.

Case This was probably the hardest part to choose. I saw the GEEEK cases on Instagram originally, and decided to investigate. Although the case is 29.90USD, the shipping for it (to my place) was another ~27USD. Aside from the price "gotcha", the A1 was a delight to build in. Scratched myself a couple of times, but otherwise no real issues. I definitely appreciate pre-built cases much more now.

Overall, a pleasant build, runs Windows 10 Professional just fine. It actually flies; then again - the only applications installed are VLC, CCleaner, and MS Office 2019.

One small issue I ran into was actually caused by Windows, and I've never seen this on Intel CPUs (could just be a coincidence). If you boot up, and suddenly the whole system locks up after getting to the desktop, it's a Windows Defender service. I didn't have any data so I just reinstalled, but tinkering in Safe Mode should fix the issue.

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Comments

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice build for Dad. Congratulations! I build a SFF PC for my Mom a month ago and she loves it. She had a 7 year old laptop before and it never left her desk so I convinced her to go w/ a PC, new monitor and keyboard. She loves it. Enjoy!

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh woop! Glad she's enjoying it - hopefully my dad will like it.

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

I love the case! And I love itx builds in general, I'm always amazed to see how they can load so much features and connectors on silly small pcb's. Yes there are even smaller boards, but they aren't always fully customizable for DIY builders.

And now off to search for the GEEEK cases...

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

I had a friend who once printed out a 12 layer PCB for fun, I agree, it's fascinating how many things small chips have. I do prefer ATX boards just because you can pack more power into them because why not?

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Where does the psu go in that case?

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks like a pico PSU, so in the 24 pin slot on the motherboard, with an external brick required.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Heh, whoops - guess this is what I get for publishing this so late and tired :P Forgot the more important component - the PSU. It's a picoPSU, specifically Mini-Box picoPSU-160-XT and the power brick I used for it can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007XVE11S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The annoying thing here is that those D-barrels aren't standardized too well, so make sure the plugs match.

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh cool. Thanks.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Welp, damn, had no idea - thanks for the pointer! Ah well, it's on its way.

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  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

I threw some 1080p videos its way, seems to be fine - didn't test with 4K. Oh yeah, I nuke all Windows 10 apps with PowerShell, as well as OneDrive and the like. Telemetry may get reactivated during updates, which is why PiHole is there on my home network. :)

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  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

VLC!

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