Description

This was a system my daughter and I built for my wife. We were looking for a smaller footprint, so we went with a micro ATX mobo and case. The challenges with this build were: cable management, CPU cable routing and fitting the mobo.

We initially removed the hard drive cage, then moved the front fan from the bottom position up to where it could push more air into the case. We then re-installed the hard drive cage but moved it over a bit. We could have left it out entirely but we planed to use it for cable management.

We also installed the power supply and optical and hard drive before the mobo. This was in part so we could run the CPU cable under the mobo as the case doesn't have a cut out at the top to run the cable back to the mobo and we didn't want to run the cable across the front. Thankfully, the cpu cable was slim enough that running it under the mobo didn't pinch it or put pressure on the mobo. There are a couple of pictures to show this step. We installed the drives because we knew from the tight fit it may be hard to install the drives after the mobo. Installing the drives was a mistake as we had to remove them to fit the mobo (we forgot we could slide them in from the front). Also, we had to install the mobo before the vid card as we couldn't slide the mobo into place with the vid card installed. This was a very tight fit!

I have included pics of most of these steps.

I'm a big fan of the M.2 boot drive; I recommend this to any builder that enjoys a fast boot up.

Once everything was installed the only challenge remaining was cable management. We tied off as much as we could on the back and stuffed cables into the hard drive cage. If I were to do this build again, I'd probably pay a bit more for a semi modular power supply.

This build was very affordable as we used the optical drive, 1.5 TB HDD, and OS from the system we were replacing and bought the video card used from a friend. We overpaid for the ram by about 30% but got the rest of the components on sale. The actual cost of the build was just under $700 CAD.

Part Reviews

Case

For the price this is a pretty good case. Yes, this is a very tight case making it challenging to work with. Fitting the mobo was tight and cable management was challenging. However, to their credit, Cooler Master has made a very versatile case: It is easy to remove drive cages and has 4 spots to mount SSD's, room for 3 - 3.5's and / or 1 5.25 . There are a lot of cooling options and the 2 fans that come with it are quiet enough. The are only 3 pin; 4 pin would have been ice. There's room for a large video card. There was only 1 glaring negative for me and that was the lack of a cut out at the top to accommodate the 8 pin CPU cable. Other than that, for the price, I think this is a great value.

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Comments

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

the price on that video card really hurts tho...

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I should add that the price on the vid card and hard drive were significantly lower; I couldn't figure out how to add custom values in the parts list.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

You probably could've gotten a gtx980 or 970 for a similar price as well as trading off the 1.5tb hdd for a 1tb 7200rpm hdd which would run alot faster. If the gpu was a cheaper price then this build would be decent but the price tag shown is horrible for the performance

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

You are spot on; what the prices don't reflect is that I pulled the vid card, HDD and optical drive out of the system I was replacing. I couldn't figure out how to reflect that in my parts list.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Aww... that's nice.

But Intel stock CPU Coolers are poop. It would have been better to get a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Do not advocate piracy.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

What happened?