Description

BACKGROUND: This build has been a long time in the making. It all started a little over 3 years ago with my first PC build, which was a beastly AMD 8350 based system. It was a loud, hot, power hungry monstrosity of a system but I loved it all the same. Unfortunately my career got in the way of the time I had to use it and I eventually ended up selling it because of the lack of free time I possessed. Ever since that day I have regretted my decision and I FINALLY decided to pull the trigger on some new parts for a system which resulted in what you see here today.

THE OBJECTIVE: I had a budget of $1100 for the complete system and monitor (excluding other peripherals) and wanted it to have the following attributes:

  1. Small footprint - I don't have a big desk so I needed a relatively small computer

  2. Fully filtered air inlets - I have two cats and i'm sure any cat or dog owner will understand why this is a must lol

  3. Quiet - My last computer sounded like a small hurricane and I always hated that about it so I aimed to change that this time around

  4. Power efficient - I mean who wants a big power bill?

  5. Fast boot/ read times - With the lower prices of SSD's as of late I really wanted to experience their speed as well as keeping the system quieter with the lack of spinning discs

  6. 1080p capability - Ultra settings on 1080p at 60fps? Sounds good to me

  7. Freesync - As soon as I heard about this technology I knew I wanted a monitor with it

  8. Good looks - I'll be honest and say that i'm shallow and this is important haha

After watching literally hundreds of YouTube videos, reading a few forums, looking at a bunch of PCPartPicker builds for inspiration and making dozens of parts lists I decided on these parts and I am extremely happy with how it turned out.

PARTS AND RATIONALE

i5 6500- I was going to go with a 6600K but since I didn't really need the extra processing power from overclocking or the increase in power draw I decided on the 6500. Plus without the overclock I don't have to worry about longevity or added heat to the system. It does everything I need it to and is extremely snappy, i'm very happy with it for $200.

CRYORIG H7- I know this cooler isn't at all necessary for the 6500 but I wanted something quieter and better looking than the stock Intel cooler and for $30 this definitely ranks up there with the 212 EVO and other popular air coolers. The included fan is literally inaudible, there is no RAM clearance issues, it keeps the processor nice and cool and it looks a lot better than the 212 EVO IMO. All around it is an awesome cooler and I highly recommend it to anyone.

ASUS B150i Pro Gaming Mini ITX- I originally purchased an MSI H110i PRO AC to save a little money, but after a lack of POST and questionable quality I decided on the ASUS board as opposed to getting another MSI board. I am extremely impressed with the build quality and features of this board, specifically the BIOS and AURA LED's. The BIOS is really easy to navigate and looks great. I really like the integrated fan software too. The AURA lights look amazing and are awesome but the only gripe I have with the board as a whole is the fact that the LED's don't retain their settings when the computer switches off and on. It's pretty irritating to have to go in and change the color to your liking every time you boot the system. Hopefully that gets fixed soon with a BIOS update or something like that but other than that this is a great motherboard. Also the included Wifi antenna is awesome

Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB- Not much to say here other than it was the cheapest set of white DDR4 in 16GB lol. They do their job and match the rest of the system so i'm happy with them.

Samsung SM951 128GB- This is easily the most impressive part of this system. I wanted fast boot times and holy crap did I get them; from completely powered off to Windows log on screen in under 15 seconds! Freaking awesome! I haven't seen this drive in many builds and I really don't understand why. I have read of some over heating issues with heavy data transfers but when used as a boot drive it is absolutely perfect. It's half the price of the 950 Pro and is only ~300Mb/s slower (pretty much negligible at almost 2100Mb/s) and it uses the more compatible AHCI interface, plus it installs easily in an m.2 slot. All you have to do is slap this thing in your system, load a copy of Windows and you're good to go. I HIGHLY recommend this drive to anyone looking to save a little over the 950 Pro or those who are lacking NVME compatibility.

A-Data SP550- I decided on full SSD storage for the system for noise reduction and speed, and at $50 for this drive you can't really go wrong here. It produced the advertised 550MB/s reads using CrystalDiskMark and makes for super fast load times on all of my games. I only wish I went for the 480GB version since it's almost full already but adding another drive later is easy enough.

PowerColor R9 380x Myst Edition- I found this card on sale for $189 on Newegg and considering at the time that was cheaper than most regular 380's it was a good deal, unfortunately I wasn't patient enough to wait for the RX480 that was announced 3 days after ordering it. Either way, it performs great at 1080p at max settings and looks awesome. It just feels like a nicely build card too. Unfortunately it does get rather hot, but I think that has to do with the layout of the Nano S being that the power supply almost completely blocks off one of the fans so i'm not going to knock it for that. Also, this card refused to overclock at all but even so it does well at the factory clock.

Fractal Design Nano S- I love this case. it is extremely well constructed, looks awesome and is very quiet. There is a lot of room for cable management and included velcro cable ties are a big plus. I think this case would be great for water cooling despite it's small size, which is great because I plan to do a custom loop in the future. My only problem with case is the side window, and not that it looks ugly or anything. I saw on the Hardware Canucks review that it failed the scratch test and didn't think much of it because I didn't plan to be scratching at my case window but I really didn't expect it to be as sensitive as it is to scratching; I wiped it off with an automotive microfiber detailing towel when I noticed a little dust buildup and realized that it left lots of little fine scratches all over it. I would understand if it were a paper towel or something but not a microfiber cloth. I'm pretty sad that the window isn't more durable, but other than that I couldn't be happier with the case for $65. Who knows, maybe i'll mod a tempered glass window on it eventually to make it perfect.

EVGA SuperNOVA GS 550W- I picked this power supply because it was a little cheaper than other 80+ gold rated fully modular supplies and it's size made it perfect for the Define Nano S in terms of cable management. It's very quiet and the Eco mode is a nice touch too

ViewSonic VX2457- I was very upset when I first got this monitor because the picture quality was god awful. However after taking it off of "gaming mode" and doing some color adjustment it is much much better. It's very crisp and responsive and Freesync is great, no more screen tearing! I was worried about dead pixels being that this is the first monitor i've had shipped but luckily there are none. The speakers honestly suck and the control placement on the back of the monitor is awkward, but for a 1080p Freesync monitor at just $110 on sale I guess that's just nitpicking considering I only used the controls once to adjust the colors and I use a headset for audio anyway. For the price this is a great monitor, especially for people using Radeon video cards

CONCLUSION: Overall i'm very happy with how it all came together, it does everything I wanted to and more. In the future i'd like upgrade the graphics card and monitor for a 21:9 3440x1440 setup and do a custom water cooling loop, but that will be when I save up some more money.

I'd like to thank all of the youtubers like LinusTechTips, HardwareCanucks, JayzTwoCents, PaulsHardware and AwesomesauceNetwork for being super informative and helpful in my endeavors, i'm sure there are a lot of people on here who feel the same way. I would also like to thank all of the people posting your builds here on PCPartPicker; your builds have been a huge inspiration and help for me, keep on doing what you do and I hope you all enjoy my build!

Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 3 points

Very clean build. I really like how the wifi dongle fits so well on the back panel of that case. Well done. +1

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! That's one of my favorite parts about it too haha it does fit nicely back there. You can't see it from the picture but the excess wire from the dongle bundles up nicely behind the built in handle of the side panel. I think they designed it for this case lol

  • 42 months ago
  • 3 points

Tip: try to flip your PSU upside down. I have pretty much the same setup (Sapphire 380X in Nano S) and turning my PSU with the fan facing the GPU helped my GPU temps quite a bit( now around 76c, while it went up to 85c before) . It´s still quite loud under load Though :D. I guess blower style cards are generally the better fit for the Nano S, or an SFX PSU:)

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

That's a good idea, I didn't think of that. I'll try it when I get some time to tinker with it.

Yeah I wish I got a blower style card instead, the RX480 would have been perfect. In the future I plan to build a custom water cooling loop though so the the style of cooler won't really matter haha

Thanks for the tip!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Looking good dude! Nice job!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Much appreciated!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Now this is a great looking monochromatic build. Fantastic cable management and pictures.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The pictures were taken on my phone so I'm surprised to hear that lol

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice and clean build! +1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

nice cable management. super clean. +1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

where can i get those colored braided cables?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I got mine on performance-pcs.com but I think there are a few other retailers as well

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point
Solid build. Sexy. Unique.

+1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

It's so pretty! I want to build something like that in the distant future

EDIT: I don't want to sound cheap, but... would wrapping electrical tape over the PSU wires work? I just checked the EVGA power supply cable sets and they'd cost as much as the PSU itself

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! I'm sure you can build something similar or even better, just do your research and plan everything out while you have the time

I have seen people do that kind of thing and personally I'm not a big fan of the result lol If the price of a full cable set is too steep you can always go with extensions, pretty sure they're like $3-$5 a cable and look just as good. The only difference is that they won't come directly from your power supply. A benefit to that though is that you can make semi or non modular power supply look really nice and save a few bucks

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Well done, something to be proud of!

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you very much!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! Very clean and plenty of good quality pictures. I wish, i would have gone with that cas instead of the phanteks entho evolv itx.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I'm suprised people are liking the pictures, they were taken with my phone haha

What don't you like about the evolv itx? I was going to buy that case but then this one was released

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

The case isn't that bad. Great wanted to install a corsair h110i gt in the top, and thought,it would be no problem, because there is space for 2 140mm fans, but the rad of the h110i is bigger than 2 fans, and now the rails of that sled where you install the fans are interfering with the radiator. I also couldn't go with the fans in a pull config, because then the radiator wouldn't slide in. It would interfere with the case. I should have read up on this before I bought the case. But my xeon doesn't need that much cooling, the noctua u12 and the airflow throughthe case are enough

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Ohhh yeah that is a bit of a let down. Can you use the H110i in the front of the case? I know that the included 200mm fan is awesome for airflow but 2 140mm fans would be really good too. You are right though the noctua U12 is plenty for a Xeon. Is it an E3 1231? I like that processor a lot

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I didn't try the h110i in the front, because i have my SSDs installed in the HDD cage, but i found use for the h110i in my brothers computer. In my PC i am using the xeon e3 1241, but i think its almost the same as the 1231.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

holy fck this thing is so fcking clean looking...okay....not looking...more like...OVERALL

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! Just have a question regarding mobo -- I was planning on getting H110i pro ac, but seeing your post makes me worry. Is it really not worth to get a cheap mobo? in terms of what features h110i lacks it doesn't bother me but I guess I don't wanna risk anything. I guess your response might be obvious, but do you think it's good to spend more (even if I don't need all the features)?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! In the end I only saved $30 by getting the H110i pro AC and for the hassle it caused me I don't think it was worth it. Most likely my DOA board was a rare occurance and I probably would have been fine with another one but after having the ASUS and MSI boards side by side the difference in quality between the 2 is substantial. I think that alone justifies the extra price, it just seems better built and all of the components fit so much nicer together in it. Plus RGB LEDs and NVMe support never hurt lol

I don't necessarily need all the features on it either but having them there in case I use them in the future is nice. In the end the choice is up to you, I have seen a few builds on here using the H110i pro AC and a read a few good reviews on it so if you are on a really tight budget it might be worth it but if you have the extra money to spare I would recommend the ASUS or another board like it.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the thorough reply!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

You're welcome!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice! I'm super interested in this cabling setup. Did the E-series work for your GS? On their site they only have a full set for the GS's. I only see a basic set for the G2s. I feel like it wouldn't matter much but then again I'm not very experienced with CableMod.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! Yeah I didn't want to spend the money for the full GS set so I looked into what will work with them. I guess the GS series are basically rebranded E-series power supplies and the basic sets are compatible. I found that to be mostly true but the CPU power cable won't fit, the spacing between the pins is different. Other than that though they fit great and look awesome, I'm really happy with them

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi mate, Love the build.... just on thing. I have the exact same power supply and am looking for a graphics card upgrade. Can an r9 380x run on 550W? I found a dirt cheap price for it.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Yes an R9 380x can run on 550w, I have one in this build and I'm not having any issues with it. How much did you find the 380x for if you don't mind me asking? The only reason I'm wondering is because the RX 480 is really close in price normally so it might be worth getting that instead

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

£130(UK). According to google, $169. Rx 470 has come out too. Gonna see some benchmarks and decide.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

What are you using to plug all the fans into the motherboard? Splitters or a hub?

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the case fans on a 3 to 1 splitter connected to the the motherboard. The only downside is they can't be controlled independently but I don't have an issue with it.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Sick build bruv +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

is the cpu cooler bracket touching the ram? i had this problem with my mobo

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Luckily for me it just BARELY clears the RAM. Are you using the H7? And what Mobo/ram are you using?

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the monitor? Is it good

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

The monitor is great, I like it a lot. After some adjusting the color quality is decent and Freesync makes for some super smooth gameplay. The stand isn't the greatest but it does have vesa mount capabilities if needed. For what I paid for it I am very happy with it overall.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you a lot