Hello peoples of the internets, and welcome my 2nd build on this site. I built this little thing because I needed something smaller than my main pc for going to LANs. So you can say this is strictly for gaming unless its at home where it is used as my HTPC. Finally something to replace my PS4 with!! I also think that my cable management is pretty good considering the size of the case, (your milage may vary on that though). Overall I am very happy with this build and it’s a great budget performer for gaming, streaming, and any other more basic tasks, this is not for video editing or anything of that nature.
The games I will be currently playing on this machine include (Battlefield 4, minecraft, civ 5, Bioshock series, The crew, planetary annihilation, Skyrim with mods, counter strike, and so on)
Part Selection Rationale:
Pentium G 3248: This Dual Core Haswell chip is the most surprising part of this build. When overclocked it performs very well in games. Now when it comes to editing and intense multitasking it isnt the best, but it won't be used for that anyway. The fact that I got this thing to 4.0Ghz on a H97 board with a stock cooler while maintaining reasonable temps just amazes me. Now in the future it might not be that great as games move toward using more cores, but when that happens I’ll just grab a broadwell i5 or something of that nature. right now the only game that this doesn't work with a dual core is Far Cry 4, (as in the game won't even fire up without 4 logical cores), thank you Ubisoft :( . Yes I could of gotten an AMD chip such as the athlon x4 860k but since I was after single core performance I went with intel.
ASRock H97M-ITX/ac: Has Wireless AC WIFI capabilities, 5 SATA ports, 4 USB 3.0. Comes with a very easy to use UEFI BIOS (the easiest one to navigate, in my opinion) and physically looks great. The layout also worked very good for me in the node 304. As stated above, YOU CAN OVERCLOCK on this H97 board.
Kingston V300 120gb: Decent performance, was 40% off so I couldn't resist. Might fill up quickly, but it works for what i'm doing with it. Will eventually add another HDD.
G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8gb (2x4): Not much to say about this, its just RAM. Only got the low voltage model because it was cheaper.
CORSAIR CS550M: Semi modular, 80+ Gold, all at a reasonable price. Cant hear it, even under load. Could of gotten something a bit cheaper but I think having a good quality PSU is a must in any situation. Node 304: I wanted a small ITX case to carry to LANs and this seems to be a perfect fit. Also picked this up for $40 off. The aesthetics of this case are very nice. I must say that it weighs a lot more that I initially thought it would, but i guess that this just shows the awesome build quality of the case. The Only complaint is that one of the front fans was DOA, I can overlook this though. The fans are also extremely silent, even at 100%.
XFX R9 270X: Had this from a previous build. Maxes out most games at 1080p at at least 50 fps. The cooler on this card performs pretty well without getting too noisy.
Windows 10 technical preview: Honestly i was going to just try it out for a few weeks and then return to windows 8.1, but considering I have had no instability issues or any major glitches I think I will continue to use it until the beta is over. The only problem I have had with the OS is that the AMD Catalyst Control panel wouldn't install, but i eventually I got it to work so all is well and functioning properly.
(Possible future Upgrades):
I plan on getting a better CPU cooler (most likely a hyper 212 Evo, or some AIO watercooler) and maybe get some higher overclocks, but honestly the stock cooler is actually performing pretty well considering it maxes at 70 celsius. Noctua fans might eventually find their way into this case.
Logitech K400: Works well enough, but this keyboard is just terrible, trackpad is very inaccurate. Not much else to say about it.
Conclusion: I am extremely surprised and happy with the performance of this cute little thing. It is lightweight so it will suit my needs at LANs. As an HTPC it also is exactly what i am looking for, quiet yet powerful while maintaining a lower price. I am pleased with the results of this PC.