Low profile case mounted to monitor for portability, cable management. Built for basic gaming and secondary computer. Will be used for LAN parties if it performs well enough--technically, it should be better than my (old) main machine.
Currently running SteamOS as a test with plans to install Windows 7.
Chose the Gigabyte for larger potential RAM capacity and included wifi and bluetooth (which SteamOS found and used without a hitch). I had a donated AMD A8-6600K but I wanted to try out the top end A10 for the slightly better GPU and very slightly lower power usage. RAM is currently old 2x4 1600Mhz DDR3...waiting on RMA for the 2133MHz I had initially tried to order. Noctua low profile fan works brilliantly. I have space to spare between the case grill and the fan. It's not rated for 95W TDP but so far, no smoke rolling out. Picked up the SSD for quick loads and the WD Red for extra capacity. So far, so good. Samsung Pro 850 is downright zippy.
The Antec case is perfect for the job. I spent hours looking at other cases, specifically ones without included power supply but still VESA mounted. Those are astonishingly rare. I picked up the Antec case from Fry's originally but the PSU was drastically underpowered so I took it back. After an exhaustive search, or at least an exhausting search, I turned right around and picked up the same case from Newegg and replaced the built-in with the picoPSU combo.
Update (10/14/2014): Loaded machine up with Windows 7 Pro. Much better performance on my favorite games than the SteamOS. I did finally get my 2133MHz RAM installed. I'd previously stepped clock and voltages down on the processor to keep heat down but with the new RAM running at rated speed, I blue screened heavily. I did a restore defaults in the BIOS and stepped the RAM back up to 2133 (defaults to 1600 on that board). Processor is back to running native speed (no OC) and with the CPU fan just running at full (still quiet), I have no heat issues. I did add an annoying little 40mm fan to the side of the case which somehow seems to help a bit. I've been playing the new Gauntlet at max settings with no issues which wouldn't seem noteworthy but I found it does beat up some other machines I've tried it on. Surprisingly, the new game, Alien Isolation, plays really well on it. Not a silky 60 FPS but a very playable 30+. It's no i7 with a GTX 980 but it chews up the things I run on it without a hitch. Other than being a little toasty, I'm really impressed with what the A10-7850K can handle. There are probably about 5 other people on the planet that would have the same build goals, but if you want a tiny powerhouse, this build gets it done. I'm thinking the recommendation of the A10-7800K would be a pretty sound swap however. If I were to build another, I'd go that route...might even be able to use the stock power supply that way.
In hindsight (2/4/2015) If I were to approach this type of build again, I'd definitely change a few things around, mainly to save some money. Case - The VESA mount feature is very cool but I find that the portability is my favorite feature. I'm not sure there's much variety in this size but for just a few more millimeters of CPU fan clearance, I'd be willing to forgo the VESA bracket. I'm partial to the InWin H-frame mini. It's bigger and spendy but I'd come out about the same since its power supply is adequate at 180W. CPU - That's still a keeper. I love the onboard video capabilities. CPU Fan - I'd keep the stock one if at all possible, mainly just to save a few bucks. According to most comparisons I've found so far, most low profile fans don't out perform stock. Memory - works just fine. I might grab the 2400 instead but since the build can't really OC, only if the memory is cheap Mobo - Had a CPU fan header quit on the Gigabyte. Didn't RMA, just swapped CPU with Case fan header. PWM is the part that failed and the Noctua is quiet enough to run at full speed. I really like the rapid boot options on the ASRock and that's probably what I'd choose, although the CPU offset is annoying. Drives - Samsung 850 Pro is great but way overkill. The rapid boot is a far greater speed convenience. For a secondary system, I don't use any where near a terabyte. I'd swap the 128G and the 1T with a single 256Gig. Any SATA III SSD is awesomely fast. picoPSU - works great. Case isn't very accommodating of the new connector though.
Great little chip. Runs hot just like any other AMD. GPU is squarely in the "not bad" category and still some of the best you can get onboard without spending a small fortune on top end Core i7 with IrisPro. The onboard GPU is its big sell so don't mess with the APU series unless you are specifically avoiding discrete video or don't have room for it...or you got one for free ;-) Would probably not purchase one again, opting instead for a bigger box with discrete GPU. Very niche.
Love it. Wish it was rated for higher TDP. Reasonably quiet. If you have to use low profile air coolers, this should be among this list of top contenders. Would buy again if the scenario called for it.
Not my favorite motherboard but awesome set of built in goodies. Better than most on the wireless card card placement, connections, reliability. Had trouble with CPU cooler header and some odd issues with USB not working--I'm not sure that wasn't a USB3 extensible driver issue so I'm not knocking off a star for it. Would probably not buy again, opting for ASRock or Asus.
It's RAM. It works. 'nuff said.
Some strangeness with boot after suspend or hibernate but always starts up. Unless you have an application that can actually use the kind of performance increase this has over other lower IOP rated drives, I'd skip it. Grab an 840/850 Evo or Crucial. Big differences in benchmarks don't seem to translate to anything perceptible when firing up your favorite FPS. Great drive...just didn't seem to be worth the extra $$$ for what I was doing. Would not buy again but if it was free...absolutely!
Opted for this over the Green for extra storage on a standard rig--I liked that it didn't spin down. Works just fine but for standard, non-NAS situations, go for the black or blue. Otherwise, in a normal box build, it's pretty interchangeable with the green. Avoid use as a boot/OS drive. Would not buy again unless used for a software NAS box.
Great box for the size restrictions and mounting I was looking for. The power supply was much too small for what I was doing...ended up spending more for the replacement picoPSU kit than I did for the case. The 2.5" drive mounts under the motherboard are genius. For small form factor systems that use standard CPUs and 2.5 drives AND VESA mounts, there are few options. This is a great way to go. If you are on passive cooled SoC boards and mSATA drives, you've got more options. Kocking off a star for small-ish PSU and some fragile vents on the back. Would definitely purchase again if the board/CPU could run on the included PSU.