Monday, February 24, 2014

[Rant] Wanted to make a mini-ITX rig but...

There are too much comprises to be made to make it a reality.
 
For a long time, I wanted to make a SFF PC. There are so many choices these days. If such was available at the time when I built my rig, I would have gone with a SFF build. But now I have a ATX build. So if I want to build a SFF PC, it would be a conversion, not a build from the scratch. But the thing is, I want to reuse as many components as possible from my current rig.
 
CPU, graphics card, RAM and storage are no problem.
 
Obviously the motherboard and the case have to be replaced.
 
I would really like to use the cooler and the PSU in the SFF build. But most SFF cases and motherboard don't let you house a Silver Arrow Extreme cooler. It seems that the BitFenix Prodigy and the Fractal Node 304 would let you, but it would be nearly impossible to find a motherboard that would let you install it without blocking the PCI-E slot. Most mini-ITX motherboards have weird CPU socket positioning. The only one that might work is the Asus Z87I Pro. I wanted to put a ROG Maximus VI Impact in there as it is the most powerful mini-ITX motherboard out there. It also comes with awesome integrated audio. But it seems the Silver Arrow is just too fat for it. But I don't have any proof attesting or detesting this claim.
 
Then there is the dreaded PSU. The Corsair TX850 (version 1) that I have in my current rig is top quality but it has so many cables coming out of its ass which would make it almost impossible to work with. The newer TX850 doesn't have so many cables. When I bought the PSU for quite cheap about 3 years ago, I didn't check if this PSU had modular cables or not. I assumed that every PSU these days would come with modular cables. When it arrived at home, I was surprised to see that it wasn't modular. This PSU has so many unnecessary cables - most of them are the regular Molex cables that nobody uses these days except for those fan controllers. Even in my current case, it is a tight fit! If you open the right side panel, it is a total mess. So I really doubt you can use this in a SFF case.
 
So basically, the conversion process is taking much more $$$ than I initially expected. $100 for the case, $150-200 for the board, $100-150 for the PSU and $80-130 for an AIO water cooler. And I will only be able to make like $150 by selling my Maximus VI Hero board. There is no second hand market for the other components. That's like $350-400 spent for not performance boost. Just making things compact. Maybe saving some space from the container when we ship stuff back to Sri Lanka at some point in time in the future. Still, that price is unjustifiably too much. If it was like $100 for the whole thing, I would have gone with it. But no. I will have to stick to the Raven RV-03.
 
Maybe I would reconsider it the next time I change the platform. May it be when Broadwell comes out; may it be when Haswell-E comes out. Or it could even be as late as Skylake. I don't know yet. No idea how any of these new architectures would turn out to be. They can be worse than my current Haswell chip.
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