Friday, March 14, 2014

[Rant] Mini-ITX build plans are not completely gone


Few weeks ago I got this itch to build a Mini-ITX rig. But I had to give up that thought because It would only be a side-grade (not an upgrade) if I do it now and it sounded like a lot of money spent with no gains. If I do it when Broadwell comes out, then that's a different story.

In the mean time, I wanted to reuse as much components from my current build as possible. In the original feasibility study, I figured that I would have to give up the CPU cooler and the PSU because they would not fit in a small mini-ITX case. Quite recently I came to know that Fractal Design Node 304, which is a nice little mini-ITX case, can actually house the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme cooler just fine.

Plus, the source also said that the cooler fits perfectly fine in a Asus Z87i-Deluxe. But I wanted to go for the ROG Maximus VI Impact board (if I'm going to build a rig with the current generation hardware) as it has awesome audio built in. But the extra tall VRM heatsink and the daughter board where the audio circuitry is housed in, might not let me install the cooler. I wish they put better audio in the Z87i-Deluxe. That would have solved a lot of issues. There isn't anything special on a ROG board other than branding. I've understood that quite well with my Maximus VI Hero. In fact, the general consumer boards like the Asus Z87i-Pro are more feature-rich.

There is the issue with RAM if I go with dual fans on the cooler. I probably can mount one of the fans as the rear exhaust fan of the case by replacing the stock fan. But if it comes to that, I would take off the heatsinks on RAM - which are doing absolutely nothing for the Corsair Vengeance sticks. They are only there to hide the ugly green PCBs and because I still have warranty left on the RAM. If it wasn't for these high RAM prices, I would have already sold them and would be riding with some sexy low profile sticks.

I'm still not sure about the PSU though. The Corsair TX850 has a million cables sticking out of its arse. The size of the PSU though isn't going to be an issue as it is only 160mm which is quite small for a 850W model. Wish I could sell the PSU though. Perhaps I can do that if I go down to Akihabara, but who has time? Heck, the PSU still has warranty left, so if I'm lucky it will stop working and I will be able to get a new PSU. As these PSUs are discontinued, I will hopefully receive a nice modular PSU.  Sadly, I'm not that lucky. And I don't want to see the PSU go kaput because it might take the whole system with it. Day dreaming!

So if I can just fit my current PSU in the Fractal-Design Node 304 case, I guess I would only have to spend on the Node 304 case - which currently retails for little under JPY 10,000. The motherboard is an exchange so I won't incur much of a cost there.

Either way, this "dream" build won't happen anytime soon as I have few more crucial expenses planned. What happened was that it just went from a definite NO to a MAYBE.

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